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Problems associated with installing a virtual PC on a Mac?
Thread poster: Elisabeth Maurland

Elisabeth Maurland
United States
Local time: 18:56
Member (2013)
Norwegian to English
+ ...
Jan 3, 2015

I haven't wanted to do this, since my MacBook Pro seems slow enough already. And when I asked some friends who are professional Mac people, they advised me not to do it because it will slow my computer down considerably and use up a lot of energy. But I need Windows for certain jobs, and when reading in these forums I can't see that anyone is having any trouble (with slowness, battery use etc.) with Parallels or BootCamp.

For the slowness I am currently experiencing I am working on clearing up some space, although I have only used about half of the storage (253 GB of 499 GB). It's not terribly slow most of the time, but I was told it would be a lot faster than my old MacBook, and it isn't, and fairly often I have to force quit all the open apps (more often than I used to on my old one). So I don't want to add something really heavy to my machine.

I am thinking I can put Parallels (the VM I am leaning towards) on an external hard drive, like Thunderbolt or a USB 3.0. This seems like an ideal solution.

Does this sound like a good route to go?

My laptop is a MacBook Pro OS X 10.8.5.

Thanks!


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Meta Arkadia
Local time: 07:56
English to Indonesian
+ ...
Bootcamp? Jan 3, 2015

I'd suggest to solve the perceived "slowness" first. Run Disk Utility's verifications first. Consider upgrading to OS X 10 (Yosemite), it's free anyway. If you have a Time Machine back-up, you may consider a fresh install.

I see no need to run Windows at all, but if you really must, you can consider installing it using Bootcamp. The disadvantage is that you'll have to restart every time you switch from OS X to Windows and back, the advantage is that with the Bootcamp solution both operating systems can use all available hardware resources.

Years ago, I tried Parallels and VirtualBox. Parallels was "better" in a number of ways, but Virtual box was much faster, and... it's free (and I am Dutch).

Cheers,

Hans


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xxx2nl  Identity Verified
Netherlands
Local time: 01:56
For which tasks do you need Windows? Jan 4, 2015

Elisabeth Maurland wrote:

But I need Windows for certain jobs, and when reading in these forums I can't see that anyone is having any trouble (with slowness, battery use etc.) with Parallels or BootCamp.


It would be interesting to learn for which specific tasks you do need Windows. I'm happy to point out Mac alternatives.

I am thinking I can put Parallels (the VM I am leaning towards) on an external hard drive, like Thunderbolt or a USB 3.0. This seems like an ideal solution.


Thunderbolt could work, but external Thunderbolt disks are still quite expensive. USB 3.0 could be too slow.


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Norskpro
Sweden
Local time: 01:56
Member
English to Norwegian
+ ...
I use parallels Jan 4, 2015

I installed Windows Parallels on my MacBook Pro, as a client wanted me to use MemoQ. My Parallels is open only at those times I need to use it for a project, and I do not experience any problems with slowness. At the time I installed Parallels I also had more memory installed, it's 8GB now.

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Tom in London
United Kingdom
Local time: 00:56
Member (2008)
Italian to English
Slowness Jan 4, 2015

Speaking as a Mac user since 1995:

I'm willing to bet that the cause of your problem is: not enough RAM. Apple is in the bad habit of selling computers that only have 4 GB of RAM. 4 GB is not enough for Yosemite.

For all normal purposes you should have at least 8 GB of RAM.

Go here

http://www.crucial.com

run the checks, and buy some more RAM - as much as you can afford.

The Crucial website will also tell you how to install it. I've used Crucial RAM several times. It's very reliable.


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Meta Arkadia
Local time: 07:56
English to Indonesian
+ ...
More than enough Jan 4, 2015

Tom in London wrote:
4 GB is not enough for Yosemite.

4 GB is more than enough to run Yosemite. Like its predecessors Lion, Mountain Lion, and Mavericks, Yosemite only requires 2 GB. That said, adding RAM is still a good idea, and you'll have to add RAM if you want to run Windows in a virtual machine (and possibly even in Bootcamp, but I'm not a Windows expert so I don't know the RAM requirements).

Cheers,

Hans (12 GB,  since 1987)


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Fiona Grace Peterson  Identity Verified
Italy
Local time: 01:56
Member
Italian to English
Parallels Jan 4, 2015

I agree with Tom's comments on Apple RAM - I'm having similar problems.

As for your question, I used Parallels a while back, when I used Trados, and had no complaints whatsoever. Seamless and easy to use.

I however fail to understand why certain software producers (one in particular) refuse to cater to the growing population of Mac users. Plenty of tools out there for those who don't want to support these companies, and/or deal with the extra matter of having to install a virtual machine.

But that's a story for another thread.

Go with Parallels and you won't be disappointed.

[Edited at 2015-01-04 13:36 GMT]


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Meta Arkadia
Local time: 07:56
English to Indonesian
+ ...
Because... Jan 4, 2015

Fiona Peterson wrote:
I however fail to understand why certain software producers (one in particular) refuse to cater to the growing population of Mac users.

... we don't need them.

Cheers,

Hans


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Elisabeth Maurland
United States
Local time: 18:56
Member (2013)
Norwegian to English
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Thanks for your input, everybody! Jan 4, 2015

Hans, like you suggested, I tried to fix the slowness first. I used disk utility and did some googling and found a "magic" trick, an SMC reset, and it seems faster now.

I have been getting work from two companies that I would like to continue to work with, but one wants me to use MemoQ now, and the other one has its own system (I think) that will only run on Windows. Both say "just install Parallels!" but I am hesitant to just jump into things like that.

I have not upgraded to Yosemite since I googled and found that it's not necessary and that it might cause more problems than it will help. But maybe I should? Would 8 GB of RAM be enough for both Yosemite and Parallels?

I think I would prefer Parallels over Bootcamp so I won't have to reboot all the time. I would use the VM only for those reasons stated above. I have never had anything but Mac and want to continue to use it for everything else.

Sounds like this will cost me a little bit, but if I get 4 more GB of RAM I won't have to buy a
Thunderbolt or USB, at least.


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Fiona Grace Peterson  Identity Verified
Italy
Local time: 01:56
Member
Italian to English
VirtualBox Jan 4, 2015

There is also VirtualBox, which is open source.

https://www.virtualbox.org/


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Elisabeth Maurland
United States
Local time: 18:56
Member (2013)
Norwegian to English
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
VirtualBox Jan 4, 2015

Yes, that was something I hadn't heard about before, actually, so I just looked it up. Free is nice Any drawbacks? I am not into computers, so I'd like it to be easy and sleek without too much hassle. If it's complicated, free is not worth it...

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Meta Arkadia
Local time: 07:56
English to Indonesian
+ ...
Stick to OS X Jan 4, 2015

Elisabeth Maurland wrote:
I have not upgraded to Yosemite since I googled and found that it's not necessary and that it might cause more problems than it will help. But maybe I should?

It does not create any problems, at least not any work related problems, and it will probably make your Mac faster...
I have been getting work from two companies that I would like to continue to work with, but one wants me to use MemoQ now, and the other one has its own system (I think) that will only run on Windows.

Now think about that. Thinking doesn't hurt much, and can occasionally be beneficial. What they want you to do, is: buy Parallels, buy an OS you don't want, buy a CAT tool you don't want, install them, and learn that software. Are they @#$%ing crazy?
Nobody is going to tell me what tools I should use. Nobody. And if they think what tool you use is more important than your qualities as a translator, you should get, no run the hell out of there.

Just tell them that you can handle those jobs on your Mac - and you can - and if they don't agree, it's their bad luck.

I think I would prefer Parallels over Bootcamp so I won't have to reboot all the time.

If you still think you should downgrade to Windows, Bootcamp offers quite a few advantages. It's free, it's fast, it's "isolated." And it helps you to concentrate on the job. Those e-mails and Skype messages will show up on your iPhone or iPad anyway.

Sounds like this will cost me a little bit, but if I get 4 more GB of RAM I won't have to buy a Thunderbolt or USB, at least.

RAM is dirt cheap. Buy as much as you can and the Mac can take (probably 16 GB). See Tom's link. The other thing you can do - while you're at it - is buy an SSD. That will also speed up your Mac, and it's probably time to buy a new drive anyway. HHDs don't live forever, in fact, to be on the safe side, it's recommended to swap drives every 1.5 years. It's quite possible your HDD is at the end of its lifetime, which could also explain the slowness.

Cheers,

Hans


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Neil Coffey  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 00:56
French to English
+ ...
In principle shouldn't be a problem Jan 4, 2015

Elisabeth Maurland wrote:
Would 8 GB of RAM be enough for both Yosemite and Parallels?


For what it's worth, I have a MacBook Pro with 8GB and it runs both Yosemite and Parallels absolutely fine. In fact, my Windows 7 installation boots and runs faster in Parallels on the Mac than it did on the original PC it was migrated from. However, I did get my machine relatively recently (within the last couple of years) so it has an i7 processor and solid state hard disk, which may make a difference -- I wonder if yours is an older machine?

That said, parallels only uses up CPU and RAM resources (i.e. only uses energy, has the potential to slow your PC down, eats into your 8GB or however much of RAM) while it is actually running. So while it is not running, it shouldn't affect your Mac per se other than that it will obviously use hard disk space-- but of which you have 200GB free. So installing parallels shouldn't in principle "do anything bad" to your machine -- it's more just a question of whether Parallels itself will run adequately on your machine, to which I suppose that answer is to try it and see.


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Neil Coffey  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 00:56
French to English
+ ...
Maybe one or two extra features -- depends if relevant to you Jan 5, 2015

Elisabeth Maurland wrote:
Any drawbacks?


On potentially good feature of Parallels is to run it in "parallel" mode, i.e. Windows doesn't take up your full screen, but instead you can have Windows application windows pop up in your Mac desktop as though they were "native" apps. This works quite well if you need it and I believe VirtualBox doesn't have this feature (unless they've added it recently).

That said, if you're using something like TRADOS that is effectively a full screen app anyway, you may not be so bothered about this feature.

Parallels also has a migration tool to migrate an existing Windows installation. Again, depends how bothered you are about thus feature, I guess.


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Elisabeth Maurland
United States
Local time: 18:56
Member (2013)
Norwegian to English
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
New Mac Jan 5, 2015

Neil Coffey wrote:
I wonder if yours is an older machine?


I bought mine less than a year ago too, so it's not old. I was surprised right away that it wasn't any faster than my old machine, but I transferred everything from my old one, so I probably used up most of the memory right then.
Thank you for making things a little clearer for me when it comes to memory and storage.
I will definitely get more RAM, upgrade to Yosemite, and also check out VirtualBox.

Thanks again to eveybody!


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