Posts Tagged ‘winxp’

I replaced the hard drive in my trusty MacBook a few weeks ago now, right before christmas, and started to blog about this app, but then life got in the way and before i knew it, it was a whole new year.   I’ve been using my new hard drive for a while now without any issues, except for a slight lessening in battery life, which i assume is from the drive speed being 7200rpm taking a bit more power to run it.  What i really wanted to mention was the process of cloning a BootCamp partition to a new drive.  The data transfer for the Mac OS side of things is easy, and after a slightly harrowing experience (see my previous blog) i had to find a way to get the windows side of things working so i had the opportunity to use the wonderful application WinClone to clone my BootCamp partition right within Mac OSX.5.6   One word, SWEET!

The harrowing experience had nothing to do the hard drive installation, although its funny how these problems occur while you are doing something else, call it fate, karma, whathaveyou, its always bad timing when hardware failures happen – never had one occur when i was sitting around with time on my hands, that’s for sure.  But i digress…  If you read my last blog entry you already know i replaced the hard drive and restored using Time Machine to get my MacBook back up and running, what i didn’t mention is that i did it wrong on the first attempt.  i had thought i needed to partition the drive before installing to allow me to copy over my BootCamp partition from the old hard drive to the new one.  i was wrong. d’oh!   i had a feeling when i was doing it in the first place that i may need to use BootCamp Assistant (BCA) to actually create the partition, but i wasn’t sure, so i took and chance and did it myself, 50-50 chance and i picked the wrong horse so to speak.  After i had successfully restored my Mac using Time Machine, i tried to use BCA to access the partition i had made for BootCamp.  it was not recognized and i got a warning message to backup all my files and delete the partition and use BCA to create a partition.  Damn.  Oh well, live and learn, and now hopefully you will not make the same mistake.

Anyways…  I removed the partition, ran restore from the Mac OS install disk and a few hours later had a fully working Mac again, but without a working copy of BootCamp.  I ran the BootCamp assistant, creating my partition that i wanted – 15 gig this time – and then let it get to the point when it wants to start setting up windows.  This is where i stopped and ran WinClone.  I had already created a disk image of my bootcamp partition to restore from before changing my hard drive, so that disk image was already on the desktop of my Mac, I selected that image to restore to the new partition i had created, all within Mac OS.  Just a case of clicking RESTORE, selecting the disk image to clone, setting the destination and letting WinClone do the rest.

I wandered off, got a coffee, a few snacks and carried on about my work, checking back a while later  to see it was already done.  I rebooted into BootCamp, checked everything out, ran a few updates, booted back into Mac, then back into Windows again and everything was working perfectly, and still is.  This is an amazing piece of software, and its free.  Its donation-ware so if you do need it and use it, help support the people who made it and drop them a few bucks.  Its not the kind of thing i see myself using very often, but its nice to know its out there for those of us who use BootCamp, like to tinker and want to change hard drives without starting from scratch in windows again.

tcg

I’ve been using Parallels for some time, and as i explained in a previous blog (http://thatcomputerguy.ca/2008/11/19/parallels-desktop-4-for-mac-it-works/) the previous version, Version 3, broke and wouldn’t let me use the same virtual machine in BootCamp and Parallels as it had been doing prior to the WinXP SP3 update.  It was rather annoying, so i settled for just getting the BootCamp partition working again and stopped using Parallels.  That was before Parallels updated to version 4.0.  I downloaded the trial version and did the install, and let my Mac just run with the upgrade, as usual i made sure i had a complete working backup of my system first.  It’s a lengthy upgrade procedure, so find something else to do that doesn’t involve you using your Mac while its working away at it.  I did this strange thing called “using a pen and paper to write” that a friend had told me about.  its okay, but i find the lack of a spell checker a bit frustrating…. anyways, you will see a screen similar to this one below…

…and if all goes well, you will be prompted to start up your virutal machine after the upgrade process is complete.  The interface, the GUI if you will, has changed quite a bit and i find it to look more Mac-like which in my opinion is always a good thing.  Its very clean and simplistic which always gives me that warm fuzzy mac feeling of home, even when i see that windows logo on my MacBook’s screen.

I had no trouble starting up the virtual machine, my BootCamp Partition, and using it under Parallels 4, and after a couple of restarts and reboots directly into BootCamp and back again, i have had no troubles as of yet.  Make sure you re-install the Parallels Tools, this seems to be a standard thing with any of the updates to Parallels, but i mention it here just as a reminder.  Without them installed properly, many of the usb devices and networking etc may not work properly.

This version of Parallels seems noticeably peppier and more responsive, although slightly longer to startup.  Once it has, it is running at almost native speed and i find Autocad quite usable, which really is the only program i use Parallels or BootCamp for, other than testing out windows software that i might not want to install on a real windows pc in case it screws it up.  It is also useful to install programs on that are trial versions for the same reason, which brings me to a feature that i really liked in VPC and also in earlier versions of Parallels – the ability to save or discard the changes.  This is the Snapshots feature of Parallels, sadly though you cannot take Snapshots when using a BootCamp partition.  The Snapshot feature is basically a save of the current configuration that you can revert to if you screw something up accidentally, or as i used to use it, on purpose, just to try out software that wasn’t actually supported by your OS for instance, or software you were not sure you really wanted to install.  This ability alone is almost enough to make me go back to using a different virtual machine instead of my BootCamp partition, but i like to be able to just update one copy of windows and keep all that nasty stuff in one place.

One thing i like is the addition of the Shut Down button on the toolbar at the top, instead of just closing the program it does an actual Windows Shutdown which is necessary for you to use your BootCamp partition when you reboot.  As with many programs, its the little fixes and additions that make or break an application or determine its worthiness/usefullness.  I think Parallels 4 is a good update to an already good program, and as for me, they fixed the biggest issue, the ability to use the my BootCamp partition as the virtual machine, so its worth the price of admission for that alone.

tcg

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