Posts Tagged ‘parallels desktop’

Sweet! It’s a word I may use a little too often lately and mostly when describing my new little tech-toy, a 13″ MacBook Pro (MBP).

I’d been holding off upgrading for a while  but finally took the plunge.  I was waiting for Apple to update the processor to the i5 chip, which they did, but not for the 13″ version which is my form factor of choice.  I decided to upgrade anyway, as i mentioned in a previous post.  (see here for previous post) I picked up my new MBP from my fave local Apple retailer. I had to pick up a $22 Firewire 800 to Firewire 400 adapter to use the migration assistant to transfer from my trusty old black MacBook to the new MBP and suppose I could have tried the ethernet transfer, but i’ve always done it the Firewire way and never had any troubles so why change what ain’t broke, besides, I use Firewire for my TimeMachine backup and knew I was gonna need the adapter for that.  I may have to find a different adapter or cord since this one extends the fixed non-flexible connector out the side of the MBP approximately 3-1/2″ which means nothing can be too close to that side on my desk.  Aside from that it doesn’t feel like a good sturdy fit and i’m afraid it will sag thereby losing contact and connection in the midst of a backup.

The list of things I love about the MBP is quite long, but most of all I have to say the touch-pad is my favorite so far.  The things I take for granted when using my iPhone I can now do with my MBP touch-pad (at least until the next iPhone OS comes out that is)  Some of the other new features like the back-lit keyboard and its ease of adjusting the brightness independently of the screen brightness, the feel of the case (oooh smooth edges and tapers), the addition of an SD-card slot, the brightness and clarity of the screen (even though I find it a bit glarey in certain light compared to my old MacBook), the new style of the magnetic power connector, the speakers sound better than my old MacBook, etc., etc..  I could go on and on, but i’m sure everyone has already heard about all the changes and updates and poured over the comparison benchmarks.  All in all, I’m a very happy camper, with one exception.

One thing that isn’t working is BootCamp.  Well, it’s not that it isn’t working, it’s just that Apple hasn’t updated the drivers for the latest Macs yet.

I had used Winclone to create a .dmg of my old MacBook’s BootCamp partition and set it up with no problem on the new MBP.  If you are not familiar with WinClone, check out this older post about it – 2009/01/03/winclone-gotta-love-it/ – it’s a great way of moving your windows BootCamp partition from one machine or drive to another.

The problem I was having is mostly due to the fact there are no working drivers for the touch-pad, as well as a few other missing devices (as seen in the screen capture below), but the one that affect me the most is the touch-pad.  Thankfully the mouse works, otherwisetab-ing” your way through the dialogue boxes would get real tired real quick.

Getting it set up and working in BootCamp is not all that important for me, since most of the time i don’t actually boot into BootCamp.  Typically I use Parallels Desktop instead and just use the BootCamp partition as my virtual machine.  Parallels Desktop doesn’t uses the windows drivers for the devices so the touch-pad works fine.

Battery life is another thing that you just have to love, i was working on this blog entry for instance and looked up to see that i still had over 9 hrs of battery life left.  And the best part is, they are not stretching the truth as so often happens with manufacturers performance claims.  Depending upon your power settings and what apps you are running you can get around 9 hours out of the battery. I even saw the time left indicator climb up to over 11-1/2 hours once.

Aside from the little issue with missing drivers, the new MacBook Pro delivers in so many ways that it’s a winner overall and a perfect fit for anyone wanting a small laptop that delivers big.  If you already have a 13″ MacBook Pro from when they first introduced it however, there is nothing earth-shattering about this update that will make you run out and replace it.  If however you are like me and have been waiting, it may be time to take the plunge, since i don’t see the chipset getting an update to the i5 like the 15″ version has anytime soon.

tcg

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I’ve been a Parallels user for a while now, pretty much ever since it’s first release, mainly because Virtual PC sucked so much – it was brutally slow, and when M$ bought it, it pretty much spelled the end for that app, but i digress… i get so easily sidetracked sometimes, like just the other day i was starting to…  Damn, see what i mean.

Parallels has been around for a while and for those of you not familiar with it, it allowed you to run a virtual environment in which you can install another operating system.  For me its always been the way i run WinXP on my mac, and also a place to try out Vista without having to actually have a windows machine as well as my trusty mac.  I have bootcamp on my mac as well, and that is where i installed WinXP, which is great, but sometimes you don’t want to restart your mac just to use a windows program, or to test a feature or play around with some settings etc.  This is where Parallels finds a niche to fill.  Parallels runs like any other app on your mac, but allows you to run windows and in doing so, run any of your windows programs without having to restart.  Aside from the numerous restarts windows is always forcing you to do with every little update or security patch – argh.  there i go digressing again.  Like i said, i’ve been a Parallels user for a while, but recently after installing windows SP3 i broke my bootcamp install, and could only use my VM (virtual machine) in Parallels.  This annoyed me.  If you read back a few entries you will find my previous blog about BootCamp 2.1 which with a little playing, enabled me to fix my booting into BootCamp issue, but broke my Parallels.  D’oh!

Well, the latest version fixes that mess, and after a fairly lengthy but relatively painless install and upgrade of my existing VM i was greeted with a different startup screen, one that looks more mac-like than previous versions, as well as seeming clean and simple in its design.  (hmmm.  mac-like AND clean and simple.  am i being redundant?)  At this point its installed and working well, i’ve booted into BootCamp and back a couple of times, opened Parallels a few times (which is using the BootCamp partition) and done some updating and playing around and i’m noticing it seems peppier and more responsive when its open, which makes me think the automatic memory allocation is working better in this version than the previous version.  I’m gonna put this puppy through its paces over the next little while and i’ll let you know what’s new, what works (and what doesn’t) which features have changed, etc. and give a little more informative look into this latest version, to see if its really worth the money for the upgrade and if its really worthy of a new version number or if they have just fixed some issues that should have been dealt with in Parallels Desktop 3.

to be cont’d,

tcg

Since installing WinXp Service Pack 3 a while ago on my MacBook’s BootCamp partition, i have not been able to start up the mac in winxp, which sadly is something i need to do once in a while.  It became an issue this weekend when i wanted to test a slip-streamed winxp sp3 cd i made, doing so under Parallels just wasn’t good enough, i wanted the full blown windows environment.  So i figured it was about time i figured out why i was no longer able to start windows in BootCamp but i could in Parallels which was using the BootCamp partition – hence my confusion.

After a bit of reading and surfing, i came across some interesting info.  One, according to Apple, i was was supposed to update to BootCamp 2.1 before installing winxp sp3, and two, i needed to update my version of Parallels before installing SP3 as well.  D’oh!  It would have been nice to know that prior to installing SP3.  Thankfully, you can uninstall SP3 in Parallels and then after a reboot, i restarted my Mac in windows (hold the option button as your mac starts if you have more than one bootable partition or drive) and there i was, in Windows again.  So i downloaded the BootCamp 2.1 update, and installed it, and after a restart or two just to make sure it was all working again, i installed SP3 once again and let it go through all the updates, restarts, what-have-you to get up-to-date and it was still working.  I could start in Windows or Mac OSX.   WooHoo!  its fixed, or was it?

I restarted into Mac and tried to use Parallels.  Stuck in the endless restart loop where windows is trying to autocheck but can’t – same problem i was having with BootCamp previously.  D’oh!  Thankfully it didn’t screw up my BootCamp install – i checked just to be sure.  I rarely use Parallels, so i may just take it off my machine anyway, but the geek in me wants to fix it first.  So i think i’ll be updating the version of Parallels i have in the hope that fixes the issue, but i have my doubts.  if not, then like i said, its rarely used, so no great loss, but i know the nagging little voice in my head will have me troubleshooting it until i get it working anyway.  Stay tuned, the story isn’t over yet, just delayed for a while and put on the back burner while more pressing issues are dealt with, now back to making an HP laptop work with WinXP instead of that nasty MS joke named Vista.

tcg