Saturday, August 30, 2008

Windows XP SP3 & Parallels VM

As I mentioned a few months ago I ditched Vista after a year of really wanting to like it but being intensely frustrated at how unproductive I felt using it - staring at the spinning blue disk and finding my gigabit LAN behaving like a dial-up connection!

Anyhow - I've been rocking XP in Parallels on my MacBook Pro - XP runs faster in the virtual machine than Vista ever did on the metal! The only time I ever boot natively into Windows is for gaming (you'd not expect Halo to run well in an emulated environment!). A couple of days ago I upgraded to SP3 and although booting into XP directly showing no problems I realised that now my VM under OS-X was broken. So - I did what I should have done before starting(!) and read the release notes. The approved way to do it is;

  • Boot XP directly and upgrade Apple BootCamp to v 2.1 here

  • Install SP3 (again, booted natively into Windows)

  • In OS-X upgrade to Parallels v 3 release 5600
I did it in the opposite order and found myself unable to even create a new working VM from my BootCamp partition. The solution;

  • Once OS X boots and you are logged in, start Parallels, but DO NOT start the VM!

  • Open your VM configuration, and select 'Hard Disk -> Advanced'

  • Click on the "Clear..." button under the "Cleanup Boot Camp partition" section. This allows Parallels to 'learn' about the changes made by the SP3 install.

  • Start your VM.

  • Once the VM is started and logged in, *RE-INSTALL* the Parallels Tools!
Interestingly the guys who work for me in the Systems Integration deptartment at Root6 (the firm I work for currently) all use Parallels but the guys in Tech Support all use VMWare Fusion. I think the two are as good as each other. All of Root6's engineers run Intel Macs and the Sales guys all run Dell laptops.

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