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10.4: A speedup tip for Parallels Workstation Apps
Most of you have probably heard, by now, of Parallels, which creates a virtual machine that runs Windows on the Intel macs, much as Virtual PC did in the past. But this isn't Virtual PC - I've found the Parallels workstation to be exceptionally quick - if you do one simple thing:

Run Windows 2000 on it, instead of XP. I'd forgotten what a good OS 2000 was -- simple, not bloated, bombproof. Yes, it lacks the elegance and modern features of OS X, but if you just need to run basic Windows programs, you don't need (or want!) those features, since you've already got them on your native Mac OS.

With a little tweaking, you can get W2K to run Microsoft's Defender (a free anti-spyware program) and Avast (a free anti-virus program.) You need both, but you might as well not have to pay. W2K will also run .Net and IE6 -- so you pretty much have all the functions of XP. It won't run games, so if you want to do that, you'll need Boot Camp. But there's no reason not to run both, if you also need to get quickly to Windows for any reason.

By the way, here's my good reason for using Windows on my Mac: there's absolutely no good road mapping software for the Mac, nor is there much in the way of quality GPS tracking software integrated with mapping software or fitness logging software. There are also no encyclopedia suites that I know of that rival Encarta for the PC (in either category; I've tried Route 66 for Mac and Mac Brittanica. They don't hold up, in my opinion.)

Some folks might wonder why one would need this stuff on their machine, instead of accessing it online. First, none of the online mapping services are any good at multiple-point road trips. Second, when you're in the middle of nowhere, with no connectivity, having the stuff on your hard drive makes a lot of sense.

[robg adds: Parallels was last week's Pick of the Week, and I just wrote a First Look article for Macworld on the subject. Finally, here's David Pogue's take on the program. In my testing, XP's speed was more than sufficient -- it was actually quite impressive. But I also created a Win2K VM, and there's no doubt that it's quicker still.]
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10.4: A speedup tip for Parallels Workstation | 8 comments | Create New Account
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10.4: A speedup tip for Parallels Workstation
Authored by: AdamJ on Apr 20, '06 09:20:15AM

"Won't run games"? Is this a specific comment about speed or perhaps driver issues? I thought the whole "Windows 2000 won't run games!" myth died about, oh, six minutes after Windows 2000 was released and people started running games on it.

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10.4: A speedup tip for Parallels Workstation
Authored by: Shawn Parr on Apr 20, '06 09:26:29AM

"Won't run games" is a statement about Parallels, not about Win2k. Notice the poster mentions you will need BootCamp for games, but does not specify which Windows version.

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10.4: A speedup tip for Parallels Workstation
Authored by: robmorton on Apr 20, '06 01:26:10PM

You can also speed up XP by turning off all of the "impressive" effects. Just go to System Properties->Advanced->Visual Effects and select adjust for best performance. It basically makes it look like 2000 and run substantially faster. On my real windows system it went from being unbearable to usable for a windows box. That is until you ad your virus checker, spyware checker, firewall, and a ton of other corporate requirements.

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10.4: A speedup tip for Parallels Workstation
Authored by: dirkstoop on Apr 21, '06 12:11:11PM

Guys, I don't usually whine about stuff if it's usefull.. but this most definitely is not a macosxhint. The fact that win2000 is faster than xp is well known in the windows world.

I'm (imho) not being religious here, but a hard to read 332 word hint that basically comes down to: 'use windows 2000 instead of xp' and then goes on justifying why you'd want to run windows in a VM anyway is just a bit over the top.


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Speedup tip for installing Windooze: How to clone a Windows installation
Authored by: sms on Apr 21, '06 08:29:57PM

Hi Guys,

Instead of this obvious tip I am wondering if there is a real time saver available: is it possible to clone my existing windows installation on my laptop to my parallels virtual machine? That would save me hours of installing and tweaking my windows installation...




DonĀ“t drink and root!

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Speedup tip for installing Windooze: How to clone a Windows installation
Authored by: stewarsh on Apr 21, '06 08:41:10PM

If you mean an existing Windows Laptop, the answer is yes and no. Unlike Mac OS X or Linux, Windows Hardware Abstraction Layer(HAL) is configured when the OS is first installed. This basically ties the OS to that hardware configuration. Trying to clone it off to another system unless it's identical will lead to problems.

Now for the 'yes' part. If you use a program like Norton Ghost which resets the HAL while it's stripping it off the system, then you can clone the OS with all your programs and setting intact, and Windows will rebuild it's driver database when it boots next. Now there are other ways of doing this that don't require extra cash, but they involve a few steps and some UNIX tools to do.

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Speedup tip for installing Windooze: How to clone a Windows installation
Authored by: interlard on Apr 23, '06 06:43:43PM

I have an old PC laptop that I managed to just copy off into Virtual PC. It was a real hacking experience (thanks to this HAL you mention), but no way am I buying ANOTHER Windows license, when I already have one.

Now that we have Parallels & BootCamp, I'd like to do the same, but for some reason Virtual PC crashes when I try to copy its files. And since Parallels haven't released the Image Tool, I have no way to copy the files into the Parallels virtual hard drive.

If anyone way smarter than me wants to work that out, I'd be very pleased to follow along. :-)

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10.4: A speedup tip for Parallels Workstation
Authored by: blmiles on Apr 23, '07 09:30:03AM

I've done what was suggested - installed Win2K into Parallels on my MacBook Pro. Brand new machine, 3GB memeory etc etc.

Problem I'm getting is that Windows refuses to display in any resolution greater than 640x480.

Tried installing drivers for the ATI Radeon X1600 graphics card but to no avail.
Tried changing the resolution settings in Parallels too. No luck!!

What do you suggest?

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