Update 11/23/06: Boot Camp feels kind of crude as well, it uses up more drive space, and it doesn't do as good a job as a VM does controlling nasties. I think I'll wait a month and then try Parallels and XP again with the kids games. If they do better, then I'll go that way.
Update 11/23: I tried again with XP Pro. (I disabled network services for the Mac user because I was reusing my XP serial number for the test -- XP allows 30 days of use this way). This worked far better and took a fraction of the time to install. It didn't, however, manage the kids games. It through range errors, had trouble with resolution switches, etc. Since the kids games are a big part of my interest in running XP on this machine I'm going to try Boot Camp first. I can see how Parallels could be worth it when running a small number of well behaved business applications strictly with XP. They should never, however, have claimed to provide Windows 98 support! (See below.)
Parallels Desktop for Mac has been the toast of the Mac world for months. It's supposed to allow one to host a windows VM on an Intel Mac. I gave the free demo a try on my Mac Book Core-2 Duo with 2GM of RAM.
That was really bad. Maybe all those reviews I read came from a parallel universe. I tried configuring it with Windows 98. I don't know where to begin with all the bugs I came across -- before I gave up. Briefly:
1. The documentation is wrong about where the device drivers are stored.Perhaps the problem is it really only supports XP, but I thought Win 98 was a reasonable test. What a waste of time!
2. The default VM configuration had about 3 errors I had to correct to get things most of the way to working.
3. The necessary device drivers are buried on an image that has to be loaded via the VM configuration panel.
4. It was slow, slow, slow --- and it sucked power.
5. The widespread simple grammatical errors turned out to predict the entire user experience.
Looks like I'll give boot camp a try. I'm only glad I didn't pay money for this hunk of junk.