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Mac w/ Windows App Virtualisation

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BGM    101

Hi,

 

I have been a windows user since the day i started using computers, and am a developer / analyst by trade so use them essentially every day.. I recently bought a used mac to 'test out' and see if i like it for my day to day work... mostly it's going well, and i think i'm going to getting a new MBP in April time as a consequence..

 

So, on to the question.. some times i need to run things like Visual Studio and although there is Visual Studio for Mac, and Visual Studio Code both of which i use extensively.. but sometimes, sometimes i find myself cracking open the old Windows machine just to get something that is a little bit more complex done...

 

I can't see this use case disappearing any time soon... but it makes up about 10% of the time i spend on the computer, and i am enjoying the macOS quite a lot... what are the recommendations please for seemless virtualisation of these apps?

 

You've obviously got parallels, or vmware... both of which i believe offer some sort of "continuity" so they kind of look like you are using a native app... but how much work does it take to manage the underlying OS?

 

Which one is faster, is VirtualBox a viable option? I would imagine that is a great deal slower (although only due to it being free :p)

 

I also understand with parallels i can run a boot camp imagine of sorts, on the actual machine hardware.. is this the most optimal?

 

All thoughts and views welcome... apart from 'get a windows pc' ! :D

 

 

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allan.nyholm    42

I would suggest skipping VirtualBox as a whole for creating a virtual Windows machine. In my experience it doesn't hold up against VMWare which is my virtualisation software of choice. Choosing VMWare stems from the belief that I take them as the original virtualisation software company. My belief is probably flawed in that sense. It's perfectly acceptable to download a Windows ISO and install that into a VirtualBox enviroment to test it out. Both solutions are free to try as the Windows ISO is free to download and install without activating and VirtualBox is also free.

 

Parallels-users will always tell you that Parallels is the absolute choice for virtualisation and vice-versa - I have not been swayed in the direction of Parallels yet (except for getting it in a bundle of sorts many years ago). There are however not much difference in pricing of the two; VMWare and Parallels. They each want a hefty price for what appears to be minor updates and claim that the user should absolute update. Parallels rely on a subscription based solution and VMWare announces a new version once a year or so.

 

The underlying OS, macOS, takes little maintenance. You can however choose to maintain macOS as much as you wish. Just as on Windows there's a near unlimited amount of programs to clean the cache and more and set off the built-in macOS routines for cleaning and maintaning. I have some installed myself, though they are just there for when I feel that macOS is dirty, which isn't often.

 

My current Retina iMac does have problems with having a Windows 10 virtual machine running in native resolution of 5120x2880 and so I reduce the resolution within Windows 10 to a 4K or 3K display - as I'm not giving on high-dpi scaling when I'm so used to seeing elements sharp in macOS. Just a thought so that you don't get frustrated that Windows isn't operating fully as it would on hardware - especially with a new MacBook Pro - make sure you get more RAM than 8GB in that new Mac. I have 24GB of RAM installed and I give Windows 10 2 CPU cores out of the 4 Cores I have on my i5 CPU. The iMac is from late 2015 and that might not make things a whole lot better. Perhaps Parallels does this scaling and optimising a lot better but I have no way, currently, of testing the most recent version of Parallels and I only currently have VMWare Fusion 10. 

 

 

 

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+Human.Online    8,254

I use WINE, not for developing but for audio software that just had no similar Mac app that I liked.  Works well for me.

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BGM    101
27 minutes ago, allan.nyholm said:

The underlying OS, macOS, takes little maintenance. You can however choose to maintain macOS as much as you wish. Just as on Windows there's a near unlimited amount of programs to clean the cache and more and set off the built-in macOS routines for cleaning and maintaning. I have some installed myself, though they are just there for when I feel that macOS is dirty, which isn't often.

thanks for the great answer... to clarify though, the part about maintenance was more a question of the underlying windows 10 os, and its neediness rather than the neediness of macOS ;)

 

but, i guess your answer still holds water.. it needs as much maintenance as you can/want to give it..

 

parallels and VMWare can both access the same folder structures right? one of my use cases is that i have cloned some work to my macOS, and i probably do most of my work using an editor such as VS Code, or VS for Mac... but then i sometimes will need to launch VS Proper so i can really dig in to something.. i can target the same folders right?

 

Cheers!!

 

 

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allan.nyholm    42
4 minutes ago, BGM said:

thanks for the great answer... to clarify though, the part about maintenance was more a question of the underlying windows 10 os, and its neediness rather than the neediness of macOS ;)

 

but, i guess your answer still holds water.. it needs as much maintenance as you can/want to give it..

 

parallels and VMWare can both access the same folder structures right? one of my use cases is that i have cloned some work to my macOS, and i probably do most of my work using an editor such as VS Code, or VS for Mac... but then i sometimes will need to launch VS Proper so i can really dig in to something.. i can target the same folders right?

 

Cheers!!

 

 

Both programs have the ability to access your Home-folders or a specific set of folders that allows to read and write between macOS and the virtual machine. Windows even gives you lovely thumbs.db files to view(as an example) in macOS and macOS also gives Windows the ability to show you DS_store files and everything in between. Thats how well they inter-operate :)

 

I was actually about to write some stuff about Windows maintenance but that would, doubtfully have any validity as you have been using Windows for so long and probably would know that each OS can require as much or little maintenance as the user sees fit. We're in agreement :)

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darkz    12

dunno, in my experience a mac can be a great windows computer, linux computer, You name it, AND a native macOS computer

if You work in development, thats kinda handy. And to answer Your questions about virtualisation - I do both, sometmes bootcamp, sometimes VMWare, depends on the situation, I have virtualbox installed too :)

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adrynalyne    11,636
1 hour ago, darkz said:

dunno, in my experience a mac can be a great windows computer, linux computer, You name it, AND a native macOS computer

if You work in development, thats kinda handy. And to answer Your questions about virtualisation - I do both, sometmes bootcamp, sometimes VMWare, depends on the situation, I have virtualbox installed too :)

Yes that is an excellent use case. 

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+Sledge    295
On 2/9/2019 at 1:42 PM, allan.nyholm said:

Both programs have the ability to access your Home-folders or a specific set of folders that allows to read and write between macOS and the virtual machine. Windows even gives you lovely thumbs.db files to view(as an example) in macOS and macOS also gives Windows the ability to show you DS_store files and everything in between. Thats how well they inter-operate :)

 

I was actually about to write some stuff about Windows maintenance but that would, doubtfully have any validity as you have been using Windows for so long and probably would know that each OS can require as much or little maintenance as the user sees fit. We're in agreement :)

Don't forget Visual Studio Live Share where you can collaborate between machines, could be helpful in this case.

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Gotenks98    539

I would say go Parallels or VMWare. Do not use virtualbox, its just trash. The performance is way too slow. I do not recommend this to anyone doing virtualization. I get that its a free product but I have seen other free stuff work alot better than this.

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darkz    12
1 minute ago, Gotenks98 said:

I would say go Parallels or VMWare. Do not use virtualbox, its just trash. The performance is way too slow. I do not recommend this to anyone doing virtualization. I get that its a free product but I have seen other free stuff work alot better than this.

I kinda always loved to be able to download ready made virtualbox machines. got to experiement with operating systems I would hardly ever know how to set up, like plan9, for example

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Brandon H    2,841
6 minutes ago, Gotenks98 said:

I would say go Parallels or VMWare. Do not use virtualbox, its just trash. The performance is way too slow. I do not recommend this to anyone doing virtualization. I get that its a free product but I have seen other free stuff work alot better than this.

I will disagree with you partially here. VirtualBox works great with Linux guests but for Windows guests I would agree with you VMWare/Parallels is better :)

 

haven't used Mac in about 5/6 years now but last I messed with them I didn't find too much different between VMWare Fusion and Parallels so it's mostly a matter of opinion which would suit your needs better. for me I preferred VMWare because I could have my VMs on an external drive and run them on other computers if needed (was good to be able to do that in college)

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darkz    12
21 minutes ago, Brandon H said:

I will disagree with you partially here. VirtualBox works great with Linux guests but for Windows guests I would agree with you VMWare/Parallels is better :)

I totally agree, but has anybody here tried gaming with VMWare/Parallels? I fully understand there's gonna be some, probably insufferable, performance degradation, but how bad is it?
I want to play farcry3, which is already quite old game (I remember playing it on core2duo with 4gigs of ram and gtx9800), and skipping the whole reboot process would be awesome. Is this realistic?

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Brandon H    2,841
3 minutes ago, darkz said:

I totally agree, but has anybody here tried gaming with VMWare/Parallels? I fully understand there's gonna be some, probably insufferable, performance degradation, but how bad is it?
I want to play farcry3, which is already quite old game (I remember playing it on core2duo with 4gigs of ram and gtx9800), and skipping the whole reboot process would be awesome. Is this realistic?

it's about as much performance loss as expected.

 

with Mac you can set it so your Boot Camp partition can also be loaded in VMWare/Parallels this would be a good way to test this out :)

my experience was with an early 2011 mac book pro so if yours is any newer then that then performance can only have improved :)

 

edit: here's how to load your boot camp partition in each
https://kb.vmware.com/s/article/1014618
https://download.parallels.com/desktop/v10/docs/en_US/Parallels Desktop User's Guide/32733.htm / https://www.howtogeek.com/315083/how-to-run-your-macs-boot-camp-partition-as-a-virtual-machine/

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darkz    12
1 minute ago, Brandon H said:

it's about as much performance loss as expected.

 

with Mac you can set it so your Bootcamp partition can also be loaded in VMWare/Parallels this would be a good way to test this out :)

my experience was with an early 2011 mac book pro so if yours is any newer then that then performance can only have improved :)

Hmm, interesting, so I can use my existing bootcamp partition and just launch things that are already there? *Nervously looking for the VMWare installation*

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Gotenks98    539
2 hours ago, darkz said:

I totally agree, but has anybody here tried gaming with VMWare/Parallels? I fully understand there's gonna be some, probably insufferable, performance degradation, but how bad is it?
I want to play farcry3, which is already quite old game (I remember playing it on core2duo with 4gigs of ram and gtx9800), and skipping the whole reboot process would be awesome. Is this realistic?

Gaming is doable on VMWare/Parallels but definitely not Virtualbox. To game on VMWare and Parallels you might have to play on Medium instead of full settings but at least you can play. This is provided that the Mac was maxed out to begin with.

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Gotenks98    539
2 hours ago, darkz said:

Hmm, interesting, so I can use my existing bootcamp partition and just launch things that are already there? *Nervously looking for the VMWare installation*

You can use the bootcamp patition but you might have to reactivate Windows. It does make things faster but if the system has an SSD it isnt going to be much difference. What I do is a hybrid setup. Keep bootcamp, point vmware/parallels to that partition. If you need more speed than what the hypervisor will give you then just switch over to bootcamp by rebooting.

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BGM    101

does parallels/vmware running the bootcamp partition operate 'the same' as a virtualised OS, or is it faster when you are actually in macOS itself?

 

I kinda imagine it to run sort of 'on the metal'.. or is it still virtualised per say?

 

i.e. reboot to windows partition > parallels/vmware bootcamp > parallels/vmware virtualisation

 

p.s. nice to see a flurry of updates to this thread with interesting view points, i like the Live Share idea!!

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Matthew S.    918

If you're booting the bootcamp partition within Parallels/VMWare it is still virtualized.

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darkz    12

Thanks for info guys, but I think I will have to stick with bootcamp, because gamingaddiction (farcry3 is realistic for VMWare, farcry5 is not). My next purchases will probably have something to do with an eGPU (recommendations very welcome, I love the looks of blackmagic's one, but would like to be able swap cards, install multiple cards etc). And no, I didn't got it for facebook or gaming before anybody is asking, I mostly do photoshop work on it and for that it's more than I could ask for. Also sorry for the heavy offtopic and stealing the thread, I promise to behave in the future :)

edit: I tried VMWare, but somehow didn't like it at all, but that's okay, I have a windows PC right here beside me.

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Gotenks98    539
21 hours ago, BGM said:

does parallels/vmware running the bootcamp partition operate 'the same' as a virtualised OS, or is it faster when you are actually in macOS itself?

 

I kinda imagine it to run sort of 'on the metal'.. or is it still virtualised per say?

 

i.e. reboot to windows partition > parallels/vmware bootcamp > parallels/vmware virtualisation

 

p.s. nice to see a flurry of updates to this thread with interesting view points, i like the Live Share idea!!

The comparison you have written is pretty much how I would rank them in terms of performance. The only other thing I would mention, the speed on which you can resume or startup Windows is faster with the virtual option. So there is your trade off total performance vs convenience.

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