Since Apple announced their move to the new Intel chips, developers have been busy looking for a way to exploit the common chip architecture for the benefit of Mac users needing multiple operating systems. Ideally they’ve wanted a way to run other OS’s without re-booting, in a Window on your Mac desktop, just like VirtualPC (above), except at more PC-native speeds. They’ve been helped by a new feature of the latest Intel chip, Virtualization Technology, which helps different operating systems to run on the same chip whilst sharing resources efficiently. This is commonly known as virtualization. then in 2006 a company called Parallels released a program called Parallels Desktop and it took the Mac world by storm.
Issues with Virtualisation
So Virtualisation is the final word in running Windows on the Mac? Well… virtualization doesn’t provide every solution for a mac-user’s needs.
First off, it’s a memory-hog. It needs plenty of power to run those other systems. Get as much memory as you can. Secondly, it runs a virtual Windows environment, not a real one like Boot Camp creates. This virtual environment is a clever trick, software that pretends it’s hardware. It’s brilliant, but not perfect. Some complex programs mightn’t perform well on this type of system, others may not run at all. Virtualisation must work around the fact that it’s really one operating system running within another, sometimes it can come unstuck. Ask other Mac students about compatibility with course software, and keep your eyes on the compatibility list.