Thursday, January 21, 2010

VMWare Fusion 3: Migration, PowerPoint and Shrink Disk

I've used VMWare 2 with Windows 2000 and Office 2003 on my MacBook for almost a year. I hardly ever use it, but it's compact and fast.

I wasn't sure I'd bother installing VMWare on my i5 iMac, but then I discovered how lousy PowerPoint 2008 really is (an especially bitter discovery since my first impressions were very positive).

So I downloaded the 30 day trial version of VMWare 3, installed VMWare Converter on my creaky XP box, and created an XP image on my iMac including Office 2003. I'm pleased to report that PowerPoint 2003/Win in the Fusion VM is at least ten times faster than PowerPoint 2008 for OS X.

Here are some discoveries of note:
  • VMWare on the iMac had trouble connecting to VMWare Converter. I had to restart the XP box to make it work. I think a pending install created a problem.
  • The conversion took an hour or two.
  • On VM startup it looked at first that only one account had been created -- the XP box had had 3 accounts. I restarted the VM and it showed all 3.
  • I couldn't get VMWare Tools to install. I had to login and connect to the share then run setup. This took a couple of tries I think, and a restart or two. It wasn't as smooth as VMWare 2, but my previous efforts didn't involve migration.
  • I had to re-authenticate the VM XP box with Microsoft. That took a few minutes. I'm still running the old box so I unplug the network cable when the VM is running. I'll be putting the old box out to pasture soon. (It's amazing how silent the office is when only the iMac is running.)
  • The VM migration created about 50 2.5 GB files in an OS X Package (executable folder). This can be changed in settings. It's done to get around FAT max file sizes; I wonder if it might help with backup. (If you create a 100GB single file VM, each time you open it you'll create a 100GB file that needs backup.)
  • I didn't remember than I had two drives in the XP box. The VM had both drives; one held an old redundant backup. I deleted that drive (Settings:Hard Disks) but the VM didn't shrink. I used the "Clean Up Disk" function and that shrank it to a nice 50GB.
See also:
Update 3/11/2010: It's been performing excruciatingly slowly. I haven't been able to find any explanation. Startup times of about 3-5 minutes, intermittent very slow operations. It behaves like it has no working memory.

Update 10/26/10: I finally get around to speeding it up.

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