Jul 06

Windows on Mac – File Sharing with Parallels

With Apple moving to Intel i386 platform, running Windows OS on a Macintosh is now a realistic situation. A number of readers have come back with the question on how to share files across Mac OSX and Windows OS installed on their Mac-Intel System. Actually, with Parallels its quite easy.At moment there are top options of running Windows on Mac-Intels

  • Virtualization – Parallels or iEmulator
  • Boot Camp – This is from Apple that allows dual boot of OSX Tiger and Windows XP Sp2.

Read related posts on Boot Camp, Parallels and CrossOver Wine for Mac :

  1. CrossOver Mac, comparison of Parallels, BootCamp & CrossOver.
  2. Discusses when you would want to use Parallels, and when Boot Camp.

Now to the main agenda for this article, how to share files across Windows & Mac ? Again there are two ways suing SMB file share or using Parallels toolsSharing using Parallels ToolsThe Parallels installer for Mac ships with a tool called “Parallels Tool for Windows”. This allows you to share file systems with the Native HFS+ Mac partition, share clipboard, keyboard, mouse etc. This is what you need to do after you have installed Windows XP on your Mac-Intel using Parallels:

  • Start Parallels, select the Windows XP installation from Menubar->File->OpenRecent. This will open up a window like this

Windows Xp setup on Parallels- Mac

  • From the window above click on the Edit Button, now when the configuration window opens select the sharing option where add you OSX folder you would want to share

Enabling OSX Shared folders for Parallel’s windows XP installation

Click on Image to Expand

  • Now start the Windows XP
  • After logging into your XP account, go back to the OSX Tiger Menu bar for Parallels. Here click on the Menubar->VM->Install Parallels Tool menu item. This will start the parallels tool installation.

After the parallels tools are installed you will notice a desktop shortcut on your Windows called Parallels Shared folders, and a icon on your system tray for parallels. Click on the desktop shortcut to view, edit or add files on the HFS+ folder you had shared.

Parallels Shared folder icon

Sharing using SMB shareSMB protocol is used by Windows to share folders over network. Since OSX Tiger and Windows are running concurrently and two operating systems with individual IP addresses, files can be shared using SMB protocol. If you are not already familiar with SMB share this is what you need to do .Share OSX Folders using SMB

  1. Open System Preference fro your OSX Tiger Dock.
  2. Click on the icon labeled Sharing, from the configuration Pane the open up enable Windows Sharing and then enable Windows File Share in the firewall tab in the same view.

Share Windows Folder using SMB

  1. On Windows Explorer right click on any folder you want to share which will open up a context menu.
  2. Click on the “Sharing and Security”
  3. From the dialog box that open up, click on share this folder check box (if you are doing this for the firest time you will need to click on the network setup hyper lin on this dialog).

With this you setup is complete. So how to you access the shared folders ?On Windows : Type \your-mac-name on the address bar of windows explorer or go to network neighborhood of your windows system.On Mac : On the menu bar for Finder select Go->Network to see the list of SMB enabled system in your network. Here click on the name of the Windows virtual machine you are running.ConclusionOf the two methods – SMB or Parallels Tools either of them can be used for file sharing. Choose the one you like best or use both.technorati tags:, , , ,

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Jul 06

Mac: CrossOver Wine to join the party with BootCamp & Parallels

CodeWeavers Inc. has been marketing a very competent set of products (CrossOver Office, Plugin) based on Wine Project for GNU/Linux. Recently the company announced that they will release a similar product for Intel Mac OSX. With this CodeWeavers will join the party of Windows on Mac with Apple’s Bootcamp & Parallel’s for Mac.

CrossOver Mac is Coming!CrossOver Mac — CodeWeavers’ latest Windows-compatability product — is on its way. Intended for Intel Mac OS X machines, CrossOver Mac will allow Mac users to run their favorite Windows applications seamlessly on their Mac, without the need for a Windows OS license of any kind. Below are answers to some of the questions we are receiving on the product.

CodeWeavers – CrossOver Mac

What is Wine ?

Wine is Not an Emulator – says it all. Wine project has created a set of core Windows API, foundation classes that will allow numerous windows applications to run natively on Linux, and perhaps now Intel Macs. Microsoft Windows being closed source, the Wine APIs are at best approximations, but are good enough to run 100s of Windows applications on Linux without having to install Windows or dual boot to Windows.

What is CrossOver ?

CrossOver is a commercial product based on Wine. It is easier to install and manage than the open source Wine. Let’s can CrossOver as Wine ++. On my Suse 9 I have used CrossOver Plugin. It allowed me to install and run Windows browser plugins like QuickTime, Windows Media… CrossOver can also run popular Windows applications like MS Office, Photoshop etc.

What will CrossOver Mac mean to us ?

On Intel Macs we have 2 options for running Windows Applications – dual boot with Apple’s BootCamp & Virtualization like Parallel’s. Read my earlier post on BootCamp & Parallels . At this point, let’s not debate why one would want to run Windows Apps on Mac. The fact that there are so many Windows on Mac products available can indicate that such a need exists.

CrossOver Mac is not yet available. If I go by my user experience on Linux, CrossOver Mac should be a very creditable alternative. The biggest USP for CrossOver is the ability to run Windows applications natively. So in an Intel Mac we could see Office 2003 run like a native Intel Mac application. We can have Windows media playing natively on Safari without Flip4Mac. We may be able to run Internet Explorer 7 on OSX for some nasty bank websites that only work with IE.

Lets Compare … BootCamp vs. Parallels Vs. CrossOver/Wine


  • It requires Windows a copy of Windows XP Sp2 to be installed in a dual boot setup.
  • Only supports Microsoft Windows.
  • All applications compatible with Windows XP can run at native speed.
  • Device Drivers for Mac hardware available from Apple.
  • Third Party hardware like printers, scanners work well
  • File Sharing between Mac OSX and Windows is a major problem. Some third part applications addresses this issues. Read this post.
  • Either Windows or Mac OSX Tiger can run at any one time.
  • BootCamp Beta available for FREE.


  • Requires a copy of Windows ( 2000, XP…)
  • Can install other OSes like Linux, BSD (cross platform application developers should love this)
  • Problem’s have been reported on many usb devices
  • Can run OSX and Windows or other OS con-currently (how many you can run at a time depends on the amount of RAM you have)
  • Slight speed penalty on Windows or other guest OSes.
  • File sharing between Windows and OSX by using SMB file share.
  • Time limited fully functional demo available. Costs $49 to buy.


  • Only supports Microsoft Windows application.
  • It will not require us to buy or install MS Windows OS ( saves $$$$)
  • It should allow Windows application to be installed directly of Linux ( and later on Mac)
  • Wine runs lots of Windows applications, lots but not all. Most of the popular applications work on CrossOver/Wine.
  • Windows applications should be able to access Mac HFS+ drives natively. On Linux CrossOver lets all supported file systems to be accessed natively.
  • There may be some speed penalty on the Apps running on Wine/CrossOver.

Soon we shall know if CrossOver Mac will be as good as CrossOver Linux. At the moment all I can say is that the Windows on Mac market is getting crowded which is good for the users who will have more choices.

– Manas Kamal Bhattacharya

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Jun 06

Mac: Can Apple Boot Camp and Parallels co-exist?

Apple has been known to make bold and mysterious decisions. Personally, I wouldn’t be surprised if Apple choose to drop “Boot Camp” altogether in the 10.5 (Leopard) iteration of it’s Mac OSX. But the question is would they really drop Boot Camp in favor of virtualization ?

Here is an interesting question raised at TQAW blog :

I can’t even find Apple’s own Boot Camp mentioned on the ‘you can even run Windows’ page of Apple’s Get a Mac site – surprisingly, it’s Parallels Desktop that has the spotlight now. Could Apple be giving Boot Camp the back seat in favor of the no-rebooting convenience of Parallels Desktop?

Apple’s Windows site mentions Parallels Desktop instead of Boot Camp – The Unofficial Apple Weblog (TUAW)

Developing a new piece of software costs money. The software in question is Boot Camp !!! Cost of developing is much more than paying the developers, the QA folks who builds and tests the software, it’s much more than the cost of facility & infrastructure.

Being in product development myself, I can tell this much – the real cost is the time. For any software company engineering resources (dev, qa) is finite. If Apple didn’t have any intention to discontinue Boot Camp they would have used the resources to write Boot Camp. Simple. they could have used the time and the resources to write something else that would have got them more revenues.

If you compare Boot Camp to Parallel’s/ Desktop for Mac, you will notice that these two software are not altogether same.

For now, Boot Camp only allows us to install and dual boot between Mac OSX 10.4.6 and Windows XP SP2. No other OSes are supported. You can only boot to one OS at a time – either into OSX or into Windows XP. This similar to Grub or Lilo you would use to dual or multi boot Linux/Windows on a PC. The concept to Boot Camp comes with lot of advantages.

  • No matter which OS you have booted into, you get native speed and performance. With boot camp I played gaes on my Windows XP setup with quite good performance. Boot Camp transforms my Intel iMac Core Due 2Ghz into a great gaming PC. For everything else I use Tiger without any performance penalty.
  • With Boot Camp each supported OS runs natively and separately. So, if Windows XP has a trouble it will not impact my Tiger installation.

The trouble in Boot Camp’s paradise is sharing of files between the Windows and Tiger partitions. Tiger can read from the from Windows NTFS drive ( if you used FAT Tiber could both read and write, but using FAT file system is not a good idea at all). If you are booted to Windows, you wouldn’t be able to even see the Tiger’s HFS+ partition. There are 3rd party tools like MacDrive 6 that lets you use HFS+ drives from windows.

Parallel’s instead lets you run both Mac OSX and Windows (even Linux , BSD etc.) concurrently on you Mac. In this example let us take OSX Tiger and Windows XP. Since both are running concurrently, sharing files between them is as simple as accessing SMB shares over a TCP/IP network.

But Parallel’s or any other virtualization software (like Virtual PC, Vmware, XEN…) is not about sharing files ? There are some very good alternatives of Windows software for Mac. Then why would anyone want to use Parallel’s desktop. I can describe a use case where I have used virtualization regularly. Suppose, you are software developer who has to check cross platform compatibility of your software and you are tight on your hardware budget. This is where parallel’s or other virtualization software can help, on the same hardware you can run different OSes. In case of Parallel’s desktop you can run scores of OSes with it on you Mac.

Other then the above I cannot see much use case for parallels. In my tests of Windows XP running on Parallel’s I have found Windows run quite sluggishly. Surprisingly, if I remote desktop to the Windows XP (running on Parallel’s) the responsiveness is much better.

Of course, you can buy Parallels and run 20 OSes on you Mac. Why ? Just for fun 🙂

Different people have different needs and have different use cases. Neither Boot Camp nor Parallel’s can address everybody’s needs.

I don’t see Apple giving Boot Camp the boot any time soon. Boot camp and
virtualization softwares like Parallel’s will co-exist ( just like XEN
and Grub have co-existed). If you go by the rumors Leopard may even
have virtualization built into it by default.

Related Post :Mac: CrossOver Wine to join the party with BootCamp & Parallels

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