Why I like Parallels

So here I am installing Leopard on an external drive on my iMac and installing various applications. One application I use now and again is Parallels so that I can run Windows and Ubuntu on my Mac in a virtual machine.

One of the things I like about running an OS in a virtual machine is that I can just copy them from the internal drive to the external drive and do not need to worry about installing Windows again, basically it just remembers where it was when I closed it down previously – even though that was on a different drive running a different version of OS X.

Nice and easy.

It took ages….

Took (what seemed) like a really long time this morning updating not just Parallels (to build 5608) but also updated the virtual installations of Windows XP and Vista I have on my iMac.

I updated Windows XP to SP3 which once I started I thought I wonder if SP3 would work with Parallels, so I downloaded the latest update.

While I was at it I also updated my virtual installation of Windows Vista as well – as that hadn’t been done in a while.

I know I know I should update when patches come out, but more often than not when I have updated it breaks something.

So far no problems, just it seemed to take ages…

Now this looks interesting…

If you want to run Windows on your Mac, you have had up until now four main choices.

Now there is a fifth choice, Virtualbox from Sun.

VirtualBox is a family of powerful x86 virtualization products for enterprise as well as home use. Not only is VirtualBox an extremely feature rich, high performance product for enterprise customers, it is also the only professional solution that is freely available as Open Source Software under the terms of the GNU General Public License (GPL). See “About VirtualBox” for an introduction.

Presently, VirtualBox runs on Windows, Linux, Macintosh and OpenSolaris hosts and supports a large number of guest operating systems including but not limited to Windows (NT 4.0, 2000, XP, Server 2003, Vista), DOS/Windows 3.x, Linux (2.4 and 2.6), and OpenBSD.

I have downloaded it, but not yet installed it or tried to run Windows on it. Certainly looks like it could be useful for a whole range of virtualization solutions.

Continue reading “Now this looks interesting…”

Can I use OEM versions of Windows on my Mac?

Can I use OEM versions of Windows on my Mac?

Generally the answer is yes. Though if you purchased a computer with an OEM version of Windows then the license only covers that hardware and according to the terms of use can not be transferred to another computer.

These OEM versions will work with Boot Camp and/or Parallels or VMFusion. Though as OEM versions you won’t get any support from Microsoft, for that you will need to purchase the full retail versions.

Windows XP Home

Windows XP Professional

Windows Vista Ultimate

Note that Windows Vista Home can not be used with Parallels or VMFusion due it licensing restrictions.

Windows Vista Home Premium

Can I use OEM versions of Windows on my Mac?

Can I use OEM versions of Windows on my Mac?

Generally the answer is yes. Though if you purchased a computer with an OEM version of Windows then the license only covers that hardware and according to the terms of use can not be transferred to another computer.

These OEM versions will work with Boot Camp and/or Parallels or VMFusion. Though as OEM versions you won’t get any support from Microsoft, for that you will need to purchase the full retail versions.

Windows XP Home

Windows XP Professional

Windows Vista Ultimate

Note that Windows Vista Home can not be used with Parallels or VMFusion due it licensing restrictions.

Windows Vista Home Premium

Windows on a Mac

If you want to run Windows on an Intel Mac there are basically four choices.

Boot Camp

http://www.apple.com/bootcamp

This is an either or situation, which means you are running Windows or OS X, therefore if you want to change applications you need to reboot.

Has the advantage that you are when running Windows for all intents purposes your mac is a Windows PC. This means that you get the full power of your Mac for running Windows.

You need a licensed copy of Windows XP *SP2* or Windows Vista

Comes as part of Leopard, so if you have Tiger you will need to upgrade.

Parallels and VMFusion

http://www.parallels.com/en/products/desktop/
http://www.vmware.com/products/fusion/

These applications create virtual Windows PCs, which allow you to run Windows (and Windows applications) at the same time as OS X and therefore you can switch between them withoout needing to reboot. There is a slight performance hit when running Windows in this way but for most people this is negligible. Also you will need a lot of RAM to run these, at leat 1GB and preferably 2GB of RAM.

Coherence mode on Parallels allows you to run Windows applications seamlessly alongside Mac applications.

Both require a Windows licence, but doesn’t need to be SP2, with Parallels you can even install and run Windows 3.1! Parallels XP support is excellent, however support for Vista is less good, so you can’t use things like Aero for example.

Crossover

http://www.codeweavers.com/products/cxmac/

Allows you to run Windows applications (some but not all) within OS X and you don’t need a Windows licence as you don’t install Windows.

Downside is that it doesn’t work with all applications.

MacBook

Summary

Therefore there are four choices when it comes to running Windows on a Mac. Which is best? Well that depends much more on your needs when it comes to running Windows.

Installing Ubuntu 7.10 as a Guest OS on Parallels

After having a few problems and reading a variety of guides on installing Ubuntu as a guest OS on my Parallels installation on my iMac I finally managed to get there after a suggestion from KevanV on Jaiku.

Go to the Ubuntu website and when you download the ISO ensure you that you check the box which says Check here if you need the alternate desktop CD. This CD does not include the Live CD, instead it uses a text-based installer.

check that box

Then when you install Ubuntu ensure you use the text based installer.

Also when asked which screen resolution you wish to use ensure that you check 1024 x 768 only.

Once installed the graphical user interface works just fine.

Ubuntu Display Server Error

So I managed to download Ubuntu 7.10 (in an hour) and decided to install it on my Mac via Parallels.

It seemed so simple, create a new VM and say I want Linux and Ubuntu Linux at that, point Parallels to the ISO and wahay!

Well not quite.

It seemed to start okay and then I got the following error.

Click to enlarge

Click the picture to enlarge.

No (real) idea what is going on here.

Frozen Upgraded Parallels

I started Parallels on my iMac and there was a new update, which (as I thought I have the time) decided to download and install.

Well it took ages to download the disk image and when it finally did get downloaded, I am guessing it did not mount correctly as first Parallels froze and then the whole Mac.

Generally when an application fails to behave properly on a Mac, you can shut it down even force it to quit, but everything else continues to work. Today with Parallels that wasn’t what happened.

With the whole Mac not working, I gave it five minutes and then holding down the power button forced the iMac to shut down.

I restarted the Mac and everything seemed to be okay.

I mounted the Parallels disk image and ran the upgrade installer, which worked fine, and then updated my virtual XP machine which also went fine.

Not sure what went wrong, but XP on Parallels is now working fine.