How do I install Vista in VMWare Fusion?
I know you've written rather extensively about Parallels as a virtual machine environment for Mac OS X, but I'm wondering what you think of VMware Fusion and whether you know if it works properly with Microsoft Vista?
I recently wrote a feature piece for Linux Journal where I talked about running a pure Linux installation (Ubuntu, in this case) within a virtual environment on a PowerBook Pro laptop and that was my excuse to test out VMWare Fusion, the new flagship product for the Apple platform from long-time virtualization experts VMWare.
My conclusion? We Mac users are blessed with two superb virtualization solutions. Whether you choose < href="http://www.parallels.com/en/products/desktop/" target="_blank">Parallels Desktop or VMWare Fusion, you're going to find a powerful tool that lets you run just about any operating system smoothly and efficiently.
Now, on to your specific question. Can you install and run Vista with VMWare Fusion? You betcha.
Here's how I did just that...
The first step was to download the demo of VMWare Fusion (though I have a full operating license, you can run it for 30 days with a free temp license)
Start it up and you see perhaps the saddest, most depressing screen in the world of virtualization:
No operating system installed. So sad.
Fortunately, a click on "New..." gets us here:
You can get a sense of the many, many operating systems supported by VMWare Fusion in this next step. I'll choose Vista so we can install a full home edition:
Now you'll go through the typical steps of picking a name for your virtual environment (I'll ingeniously call mine "Vista") and where you want to have it installed on your computer:
Now you can configure how VMWare Fusion builds and manages your virtual hard disk. Remember that if you preallocate all the space, you've just eaten up 15-20GB or more of the real disk space on your computer. My advice? Let the VM system increase the size of the disk as it needs, so that you can get by with less than the full file size.
As a tip: with Vista installed but no other apps added, the VM virtual disk for Vista is 5.9GB. If I would have pre-allocated the 20GB VMWare recommends (Microsoft recommends 40GB for Vista!) I would have wasted a huge amount of disk space.
Next is one of those features of VMware Fusion that makes it such a pleasure to install operating systems in this particular app: it knows when you should be entering different data and can automate the process for you. No waiting ten minutes to click "OK" and then fifteen minutes to click "Yes", then five before you enter your license key. Yeah!
That's what they call "Windows Easy Install" and it's well worth selecting in this process:
You will need to enter your full product key, as you can see I'm doing here.
Next step is to agree with the installer that, yes, you do want to actually do the installation:
Finally, finally, click on "Finish" (not "Proceed"?) and you'll start the actual installation process:
Oops. You need to actually put the Microsoft Vista install disk in the computer at this point. :-) I'll try again...
Many moons later (about 30 minutes on my Macbook Air) I saw:
...and still the wheels slowly spun...
until, after quite a while, I saw:
Log in and after 2-3 minutes the system automatically starts installing the custom VMWare Fusion Tools:
Finally, it wouldn't really be a Microsoft operating system unless it included one key critical application, as shown here:
As you can see, Microsoft Vista works just fine on the Mac, either in full screen mode or as an app window mixed in with all the other apps on the computer.
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