Home Using the Mac and Windows XP via Parallels

Using the Mac and Windows XP via Parallels

I have a client that is just about ready to make the switch and implement a mac into his office. With the Dual Core Intel Macs and Parallels for OS X with Intel support, I believe the timing is just about right. However, being responsibile for his network support, I needed to test the setup out, work through any issues involving Parallels and ensure that the beta at this stage is stable enough to move forward. He basically told me that we needed to be able to just plug it in and it work.

I tested a Mac last year with Virtual PC and it was too slow for me to recommend, and the memory could not be adjusted either. Before making the switch this time, I purchased a setup that would be similar to what he would need, except for the actual unit itself.

I puchased a full blown MacBook Pro ( 2.16 ghz) with 256mb video card, 2gb ram (upgraded myself), 100gb harddrive, and a 20” Apple Cinema Display. I’m beta testing Parallels with Windows XP Pro. Right now I have the memory adjusted to 768mb ram. The difference in my setup and his eventual setup will be swapping the MacBook Pro for an iMac. He doesn’t need to be mobile and the cost differences are worth it for him.

I’ve got Windows XP Pro running full screen on the 20” and OS X stuff running on the MacBook Pro screen. Parallels has shared folders so I can move files back and forth between XP and OS X. I can also surf the web on both computers. I have to tell you – this setup is very, very nice. To run a dual OS environment productively, you really need multiple monitors like what I setup. Unlike my Virtual PC test last year, I am not noticing any performance issues. Although the ability to do Apple Boot Camp is nice, it is a productivity killer to reboot the computer between mac and xp. Having Parallels makes the implementation possible and productive for the business user. I’m going to try to do a video review of it in the next several weeks, but I couldn’t resist posting about it. Note: if you do this setup, be sure to install the Parallels Tools option. It addresses mouse smoothing and folder sharing.

I don’t know that a Mac is my future, but I have to tell you that the convergence of these two OS’s on one box makes for some killer ROI numbers – if you enjoy / need to work with Mac programs and need XP at the same time. Couple this setup with a UMPC type of device and you truly have the best of all worlds.

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