Technology

Windows on a mac – Bootcamp vs Parallels

June 29, 2015

I thought I would share my thoughts and findings with my experience of running Windows on a mac after I have tried various methods over the years.

Recommendations…

For those of you who simply want to run Windows on your mac, you first need to ask yourself how long you intend on using Windows on the mac for?

All The Time…

For example.. if you are planning to use your macbook in windows for prolonged periods of time and possibly all of the time, I would highly recommend bootcamp because this will let you use the entire macs resources on its own.

Every Now and Then…

For people who only want to jump into Windows every now and then, and use the odd app.. I would recommend a VM, for example parallels as this can mean you can jump into Windows apps whilst running mac os x side by side.

Comparisons…

Parallels

Parallels is a virtual machine option for running Windows on a mac, it runs visually over the top of OS X at the same time as OS X.

Pros

  • Simple setup
  • Coherence mode
  • You can expand HDD space dynamically / give the box more ram etc
  • Great quick solution
  • Quick, I only had a problem with the speed after heavy usage

Cons

  • I had problems when trying to run a macbook with an external monitor, it worked, but window sizes were all off and became a pain
  • Not for prolonged and heavy usage of Windows

Bootcamp

Bootcamp is basically a complete Windows install onto a partition of your macs hard disk, if will run as a dedicated operating system unlike a VM which runs side by side.

Pros

  • You get the entire systems resources
  • Better for using external monitors
  • Full windows experience
  • Better for prolonged usage

Cons

  • To switch between OS X and Windows you need to reboot the machine
  • You can’t see the OS X HDD from bootcamp (at least not with Windows 8)
  • HDD space can’t be expanded, once you set on a partition size.. you are stuck with that, unless you completely reinstall Windows.
  • If you have a small HDD space can disappear very quickly. 128GB hdds will only get 60GB of space and that isn’t loads.. depending on what you are running.

What I Use…

I use both Bootcamp and Parallels in two different environments, I use Parallels on my macbook at home as I am mainly in OS X and only jump into Windows if I require an application that doesn’t run in OS X.. e.g. Visual Studio etc. In the office at work I use Bootcamp because of my job as a .Net website developer it requires me to be in Windows all of the time and rarely I need to be in OS X.

I did originally at work try to run Parallels, but I found that as I was using 95% of windows apps, my usage got too heavy for Parallels and this forced me to switch to Bootcamp.

 

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