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Honolulu_Johnny
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Advice, Please: Ideal VMF Installation & Setup to Run Window XP Pro on Mac (User Parameters Provided)?

Aloha, All!

Well, I broke down and finally bought an Intel Mac!  Since posting my first message, about a month ago (http://communities.vmware.com/message/829703), I opted for a desktop instead of the MacBook Pro, I'd mentioned back then.    I'm now the proud owner of a new 24" iMac, 2.8 GHz Intel Core 2 Extreme, 4GB RAM, 500 GB HDD, running OSX (10.5.2), which I must say, dwarfs my G4 PowerBooks.

My question/request is for all you richly experienced VMF users out there to please opine as to the absolutely ideal installation & setup of VM Fusion (VMF) to run Window XP Pro along with Mac OSX (10.5.2).

I've attempted to describe below most of my user needs/parameters.   I already have all the software mentioned below, but have not yet installed VMF, or set up Boot Camp; i.e., at this point, only running Mac OSX.  However, I don't know whether it's better to set up the Windows VM from a Boot Camp partition, create the Windows VM from "Easy Install", or go with some other installation & setup approach (if it exists and is better suited to my needs).  

Therefore, please feel free to be as open and creative in whatever suggestions you believe would be helpful, which will be sincerely appreciated:

I plan to use the Windows VM, primarily to be able to use Dragon Naturally Speaking Pro v.9 (DNS Pro) voice recognition software (I'm disabled veteran, and I need to use it).  Many of you know that Nuance makes DNS only for Windows.*  I'm a relatively longtime DNS Pro user, but only in a Windows XP Pro environment & PC platform; i.e., not on my Macs, or VMF.

I'll be using DNS Pro mainly for MS Office 2003 Pro for Windows XP (till I upgrade soon to Office 2007), mostly to be able to then move those files into Mac OS X, for final editing and use in MS Office 2008 Expression Media version for Mac.  I'll also dictate e-mails, using DNS Pro, again, mostly to then finalize and use after moving them into Mac OS X.  To a limited extent, I would also like to use DNS Pro for simple menu commands within the Windows VM.

Nearly all my other work; e.g., Adobe Creative Suite apps, other graphics, iTunes, etc., etc., will be done in Mac OS X.  

Bottom line is that it's the capability to use Dragon's voice recognition for composing files in MS Office for Windows, and e-mails, along with ability to quickly and efficiently drag/drop those files into Mac OS X that will be my primary needs.

Okay, given all that, I would sincerely appreciate your recommendations and suggestions on what you think is THE absolutely ideal installation & setup to run VM Fusion and Window XP Pro to meet those parameters. If you need any more info from me to offer your advice, please just let me know, and I'll be happy to oblige!

Mahalo Nui Loa (Thank You Very Much)!

HJ

*P.S. By the way, after years of using DNS, made only for Windows, and comparison use to iListen, and ViaVoice for Mac, regrettably, the Mac OS voice recognition apps, just cannot even come close to DNS.   So, while some beneficent soul might be tempted to suggest iListen, or ViaVoice, thank you for your thoughtfulness, but they just don't work for me as well as DNS.

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matthewls
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Hello. I've been away from my desk--sorry if this reply is long in coming.

I can't give general advice, but can tell you what I've done that works (and some workarounds for problems).

I'm using fusion version 1.1.1, Windows XP Pro 32-bit edition with service pack three release candidate one installed (I don't think that the service pack is actually relevant), running on a Macbook Pro with 4 GB of RAM, a 2.4 GHz core 2 duo processor, and the 7200 RPM 160 GB drive. The Mac is running OS 10.5.2. The microphone is a Plantronics CS 50 USB, and I'm dictating into Dragon NaturallySpeaking 9.5 with the latest upgrades available. I'm using it now to dictate into Microsoft Word for Windows from office 2003.

The virtual machine settings are: 1024 MB of RAM, one virtual processor, an 8 GB NTFS formatted IDE virtual drive and several shared partitions on the Mac hard drive where I keep all of my documents. By default I turn off all of the virtual peripherals that I don't need, such as the CD-ROM, the floppy disk etc.. In the VMware fusion settings preferences I checked the “optimize for virtual machine disk performance”.

I use autoruns (a free software utility from sysinterals, now on Microsoft TechNet, but just type in www.sysinternals.com to get there) to limit Windows startup programs that are unnecessary. I also turn off all services that are unnecessary following the advice on several websites like TheElderGeek. I also followed a lot of the advice on a PDF file I found called "Fast XP on a VPC” --I believe it was from a link on this site, but have attached it here.

Right now I'm dictating into a seamless (unity) session, and that works quite well most of the time. The only time I've had trouble lately is when I switch back and forth between the virtual machine and the native OS 10. 5.2, for example to read Adobe PDF files. What happens occasionally is that DNS continues to receive the microphone input and follow commands, it somehow dictation stops working. I'm typically able to fix this by turning off the DNS microphone, using the VMware menu to disconnect the USB microphone, reconnecting it and starting dictating again. On a few occasions I've had to shut down and restart DNS, and lately I've been superstitiously turning off the DNS microphone before switching into the Mac Adobe reader. I'm not sure why this occurs, but given the complexity of the hooks that DNS uses inside Windows, and the enormous pointer switching that has to be happening to dictate into a seamless window, it's not too surprising that every once in awhile things get weird. In any case I'm looking forward to the next version of fusion--the one that allows seamless windows across multiple monitors.

Finally, Macspeech has put out a new version of their voice dictation system that actually based on the Dragon engine. I've ordered the upgrade and it should arrive any day now. I'm really hoping that it will allow the same kind of machine control of the Mac that DNS provides over Windows. http://www.macspeech.com/

I hope some of this helps.

Matthew

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Hi Johnny,

The generic advice I have for everyone is at . It doesn't sound like you need Boot Camp specific features, so I would go with a normal virtual machine (the Easy Install is fine). I don't remember if you've seen threads about DNS where people have reported that USB microphones work better than the built-in one (I'm not sure the Mac Pro even has such a thing).

For disk space, I would wildly guess that the default 20 GB is more than enough - about 3 GB for XP and patches, plus another 1 or 2 for Office gives you plenty of headroom if all you're doing is working with documents. I'm not sure about DNS's foorprint, but I don't imagine it can be that much. At the same time, the 500 GB hard drive means you don't have to worry too much about giving too much to XP, and picking something on the large side means you won't have to worry about resizing it later. I also don't know about RAM requirements for DNS, but with 4 GB on the host I would start with something in the 512 MB - 1 GB range. Someone who knows DNS can probably give a better recommendation.

For file sharing, you could use a shared folder or network share. A shared folder is a little easier to set up and doesn't require the guest to be on the network, but is also a little less compatible. I would start with a shared folder and move to a network share if you have problems; the Easy Install will set up a read-only shared folder to your home directory by default (you probably want a read-write shared folder, but might not want it to be your entire home directory).

Honolulu_Johnny
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Aloha, etung.

Like your assistance with my question about a month ago, cited in this post, very helpful information and reference.

I hesitate to mark this a fully answered, and hope that someone with additional relevant experience takes you up on your suggestion: "Someone who knows DNS can probably give a better recommendation."

Anyone else who could add to etung's helpful post would be most welcome.

Thank you very much!

HJ

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matthewls
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Hello. I've been away from my desk--sorry if this reply is long in coming.

I can't give general advice, but can tell you what I've done that works (and some workarounds for problems).

I'm using fusion version 1.1.1, Windows XP Pro 32-bit edition with service pack three release candidate one installed (I don't think that the service pack is actually relevant), running on a Macbook Pro with 4 GB of RAM, a 2.4 GHz core 2 duo processor, and the 7200 RPM 160 GB drive. The Mac is running OS 10.5.2. The microphone is a Plantronics CS 50 USB, and I'm dictating into Dragon NaturallySpeaking 9.5 with the latest upgrades available. I'm using it now to dictate into Microsoft Word for Windows from office 2003.

The virtual machine settings are: 1024 MB of RAM, one virtual processor, an 8 GB NTFS formatted IDE virtual drive and several shared partitions on the Mac hard drive where I keep all of my documents. By default I turn off all of the virtual peripherals that I don't need, such as the CD-ROM, the floppy disk etc.. In the VMware fusion settings preferences I checked the “optimize for virtual machine disk performance”.

I use autoruns (a free software utility from sysinterals, now on Microsoft TechNet, but just type in www.sysinternals.com to get there) to limit Windows startup programs that are unnecessary. I also turn off all services that are unnecessary following the advice on several websites like TheElderGeek. I also followed a lot of the advice on a PDF file I found called "Fast XP on a VPC” --I believe it was from a link on this site, but have attached it here.

Right now I'm dictating into a seamless (unity) session, and that works quite well most of the time. The only time I've had trouble lately is when I switch back and forth between the virtual machine and the native OS 10. 5.2, for example to read Adobe PDF files. What happens occasionally is that DNS continues to receive the microphone input and follow commands, it somehow dictation stops working. I'm typically able to fix this by turning off the DNS microphone, using the VMware menu to disconnect the USB microphone, reconnecting it and starting dictating again. On a few occasions I've had to shut down and restart DNS, and lately I've been superstitiously turning off the DNS microphone before switching into the Mac Adobe reader. I'm not sure why this occurs, but given the complexity of the hooks that DNS uses inside Windows, and the enormous pointer switching that has to be happening to dictate into a seamless window, it's not too surprising that every once in awhile things get weird. In any case I'm looking forward to the next version of fusion--the one that allows seamless windows across multiple monitors.

Finally, Macspeech has put out a new version of their voice dictation system that actually based on the Dragon engine. I've ordered the upgrade and it should arrive any day now. I'm really hoping that it will allow the same kind of machine control of the Mac that DNS provides over Windows. http://www.macspeech.com/

I hope some of this helps.

Matthew

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matthewls
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Correction: "What happens occasionally is that DNS continues to receive the microphone input and follow commands, but somehow dictation stops working." ( "<???>" appears in the results box.)

Honolulu_Johnny
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Aloha, matthewls.

Mahalo Nui Loa for both of your posts -- very instructive information!! I sincerely appreciate your crisp, clear instructions which, importantly, contain equally essential operating assumptions; i.e., detailed contextual information on hardware, software, and operating systems.

I hope that you won't mind if I use your posts to supplement a document I recently set up, "Dragon NaturallySpeaking, and VM Fusion" - http://communities.vmware.com/docs/DOC-3102 At this point, the document is very preliminary, mostly copy/paste of a thread (with info I found helpful) to which I was previously referred. Included is also a bit of introductory information, and reference to the thread to which you and others, like etung, provided me with helpful and encouraging assistance related to VM Fusion and Dragon NaturallySpeaking. However, with contributions like yours, and hopefully others' in the future, it could be refined into a more complete resource piece.

Please let me know if you agree to use of your posts. If you do, I could also change the collaboration and editing management settings on the document to provide for quality control.

Again, thank you very much.

Aloha,

HJ

Mahalo Nui Loa: Thank you very much !

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matthewls
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You're welcome, and please feel free to use the posts in the document.

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