Journal of a Geek

Parallels: Initial Install

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A few months ago Apple announced you would have the ability to run Windows on an Apple using an Intel processor. A day later a company called Parallels announced they were releasing a version of their product Parallels Workstation for Mac OS X. This software uses something called virtualization to create a fake computer running inside your operating system.

I’m in the process of ordering a Macbook and decided to start testing the speed of Parallels when its running Visual Studio 2005. Since this software is $50 ($80 after July 15th), I decided I should start seeing if this program is worth the investment.

I began by downloading the free trial of Parallels. The installation was as easy as most OS X applications. It uses a simple PKG installer. I then launched Parallels and created a new virtual machine. A wizard took me through the steps of creating an environment for the guest OS (the operating system being run inside the virtual machine). There were a ton of preconfiged packages that came straight from Parallels. It has configs for every version of windows (Windows 3.1 to Windows 2003 Server) and plenty of preconfigs for different versions of Linux. Once my machine was setup I simply hit the big green “Play” button. The virtual machine launched just like a normal PC.

The first OS I am testing is Windows XP. I downloaded an ISO off my student MSDN account and connected it to Parallels using the CD ROM menu at the bottom. It works exactly the same way as Virtual PC. The setup for Windows XP was identical to that of a normal PC install, but it was already much faster. Once Windows XP was done installing I used a Parallels menu to install the Parallels Tools. These tools let you do cool things such as clipboard synchronizations, allow the mouse to move in out of the OS easier, adds drivers for your virtual devices, and let you share folders between OS X and the guest OS. Windows XP doesn’t require any updates to install Visual Studio 2005, so I stopped my setup there.

The next OS I tired was Windows 2000. I installed it off a Windows 2000 install CD at work. I just used the CD ROM menu to capture the default CD/DVD. Once it was done with its once again speedy install, I used the menu option to install the Parallels Tools just like with Windows XP. I then ran Windows Update just as would normally be done on a Windows install to get the system ready for Visual Studio 2005.

One thing I forgot to mention is the specs I’m using for both virtual machines. The default hard drive size is 8GB which I left the same for both installs, and I set both machines to 512MB of RAM. Since my Macbook will only have 1GB of RAM, I want to test it under similar conditions. The iMac I’m using in the test is the 2.0GHz 20″ iMac.

Tomorrow I’m going to finish up installing Visual Studio 2005, and begin testing. I’ll make another post once that is complete.

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Written by Ryan Farnell

July 5, 2006 at 6:00 pm

Posted in Apple

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