Tag Archives: parallels_for_mac

Windows 7 Release Candidate

I doubt this is the first place you’re reading about it, but Microsoft released Windows 7 RC1. The release candidate will have a fairly long life as a free OS, running without any limitation until March 1, 2010 at which time it will begin shutting down every two hours. It will completely expire on June 1, 2010. The March 1st date is well beyond most guesses for the official Windows 7 release date.

I’m still running the beta version on my bare metal windows machine and I’m quit happy with it. So I’m in no rush to upgrade to the release candidate. But I did just finish installing it as a new virtual machines under Parallels Desktop. Parallels recognizes it as “Windows 7 (Experimental)”. I simply used the 32-bit iso file I downloaded from Microsoft as-is, without burning a physical DVD.  I had no problem letting the add virtual machine wizard make it’s own decisions.When the install was done it had given me a virtual machine with 1GB RAM and 32GB of disk (although only using about 7GB of actual disk). The only thing I did change, once the vm was created, was to turn off coherence mode, set networking to bridged and to turn all OS X/Windows sharing except one directory. Those last items are my personal preference and not required for Windows 7. Windows 7 feels faster in the VM than Vista did, but that could be more perception than reality. I still haven’t installed and apps, except for Avast Anti-virus.

I don’t run much under Windows and all of the data is already set up for syncing so my plan is to get Windows 7 running in the vm then re-install my bare metal Windows 7 PC and sync things back. Despite the fact that there’s work arounds to allow in place upgrades I don’t want to risk upgrading beta software, better off with a fresh install. Eventually I’ll get to it but I can’t say I’m in a rush since the beta is fine for what I use it for,

Parallels 4 Released and Installed

Parallels recently released version 4 of their Parallels Desktop for Mac. I’ve been running Parallels 3 on my iMac and have three virtual machines configured. The first is Windows Vista Ultimate, the second is Ubuntu 8.04 Server and the third is a little used Windows XP Home virtual machine.

I purchased the upgrade and just completed converting the Vista and Ubuntu VMs. The upgrade wasn’t problem free. The Vista upgrade ended up being successful but required some manual intervention. The Ubuntu Server upgrade resulted in a VM that can’t talk on the network and a fix still eludes me.

The installation of Parallels 4 itself when well. I downloaded the DMG disk image file from Parallels, mounted it and ran the installer. The install warns that Parallels 3 will be removed but that’s the only difference between this upgrade and a standard Mac install. It only took a couple of minutes on my iMac.

Then I started the Vista Ultimate VM and was prompted to backup before upgrading. Even though I had my usual backup I decided to let it make a backup that wouldn’t get overwritten tonight. It’s just a file copy so times will vary but my backup took about 30 minutes. After the backup the actual conversion kicked off. It almost immediately told me I had to logon the the VM to continue. Once I logged on it immediately popped back to the wizard and showed the progress of the conversion. Fifty minutes later I was told I needed to manually complete the upgrade. I suspect it failed long before and there was a long delay until it timed out. So I logged back onto the VM and ran setup.exe from the CD. It had told me to ignore any Windows messages. Upon and upon logging in I cancelled a couple new hardware found messages.

During the install there were numerous “unsigned driver warnings” which I allowed to install and there was a reboot at the end. After the reboot there wasn’t a Parallels Tools icon in the system tray or a menu item but that seems to be normal with this version. The tool processes do show in task manager.

So far things seem fine with the Vista VM but it’s only been a few hours and a few test reboots. There could still be some problems lurking in the shadows.

The Ubuntu Server VM upgrade when quickly since it was small and didn’t have the tools installed. Unfortunately I’ve been unable to get it on the network since the upgrade, no matter what network mode I try. It had been working just before the upgrade. The network seems properly configured within Ubuntu itself but it’s unable to find the ethernet adapter.


What’s New

Parallels says there’s a 50% speed improvement. I’ll have to take their word for it. I never stressed Parallels in the past and haven’t seen a difference for what I do. I have noticed some rumblings online that people have seen a degradation in the performance of their windows VMs but it’s impossible to judge how common it is.

Video support is improved. Up to 256MB can be allocated to video memory and DirectX 9 and OpenGL 2 are supported. There’s a large list of 3D games and applications that are supported.

Overall there doesn’t seem to be much here for a paid upgrade. I realize Parallels needs to make money but VMware Fusion hasn’t had a paid upgrade since their initial release and the difference between Fusion 1 and Fusion 2 where about the same as between Parallels 3 and Parallels 4. If you’ve already got Parallels then you should probably upgrade during the discount period. If your still shopping then VMware Fusion may be a lower cost option.

Apple Software Updates

I finally got around to applying to recent Apple updates to my iMac. I’ve been queueing them up starting with the iTunes 8 update. Part of the reason is I wanted to limit changes while I was recovering my Windows Home Server. But the main reason was I’ve come to expect problems when applying updates from Apple. So far the problems have been minor.

While waiting to apply the updates I’d read about people losing iTunes songs and album art after installing iTunes 8 A common thread for the missing files was that the files weren’t consolidated by iTunes which matches my configuration. I have files in three different locations, none of them the default. I keep most songs on an external hard drive and it happens to be the location specified in iTunes prefs. Videos, audio-books and some music in different shares on my Windows Home Server.

After the upgrade I did have some videos missing, but in going to the pre-upgrade backup they were missing there too so it probably wasn’t upgrade related, they just didn’t get flagged until the upgrade.

I also had some album art missing. I’m not big on album art, when I add music I have iTunes check for album art, if it’s there great, if not I move on. But some of the missing album art was from the free singles I’d downloaded from iTunes so it was there at one time but I can’t say they were there right before the upgrade.

The annoying problem I do have is that the option to “Keep Movie Window On Top Of All Other Windows” no longer works. It keeps the window on top of the main iTunes window but that;s all. Other windows appear on top of it. A visit to the user forums shows it’s a common problem.

I’ve had one other annoying problem. While I can’t say which update caused it I figure its OS X 10.5.5. Parallels has lost its menu bar (the one that appears on the OS X desktop, not in the VM) and it no longer hides when I tell it to hide. Selecting “Hide Others” from another app causes the apps in the Vista VM to minimize but the full Parallels vm stays front and center. This is annoying but not a real problem so I’m hoping it goes away on its own before I get annoyed enough to look into it.

So far there’s hasn’t been any problems, but it’s only been a couple of hours.

Optimizing A Windows Vista Virtual Machine

The Team Fusion blog has an article about optimizing Vista on VMware Fusion 2. Since it’s from the VMware folks it’s titled as VMware specific, but it’s appropriate for any Vista virtual machine.

Suggestions include:

  • Disable System Restore
  • Disable Screen Saver
  • Optimize Power Management for Virtual Machine
  • Disable Windows Sidebar
  • Disable Remote Management
  • Run Windows Disk Defragmentation Utilities
  • OPTIONAL: Change to Classic UI

Disabling system restore is something I hadn’t considered although I do severely limit the disk space it’s given. I like the option of bein able to roll back patches and update, although vm snaptshots and backups would work too.

My Windows Vista vm on my MacBook is running under VMware Fusion and has 728MB of memory allocated to it, with 2GB of RAM on the MacBook. Performance is acceptable but I’m a light Vista users on the MacBook.

On my iMac I’ve got 1GB out of 3GB allocated to Vista. While I tend to run a little more software I wouldn’t say I stress the system.

Ubuntu 7.10 Server to Ubuntu 8.04 Server (Hardy Heron) Under Parallels

Even though I’m still in the middle of building my Ubuntu test server I decided to go ahead and upgrade it to Ubuntu Server 8.04 (Hardy Heron). Sure, I’m still learning all this stuff and this will make it harder to troubleshoot problems. Upgrade issue? My configuration error? Oh well, it’s all for fun anyway.

My environment is Ubuntu Server 7.10 under Parallels Desktop 3 Build 5584 running on OS X 10.5.2. For complete details you can see earlier articles in the Ubuntu Server series.

First off I make sure everything is up to date by running:

sudo aptitude update

sudo aptitude safe-upgrade

Then I made sure the update manager was installed:

sudo aptitude install update-manager-core

Then I use Parallels snapshot manager to create a snapshot of my now up-to-date Ubuntu 7.10 server so I can easily roll back. I start the upgrade with:

sudo do-release-upgrade

Since I’m doing this through SSH from terminal on my iMac I’m given the following warning:


I go ahead and do the installation. Everything is on my local network so I shouldn’t have a problem. I could do the upgrade directly in the VM but I prefer to continue with the illusion that the server is remote. Once I acknowledge that I want the upgrade the installer does some calculations and tells me:


I go ahead and start the upgrade. Things are a bit slower than the estimated two minutes, the downloads take about 30 minutes. I’m using the default repositories and with the new release they are probably being pounded. But since I could let the update run while I did other things so it was no big deal.

After the download the installer started unpacking the files and updating the software which took another 20 minutes. I was prompted for a few file replacements and in all cases I chose to keep my current file. The prompts were for the MySQL my.cnf, the apache2.conf, the php.ini for Apache and the configuration file for the default Apache site. Once the updating is finished I need to restart Ubuntu.

I do some quick testing by connecting via terminal using SSH and connecting to my website using both a regular http connection and an SSL connection. Everything seems to work fine. We’ll see what happens in the days ahead.