Saturday, August 19, 2006


Installing Windows XP on Parallels

Parallels Desktop is a VMWare/Virtual PC-like application for Mac OS X whch allows one to run other operating systems on a Mac. I want my MacBook to be my one-and-only laptop, so I need it to run Windows XP and Visual Studio 2005.

I had trouble installing Ubuntu under Parallels with my first MacBook, but it installed without problems on my second MacBook. I think this is because I upgraded the RAM to 2 GB on the second MacBook. Ubuntu works very well in full-screen mode on the Mac; it's better than my dedicated Ubuntu notebook.

So, confident that it would be worth my time, I started the process of installing XP on Parallels. has an article describing how I could use my now-obsolete Virtual PC disks to create a bootable XP installation disk. The article is focused on setting this up with Boot Camp, but one some of the comments described how to do the same thing with Parallels.

Once I had the bootable CD, everything was easy. I installed XP Pro, downloaded all the updates, and then made a clone of that virtual machine, so I can return to a pristine XP installation any time I need. Then I installed Visual Studio 2005 and SQL Server Developer, and made a clone of that as well.

The XP install used up about 2.5 GB. Adding Visual Studio grew it to 9.3 GB. That's a pretty big chunk of my 60 GB hard drive, so I don't think I'll be keeping too many clones around. I did a full install of all of Visual Studio's components and documentation; if I do it again I'll be more selective.

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