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Windows using Bootcamp or Parallels ?

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I have a 2014 MacBook Pro that I am looking to upgrade with a larger SSD as it only has 128gb now for more storage space.
A key reason for this is that I have some programs (accounting and tax) that are only available in Windows software.
I have read the pros/cons between using Bootcamp and Parallels and right now am leaning towards Bootcamp as I think it would meet my needs best. The Windows software I would be using is special purpose and while I will save some files in pdf I think using Acrobat and storing them on the Windows partition would work fine. From what I have read it seems the hard drive needs to be partitioned equally between the mac side and windows side. I am just wondering what others think of this approach. Also, wondering whether the Windows side of the hard drive needs to be backed up separately and how to best do this.
 

Raz0rEdge

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If your Windows software needs aren't heavily hardware intensive (think games, CAD or other software), and yours aren't, then you should go down the Parallels route which allows you to best manage your installation with the greatest of ease. I would suggest that you grab an external SSD (I recently picked up a Sandisk 1TB SSD for $150) and install the VM on there to avoid having it take up any space on your internal storage.

The beauty of going down the VM route is that you can suspend/resume it VERY quickly without needing to wait.

Additionally, you should NOT access the Internet on the Windows VM at all but rather use your Mac. You can download files/data on the Mac side and it's readily available on the Windows VM when you need it. This allows you to run no anti-virus on the Windows machine slowing it down further.
 
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+1 for Ashwin's recommendation. On the virtual Windows machine you won't need to run any AV as long as you don't go into the Internet with it. That will improve performance of the Windows system and just about compensate for the slight performance hit for running as an emulation. I did that for two apps I needed that didn't have Mac equivalents for several years. One of the apps was for tax preparation, btw, so I sympathize with your need.

You can even run Parallels in what they call coherence mode, where the Windows apps appear to be running under macOS, but actually the Windows is booted in the background to support them. You can read about it at the Parallels website.

If you go Bootcamp, you do NOT need to divide the drive evenly. Use only what you need for Windows and leave the rest for macOS.
 
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Raz0rEdge and and MacInWin thanks for the input.

I agree that the resources needed by my Windows applications are quite limited and that an external SSD may be a good solution running virtual Windows software. That way I don't give up resources on my MacBook Pro.

You mention not going on the internet which is a bit of an issue.. Generally I have to download info to tax files from a government site and then upload the finished return via the Windows tax application software. If I just access these government sites and don't browse the internet on the SSD would that eliminate the need for virus software on the external SSD?
 

Raz0rEdge

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The application usage of the Internet should be fine and if you limit your Browser usage just to a single site or something that should be fine as well. You'll likely want to install some basic extensions like Ghostery/uBlock Origin or something similar just a layer of protection.

I would also suggest that once you install Windows into the VM, create a snapshot and then do the same once you install of your applications you will be using. Now you have nice snapshots to revert back to should your VM be compromised for any reason.
 
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Raz0rEdge, if I understand it correctly a snapshot is essentially a backup of the VM. In addition to taking a snapshot at the two points in time that you mention I assume it would be good practice to take a snapshot on a regular schedule to preserve my data. I am just wondering where these snapshots are saved in the event the SSD becomes damaged and I cannot access the VM.
 

Raz0rEdge

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Correct, the snapshots save the current state of your VM and the data held within. You can manually create them or on a schedule. You can revert to any one of them to go back to how things were when the snapshot was taken. You can absolutely do it routinely to keep your data up to date.

These snapshots will be saved within your Parallels (assuming you go with that) installation folder on your Mac. So if your SSD dies, you will lose it all.

If you have Time Machine backup enabled (and you really should if you don't have it right now), you can set up Parallels to backup the snapshots to TM. Barring that you can manually copy the snapshot files to some online backup as well.

Read more here: KB Parallels: Working with snapshots in Parallels Desktop for Mac
 
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