Macbook Pro – Parallels vs VMWare Fusion


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Subscriber Michael Gutierrez is a long time Mac user. He asked if we could help him decide whether he should use Parallels to run Windows on his Mac, or wait until BootCamp is out of Beta. Personally, I prefer VMWare Fusion.

I did a blog post on my personal blog several months ago which discusses VMWare, Parallels, BootCamp and Crossover. Let’s see if we can’t go more in-depth this time, to try and help Michael.

Michael writes: “The ability to run Mac OS X 10 and Windows XP side by side is phenomenal. I now want to be able to run Windows Vista. I know Parallels supports Vista but I have read about some limited functionality like not being able to run Windows Aero. I am also concerned about the memory usage. I have 2 GB of RAM installed. Reading the requirements for Vista, I am assuming you would need at least 1 GB of RAM just for Vista to operate.

I have read about Apple’s Boot Camp being up to snuff with Windows Vista with providing full driver support for all hardware and it can even run Windows Aero. Although this would be a great solution to my problem, I do see some down sides:

  • Partitioning the HD for Vista Installation
  • Rebooting each time when needing to get into a particular operating system
  • No sharing of files.
  • Still in beta release.”

I have to agree with Michael as far as using Boot Camp at this point in time, mainly because it is still in a beta testing phase.

Parallels Virtual Machine software is an application which allows you to run any operating system inside of OS X. Windows, Linux, FreeBSD and even Solaris can be easily used on a Mac. You can switch between the different operating systems without having to reboot, and even drag and drop between them. Parallels has long been a staple for many Mac users who still need to make use of certain Windows functions or programs. However, it does have some performance issues, such as screen redraws related to video issues in the Coherence mode. Some users don’t like that there is no right click function, nor a delete key. There’s also no drag and drop support.

Personally, I use the newly released VMWare Fusion. You can do virtually all of the same things with Fusion that you can with Parallels, but Fusion blows its counterparts out of the water when it comes to performance. Installing Windows has never been easier, thanks to the Windows Easy Install feature in VMware Fusion. Just answer a few simple questions and insert your Windows installation disc—VMware Fusion will automatically create a Windows virtual machine that is optimized for your Mac. Fusion can use the full 16 GB of memory available with the Mac Pro, giving you the ability to run a large number of virtual machines at the same time.

For the most part, there are only minor advantages and differences when choosing either Parallels or VMWare Fusion. Both applications provide a free trial period, so I suggest trying them both to see which one works best for you. Interested in purchasing Parallels? Be sure to use this coupon code to receive a discount.

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