Windows Virtualization (WinXP under Mac OS X) Beta Released

Stridder44

Universal Traveler
From MacRumors:

Parallels released http://www.parallels.com/en/products/workstation/mac/ their Windows virtualization solution for the Intel Mac today. The product is called Parallels Workstation 2.1 Beta and a free fully functional copy is available for download now.

Unlike Apple's Boot Camp solution which was released yesterday, Parallels solution allows you to run Windows XP (and other Intel-based operating systems) from within Mac OS X. Rebooting or Dual Booting is not required. This allows users to maintain their daily environment while also being able to use any desired Windows applications. It is only available for the Intel Macs and should provide near-native performance.
Parallels Workstation 2.1 Beta for Mac OS X is NOT simply a "dual-boot" solution; rather, it empowers users the ability to use Windows, Linux and any other operating system at the same time as Mac OS X, enabling users to enjoy the comfort of their Mac OS X desktop while still being able to use critical applications from other OSes.

Parallels appears to be taking advantage of the Intel Virtualization Technology which was included in the Intel Yonah processors that are now shipping in the Intel Macs.

While in free Beta testing at the moment, the final software package for Linux and Windows is priced from the company at $49.99.
 

Qion

Uber Nothing
Well, I guess this is a better solution than dual-booting. I still don't care much myself, but people who would like to run the occaisonal game or Windows-only app would find this much more beneficial than having to restart into another OS, then having to restart into OSX.

I would still like to see a cube effect when switching between OS's. That would be helpful, because it would employ the entire screen for each OS, and it would look freaking sweet. :p
 

chadwick

Registered
Well, this little tool does seem to work really well. Feature wise it's about equivalent to what Microsoft's Virtual PC was for the PPC, but of course it isn't slow.

It's missing some of the power-user features that VMware has, like snapshots, shared folders, etc., but otherwise appears very good. Install and setup was a breeze.
 

chadwick

Registered
Good, zippy. About what I would expect. I ran a benchmark inside of it and its comparing to between a 1.6 GHz p4 and a 2.0 GHz p4, so that's not bad at all.

I've got two XP VMs running at once simultaneously with no problem.
 

scruffy

Notorious Olive Counter
I don't know if you could really do the snapshots etc. of VMWare - the OS is running directly on the hardware, with just a hypervisor underneath it, rather than a whole virtual machine with another OS under that.

Still, very cool - I'm actually thinking about getting a copy of Windows. Weird to contemplate...
 

mindbend

Registered
I installed it on a 20" iMac with 2 GB ram and a 256 MB video card.

In terms of CPU performance, it's plenty fast. But the lack of a native video driver really kills it. I'm not expecting to play video games or anything, but I personally get motion sickness from the low FPS cursor.

I tried the BBC h264 footage from Apple.com. Plays back a little jerky, but is mostly watchable. I assume the lack of native video card support is hurting performance there. I'll have to try it in native XP on the same machine. I'm sure it will be plenty smooth. That was the 420P footage. The cursor got super slow (like 2 fps) while the video was playing.

Playing a WMV inside PowerPoint was horrible. The movie played slowmotion instead of skipping frames to kep up. Playing it in the windows media player outside of explorer played reasonably well. This is a setback for me because what I really need this for is to develop PowerPoint content for my Windows clients (no, the Mac version is not compatible enough, nor does it support WMV, so I have to use the Windows version of PPT at some point in the process). Video playback inside PPT seems decent as long as you don't play the PPT in full screen/presentation mode.

And does anyone know how I can get internet access via Airport in this thing? I don't know Windows well enough to know how. It seems like maybe you can only access the internet via the hard wired ethernet port, right?

Also, how can I set up a network connection to allow my virtual XP to connect to to my Intel Mac hard drive or some other shared volume so I can easily move files to and from XP virtual machine to OS X? I know almost nothing about networking in XP. I would need step by step instructions as I"ve tried in XP but don't know what I'm doing.

Also, I can't get audio to work, yet Parallels' blog page indicates that audio and wi-fi is available I think.
http://parallelsvirtualization.blogspot.com/

Thanks!
 

scruffy

Notorious Olive Counter
It might be worth trying the Windows drivers for Mac hardware that come with boot camp - download bootcamp, burn the drivers CD, and then just install those drivers in XP.
 

dduck

Registered
Well, I am worried about stability. My goals for using it would be to consolidate my development environment on my MBP and get rid of having to lug my Dell around to build my software, but if my system gets unstable or unsupported (like with Boot Camp), I'm not gonna bother...

Has anybody tried out any advanced Windows development environments on it? Say, Delphi, C++ Builder or Visual Studio? Their debuggers tend to install kernel-level services and somesuch, which scares me a little.
 

mindbend

Registered
Yeah, I tried that. The installer was smart enough to to recognize that and wouldn't allow the installation to proceed.

I got an email from Parallels that said audio does not in fact work yet, but it's on their radar for the final release. Video drivers are also on their "potential scope" list, but that could be months, years or never away. I would think there's a decent chance of seeing video drivers given that the available video cards are limited. However, that will all change when the upgradable systems arrive.

And if they could somehow find a way to get drag and drop going, that would be awesome. So it's not quite the holy grail yet, but it's pretty good. I would say in terms of pure functionality, VPC is actually better. I just can't use VPC because of its slowness.
 

fryke

Moderator
Staff member
Mod
scruffy: i don't think that's how it works with the Parallels software, i.e. some hardware like the graphics chip is emulated, right? ... I wouldn't expect the graphics to really rock. But for what I'd need it (testing pages on IE, mozilla etc. on a PC, some software not available for the Mac etc.), it'd be plenty enough speed... (I can run _those_ things on a 900 MHz Celeron with on-board graphics quite well, so...)
I heard you can have a dual monitor setup and have one monitor dedicated to the VM. That'd be nice, I guess...
 

fryke

Moderator
Staff member
Mod
I've now installed Release Candidate 1 of Parallels on my brandnew MacBook, and I have to say it rocks. Not only is it plenty fast (it's, well, running natively using both processor cores), it also supports the trackpad features, i.e. scrolling and right-clicking with two fingers on the trackpad just work! With the "Parallels Tools" installed (like those VPC extensions you can install to enable shared folders etc.), the mouse behaviour and graphics are perfectly okay in this version. (Of course you STILL don't expect any 3D acceleration. No playing games with Parallels, just for the occasional software that's only available in Windows.)
 

Jason

Eyebrow Moderator
Any word on them making it work like classic? Where a Windows app would just appear within OSX instead of in a seperate window containing the Win OS?
 

fryke

Moderator
Staff member
Mod
Nope. No word. And it's not what they intend to do, I guess. They really want you to have a virtual _machine_, not some sort of code translation... And I must say, I feel safer using it that way, too. Because if it'd use the main drive for Windows files, not only would this probably end up in a mess with both systems' files all over the place, but also would the whole machine be attackable by a Windows virus or other malware...
 

Jason

Eyebrow Moderator
I didn't say for them to only do it that way ;)

And anyways, you only get Windows virii and spyware if you don't know what you're doing...
 

HateEternal

Mac Metal Head
Arg! Damn computers. I am seriously considering losing both the PowerMac and the Acer to get a MBP. Both computers are fine really, but I only really use my laptop when I need windows, or I'm going somewhere. Ever since I got done with school I have found a lot less reasons to take my computer with me. However, I would still like to have that option. If I were to get a MBP, I would have a Windows box, when I needed it, both through Parallels and with BootCamp. I'd probably put the Windows install on an external drive for BootCamp (if that is possible) because I would only really need true native Windows when gaming. It would be silly to have a Parallels install, and a BootCamp install on the same hard drive.

They also have Refurbished 1.8Ghz MBPs for $1500 in the Apple store.
 

fryke

Moderator
Staff member
Mod
Yeah... Parallels _is_ however willing to find a good way to re-use the BootCamp's Windows installation, i.e. to boot the virtual machine from a PC partition instead of just from a HD image. It's basically a hardware driver problem, since Parallels doesn't give Windows the actual hardware the intel Mac _has_ (i.e. graphics card etc.). Something about hardware profiles came up on their forums. Maybe there'll be a solution one day. Or 200 GB drives for notebooks (announced for the 3rd quarter 2006 by Samsung IIRC...).
 

fryke

Moderator
Staff member
Mod
Oh, no: BootCamp currently can only use your _internal_ drive. Can't use an external one AFAIK. Or maybe you'd have to prepare that driver yourself somehow...?
 

jhawk28

Registered
the refurbished MBPs are not worth it. I sent 2 of them back. Remember, Apple doesn't seem to be fixing some of the problems, so you are just guaranteed to have a loud, hot MBP with possibly other problems. If you can, just go with the 2ghz MB, its a much nicer machine if you dont need the video card or the screen real estate.

Joshua
 

HateEternal

Mac Metal Head
jhawk28 said:
the refurbished MBPs are not worth it. I sent 2 of them back. Remember, Apple doesn't seem to be fixing some of the problems, so you are just guaranteed to have a loud, hot MBP with possibly other problems. If you can, just go with the 2ghz MB, its a much nicer machine if you dont need the video card or the screen real estate.

Joshua
Interesting, is this just a MacBook issue? People I know with refurbished PowerBooks haven't had any problems.

If I were to sell my G5 and my Acer, I would _have_ to get something with a real video card. The point would be, as I sit now, I can't play games. There are too few for Mac and my PC is too weak. So by getting a MBP I still have the same Windows and OS X functionality but I would be able to play games again as well.

fryke, that saddens me that you can't boot off of an external hard drive, it makes sense I guess. I didn't even bother saying anything about booting parallels from a BootCamp install because of the driver issue, however, it would probably work, you would just have to boot into safe mode and uninstall your drivers then reboot and install the other ones every time you switched...

It's highly probable that I am going to be getting a Pro Tools digi 001 setup soon to finish some mixing on a CD, which means I would have to have the G5 because it uses a PCI card. So probably no MBP for me for a while. I really wish the MBoxes weren't more expensive and less powerful than the 001 >_<.

Edit: I take that back the 001 isn't compatible with the G5s 3.3 volt PCI slots. :-(
 
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