Virtualization via Parallels

I’m now running Windows XP on my new Intel-based iMac thanks to Parallels.

Previous to this I was using Virtual PC on my pre-Intel Mac, and it worked… slowly… but it worked. I was able to test web sites in IE5, IE6, and IE7 in Windows. It wasn’t fun, but it was pretty much required. Virtual PC for Mac was killed off by Microsoft, which meant I had these virtual machines laying around which were useless, until now.

I wasn’t paying attention to virtualization on the Mac until I got the new iMac and my days of using Virtual PC were over. I ended up taking a quick look at VMWare’s Fusion, which is in beta now and available for pre-ordering at a reduced price. It looked interesting, but as I did more research, it became clear that Parallels was exactly what I wanted. Why? Because of Transporter.

Transporter allows you to put to use those old Virtual PC machines you created. It migrates them over to the format required by Parallels. It’s not a quick process, but it works. I did hit a few issues along the way, the first being that I had no networking, which means the first virtual machine I had was completely useless. I searched through forums, tried a few things, and rebooted the virtual Windows machine, only to be told I had to activate Windows before I could log in. Since there was no network, I had to activate via phone. This is the nightmare that is Windows. After talking to a robot, where I read the robot a string of 50+ characters and then the robot read me a string of 50+ characters, Windows was activated, and I could log in. (Is Microsoft serious? This is how they do things? In all my years of using the Mac, I can’t remember anything as frustrating as this process to just use the system. Anyway…)

Adding a Network Adapter

Ok, so I finally figured out that in Parallels I had to go under Edit to Virtual Machine… and add a Network Adapter. I guess the original Virtual PC machine did not have a network adapter or something? I don’t know, but I did this to all the machines I migrated and they were all good after that.

So now I am running Windows. On my Mac. Again. Let the IE testing and swearing begin!