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  1. #1


    Member Since
    Jul 07, 2011
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    Running Parallels or other Windows VM on a Non-OSX Partition
    Hey guys,

    First post here, but im sure it wont be my last. Have recently made the move to mac, so trying to get my head around a few things.

    I have had issues installing and running Win 7 on my MBP so far. I first tried installing Parallels, which worked fine at the start until I tried changing the amount of RAM which was being allocated to the VM. While doing this my mac froze, I restarted only to encounter a kernel panic. After spending days working with mac tech support I decided to backup everything on the 2 non-mac (data) partitions and reinstall OSX snow leopard on the OSX partition.

    After this I looked into using bootcamp, which required me to delete the 2 extra partitions before OSX could create a bootcamp partition for windows. I installed Win 7 successfully, booted into it a few times and install all drivers etc. Win7 was working fine until I went back into OSX and created the 2 extra partitions again to reload all my data onto. At this time I also resized my OSX parition as I felt it was too big for what I needed. After this partitioning I am not able to see Bootcamp/Win7 when holding the option key and also cant see it when I try change the startup disk in OSX. I know now that using disk utility to resize and add partitions creates issues with bootcamp, and thus I now cant boot into Windows, however I can still see the bootcamp partition mounted on my desktop in OSX.

    So.. what I want to know is, If I cant boot into Windows now, can I format the existing bootcamp partition and install either Parallels or VMWare Fusion onto this partition rather than the Macintosh HD partition? Reason being is because if something goes wrong with the VM software, I'd rather not have to reinstall OSX again on my Mac HD partition. If I install Parallels or VMWare fusion on a dedicated/seperate partition I feel a lot safer, know that if it fails, I wont have to reinstall OSX again.

    In short - my question is: can you install Parallels or VMWare fusion on a non-Macintosh HD partition?

    Thanks for the help in advance!!

  2. #2

    Deckyon's Avatar
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    First, what do you need all the partitions for on the machine?
    MBP 17" 2011, 2.3GHz Intel Quad-Core i7, 8GB RAM, AMD Radeon HD 6750M 1GB RAM
    MacMini 2011, 2.7GHz Intel Dual-Core i7, 8GB RAM, AMD Radeon HD 6630M 256MB RAM
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  3. #3

    chscag's Avatar
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    Welcome to the Mac Forums.

    In short - my question is: can you install Parallels or VMWare fusion on a non-Macintosh HD partition?
    The answer is no. Parallels and Fusion are OS X applications and as such must be run from OS X. Also:

    There is absolutely no need to create multiple partitions in addition to what you already have in order to dual boot between OS X and Win 7. Why do you need the extra partitions? It only creates problems and as you found out, it destroys the Win 7 boot sector so that you can no longer boot to it.

    I can understand creating an extra partition if you wish to install another OS on your hard drive in addition to Win 7. Lots of folks triple boot between OS X, Windows, and Linux. However, most will use a boot manager such as "rEFIt" to handle the booting.

    My advice is to erase the drive, reinstall Snow Leopard, create a BC partition, install Win 7. Then, go back to OS X, install Fusion or Parallels, and designate the BC partition as a virtual machine. You will then have the best of both. You can separately boot to Win 7, or you can just use Parallels or Fusion to run Win 7 without rebooting.

    Forget the additional partitions. Remember, you're running Mac OS X and not Windows. Lots of folks carry over things from Windows like additional partitions when it's really not needed.

    If you need additional help on anything, post back and we'll try to assist.

  4. #4

    Deckyon's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by chscag View Post
    My advice is to erase the drive, reinstall Snow Leopard, create a BC partition, install Win 7. Then, go back to OS X, install Fusion or Parallels, and designate the BC partition as a virtual machine. You will then have the best of both. You can separately boot to Win 7, or you can just use Parallels or Fusion to run Win 7 without rebooting.
    Wait, what? So you are saying, I can install Parallels on OSX and point it to the Windows 7 Bootcamp partition that I reboot to in order to use, and that Parallels will run it without hurting it? I still want native hardware support when rendering, but not for other functions I need to use Win7 for.
    MBP 17" 2011, 2.3GHz Intel Quad-Core i7, 8GB RAM, AMD Radeon HD 6750M 1GB RAM
    MacMini 2011, 2.7GHz Intel Dual-Core i7, 8GB RAM, AMD Radeon HD 6630M 256MB RAM
    iPhone 5S 64GB, iPad Air 2 128 GB LTE, iPod Nano Gen6 8GB, Apple TV 3 & 2

  5. #5


    Member Since
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    Quote Originally Posted by chscag View Post
    Welcome to the Mac Forums.



    The answer is no. Parallels and Fusion are OS X applications and as such must be run from OS X. Also:

    There is absolutely no need to create multiple partitions in addition to what you already have in order to dual boot between OS X and Win 7. Why do you need the extra partitions? It only creates problems and as you found out, it destroys the Win 7 boot sector so that you can no longer boot to it.

    I can understand creating an extra partition if you wish to install another OS on your hard drive in addition to Win 7. Lots of folks triple boot between OS X, Windows, and Linux. However, most will use a boot manager such as "rEFIt" to handle the booting.

    My advice is to erase the drive, reinstall Snow Leopard, create a BC partition, install Win 7. Then, go back to OS X, install Fusion or Parallels, and designate the BC partition as a virtual machine. You will then have the best of both. You can separately boot to Win 7, or you can just use Parallels or Fusion to run Win 7 without rebooting.

    Forget the additional partitions. Remember, you're running Mac OS X and not Windows. Lots of folks carry over things from Windows like additional partitions when it's really not needed.

    If you need additional help on anything, post back and we'll try to assist.
    Thanks for the reply. The reason why I have created multiple partitions is to increase workflow, as im working a lot with music production. It helps to seperate data/projects etc into different spaces for reference purposes. The other reason why I've done this to avoid loosing mass amounts of data if (as happened recently) OSX crashes and I need to format and reinstall from scratch. If I had all my music projects on the OSX drive I would lost them all, quite a devastating event for a musician.

    I can live without 4 partitions, but I think 3 is essential. I'd like to find a way to install bootcamp, then to partition a third sector to store my audio/project files. I've heard a few guys say that iPartition can be used to complete such a task, while not corrupting the Windows boot sector. Has anyone had experience with this? I'd rather not use trial and error to come to a final workable environment.

    I find it quite bizzare that Apple does not accomodate for a third partition, I know that it probably isnt that common amongst normal PC users, but surely there are many people out there who would be interested in having the option.

    Just thinking to myself, why can you make a third partition for Linux successfully but not for general data etc.?

  6. #6


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    Also, after explaining what happened with my BC partition after changing the partition setup, does anyone know if it would be possible to rescue the Windows installation? Or its a simple case of learning from my mistake and starting fresh..?

  7. #7

    chscag's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Deckyon View Post
    Wait, what? So you are saying, I can install Parallels on OSX and point it to the Windows 7 Bootcamp partition that I reboot to in order to use, and that Parallels will run it without hurting it? I still want native hardware support when rendering, but not for other functions I need to use Win7 for.
    Yes, you can. I'm doing that right now but using Fusion. Reboot to use Windows 7 to run games that need graphics acceleration or native hardware support. Or you can start Fusion from OS X and run Windows 7 without rebooting. No need to install Windows 7 twice.

    Parallels has the same ability.

  8. #8

    bobtomay's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Deckyon View Post
    Wait, what? So you are saying, I can install Parallels on OSX and point it to the Windows 7 Bootcamp partition that I reboot to in order to use, and that Parallels will run it without hurting it? I still want native hardware support when rendering, but not for other functions I need to use Win7 for.
    Yep, but I also use Fusion. I actually have XP installed only within Fusion and have Win 7 installed in the BootCamp partition. Fusion allows me to run either of them while in OS X.
    I cannot be held responsible for the things that come out of my mouth.
    In the Windows world, most everything folks don't understand is called a virus.

  9. #9


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    If I create a single partition and reinstall Windows again via bootcamp, is there any way I can create a third partition without destroying the Windows boot sector? I understand that its not advisable to create a third partition but I think its essential.

    Cheers.

  10. #10

    bobtomay's Avatar
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    If you're intent on doing it, I'd suggest you lay out the cash for iPartition.

    If it were me, and should be if it were you since your main concern is drive/OS failure, "essential" would be to take that $50 iPartition costs and put it towards an external hard drive to backup all your data. Drive or OS fails then, not a big deal.
    I cannot be held responsible for the things that come out of my mouth.
    In the Windows world, most everything folks don't understand is called a virus.

  11. #11

    chscag's Avatar
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    I agree with bobtomay. An external hard drive is much easier to use and manage. Besides, I'm not sure that iPartition works in a mixed scenario of OS X and Windows. It certainly works well for resizing and moving partitions in OS X but I question its ability to do the same with an NTFS partition and Windows boot sector.

    OK. I have to take a step backward here..... I just read up a bit more and the new version works to do NTFS, FAT-32, and of course HFS+. It also works with Boot Camp. Maybe that's the way to go. iPartition LINK

  12. #12


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    Quote Originally Posted by chscag View Post
    I agree with bobtomay. An external hard drive is much easier to use and manage. Besides, I'm not sure that iPartition works in a mixed scenario of OS X and Windows. It certainly works well for resizing and moving partitions in OS X but I question its ability to do the same with an NTFS partition and Windows boot sector.

    OK. I have to take a step backward here..... I just read up a bit more and the new version works to do NTFS, FAT-32, and of course HFS+. It also works with Boot Camp. Maybe that's the way to go. iPartition LINK
    Thanks for the advice guys. I have read guys talking about iPartition on other forums and that seems to be the go, at least for my environment.

    I already have all my data backed up on an external drive but my belief is the more copies/backups you have the better. It would be foolish to think that an external drive will never fail, as we all know they do at some stage.

    So looks like iPartition it is then, just wanted to confirm that with you guys first

  13. #13


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    Before proceeding with the partitioning, I just wanted to see if any of you guys have had success using iPartition to resize the Mac HD partition and add a new partition after installing Windows 7 via bootcamp?

    Or if you have any suggestions as to what order to run these processes in.

    Cheers!

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