Installing Bootcamp after installing Parallels
January 16, 2007 7:02 AM   Subscribe

I'm running Parallels; I need to install Bootcamp.

After using PCs for years, I've switched to a Mac. I tell you this so you'll know I'm new to Macs and have some big gaps in my knowledge.

I have a ton of money invested in PC software, so I installed Parallels and am happily bopping back and forth between Win XP (not Vista!) and OSX. Sadly, I've run into too many cases which Parallels isn't working for me -- mostly this involves peripherals (Wacom tablets, mics, etc.) So I'm thinking I might have better luck with a full XP partition and Bootcamp.

I've found a ton of info about installing Parallels once you have Bootcamp running but very little about the other way around. I'm assuming that installing Bootcamp won't be too hard, but then -- presumably -- I'll have two copies of Windows on my machine (the Parallels one and the Bootcamp one), and I don't want that. Should I back up my (Parallels) Windows data, uninstall Windows (how?), install Bootcamp with a fresh Windows install and then point Parallels to that one? Is there a better way?
posted by grumblebee to Computers & Internet (9 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
AFAIK, you'll currently need a recent beta version of Parallels if you want it to run off your Boot Camp Windows partition. The stable release doesn't have that feature yet.

I think your plan sounds logical. While there may be some clever geeky way of squirting your existing Parallels virtual Windows disk onto your new Boot Camp Windows partition, I think a clean reinstall of Windows following the Official Boot Camp Bible will probably cause the least heartache.

As for 'uninstalling' your current Parallels virtual machine, all you need to do is chuck it in the Trash (once you've backed up your data and quit Parallels, of course!). It lives in ~/Library/Parallels.

You may get some gyp when it comes to validating your new installation of Windows. I got the "this copy of Windows has been validated too many times" message, but I just called them up and told them I had got rid of my old machine (albeit a virtual one) and was now installing Windows on my new machine (albeit a virtual one). That seemed to be good enough for them.
posted by chrismear at 7:16 AM on January 16, 2007

All I an add to this is that I successfully added windows via bootcamp after parallels was installed. Bootcamp goes onto a separate partition and neither parallels nor bootcamp are aware of each other in any way. They don't need to see each other or talk to each other in any way. I wish I had a 60gb drive but otherwise have had no problems having both installed. I just go into bootcamp to play Combat Mission.
posted by craniac at 7:16 AM on January 16, 2007

Good point. I should point out that legally you need two Windows licenses if you're going to have two separate installations of Windows, one in Parallels and one in Boot Camp, because they're effectively two separate computers.

If you're running Boot Camp and Parallels off the same partition (i.e. using the new feature in the Parallels beta), I'm not sure what the legal status is. I'm pretty certain Windows 'sees' slightly different hardware when it's running on your Mac natively compared to when it's running inside a Parallels virtual machine. So it's like you're running the same installation on two different computers. Similarly, I don't how validation works in this case. Anyone tried this?
posted by chrismear at 7:22 AM on January 16, 2007

Yeah, I did this the other way. Boot Camp is very specific about the way it has to be set up. You'll have to nuke your windows partition. Sorry.

Parallels doesn't need to recertify itself when it uses bootcamp.

Beta here
posted by filmgeek at 3:04 PM on January 16, 2007

I have been using XP via Boot Camp for at least 6 months on both a MacBook Pro and a Mac Pro (tower) and can state that it has been the best Windows experience I've ever had, BY FAR. With Boot Camp, there was a bit of an issue with getting XP to load with the correct drivers for the Mac Pro's chipset, but I believe this has since been taken care of by Apple. So, IME, Boot Camp == excellent stability.

Just this weekend, I decided to give the latest build of Parallels a whirl, mostly because (a) there's a particular Windows-only app I run every day and would love to be able to run without rebooting, and (b) I was drawn by the ability to leverage my existing Boot Camp partition.

My experience so far is that this feature (using a Boot Camp copy of Windows via Parallels) is still beta, and while it is mostly stable it is not entirely stable. So I am back to booting into Windows via Boot Camp until this feature gets some more love.

The other thing worth noting is that you will need to reactivate Windows if you switch from booting via Boot Camp to booting via Parallels (even if Parallels is using the Boot Camp installation). If you switch back and forth, you will need to reactivate each time you change boot methods. There may be a better resolution for this in the future, but as far as I can tell this is the way things work now.

On the whole, Parallels is very promising stuff and I look forward to seeing this product mature. I just wish the boot-into-your-Boot-Camp-partition feature was stable enough for me to use right now.
posted by mosk at 3:24 PM on January 16, 2007

After posting the above, i saw filmgeek's comment:

>Parallels doesn't need to recertify itself when it uses bootcamp

This is counter to my experience, but maybe I'm wrong and just didn't follow the instructions carefully enough?? My experience, however, was that reactivation was necessary.
posted by mosk at 3:27 PM on January 16, 2007

mosk - are you using the latest, latest, beta?
posted by filmgeek at 7:53 PM on January 16, 2007

Yes, RC3120, dowloaded on Sunday night.
posted by mosk at 10:26 PM on January 16, 2007

This thread's been quiet for a while but I found an answer on Parallels' support forum. It's complex, though...
posted by britain at 10:53 AM on May 1, 2007

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