Now that modern Macs use Intel processors, you can run Windows on your Mac without slowdowns or trade-offs, and with the benefit of configuration snapshots, multiple installations, and the capability to mix Windows and Mac applications. In this book by cross-platform expert Joe Kissell, you’ll learn how best to install and use Windows in the virtualization environment created by VMware Fusion 3.
The ebook explains new Fusion 3 features, including the redesigned Applications menu, enhanced Virtual Library window, new Preview window (which shows a live thumbnail of your entire Windows Desktop), and improved Unity view. It also discusses Windows 7 and 32-bit vs. 64-bit possibilities.
What about Parallels Desktop and other virtualization options? If you need more of an overview of how to run Windows on your Macintosh, or want directions for setting up Parallels Desktop, read Take Control of Running Windows on a Mac.
- More Info
After introducing you to a few basic concepts, the ebook offers advice for mixing Fusion and Boot Camp, and notes the hardware and software you’ll need. Then you’ll find steps for installing Windows for use in Fusion in these scenarios:
- When installing a new copy of Windows XP, Windows Vista, or Windows 7
- From an already-installed copy of Windows under Boot Camp, VMware Fusion 1.x or 2.x, Parallels Desktop, Virtual PC, or an actual PC
- From a slipstream disc that contains Windows plus service packs, updates, drivers, and settings
- On the MacBook Air, which lacks an internal optical drive
- With Mac OS X Server (version 10.5 or higher) as a guest operating system
- For running a virtual appliance that encapsulates both an operating system and a ready-to-run application
Next, you’ll learn how to work with Windows in a Fusion virtual machine, with key details like how to remap mouse buttons, simulate missing keys, set keyboard shortcuts, switch display modes, and work with external devices. Other topics covered include:
- Pros and cons of different ways of using Boot Camp and Fusion
- Configuring Fusion’s Settings window to get the most out of the software
- Real-world advice for smart ways to make Windows and Mac environments simultaneously available on the same computer
- Options for sharing files between your Windows and Mac environments
- Keeping your copy of Windows secure, backed up, and updated
- The basics of working with Fusion from the command line for advanced users
Thanks to the technical reviewers at VMware who gave readily of their time, helping us to create a richly detailed and useful ebook.
Special questions you’ll find answers to include these:
- How do I keep my Windows installation in its own screen in Spaces?
- Where do I find drivers for proprietary Apple hardware like the iSight, Apple Remote, and Bluetooth transceiver?
- What are my options for right-clicking in Windows?
- What should I do if Windows refuses to shut down or restart?
- Help! My mouse pointer keeps disappearing when I’m running Windows in Fusion. What should I do?
- How do I press the all-important Control-Alt-Delete key combo in Fusion?
- How do I make the Windows Desktop disappear so my Windows apps appear to run like Mac apps?
- How do I tell Windows which Web browser to open Web URLs in?
- What’s a virtual appliance and how would I use one in Fusion?
- What are common parameters for vmrun, the command-line utility that controls Fusion?
- What's New
What's New in this Edition
This book is a major update to Take Control of VMware Fusion 2. With only a few exceptions, the changes from the previous edition reflect the changes in version 3 of VMware Fusion. (Although Fusion 3 contains tons of new features, bug fixes, and interface improvements, I don’t address all of them in this book; for a complete list of what’s new, see http://www.vmware.com/go/fusion3features.)
The major Fusion changes discussed in this book are the following:
- Expanded guest support: You can now run either the 32-bit or 64-bit version of Windows 7 from a Boot Camp partition (see Use a Boot Camp Partition in Fusion). In addition, you can run Windows 7 or Snow Leopard Server (either the 32-bit or 64-bit version) in a virtual machine (see Windows 7 and Install Mac OS X Server as a Guest Operating System).
- Enhanced Virtual Machine Library window: The Virtual Machine Library now shows virtual machines that were created in other programs, for easy importing. It also includes a Home view with shortcuts to common tasks such as setting up Fusion to use a Boot Camp partition; installing Windows; and migrating from a physical PC, which is now far easier than before.
- Preview window: A new Preview window (see the sidebar The Preview Window) gives you a live, resizable view of your entire Windows Desktop, even when Windows is running in Unity view.
- Full screen title bar: When in Full Screen view (see Use Full Screen View), you can now use a new floating menu bar that gives you more convenient access to frequently used Fusion commands.
- Improved Unity view: Windows applications now work better with Exposé, and you can also access system tray items while in Unity view, even if the taskbar isn’t showing. See Unity View for further details.
- Redesigned Applications menu: This system-wide menu can now give you access to any Windows application—even if you have multiple copies of Windows installed, and even when Fusion isn’t running—and is no longer restricted to Unity mode. For details, read Use the Applications Menu.
- Copy and paste or drag and drop images: You can now move images between host and guest via copy and paste or drag and drop (see Move Data between Host and Guest).
- Revamped settings: The Settings window has been reorganized, with various panes added, removed, or otherwise rejiggered. I cover all these changes throughout the section Configure Virtual Machine Settings.
- Better support for symmetric multiprocessing (SMP): Fusion now offers 4-way SMP, and automatically lets virtual machines with the necessary capabilities use multi-core CPUs. I discuss this further in Processors.
- Improved graphics acceleration: For Windows XP virtual machines, Fusion now supports DirectX 9.0c with Shader Model 3 and OpenGL 2.1. For Windows Vista and Windows 7, Fusion supports DirectX 9.0EX and OpenGL 1.4. These changes open the door to more Windows games and other graphics-intensive applications, as well as the Aero interface in Vista and later. To learn about enabling graphics acceleration, read Display Settings.
- Software update: When Fusion is updated, the software can now download and install the new version automatically. See General Preferences.
In the year or so since this book came out, there were several updates to Fusion 3. Is this book up-to-date?
The bulk of the material in the book remains accurate and current for the various versions of Fusion 3. Additional information that covers the relatively small changes in Fusion 3.1.x are covered here: “What’s Changed in VMware Fusion Since the Latest Edition of the Book.”
Do you have any ebooks that cover how to run Windows just in Boot Camp or with Parallels Desktop?
p>Yes, we do. See Take Control of Running Windows on a Mac. This ebook covers several common solutions for successfully running Windows on an Intel-based Mac.
Do you have a book about Fusion 2?
We do still sell Take Control of VMware Fusion 2. It focuses on Mac OS X 10.5 Leopard, because it was published in 2008. We don’t plan to update it again.
- Update Plans
January 2012 – At this time, it looks like we won’t create a new edition of this ebook for VMware Fusion 4. We still like Fusion as a product, and it’s possible that we’ll publish a new edition for some future version, but we are taking a break for now. Also, to learn about Fusion 3.1.x, read “What’s Changed in VMware Fusion Since the Latest Edition of the Book.”
Posted by Tonya Engst
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)
Fusion’s main competition for Windows emmulation on a Mac, Parallels Desktop, was recently updated to version 6. Here’s what Joe has to say about the update, and about how Fusion now compares to Parallels Desktop:
Parallels Desktop 6 includes a long list of performance enhancements and interface improvements. The company claims it’s significantly faster than Parallels 5, especially with 3D graphics, while offering improved battery life when used on laptops. Parallels 6 also supports 64-bit virtual machines and Surround Sound 5.1.
Along with many smaller tweaks, such as improved keyboard shortcuts and added support for trackpad gestures, Parallels has retooled Crystal mode (which hides virtually all of the Parallels user interface), making it an extension for Coherence (windows from Windows side-by-side with windows from Mac OS X) rather than an independent mode. This update also improves Boot Camp support (for example, you can now suspend a Boot Camp virtual machine), makes it easier to back up virtual machines using Time Machine, and enhances the process of importing Windows installations from competing virtualization applications. And, Parallels now offers a companion iPhone/iPad app for accessing a virtual machine running on your Mac from a portable device.
VMware Fusion is currently at version 3.1.1. Interestingly, Parallels 6 turns out to have addressed many of the same things Fusion 3.1 did. That is, Fusion 3.1 increased performance (especially for graphics) dramatically, improved the integration between Mac OS X and virtual machines, added support for 8-way SMP, improved importing from other environments, and offered better Boot Camp support.
Now, both VMware and Parallels claim to have benchmark tests proving that their software is faster than the other guy’s. And I’m sure that, depending on what sort of test scenario one concocts, the numbers can work out in a variety of ways. But my advice remains as it always has been: take performance benchmarks with a grain of salt. Both programs are very, very fast—for the work I do in Windows, I have the impression of native speed either way. If I were a hardcore gamer spending a lot of time in the latest bleeding-edge 3D games, I might care about an extra percentage point here or there, but for my needs (and I suspect most people’s), either one is perfectly fine from a performance standpoint. If you’re trying to choose between them, it comes down to which set of bells and whistles, which feature set, and which combination of interface niceties floats your boat—and you may, of course, also have opinions about price, support, and other peripheral issues. My own preference has shifted back and forth a few times, but believe me when I say that for 95 percent of users, it really doesn’t matter! Pick either one and I’m sure you’ll be happy with it.
Posted by Tonya Engst (Permalink)
In MacVoices #1005, author Joe Kissell rounds up his latest recommendations for how to best run Windows on a Mac. In recent months, Microsoft shipped Windows 7, VMware shipped Fusion 3, and Parallels shipped Parallels Desktop 5, so there’s a lot to talk about. The podcast episode corresponds with the release of the fourth edition of Take Control of Running Windows on a Mac.
Posted by Tonya Engst (Permalink)
In MacVoices # 8134, you can listen and learn about Fusion 3 as author Joe Kissell chats with podcast host Chuck Joiner about using Fusion to run Windows on your Mac. This podcast coincides with the release of Take Control of VMware Fusion 3, which is available for download at no charge, thanks to a sponsorship from VMware.
Posted by Tonya Engst (Permalink)
In MacVoices # 8134, you can listen and learn about Fusion 3 as author Joe Kissell chats with podcast host Chuck Joiner about various aspects of using Fusion to run Windows on your Mac. This podcast coincides with the release of Take Control of VMware Fusion 3, which is available for download at no charge, thanks to a sponsorship from VMware.
Posted by Tonya Engst (Permalink)
Thanks to sponsorship from VMware, we are pleased to provide Joe Kissell’s new Take Control of VMware Fusion 3 for free. In Fusion 3, VMware added 64-bit optimization for Snow Leopard users, Windows 7 support, a simplified process for porting a physical Windows installation to a virtual Mac installation, and better support for graphically intense applications. Joe covers all this, plus walks readers step-by-step through many possibilities for installing Windows on a Mac, the best ways to configure Fusion, techniques for working effectively in Windows with Mac hardware, and much more.
To help readers further explore the Take Control series, Take Control of VMware Fusion 3 also comes with a coupon code worth 50% off one ebook order.
Print copies of Take Control of VMware Fusion 3 are also available for $12.99.
If you’d like an idea of what’s involved in running Windows on your Mac with Fusion (or generally), here’s a slightly edited excerpt that explains the topic.
What Is Virtualization Software?
Virtualization software, such as Fusion, provides a way for one operating system to work within another, while directly accessing the same CPU (central processing unit) most of the time. (By contrast, emulation software simulates a different type of CPU, resulting in much slower performance because of the constant need to translate instructions.) When such software is running, the environment it creates for another operating system (OS) is called a “virtual machine,” and an operating system that runs inside that virtual machine is called a “guest operating system,” in order to distinguish it from the main OS that the computer is running, called the “host operating system.”
Even though Intel-based Macs have the same type of CPU as PCs, you still need a virtual machine to run Windows within Mac OS X. One reason is that apart from the CPU, there are other hardware differences between Macs and PCs and thus other hardware components that must be emulated (simulated in software). Another reason is that Windows expects to have direct access to your hardware, but the host OS (Mac OS X in this case) controls the hardware. A virtual machine tricks the guest OS into believing it has direct access to the machine’s CPU and other hardware, and it emulates any physical devices—such as sound cards—that might be different between platforms.
Each guest operating system that you install requires its own virtual machine. If you want, you can install several different operating systems or several instances of the same operating system; you can even run multiple virtual machines at the same time. Fusion gives you the choice to run each virtual machine in its own window, in full-screen mode, or in Unity view, which means the Windows Desktop disappears and windows from your Windows applications act more or less like windows from Mac applications.
When you set up a new virtual machine, Fusion also creates a special disk image file. When you run Windows, it will see this file as a separate disk. All your Windows files are installed in this virtual disk, but when you’re running Mac OS X you won’t see the individual files inside; it looks and acts like a single file. You can move this file to another disk or another Mac running Fusion, and the virtual machine runs just as it did on the original Mac.
Note: With Boot Camp volumes, which I discuss just ahead, the virtual disk is simply a pointer to your Boot Camp partition.
Real and Virtual Hardware
A big challenge for any virtualization software is enabling communication between the guest operating system and the computer’s hardware—including built-in devices (such as graphics cards and network adapters) and external devices (printers, external hard drives, and the like). I want to explain a bit about how Fusion handles this challenge so you’ll understand what hardware will and won’t work under various conditions and why:
Drivers and Emulated Hardware: When an operating system is running directly on a computer (such as your regular installation of Mac OS X or a Windows installation running under Boot Camp), it can access all your hardware directly. In general, each device needs a driver—a piece of software that knows the devices capabilities and lets it communicate with your operating system. Both Mac OS X and Windows include built-in drivers for hundreds of common devices, from keyboards to printers, so you can use most hardware without having to install extra software. For third-party devices that cant use built-in drivers, manufacturers generally offer their own drivers, typically on a CD packaged with the product or as a free download.
But things are different in a virtual machine, because both the host operating system and the guest system need access to some of your hardware. For example, you must use your mouse in Mac OS X to operate Fusion itself (among other things), while the copy of Windows running in Fusion also needs to respond to mouse movement and clicks. But, of course, you wouldn't want to switch to a different mouse when you're running Windows, so Fusion takes your mouse data from Mac OS X and passes it through to Windows.
In some cases, Fusion emulates a particular type of hardware (say, a floppy drive or serial port) that isn't physically there, and Windows obligingly uses an appropriate built-in driver to access that virtual hardware. In other cases, no existing driver enables proper communication between Windows and Fusions emulated hardware, so Windows needs special, Fusion-specific drivers.
VMware Tools: Fusion’s collection of drivers is included in a software package called VMware Tools. This software not only handles all the basic hardware functions (such as sound and video), but also lets Windows do fancy things like share files with your Mac OS X host operating system, adjust its display resolution automatically when you resize your Fusion window, and much more. Because this software makes using Windows (or Linux) a vastly better experience, you should always be sure to install it. When you set up a new virtual machine using the Easy Install method, Fusion installs VMware Tools for you automatically; otherwise, you can install it manually by choosing Virtual Machine > Install VMware Tools.
Although VMware Tools contains drivers for Fusions emulated hardware, it doesn't include drivers for some custom Apple hardware that may be built into your Mac. To use such hardware (including your iSight camera and Apple Remote) in Windows, you must install Apple's drivers, which are included with Boot Camp.
Sharing vs. Taking Turns: Regardless of what drivers you have installed, most of your hardware can be used by only one operating system at a time. For example, your Mac’s SuperDrive can be used either by Mac OS X or by Windows—but not both at once, because the drive can’t work correctly if two different operating systems are giving it competing instructions. The same goes for most USB and Bluetooth devices. As a result, you must configure your virtual machine to use (or ignore) certain hardware, or use controls in Fusion to manually connect or disconnect devices as the need arises.
FireWire Devices: FireWire devices present an entirely different challenge. For complex technical reasons, Fusion can’t take over or even listen in on your Mac’s FireWire devices, even if you have the proper drivers installed. Neither can Parallels Desktop or VirtualBox, by the way.) So as far as Windows is concerned, any FireWire devices you may have installed are completely invisible. This need not be a problem with FireWire hard drives, because you can work around the lack of FireWire support by sharing the drives. Likewise, if you have a FireWire printer that works in Mac OS X, you can share that printer with your virtual machine. But other than that, FireWire is unfortunately a non-starter in Fusion. FireWire scanners, Blu-ray disc and DVD recorders, cameras, audio interfaces, and other gadgets that work great in Mac OS X won’t show up at all in Windows.
What Is Boot Camp (and Why Should You Care)?
Fusion and other virtualization programs provide one way to run Windows on your Mac. Apple provides a different one—Boot Camp, software that’s part of Mac OS X 10.5 Leopard and later. With Boot Camp, you divide your hard disk into two volumes: one for Mac OS X and all your Mac applications and data, and the other for Windows. To switch between operating systems, you must restart your Mac.
Apple provides drivers that give Windows access to some Mac-specific hardware features such as the built-in iSight camera (on portable Macs and iMacs) and the Apple Remote, but other than a few such niceties, your Mac running Windows via Boot Camp is, for all practical purposes, just another Intel-based PC.
The nice thing about Boot Camp is that it gives Windows full, direct access to your hardware—100 percent of your CPU power, RAM, graphics card, and network bandwidth, for example, go to Windows. In fact, some tests have shown that certain Mac models can run Windows under Boot Camp faster than PCs with similar specs. In Boot Camp, Windows can also use any FireWire devices you may have installed. By contrast, when using Fusion, Windows must share resources with Mac OS X, potentially making both somewhat slower and less efficient, and limiting the kinds of hardware you can use.
The downside of Boot Camp is that you must always make a choice to run one operating system or the other. Lets say you’re developing a Web site using Dreamweaver or BBEdit in Mac OS X and you want to test the site, as you go, in Internet Explorer for Windows. To do this, you must open the Startup Disk pane of System Preferences, select your Windows volume, restart your computer, and run Internet Explorer. Then, you have to repeat a similar procedure to restart in Mac OS X to make any changes—and repeat this over and over again. That’s extremely time-consuming and awkward. Likewise, sharing files between the two operating systems may (depending on several variables) require jumping through a number of hoops.
As a result, Boot Camp works best for situations in which your use of Windows is entirely separate from your use of Mac OS X. For example, if you plan to play a resource-intensive Windows-only game (and do nothing else) for a few hours, rebooting into Windows is no big deal, and Boot Camp will give you the best possible performance. But if you want to use Mac and Windows programs side-by-side or switch between them frequently, Boot Camp isn’t what you want.
So why, as a Fusion user, should you care about all this? Fusion offers two ways to work with Boot Camp. First, you can use Fusion to run the copy of Windows you’ve already installed under Boot Camp—and switch back and forth at any time between the two ways of running that copy of Windows. Second, if you think the benefits of Fusion outweigh the benefits of Boot Camp sufficiently that you ll never want to boot directly into Windows again, you can convert your Boot Camp installation into a virtual disk and then remove it—thus freeing up considerable space on your hard disk.
I tell you this now because once you install and configure Windows (along with your Windows software and documents), you’d most likely prefer not to repeat the process. So if you haven’t yet installed Windows and think Boot Camp might be useful to you, you should install Windows there rather than on a virtual disk. But that choice may not be as straightforward as it sounds; read on for help making the decision.
Decide Whether (or How) to Use Boot Camp with Fusion
Fusion gives you three main options with respect to running Windows under Boot Camp:
Ignore Boot Camp: If you aren’t using Boot Camp now, and if you don’t plan to use any Windows applications that need every last ounce of CPU power and RAM your Mac has (or direct access to FireWire devices), you’ll be happiest ignoring Boot Camp altogether. Just install Windows conventionally under Fusion and go on your merry way. But bear in mind that Fusion offers no way to move a copy of Windows from a virtual disk to a Boot Camp volume—if you later decide you want to use Boot Camp after all, you’ll have to reinstall Windows there from scratch.
Use your Boot Camp volume in Fusion: If you’ve already installed Windows in Boot Camp—or if you know you’ll need to—you can simply configure Fusion to use your Boot Camp installation and decide, on any given occasion, whether you want to run Windows within Fusion or by rebooting. However, be aware of some downsides to this approach.
* Windows is significantly slower to start up and shut down in Fusion when running from a Boot Camp partition than when running from a disk image. So, using a Boot Camp volume in Fusion is more appropriate for occasional use than regular, repeated use (in which case installing Windows on a virtual disk is the better approach).
* Several nifty Fusion features are unavailable when running a Boot Camp installation of Windows in a virtual machine. You can't take snapshots or use AutoProtect; you can't suspend and resume the virtual machine; and you can't mirror folders between Windows and Mac OS X.
Migrate your Boot Camp volume to a virtual disk: If you have Windows installed in Boot Camp, you can move that installation over to a Fusion virtual disk with very little effort—and then, once you’re satisfied that its running correctly—delete your Boot Camp partition, freeing up the disk space it was using.
Having trouble deciding? In my opinion, the convenience of using Windows without rebooting overwhelmingly outweighs the minor speed boost I get by using Boot Camp. Although installing Windows under Boot Camp and running it in a Fusion virtual machine may seem like the best of both worlds, my experience has been that Windows works far better in Fusion when running from a virtual disk than a Boot Camp partition. After trying it both ways for a while, I finally gave up on Boot Camp altogether and imported my erstwhile Boot Camp volume into Fusion. So unless you’re absolutely certain that you need something you can get only in Boot Camp and few people do—my counsel is to stick with a virtual disk.
If you found this excerpt helpful and want to read the entire ebook that it came from, visit the Web page for Take Control of VMware Fusion 3.
Posted by Adam Engst (Permalink)