OT OS X HD Partitioning, multiple OSs

Bill Marriott wjm at wjm.org
Sat Dec 5 09:51:30 EST 2009

Your main choice is to Boot Camp or not to Boot Camp. Your second choice is 
which virtual machine product to use.

If you Boot Camp, you gain the advantage that you can reboot your Mac into 
Windows natively. This has performance and compatibility benefits, 
especially with games that use hardware acceleration.

However you do have to give up hard disk space to the Boot Camp 
installation, which can be tricky to resize if you don't have a utility that 
will preserve the partition contents when resizing them. So give it as much 
space as you can reasonably justify. (I gave mine 80GB out of 320GB.)

You also lose the ability to do "snapshots" of the Windows OS, which both 
leading virtual machine products support. (Snapshots let you muck around 
with the guest OS and then revert it to its previous state painlessly.)

If you have more than 2GB or RAM, and you decide to Boot Camp, you should 
absolutely use Windows 7 Professional 64-bit or you will not be able to 
utilize all your RAM. [You're unlikely to give Windows more than 2GB RAM 
under a virtual machine.] Otherwise you could get away with Windows XP 
Professional or 32-bit Windows 7 Professional. Get an "OEM" version to save 
money. You need Professional or better to satisfy Microsoft licensing for VM 
use, and to get a decent feature set. Don't waste your time with Vista.

Parallels is decidedly faster than VMware (verified personally and by a few 
in-depth reviews out there). It offers the Aero interface from within the 
Mac (pretty), and a new presentation option I like called Crystal. Both 
products are reportedly somewhat slower with Boot Camp partitions than with 
their own virtual ones. I've tried VirtualBox and it completely munged up 
one of my Linux partitions before ... only has to happen once.

The Parallels support for Linux is a bit nicer than VMware's, and it's 
easier to install their "virtual machine additions" as well. I have tried 
both. VMware has a nasty habit of breaking your sound card support or mouse 
wheel or worse when it updates itself. This can be maddening to resolve 
unless you know Linux inside and out. I own both but use only Parallels now.

You should probably go with Ubuntu, as it's recognized as the leading 

If you never will run a Windows game or develop 3D applications with Rev, 
and will use Windows only occasionally, then the decision is easy: don't 
Boot Camp. This will eliminate the need for partitioning, give you the 
maximum usage of hard disk space for the Mac, and run more than well enough 
for most purposes.

- Bill

"jim sims" <sims at ezpzapps.com> wrote in message 
news:34483903-4CE5-43E9-90CF-C9F90470D922 at ezpzapps.com...
>  I might be getting a 13" 160 GB  MacBook Pro
> I'm thinking of using VMware Fusion to add at least one version of 
> Windows or maybe more. This will hopefully be my travel machine that I 
> want to use for development while away, so I'd like to get all I might 
> need in it.
> I usually don't have tons of music, movies, and stuff on my machine so  I 
> think the 160 GB should do.
> What have other people done with their machines?
> What OS(s) have you loaded - XP, Vista,Windows 7?
> If Linux, what flavor might be the best/most common to develop for?
> How did you partition it? What sizes for each?
> What would you do differently if they did it over again (likely the  most 
> informative question/answer!)?
> sims
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