rhhnsn
Contributor
Contributor

installing XP and Windows apps on usb drive question

I've looked through the forums and have seen several posts that lead me to believe I can do what I describe below, but nothing that relieved that nagging doubt in the back of my mind.

I have a new Macbook pro 2.4 Ghz with 2gb or ram.

I'd like to do the following:

\- Install VMware Fusion on the Mac hard drive

\- Install Windows XP and Windows apps on an external USB 2.0 drive. This drive will be dedicated to XP and windows apps.

I've got several questions

\- from what I've read, I believe this'll work. But is this an advisable and reliable way to set up Fusion and XP?

\- How should the external USB drive be formatted? For the Mac or for the PC (ntfs)?

\- Are there any 'best practices' or hints for this kind of setup?

Thanks in advance for any advice you can give - Richard

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5 Replies
jgl1975
Expert
Expert

What you can do is format your external drive for the mac and store your virtual computers as file in a dedicated folder on it.

You can move the virtual machines as you wish later on.

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- from what I've read, I believe this'll work. But is

this an advisable and reliable way to set up Fusion

and XP?

Well..I personally just don't like to carry around a USB drive connected to my laptop while running Windows. But this is only personal flavor. Certainly I cannot say anything about the reliability however, one thing that comes to my mind...if for whatever reason the USB goes away while running the virtual machine, you may end up with at least corrupted data in the Windows side.

- How should the external USB drive be formatted? For

the Mac or for the PC (ntfs)?

It should be formatted as a regular mac drive (HFS+)...

- Are there any 'best practices' or hints for this

kind of setup?

Also not the right guy for this question since I have never done....however, should be a pretty straight-forward approach...just like a regular installation...

Ciao, Andreas

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Xipper
Contributor
Contributor

This is pretty straight forward to do, I run several VMs off of external drives. I often have 3-4 VMs running at any given time, this wouldn't perform very well on the internal drive...forget the space factor. I would recommend to never attempt to do it over home-grade NAS though, it will only cause you heartache.

Install Fusion as a normal application. Create your VM, and then move the supporting files and folders to your external drive (found in ~/Library/Application Support/VMware Fusion).

I would also recommend using FW800 instead of USB. USB is just too slow and bus powered drives are problematic on USB. I have a 7200rpm 200GB firewire 800 drive I purchased from OWC (macsales.com) which is quite fast, it is likely faster for most operation than my internal drive (160GB 5400rpm). As others noted, format it with the Apple HFS+ file system, not FAT32.

Journaling gives you more reliability/protection against loss on due to the drive being disconnected, turned off, etc. The other side of it is, journaling causes some decrease in performance. That being said, I have journaling turned on for all of my drives...as I can stand performance loss more than data loss.

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Xipper
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Contributor

Also, you may wish to look into upgrading your RAM. RAM is the limiting factor in most virtualized environments, as having to swap memory is a performance killer. I upgraded my MBP to 4GB 3-days after buying it, its easy and cheap if you don't go through Apple. Check out OWC for that too (macsales.com).

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rhhnsn
Contributor
Contributor

Thanks to all who replied - it helped a lot.

Richard

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