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What’s Changed in VMware Fusion Since the Latest Edition of the Book

The current edition of Take Control of VMware Fusion 3 covers version 3.0, but Fusion has been updated several times since the book’s release and is at version 3.1.2 as of mid-January 2011. The differences between version 3.1.x and 3.0 as described in the book are relatively minor; almost everything I said about 3.0 is still accurate. However, a few changes warrant a mention:

  • 8-way SMP: On p. 74 I say, “Fusion lets you assign up to four virtual cores to any given virtual machine (provided that the guest operating system supports them)—that is to say, the guest operating system will perceive the presence of up to four cores, regardless of how many physical cores your Mac has.” As of Fusion 3.1, the maximum number of virtual cores has increased from four to eight, but otherwise the discussion in the book is still correct. (This change also applies to the bullet point “Better support for symmetric multiprocessing (SMP)” on p. 9.)
  • OpenGL 2.1 support for Windows 7 and Vista: On p. 9 (in the “Improved graphics acceleration” bullet point), I say that Fusion supports OpenGL 2.1 for Windows XP virtual machines, but only the older OpenGL 1.4 standard for Windows 7 and Vista. But as of Fusion 3.1, the newer versions of Windows also have access to OpenGL 2.1.
  • USB EasyConnect: On p. 91 I talk about an option formerly on the USB pane of the Settings window, “Automatically connect USB devices” (shown in Figure 28). That option no longer exists; instead, as of Fusion 3.1, when you attach a USB device, a dialog appears (see example below), asking whether you want to connect the device to your virtual machine or to Mac OS X. Click whichever button you prefer, optionally first selecting the “Remember my choice and do not ask again” checkbox. This new behavior also means the text in “Connect and Disconnect Devices” (pp. 60–61) is now slightly inaccurate, in that Fusion no longer chooses a device’s destination silently when you initially attach it.
  • Power status text: In the Other view of the Advanced pane in the Settings window (see p. 81), Fusion now displays explanatory text when you select “Pass power status to VM.” The text says: “Changing the power pass-through setting requires that you shut down your operating system, power off your virtual machine, and then restart the virtual machine. You may change the setting now or when the virtual machine is powered off.”

I also want to call your attention to two of the numerous known issues with Fusion 3.1.2:

  • Enabling printers: On p. 78 I talk about “driverless printing” and how to enable this feature. Although the Settings window doesn’t make it clear, making a change to this setting doesn’t take effect while a virtual machine is running. You should shut down the virtual machine, change the setting, and then restart it.
  • VMDKMounter and 64-bit kernels: If your Mac runs Snow Leopard and uses a 64-bit kernel, you can’t use the trick I describe on p. 131 to mount virtual disks in the Finder using VMDKMounter, due to a limitation in MacFUSE. (I ran into this problem recently on my new iMac.)

For complete release notes, which cover bug fixes and feature changes (including many features I don’t explicitly discuss in the book), see the following pages on VMware’s site:

Posted by Joe Kissell (Permalink)