: Parallels for dummies...


Moscool
Dec 12th, 2007, 09:49 AM
Hey Parallel pros out there...

Went on the site and read some of the basic installation manuals. Didn't answer all my questions:

- I have an original XP disk. I tried to update it on my Pentium machine... Forget it! (two days later, still having problems)

- Parallels will let me install from 'SP0' and there a little setting to check, so far so good...

- What will then happen when I switch on the virtual machine and try to upgrade to SP2?

Two other related questions:

- I am going to increase my hard drive over Xmas, should I ask for a new partition for Windows? How big?

- I am also planning to upgrade to Leopard shortly. I understand that Bootcamp is included. Would that be a better solution in terms of using old XP disk/then installing SP2? (let's assume that the ability to run both OSs at the same time is irrelevant).

Thanks!

PS: This install would be on my fist gen MacBook Pro. The HD is growing to 160Gig from 100Gig but I don't think I could devote much more than 20Gigs to the Windows partition

8127972
Dec 12th, 2007, 01:13 PM
- What will then happen when I switch on the virtual machine and try to upgrade to SP2?

What SHOULD happen is that the SP2 update should install just like it would on a "real" PC.

- I am going to increase my hard drive over Xmas, should I ask for a new partition for Windows? How big?

Parallels stores it's virtual machines in folders located in your documents folder. Therefore you do not need to have a separate partition for Windows (unless you want to use boot camp).

- I am also planning to upgrade to Leopard shortly. I understand that Bootcamp is included. Would that be a better solution in terms of using old XP disk/then installing SP2? (let's assume that the ability to run both OSs at the same time is irrelevant).

I had Boot Camp, VMWare Fusion, and Parallels on the same computer for a couple of months and I eventually nuked the Boot Camp partition and got rid of VMWare Fusion and now use Parallels exclusively. I find it handy to just fire up Parallels and resume one of my four virtual machines rather than reboot into the WinXP partition that I had on my MBP. It only takes a few seconds. YMMV though as some people do prefer having a "real" WinXP partition for things like games. One thing to consider, you can use Parallels Transporter to take your Boot Camp partition and turn it into an independent virtual machine:

Transporter (http://www.parallels.com/en/products/desktop/features/transporter/)

Some people do this so they can have a similar "look and feel" experience on both Parallels and Boot Camp. Others do this to take an already existing Boot Camp install and migrate it to Parallels.

Moscool
Dec 12th, 2007, 01:24 PM
(asks more innocent questions)

What about virus etc. risk? I have no intention to restart playing the virus protection game and am quite happy to unplug from the internet for all but my essential Windows-based tasks. Does having a Windows-only partition help? Is my Mac at risk if I run parallels in an 'unprotected' fashion?

8127972
Dec 12th, 2007, 01:53 PM
(asks more innocent questions)

What about virus etc. risk? I have no intention to restart playing the virus protection game and am quite happy to unplug from the internet for all but my essential Windows-based tasks. Does having a Windows-only partition help? Is my Mac at risk if I run parallels in an 'unprotected' fashion?

Your Mac isn't at risk, but that doesn't mean that you should run the virtual machine without virus protection. Parallels comes with a free 6 month subscription for Kaspersky Internet Security. I personally run AVG Free (AVG Free Advisor - Free antivirus and anti-spyware downloads (http://free.grisoft.com)) myself.

screature
Dec 13th, 2007, 10:06 AM
(asks more innocent questions)

What about virus etc. risk? I have no intention to restart playing the virus protection game and am quite happy to unplug from the internet for all but my essential Windows-based tasks. Does having a Windows-only partition help? Is my Mac at risk if I run parallels in an 'unprotected' fashion?

Parallels automatically creates essentially a virtual Windows only partition (virtual drive - either of set or expanding size) when you begin the OS installation, no risk at all of cross contamination. But as was said you can still have your virtual disk become contaminated. I agree with 8127972 free AVG all the way! It is light, efficient and you get daily (whenever you use Windows) virus definition updates downloaded and installed automatically (if you set it up that way). So there is really no "game" to be played. It just provides you with a security blanket just in case. Even if you don't plan on connecting to the internet with your Windows install, which I wouldn't recommend because you are still going to need to get your Windows updates (which is pretty much all I connect to the internet on Windows for) it is still a good idea to have AVG, nothing lost and you have some peace of mind. But if you decide not to have virus protection your OSX is as I said not at risk of cross contamination.

If you have the space I would crate a back up clone of the virtual drive (the tools are built into Parallels to do this) of your fresh clean install (complete with the apps you use most). That way if you ever get seriously infected you can trash your infected install (why waste the time trying heal the dead) and boot from your clone. That way you would only have to reinstall whatever secondary apps you might have installed after the first basic install.

Of course there is also the data back up issue, which you should always have backed up off of the virtual drive anyway. Of course this is best on a second physical drive separate from your OSX boot drive.

8127972
Dec 13th, 2007, 12:55 PM
Assuming that you don't use anything like Carbon Copy Cloner to back up the Mac. All you need to do is to backup the Parallels folder that is in your documents folder to back up your VM's. I have a backup of my 4 VM's in a "virgin" state so that if they get trashed, I can just copy them back and be back in business quickly.

Moscool
Dec 13th, 2007, 01:03 PM
Interesting, I use SuperDuper. Will it copy my 'XP' files as well (and can it restore them)? - I see no reason why not.

screature
Dec 13th, 2007, 01:36 PM
Interesting, I use SuperDuper. Will it copy my 'XP' files as well (and can it restore them)? - I see no reason why not.

Absolutely it will.

8127972
Dec 13th, 2007, 01:45 PM
Super Duper will back up everything including the Parallels files.

Moscool
Dec 14th, 2007, 06:43 AM
OK thanks guys these comments are really helpful. One last question (I think):

How much space should I budget for and/or can I install Parallels & XP on a firewire drive simply to invoke when needed? If yes, does it need to be a bootable drive?

screature
Dec 14th, 2007, 11:28 AM
OK thanks guys these comments are really helpful. One last question (I think):

How much space should I budget for and/or can I install Parallels & XP on a firewire drive simply to invoke when needed? If yes, does it need to be a bootable drive?

I believe Parallels needs to be on your boot drive your XP install can be anywhere. I wouldn't recommend putting XP on a firewire drive if performance is an issue for you, it will slow down Windows performance.

screature
Dec 14th, 2007, 11:35 AM
OK thanks guys these comments are really helpful. One last question (I think):

How much space should I budget for and/or can I install Parallels & XP on a firewire drive simply to invoke when needed? If yes, does it need to be a bootable drive?

Sorry I just noticed I only answered half your question. The amount of space depends on you and how much software you plan to put on Windows and how much data you plan to keep in your virtual drive. When you install Parallels you have the option of how much space do you want to allocate for the virtual drive. The default is 30GB, but this can be a self expanding drive where as you put more data and software on the virtual drive increases in size to accommodate the additions. This of course slows down your performance while the virtual drive is expanding.

From my experience I would say 30GB is a good default starting point and the rest is up to you.