Windows on Mac via VMware: What do I need?

I’m planning on installing VMware Fusion 3 on my new Macbook, but it’s a bit unclear what will and will not work from the Windows OS options I see online.

For example CompUSA has a “Microsoft Windows 7 Professional 64BIT Operating System Software - OEM DVD”. Will that work, given that this migration assistant says that “VMware cannot support OEM copies of Windows migrated into virtual machines as this is a violation of your licensing agreement with Microsoft”?

The OEM version above is $149.99 which is much cheaper than the non-OEM version currently selling for $258.92 on Amazon.

Also, I could go with Windows XP since that’s a proven and stable OS, and I should be able to find it cheaper than Windows 7. On the other hand, I found online several options for this too: OEM, non-OEM, etc.

In general, what are the red flags and pitfalls I need to avoid when buying a Windows OS for VMware Fusion for my Mac?

It will not work - OEM versions will not install into a VM, be it VMWare, VMWare View, Hyper-V, Citrix Xen Desktop, Fusion, whatever.

My experience has been that Win7 in a VM environment is much faster than XP. Bear in mind that with VMWare and Citrix you need the newest versions to even install and run Win7. (Your version of Fusion does support Win7, so no worries there).

In my experience, Parallels 5 is much faster than Fusion 3.0, faster still with dual proc setup, and even faster in 64 bit. If you really don’t care about speed that much, they are so comparable wrt ease of use / setup / management as to be negligible.

Note: I run both for work, so I make no allegiance to one over the other as any sort of fanboy.

That’s what I was worried about.

How do you explain what people are saying in this sort of thread (among several examples on the web), where they claim that they have used OEM versions with VMware?

Is it because older versions of VM software allowed it, but newer versions (e.g. VMware Fusion 3) don’t allow it?

That thread seems to be partially about XP, which runs perfectly fine on virtualbox/os-x leopard at least. And Vista, which should install fine on bootcamp, but that’s not virtualized. I guess MS just tries to discourage people from virtualizing their “consumer” products, which wasn’t an issue when they released XP.

Windows 7 can be used for 30 days (and upto 120 days using a hidden command) without activation. So you can test it out before buying, if you have access to the installation files.

I don’t mean to hijack this thread, but since there seem to be people here knowledgeable about Mac virtualizers:

I have a 32-bit Mac (newest 17" PB Pro), on which I have Parallels 5. Is it possible for me to install a 64-bit version of Windows 7 in my Parallels, even though the underlying Mac is 32-bit? I’m kind of assuming that it won’t work, but I spent an hour or so googling around and looking around on the Parallels site, and couldn’t find a definitive answer.

That would be my guess - they haven’t updated VMWare Tools in a while, or have disabled the “notify” preference and ahven’t noticed that there is a newer version available. (I have to have the latest for Dev purposes, so I don’t have any that are out of date).

I do this constantly.

Which would be … ? :slight_smile:

Is there a way to get access to the installation files besides buying a copy of the software?

I’d really like to try out which version works best with VMware/Parallels before I buy.

Which version of Windows 7 runs fastest on VMware/Parallels on a new Macbook Pro: 32-bit or 64-bit?

I’ve read conflicting accounts online.

Honestly, on a machine that quick, I don’t notice a dramatic difference. But I’m not doing performance benchmarks; I just have to make sure my software behaves on both of them.

Um. You have the newest 17" PB Pro? That’s a 64 bit system. And Snow Leopard is a 64bit OS. What makes you think your Mac is 32 bits?

Virtualization is different from emulation. In emulation, you could emulate a completely different piece of hardware. For example, the old PowerPC Macs emulated the Intel chips. In an emulated environment, you could emulate a 64 bit system on 32 bit hardware and under a 32 bit OS. It would be extremely and painfully slow, but you could.

In virtualization, the CPU and hardware is running the client OS in almost native mode. There is no emulation. If you have 32 bit hardware, you cannot run a 64bit OS in virtual mode.

However, as I pointed out, All Intel Macs are 64 bit hardware through and through, so you can easily run 64 bit OS.

There is very little preventing you from running an OEM version of Windows in Virtualization mode except the license says you can’t and thus would be illegal. Being an upright citizen, you wouldn’t want to do that. Otherwise, as a good citizen of The Village, I would be forced to report you to Number 2 as someone who is in the Cult of Individuality.

Well, besides Microsoft’s license, there are a few roadblocks that Windows will throw in front of you, but you can easily do a Bing search (Google? Never heard of him) and find a variety of ways to get around anything that Microsoft would toss at you. The big problem would be Windows Genuine Advantage which would detect your license as an OEM license, and see that you’re running not on an OEM machine.

For example, many unmutual people are buying Windows 7 upgrade disks. With the upgrade disk, which can be had for $30 if you’re a student. Some people cheat by finding someone who is a student and paying them to get the disk. It’s like if that said underaged student paid the person to go into a store and buy them a beer. Shameful!

Anyway, what these people have discovered is that you do a clean install of Windows 7. Windows 7 will get to a point where it will ask for your license. Of course, you put your license number in, and Windows will inform you that this is an upgrade edition, and thus the license is no good.

At this point, leave the license number blank and continue installing. When you finish, you will have an unlicensed copy of Windows, and Windows will keep reminding you of this. However, you do have that upgrade disk. Right?

Now, you use your Windows upgrade disk to reinstall Windows 7. This time, you do the update path and not a clean install. Now, since this is an update, your license number will work. After your second install, you have a fully licensed Windows computer.

If you decide to take this shameful and illegal approach, be sure you get the Windows 7 Professional upgrade and not the Home edition. Otherwise, you’ll run into that can’t run as a virtualized system crap, and you’ll have to take a few more painful little steps to get around this issue.

Be seeing you!

C:>slmgr -rearm

Student version (retail edition) official download links with MD5 and SHA-1 hashes listed here:

Windows 7 32-Bit (x86) Direct Download Links

Windows 7 64-Bit (x64) Direct Download Links

Every retail copy includes all versions of Windows 7 (Ultimate, Professional, Home Premium, Home Basic). Instructions here:

You can try any version free for 30 days (and upto 120 days) without activation. To activate, you need to purchase a valid license.