Fusion (for Mac OS X)

From the leader in virtualization comes VMware Fusion the most seamless way to run Windows Linux and other PC operating systems on your Intel-based Mac.

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Fusion (for Mac OS X)

VMware Fusion Beta: the prerelease version

Tips and Reports

Tips and issues running Windows with the pre-release version of VMware Beta on a Mac

Updated August 8, 2011


Some of the tips on this page may be useful. For more tips on the VMware Fusion 1.0 and later, click here.

For more MacWindows coverage of running Windows on Macs, click here.

Introduction

NOTE: This page is no longer being updated, as it contains reports about the pre-release Beta version of VMware Fusion, release prior to Version 1.0 in August 2007. Some of the tips on this page, however, may still be useful.

For reports on the Release version of VMware Fusion, see our VMware Fusion Tips and Reports page.

VMware Fusion is a virtual machine application for Mac OS X on Intel-powered Macs. Like Parallels Desktop, it can run Windows XP and Windows Vista, Linux, and other x86 operatings systems while allowing access to Mac OS X. VMware is currently pre-release software. VMware said that it would ship the 1.0 version of its Fusion virtual machine software for Mac OS X sometime in summer of 2007.

VMware also lets you drag files in between guest operating systems, including Windows, Linux, and Solaris. VMware Fusion also has a feature called Virtual Battery, which passes along the state of a notebook’s remaining battery power to Windows native power display.

VMware can use both CPUs in a dual-core processor, and can even support both 32-bit and 64-bit applications simultaneously. VMware supports up to 3.6 MB of RAM for each virtual machine (up to 8 GB total). Parallels Desktop supports 1.5 GB per machine. Fusion supports isochronous USB, including USB cameras.

(See also our Parallels Tips and Reports page.)

Version History

VMware ships Fusion 1.0. August 6, 2007 -- After a seven-month beta period, VMware, Inc., began shipping VMware Fusion 1.0 (US $80) today. VMware Fusion can run Windows XP and Vista, and about 60 other operating systems in Mac OS X on Intel-powered Macs. The company said that Fusion supports dragging and dropping of files between the Mac and the guest OS for most of these 60.

When running Windows, VMware Fusion includes a feature called Unity that hides the Windows desktop, leaving only the Windows applications and document windows displayed. Unity can be used with Mac OS X’s Expose to switch between any Mac or Windows application. Unity also lets you interleave Mac and Windows application windows, so that you could have a Mac window with a Windows window on top of that, and then another Mac window on top. VMware Fusion also let’s you minimize Windows apps to the Mac OS X Dock.

VMware Fusion supports 64-bit operating systems on 64-bit, Intel-based Macs. (Every Mac shipping today is 64-bit. Macs with the older Core Duo processors are 32-bit.) VMware Fusion supports virtual SMP, and can make use of the multiple cores in Intel processors.

VMware is the biggest virtualization software company in the industry, and is a leader in the server-virtualization. But on the Mac, VMware’ release comes over a year after the launch of Parallels Desktop.

VMware Fusion will be the company’s first retail product, and will be available in Apple’s retail stores, CompUSA, and other outlets later in the month. It is also available at Apple’s online store, Amazon.com, and other web outlets, as well as VMware’s own web site.

VMware Fusion Release Candidate 1 is close to shipping version. July 9, 2007 -- VMware has issued VMware Fusion Release Candidate 1, an upgrade to the Beta 4.1 version of the virtualization software for Mac OS X. Although still a prerelease version, RC1 includes all of the features of the shipping version that VMware will release at the end of August.

Like Parallels Desktop, which has been shipping for a year, VMware Fusion can run Windows and other operating systems within Mac OS X on Intel-powered Macs.

VMware Fusion RC1 adds the ability to drag and drop files from OS X Finder windows directly onto Windows applications and into Windows Explorer windows. You can also now launch a Windows application by Control-clicking the Fusion Dock icon to open the Launch Application window, where Windows program icons now appear.

There are also a number of keyboard improvements. Fusion now supports all Mac system keyboard shortcuts, including the Exposé function keys and Command-Tab to switch between Fusion and other Mac apps. Mac OS shortcuts can also be disabled. RC1 supports Control-click for right-button functionality within Windows and Command-click to send a middle mouse click to Windows.

VMware Fusion RC1 fixes a number of bugs, including USB problems with Mac OS X 10.4.10. Suspended-state virtual machines now resume more quickly. Release Candidate 1 also adds a setting that gives you the choice of optimizing memory for Mac OS X applications or for the virtual machine’s virtual disk.

For more details on what’s new in VMware Fusion Release Candidate 1, see VMware’s release notes.

More news at MacWindows home

VMware Fusion Beta 4.1 adds support for 10.4.10 USB, MacBook Pro, and Leopard. July 2, 2007 -- VMware has released VMware Fusion Beta 4.1, an update to its pre-release virtual machine software for running Windows and other OS’s in Mac OS X on Intel Macs. Version 4.1 adds fixes a USB problem with Mac OS X 10.1.10, and fixes USB issues for the new (“Santa Rosa”) Mac Book Pro. The update also improves support for running on the developer beta version of Mac OS X 10.5 Leopard that Apple released last month.

VMware Fusion Beta 4, released earlier this month, added a number of features, including the ability to hide the Windows Desktop, the ability to open Windows applications from Mac OS X, and the ability to add Windows applications to the Mac OS X Dock. VMware says that it will ship the first finished release version of VMware Fusion by the end of August.

VMware announces Fusion 1.0 ship date, pricing. June 21, 2007-- VMware has announced that it will ship the first finished release version of VMware Fusion by the end of August. VMware will sell VMware Fusion for US $80, but is taking pre-orders for US $40 up until the ship date.

VMware Fusion is a virtualization environment for running Windows and other operating systems in Mac OS X on Intel Macs, similar to Parallels Desktop. VMware Fusion is currently available as a public beta testing release. Beta version 4, released earlier this month, added a number of features, including the ability to hide the Windows Desktop, the ability to open Windows applications from Mac OS X, and the ability to add Windows applications to the Mac OS X Dock.

VMware Fusion Beta 4 chases Parallels, Boot Camp upgrades. June 11, 2007 -- VMware last Friday posted VMware Fusion Beta 4, a new pre-release version of the virtualization environment for running Windows and other OS’s in Mac OS X on Intel Macs. VMware Fusion Beta 4 adds integration features found in Parallels and improves performance over the Beta 3. The update came a day after major upgrades to Parallels Desktop and Book Camp 1.3.

A major new feature is called Unity, which hides the Windows Desktop. Windows XP applications appear in stand-alone windows in the Mac OS X environment. VMware said that Windows applications work with standard Mac keyboard shortcuts and the Mac OS X Exposé feature. (Parallels has a similar feature called Coherence Mode.) A new Mac OS X tool, the VMware Fusion Launch Palette, provides access Windows applications from the Mac side. You can also add icons for Windows applications to the Mac OS X Dock.

VMware Fusion can use the copy of Windows installed with Apple’s Boot Camp. Fusion Beta 4 improves detection of Boot Camp partitions and adds “experimental” support of Windows Vista in Boot Camp. (Previous versions already supported Windows Vista as an ordinary installation in a virtual machine.) VMware Fusion Beta 4 will also automatically update Windows to use optimized drivers.

VMware Beta 4 has made the toolbar customizable, as well as added other user interface improvements.

If you've tried VMware Fusion Beta 4

MacWindows home

VMware Fusion Beta 4 chases Parallels, Boot Camp upgrades. June 11, 2007 -- A day after major upgrades to Parallels Desktop and Book Camp, VMware last Friday posted VMware Fusion Beta 4, a new pre-release version of the virtualization environment for running Windows and other OS’s in Mac OS X on Intel Macs. VMware Fusion Beta 4 adds integration features found in Parallels and improves performance.

The major new feature is called Unity, which hides the Windows Desktop. Windows XP applications appear in stand-alone windows in the Mac OS X environment. VMware said that Windows applications work with standard Mac keyboard shortcuts and the Mac OS X Exposé feature. (Parallels has a similar feature called Coherence Mode.) A new Mac OS X tool, the VMware Fusion Launch Palette, provides access Windows applications from the Mac side. You can also add icons for Windows applications to the Mac OS X Dock.

VMware Fusion can use the copy of Windows installed with Apple’s Boot Camp. Fusion Beta 4 improves detection of Boot Camp partitions and adds “experimental” support of Windows Vista in Boot Camp. (Previous versions already supported Windows Vista as an ordinary installation in a virtual machine.) VMware Fusion Beta 4 will also automatically update Windows to use optimized drivers.

VMware Beta 4 has made the toolbar customizable, as well as added other user interface improvements.

If you've tried VMware Fusion Beta 4

VMware Fusion Beta 3 supports Boot Camp, adds speed. April 9, 2007 -- On Friday, VMware released VMware Fusion Beta 3, a new preview version of the Mac OS X virtualization software for running Windows and Linux on a Mac. The new version adds several features, including the ability to use the copy of Windows installed with Boot Camp. Virtual machines are now consolidated into one package file, enabling you to move a virtual machine to another Mac or PC by copying the file from one computer to another. Installation of Windows is also more automated, and you can turn debugging off for faster performance. VMware has added a new user interface feature called the Virtual Machine Library for managing multiple VMs. (See also VMware's release notes.)

To download VMware Fusion Beta 3, register at the VMware web site. Reader reports on Beta 3 are below. If you've tried VMware Fusion Beta 3

VMware Fusion Beta 2 adds DirectX 8.1 3D graphics. March 16, 2006 -- VMware has released the second beta of VMware Fusion, the company's x86 virtualization environment for running Windows, Linux, and other OS's on Mac OS X on Intel Macs. The new prerelease Beta 2 adds a number of new features, improves performance, and fixes bugs.

The new Beta version now supports DirectX 8.1 3D graphics for a limited number of games running in running in Windows XP Service Pack 2.

Beta 2 has improved support of Windows Vista, though neither VMware Fusion nor Parallels Desktop supports Vista Aero, which requires DirectX 9 graphics. VMware Fusion Beta 2 now supports the complete VM Tools in Vista for copy/paste, dragging and dropping files, shared folders, and screen resizing.

A new "snapshot" features enables you to reset a virtual machine to a known good state incase something adverse happens, such as a virus or some configuration corruption problem. (Virtual PC for PowerPC Macs has a similar feature.)

VMware Fusion Beta 2 also has improve networking, with automatic bridging to the computer’s primary network interface. There is also now full support for AirPort wireless networking, including virtual machines behind a NAT firewall and bridged to the local Airport network. VMware Fusion Beta 2 supports up to ten virtual network interfaces. Remote access applications such as VNC, Synergy, and Remote Desktop now work over networks.

You can now plug and unplug displays while virtual machines are in full screen mode, and plug and unplug keyboards, mice, tablets, etc., with virtual machines running.

If you've used VMware Fusion Beta 2

VMware releases beta of Win-on-Mac solution. December 28, 2006 – VMware has released its first public beta version of Fusion, a virtual machine environment for Intel Macs that can run Windows. Like Parallels desktop, Fusion (a codename) can run Windows in Mac OS X, so that both operating systems are available at the same time. The software can take advantage of both processor cores in the Intel Core Duo processor, according to the company.

Fusion enables Windows to both read and burn CDs and DVDs. The company said that Fusion can use USB 2.0 peripherals such as printers,  video cameras and external drives. VMware said that the devices don’t need Mac OS X drivers in order to work in the virtual machine environment.

In addition to Windows, Fusion also supports Unix/Linux-based and other x86 operating systems. Fusion will run virtual appliances, pre-built virtual machines that include a non-Windows operating system and application software.

If you’ve used the Fusion beta

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Reader Reports and Tips

VMware Mac integration tools work in Linux

January 9, 2007 -- Pascal Robert from Montreal, Canada, says that says VMware Fusion is better for Linux than Parallels Desktop. One reason is that the Mac integration tools work with Linux in addition to Windows. The tools allow for moving the cursor continuously from Mac to Windows, support copying and pasting between operating systems, among other things:

I tried the beta of Fusion, so far it's working fine.  For people who want to run Linux, it's better than Parallels Desktop, because VMWare does offer integration tools for Linux, Parallels only have tools for Windows.

And like your anonymous reader said, you can run pre-built virtual machines from various vendors (and open source projects), this is quite useful for evaluating software without the need of a PC.

I tried the tool to convert images from VMware to Parallels, but Parallels don't copy settings if it's a Linux image, and I can't open the converted images in Parallels.  Parallels Linux support is really basic.

BTW: I made 3 suggestions to VMware : one to convince Apple to let VMware runs OS X VMs (useful to test new releases), to let VMware Fusion to act as a console to connect to VMware Server (we have a GSX 3.2 Server here, and we have to connect from Windows) and to integrate Eclipse and xCode with VMware (they are doing this with Workstation 6, when you build an application in Visual Studio 5 or Eclipse, it can launch a specific VM and loads the compiled application in the VM).  Other people already made the same suggestions, so if people want them, they should give feedback to VMware.

Finally, VMware Fusion don't support a lot of OS’s for now (my VMs with RedHat ES 3 don't run well), but they says that the final version will run the same OS’s as VMWare Workstation 6.

Readers say VMWare Fusion compares well to Parallels

January 8, 2007 -- Readers are reporting good things about VMWare's recently released beta of Fusion, a virtual machine environment for Mac OS X for running x86 operating systems on Intel Macs. Readers pointed out some advantages over Parallels Desktop.

Craig Douglas points out an advantage over Parallels Desktop, the ability to run 1 GB of RAM:

I have been playing with Fusion on a Core 2 Duo MacBook Pro. I installed a prebuilt Ubuntu 6.06 LTS operating system, giving it 1 GB of memory. After updating the operating system and installing the VMWare Tools multiple times, I have a system that works, seemingly with both processors in use. I have an application that needs the GB to run, so this is a real plus over Parallels Desktop, which only lets me run with 0.5 GB for the same operating system. I cannot say if Fusion is fast or slow, but at least my application runs.

Peter Mitchell of Adelaide, Austria uses it with iSight:

You asked to hear about the VM fusion beta.  I have been using the VMWare Fusion Beta alongside Parallels Workstation and it goes well.  It does some things that the Parallels program does not. It can run an iSight driver so that you Skype in Windows. (I haven't tried MNS Messenger yet with the iSight.) 

A reader who wishes to remain anonymous is running it with a pre-built “virtual appliance” OS bundle from VMWare, something you can do with the Windows version of VMWare:

I downloaded and installed Fusion on my MacBook Pro. I loaded a VMware-built Red Hat special Linux build that I use on a PC for demo's. It booted up with no issue at all. Runs in debug mode only, and warns you that it will be slow due to debug mode.

I was amazed that I could take an existing VMware build and load in Fusion with no alteration.

Its not nearly as sleek as Parallels, which I use everyday. I even had Parallels, Fusion, running at the same time.

Reader comments on VMware beta 2

April 6, 2007
Ian Daniel sent us his thoughts on Running Windows on a Mac using VMware Fusion beta 2 and Parallels:

I'm using the VMware beta right now and it seems to work fine. Installing Windows XP worked. Parallels Desktop hung at 33 Minutes to complete and stayed there for 2 hours until I killed it and loaded the Vmware Beta.

I've logged a call with Parallels as I like their interface. Parallels isn't Beta but unless a fix is forthcoming quickly I'll buy the VMware Fusion product when it's released provided the pricing is roughly the same.

Reader has problem running Windows

January 9, 2007 --Larry Prall had some problems running Windows:

My experience hasn't been as good as some others.  I've had frequent problems with crashes and hangs (all duly reported and core files and logs uploaded). Also had a problem with an application which runs just fine under Parallels (and under VMWare on Redhat 8 Linux) but hangs every time on Fusion.  I haven't tried reinstalling, so it could well be a botched installation of either Fusion or of XP Pro. I actually haven't used it extensively since the app which won't run is one of the very few things I run on Windows.

If you’ve seen this problem

Reader uses Fusion for multi-plaform VMs

January 29, 2007 -- Erik Ableson likes the VMware Fusion beta for its ability to use virtual machines across different platforms:

Just chiming in here on Fusion. I work extensively in virtual infrastructure deployments with VMWare and Microsoft. Fusion is a godsend for those of us that need simple portability of VMWare virtual machines.  

I've used it successfully to do all sorts of interesting things already, notably testing against the VMWare Converter application to setup a VM on the Mac, and then deploy it directly to a VMWare ESX Server.  I've tested the process both against a physical machine running the converter process and running the converter in a Parallels VM (yes, a little twisted).

Overall, I'm waiting on the advanced functions like flexible disk management (multiple disks etc.) but if you're working in a VMWare environment the portability of machines is exceedingly practical. Parallels currently wins in the overall flexibility department and for actually using Windows applications, but for administering a virtual infrastructure Fusion is the perfect complement. I see myself using both of them regularly.

If you’ve tried the VMware Fusion beta

Reader uses VMWare Fusion Beta to access AS/400, Lotus

February 19, 2007 -- Paul Senior is happy with the VMware Fusion Beta, using it to access an IBM iSeries (AS/400) mainframe. He also uses Lotus Domino and Notes MS Office.

I used Virtual PC, but of course it won't run on my new Intel 2.66 MacPro.   So I've been using Fusion for 3 days and I haven't managed to crash it or any app running in it.

After downloading the beta and obtaining a serial number (valid till May) I had Fusion installed in a few minutes.

I started with a Windows 2000 installation.  All my programs will run on this, and I don't need to validate as with XP.  Even though I have both licenses available, I decided that validation is a hassle with Virtual Machines. I will probably swap to XP when the Beta program finishes and I have a production copy of Fusion.

I allowed my Virtual machine to have access to only one processor, and I was still astonished at the speed of the Install from CD. Afterwards I realised that I could have installed from an ISO image file, and when I put an Ubuntu Linux machine on later I used this facility and the install was very  fast indeed.  It is probably helpful that I have a powerful box.

I need a Windows environment that I can work in, whilst keeping my Mac for anything else.  My office uses IBM iSeries (AS/400) and all the tools for it are on the Windows platform.  We also run Lotus Domino and Notes, and whilst I have a native Notes Client for OS X, the designer and administrator modules are Windows only.   I also put MS Office, Lotus Notes and my iSeries terminal and management programs on.  I had no trouble connecting to my office network directly from the VM.  I was able to map network drives, I had to add entries to the HOSTS file in the VM so that I could map by name.

There doesn't seem to be a feature that allows you to use your Mac printer in the way that it's done in Virtual PC, so I had to install separate printer drivers. However this was done easily using a HP wizard run from within the VM.

Once installed, Windows runs very quickly, I really can't tell that I am running a Virtual Machine.  There are some VM additions, in a similar way to Virtual PC, among these I found a driver for my 23 inch Apple Cinema display so I can have full screen Windows at 1920x1200 (and Ubuntu - there are Linux additions too).

Drag and drop of files from VM to host and back works well (obviously you need to drop out of full screen mode, simple Command and Enter).

All in all I am very pleased, the product is probably the best emulation experience I have had on my Mac (though I have never tried Parallels).  Partly this is the power of my machine but also this emulator looks and feels the business.  The only bug I have noticed so far is that occasionally the Windows Start menu does not always close smoothly, a very minor issue needing you to click on the desktop to close it.

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REPORTS ON BETA 3

Readers say VMware beta 3 compares well to Parallels

April 11, 2007 -- A pair of readers wrote to say that the new VMware Fusion Beta 3 compares will to the shipping Parallels Desktop.

Steve Palm likes the fast startup and use of less hard disk space:

I gave beta 3 of VMware's Fusion product a go on my existing boot camp partition. After becoming incredibly frustrated with Parallel's creation of that huge .mem file, I was perhaps overly enthusiastic to give Fusion a try. Thankfully, it performs VERY WELL in my opinion; the speed (with debugging turned off) is very acceptable. I haven't done any benchmarking, but from my first several uses of it, I can't say that it's much different than what I see in Parallel's Desktop except that that startup is faster because it doesn't create that huge .mem file, and of course the benefits of not wasting another 1.5GB of disk space.

So, thumbs up for me here. As a test to bring it to its knees, I connected my EyeTV Hybrid USB Digital TV ATSC tuner. It is functionally the same chipset as the Hauppauge WinTV-HVR-950, so I downloaded their drivers and installed them. In both VMware Fusion Beta 3 and Parallels Desktop it is actually MOSTLY functional. There are little pauses and glitches in the video updating, but very impressive considering decoding of the MPEG stream is all done by the host computer and not on the tuner stick. Even on the Mac it takes a fair bit of its processor power to handle it.

Steve Humiston tried using VMware with the Boot Camp installation of Windows. He also was impressed with the speed and its ability to run Ubuntu Linux smoothly:

I tried it with the sole purpose of using an unused Vista Boot Camp partition as the VM on my Mac Book. It worked and worked notably faster (I did shut off debugging).

2 things:

Sound did not work in the virtual machine. The Boot Camp partition is no longer available for me to boot from.

Other than that I was very impressed with the speed and the fact that my fans in my Core Duo (not the 2 Duo) did not jet into high gear.

Also I was able to get Ubuntu 7.04 beta of Feisty Fawn installed on VMware beta 3 on my Mac Pro however I could not with Parallel’s.

If you tried VMware Fusion Beta 3

More positive reader reviews of VMware Fusion beta 3

April 13, 2007 -- Several readers wrote about their experiences with VMware Fusion beta 3, the recent pre-release version of the virtualization software for Mac OS X.

Chris Holmes sees a big improvement over previous betas with advantages over Parallels Desktop:

I'm another VMware convert. After installing VMware today and Boot Camp 1.2 with Vista, I am really, really impressed. I tried VMware 1.0b1 and b2 and both times I thought it was sluggish. Not this time. Beta 3 is very responsive and using the Boot Camp partition is significantly easier than when setting up Parallels. VMware knew Boot Camp was there; I clicked to start it up and bam, Vista was running with full hardware acceleration in OS X. Vista could run full Aero in VMware--like in native Boot Camp mode -- a 4.4 rating which is better than 98 percent of the PC's in my office, but still was very responsive.

I really like VMware and compared to the most recent release of Parallels, which I feel is buggy compared to some of their beta releases. I will not go back to Parallels. Performance, interface, and general satisfaction will keep me with VMware.

VMware says, however, that it is not supporting Windows Vista in this Beta 3 release, though it did in previous betas. (See these release notes.)

Eric Tung responded to a previous report with advice on how to get audio working:

Getting sound working in Vista requires the installation of VMware Tools in Windows. Also note that Vista in Boot Camp is not supported since Apple released the update too late for VMware to fully test it - in the VMware forums, the project manager for Fusion explicitly asked users not to try Vista yet because of "weird issues in our internal limited testing."

Reader points out that VMware doesn't support Aero

April 16, 2007

Martin White refutes a claim of a previous reader report that VMware Fusion Beta 3 can run the Aero effects of Windows Vista. White is using the copy of Windows Vista that is used by Boot Camp:

I wonder how Chris Holmes is achieving full hardware acceleration and Aero with his Boot Camp-installed Vista using VMware Fusion beta 3. This is most certainly not what I see.

After installing Vista Ultimate in Boot Camp and acheiving all the lovely Aero effects with Vista running Boot Camp, I then boot the partition from the Mac and run Fusion and see none of it. Performance appears to be exactly the same as running the VM from an ordinary virtual disk but the Vista performance rating is actually slower.

No other issues so far incidentally.

It appears unlikely that VMware Fusion beta 3 can support the Aero effects of Windows Vista. Vista requires DirectX 9 to support Aero, but VMware Beta 3 only supports DirectX 8.1.

VMware Fusion Beta 3 clean under the hood

April 23, 2007

In his blog, Andre Pang looks under the hood at what Parallels Desktop and VMware Fusion Beta 3 do to Mac OS X at a low level, claiming that VMware has less effect on Mac O X than Parallels. He also compares the two:

VMware Fusion Beta 3: even in beta, it’s a lot better than Parallels so far. Far better host operating system performance, better network support, hard disk snapshots (albeit not with Boot Camp), and DirectX 8.1 support to boot.

If you've tried VMware Beta 3 what you think.

(See also our Parallels special report page.)


TIP: How to move Boot Camp Windows into a virtual machine

May 7, 2007

Ed Welsh bought a MacBook Pro to use as a Windows machine in Boot Camp. After discovering Mac OS X, he moved his Boot Camp-installed copy of Windows into a virtual machine in VMware Fusion. He was then able to delete the Boot Camp drive partition: 

I have been using VMware Fusion for about a month and really like it. (I have never used Parallels.) I first started using Apple computers about 6 months after the Intel MacBook Pro came out. I've used Windows and Linux since the beginning of time.

My MacBook Pro started as a Boot Camp system that spent all its time in Windows XP Pro. I had 75 GB dedicated to the Boot Camp partition and 35 GB holding OS X. I didn't use the OS X side at all, until I needed some Linux utilities for a job and booted to OS X to see if it could use them. Everything worked flawlessly and I have been spending more time in OS X ever since.

Now I wanted to get to both OSes as needed without booting back and forth. During my research I found the free VMWare Fusion Beta that supported Boot Camp partitions. It worked flawlessly.

I recently decided to move my Boot Camp Windows install to a virtual machine and do away with Boot Camp. The reason was backup: I had to use a NTFS formatted backup disk for Windows and HFS+ for OS X. With my main Windows installation running as a VM on top of OS X, I can backup everything to HFS+.

Here is the process I used:

  1. Used Windows Backup to backup my BC partition to external drive.
  2. Created a clean 70GB VM with Windows XP Pro (600MB zipped)
  3. Zipped that up and put it on an external drive.
  4. Used Boot Camp Assistant to restore the MacBook Pro to one partition (111GB).
  5. Extracted the fresh Windows virtual machine from external storage to MBP
  6. Used VMWare Shared Folders to share the external storage with new virtual machine. Started the new virtual machine and used Windows Backup to restore from external storage.

This method trashes the BOOT.INI used by Windows so the first boot after restoration should be done with a bootable Windows XP Pro CD (or ISO) available. I just boot the VM to the Windows XP Pro CD crank up the Recovery Console and use "bootcfg /rebuild" to have it recreate the BOOT.INI file. It will boot perfectly after that.

Now my Boot Camp partition is a regular virtual machine sitting on my OS X system in neat little 2GB chunks, ready for backup.

The MacBook Pro and Fusion never skip a beat (2GB RAM). Sometimes I get some HD contention, but only when I run two hard-drive-intensive operations on separate virtual machines at once.

If you've tried this method, how it worked for you.


Tip: getting VMware to recognize Windows after reinstalling Boot Camp

May 29, 2007

Paul Lee reinstalled Boot Camp after he had set up VMware Fusion to use Boot Camp's copy of Windows. He then found a way to enable VMware Fusion to locate Windows:

I've been using Boot Camp and VMware Fusion beta 3 on the first Mac I've ever had, a MacBook Pro 2.33GHz. I've never tried Parallels, but I’m really satisfied with VMWare Fusion, except for one problem so far.

If I re-install the Boot Camp partition, VMWare Fusion gives me an error message saying it could not find partition or the partition is under use.

The solution what I found was to remove all *.lck file or folders under "/Users/username/Library/Application Support/VMware Fusion/Virtual Machines/Boot Camp/.... partition.vmwarevm" and then it works fine.

(See the MacWindows home page for the latest news.)

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Mouse, vanishing VM problems with VMware Beta 4

July 2, 2007

Andrew Johnson reported several problems with VMware Fusion Beta 4, with VMware Tools installed:

I've just installed VMware Fusion Beta on my iMac C2 Duo. The program seems to work faster than Parallels, but has bugs that include:

1. Mouse is often freezing in Fusion window.

2. Even when the clock synchronization option is checked, the time is not synchronized. Clock has to be setup in XP manually.

3. Keyboard CD rejecting key not working.

4. And the worst from many other bugs is fact that sometimes XP can disappear completely. It was fine for a couple of days, and then was gone. Not a trace of it! I had to install another copy of XP.

If you've seen these problems

(See the MacWindows home page for the latest news.)

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Report of VMware Fusion Beta 4.1 and Linux

July 5, 2007

Preben Lauritzen Duus of Denmark sent us his assessment of VMware Fusion Beta 4.1 running Linux. He also talked about running Windows in Parallels Desktop:

I have VMware Fusion Beta 4.1 on my iMac Intel Core 2 Duo, that is the 24 inch model with 2.16 GHz CPU, 3GB RAM, 250GB hard drive and 128 MB RAM on the Graphics Card.

The purpose is to run Ubuntustudio Linux 7.0.4 Feisty Fawn (Current Version) and by October of this year also a Ubuntustudio Linux 7.10 Gutsy Gibbon.

It actually performs very well in the VM which has 32 GB hard drive space, 1.5 GB RAM and 64 MB RAM for Graphics Card allocated.

The only issue I've had is that 3D Hardware Acceleration for the Graphics Card has not been implemented yet, that means no Beryl and 3D Desktop Effects as I am used to from the PC World.

This should be available in the Final 1.0 version of VMware Fusion 1.0, at least I hope that they do decide to incorporate that as well as other improved features for Linux support.

I do run Microsoft Windows XP Pro SP2 in a VM also but use Parallels Desktop 3.0 Build 4128 for that, but have encountered problems with iTunes 7.3 for Windows also because of 3D Hardware acceleration problems for the Graphics Card in the iMac. That may be turned on in the Display Settings through the Control Panel, but have not checked up on that Yet!, As I prefer Mac OS X and Linux at anytime instead of Microsoft Windows.

Microsoft Windows XP Pro SP2 is not a bad system but the new Vista is awful, tried both RC1 and RC2 on a PC workstation but after just two weeks removed them and installed Ubuntu Linux 7.0.4 Feisty Fawn instead.

(See the MacWindows home page for the latest news.)

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Parallels Coherence feature vs. VMware Unity

July 13, 2007

Eric Tung commented on the difference between Parallels Desktop’s Coherence feature and VMware Fusion’s Unity. Each hides the Windows desktop while displaying on Windows applications in Mac OS X. Tung observed:

Although Coherence is similar to Unity, it does not work with Exposé like a user might expect - Coherence places all the guest windows together, so they are not individually selectable during Exposé.

(See the MacWindows home page for the latest news.)

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Reader VMware beta won't boot

July 20, 2007

William Wu has a problem with the VMware Fusion Beta:

I have been using VMware Fusion Beta 4 for some time now to run Windows XP on my Mac.

I cannot start up XP anymore. I try to start it up, and there is no error message -- it just doesn't respond. This is the fourth time that this has happened. In the past, I just reinstalled Windows (about an hour). This time, I'm in a foreign place and I don't have my Windows CD on hand.

Please note that the most current version is VMware Fusion RC1. If you’ve seen this problem

VMware RC1 fixes OS X 10.4.10 USB problem

July 23, 2007

Ben Gertzfield of VMware responded last week’s report of a reader having booting problems with VMware Fusion Beta 4, a slightly older version of the pre-release virtualization software. Gertzfield said the current version fixed the problem:

Just a friendly note: I saw the comment on macwindows.com ("Reader VMware beta won't boot").

The user probably upgraded to Mac OS X 10.4.10. Apple introduced some USB incompatibilities in 10.4.10, which could cause a problem like this with the original Beta 4 release.

VMware worked around these incompatibilities in VMware Fusion Release Candidate 1. (The workaround was also present in the Beta 4.1 refresh build, released expressly to fix this issue.)

The company says that it will ship the finished version of VMware Fusion in August.

If you've used VMware Fusion RC1 what you think of it. (For more on VMware, see our VMware Fusion Beta Tips and Reports page.)

(See the MacWindows home page for the latest news.)


Fusion (for Mac OS X)

Fusion (for Mac OS X)

From the leader in virtualization comes VMware Fusion the most seamless way to run Windows Linux and other PC operating systems on your Intel-based Mac.

Now with $20 rebate from MacMall.



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