Why Vista?

Why Vista?

Summary: I'm working on a head-to-head review of Parallels and Fusion, two competing virtualization packages on OS X, for InfoWorld. As part of that review, I'm doing a Vista install in both to check the experience, resource usage, and so on.

SHARE:

I'm working on a head-to-head review of Parallels and Fusion, two competing virtualization packages on OS X, for InfoWorld. As part of that review, I'm doing a Vista install in both to check the experience, resource usage, and so on.

One of the cool features of Parallels is something they call "Smart Select." With Smart Select you can specify which file types are handled by which application and in which OS. So for example, you can specify that Word docs are always opened in Office 2007 in Windows, regardless of which OS you click on the document. Or that clicking on a URL, regardless of which OS you're using always opens the page in Safari on the Mac.

Since the application windows can float free of the virtual machine--like native windows, you end up with Word 2007 running on your desktop--just like it was natively installed. Parallels calls this "Coherence" while Fusion calls this "Unity." I described the spooky feeling this gave me the first time it (unexpectedly) happened to me on my blog a few weeks ago.

So, back to Vista. As I was loading it, I was wondering: if the primary reason people run Parallels or Fusion is to run Windows applications--rather than to experience the OS itself, why would anyone install Vista? As far as I know XP will run all the applications that Vista will. When all you want is the app, XP will do the job as well as Vista. You probably already own a license and it's less resource intensive. Just use it.

Topics: Operating Systems, Microsoft, Windows

Kick off your day with ZDNet's daily email newsletter. It's the freshest tech news and opinion, served hot. Get it.

Talkback

11 comments
Log in or register to join the discussion
  • And XP has a less restrictive EULA for VMs

    "I was wondering: if the primary reason people run Parallels or Fusion is to run
    Windows applications?rather than to experience the OS itself, why would anyone
    install Vista? As far as I know XP will run all the applications that Vista will."

    The big advantage of XP is the EULA. You're not restricted to the rip-off version.

    Of course those of us that use Fusion for *nix OSes don't have this restriction.
    Richard Flude
    • Rip-off version?

      [i]The big advantage of XP is the EULA. You're not restricted to the rip-off version.[/i]

      Which version of OSX can be virtualized? Just curious. ;)
      NonZealot
  • And what's wrong with Windows XP?: Nothing.

    nt
    D T Schmitz
    • And what's wrong with Windows XP?: Nothing.

      No-thing-at-all. Really. It's the human equivalent of
      perfection. Strike that, perfection is mediocre compared to
      Windows XP. For eons to come, it'll stand as the pinnacle of
      human engineering. We can safely regress back to the stone age
      because, let's face it, it's never going to be better than this
      and we might as well quit now.
      Caesar Tjalbo
  • RE: Why Vista?

    I agree. I'm a web developer who switched from Windows to Mac OS X about a year ago because I couldn't get a PC laptop comparable in size and aesthetic appeal to the Mac Book Pro.

    Having already purchased a Windows XP license I have continued to use the OS with Parallels for running programs that I can't run on the Mac.

    A little while ago I installed a Windows Vista Theme for XP which gave me some of the nice look and feel of Vista without the overhead of actually running it. The theme turned out to be slightly problematic with some Programs using Windows Forms but it may be an option if you're a sucker for the Vista look and feel.
    mjmcmahon
    • Why not Mac OS X theme?

      If the idea is to run Windows apps, and as seamlessly as possible, I would argue what
      you really want is XP with a Mac OS X theme, not a Vista themes XP. I want the fact
      that I need to use some Windows apps to be completely transparent to my Mac
      experience....
      ebernet
  • It might be useful for demos

    Back when I was traveling overseas I used a PowerBook
    with VPC to demo a small Windows app. Actually had
    both 98 and XP loaded to demo in the version the
    prospect used.

    The only reason I can see Vista being viable in the
    situation you are discussing is that you may need to
    prove an app works with it. Otherwise I would go with
    the smallest, least demanding (fastest) version you can
    get away with. Save the disk space for other options
    Parallels lets you use, like Linux, Solaris, etc.
    Ken_z
  • What a waste of WOW...

    We have 2 evils here friends: 1) Running Mac OS X 2) Running Vista in a virtual environment. I won't go on about #1, if you buy a Mac you deserve what you get (spyware, lack of Zune drivers). However, running Vista without the full blown WOW of Aero is just sickening to this CIO. I sit here all day and "flip" apps in Aero, watching them slide into place and shuffle on the desktop. Then I move windows around and watch the translucent affects. Then me and my rep go out and squirt people with our Zunes. Why run Vista in a VM? Same reason one would buy an iPod over a Zune: lack of vision.
    Mike Cox
    • funny

      I had a good laugh
      SquishyParts
  • RE: Why Vista?

    I am a web developer who is new to the Mac, and am yet to find tools for web dev that rival those on Windows. What's more, I have used these Windows tools for years and am very efficient on them.

    Parallels allows me to use OS X for everyday tasks, and then switch over to Windows for my development work. I can also test my work on Internet Explorer, Firefox and Safari effortlessly. I run XP on Parallels, so I can test in IE 6, and have another desktop running Vista.
    davemacd
  • RE: Why Vista?

    I love the look of a BSOD in the morning. Just kidding - sort of.

    I mainly use VMs in OS X for Winders only programs, or that
    have better versions of the software on the Winders side like
    Quicken. With Parallels or Fusion, I can do what I need to do in
    Winders and get back to a real OS.

    If you want to experience the eye-popping visuals of Vista,
    you'll have to install it in boot camp. It doesn't work right in
    the VMs. You'll also be better off playing your Winders games
    in boot camp. Some of the other added "goodies" with Vista
    might not work well or at all in the VMs, also.

    I installed Vista because I wanted to experience the Wow! What
    I got was, What? & Why? Nothing too special and different from
    XP, other than the little box appearing and asking me to click
    on it to allow Microsoft programs to run. How do I turn that off
    again? ;-) But yeah, stick with XP if possible, because it runs
    better in the VMs with less dedicated memory and noticeably
    less sluggish performance than Vista.
    Chiatzu