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Take Control of
Joe Kissell
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Updates..................................................................................... 5
Basics ....................................................................................... 5
What’s New in the Second Edition ................................................. 8
What Is Virtualization Software? ..................................................13
What Is Boot Camp (and Why Should You Care)? ...........................17
Decide Whether (or How) to Use Boot Camp with Fusion .................18
Collect the Ingredients ...............................................................20
Install Fusion ............................................................................26
Create a Virtual Machine in Fusion................................................27
Install Boot Camp Drivers ...........................................................33
Use a Boot Camp Partition in Fusion .............................................35
Learn Your Way Around ..............................................................38
Suspend, Resume, and Shut Down Windows..................................43
Make Your Keyboard and Mouse Behave .......................................45
Switch Display Modes .................................................................49
Use the Applications Menu ..........................................................55
Move Data between Host and Guest .............................................58
Work with Multiple Displays.........................................................59
Connect and Disconnect Devices ..................................................60
Settings Overview......................................................................63
Sharing Settings ........................................................................64
Applications Settings ..................................................................68
Processor & RAM Settings ...........................................................73
Display Settings ........................................................................77
Printer Settings .........................................................................78
AutoProtect Settings ..................................................................79
Advanced Settings .....................................................................80 Network Settings .......................................................................82 Hard Disk Settings .....................................................................84 CD & DVD Settings ....................................................................88 Sound Settings ..........................................................................89 USB Device Settings...................................................................90 Settings for Other Devices ..........................................................92 Fusion Preferences .....................................................................94 PROTECT YOUR VIRTUAL MACHINE 101 Keep Windows Safe from Malware.............................................. 101 Save and Restore Your Windows State with Snapshots.................. 107 Back Up Your Virtual Machine .................................................... 111 MOVE TO FUSION FROM ANOTHER ENVIRONMENT
117 Import a Boot Camp Volume ..................................................... 117 Import a Virtual Machine from Parallels Desktop or Virtual PC ........ 119 Import a Windows Installation from a PC .................................... 120 APPENDIX A:
CREATE A SLIPSTREAM INSTALLER DISC 121 Prepare Your Computer ............................................................ 121 Run nLite................................................................................ 123 Burn a Slipstream CD or DVD .................................................... 129 APPENDIX B: FUSION FOR PROPELLERHEADS 130 Mount Virtual Disks in the Finder ............................................... 130 Install Mac OS X Server as a Guest Operating System .................. 131 Get Started with VMrun ............................................................ 133 Use Virtual Appliances .............................................................. 136 ABOUT THIS BOOK 138 About the Author ..................................................................... 138 Author’s Acknowledgments ....................................................... 138 Shameless Plug ....................................................................... 139 About the Publisher.................................................................. 139 Production Credits.................................................................... 139 COPYRIGHT AND FINE PRINT 140 50% OFF FEATURED TITLES 141 3
Read Me First
Welcome to Take Control of VMware Fusion 3, version 1.0, published in October 2009 by TidBITS Publishing Inc. This book
was written by Joe Kissell and edited by Tonya Engst.
VMware Fusion is a powerful and convenient tool for running
Windows or other operating systems on a Mac. This book teaches
you all the fundamentals of Fusion, as well as tips and tricks to get
the most out of running Windows on your Mac.
Copyright © 2009, Joe Kissell. All rights reserved.
Sponsored by VMware
This book was sponsored by VMware. Special thanks
for an enjoyable collaboration to David Liu, Eric
Tung, Pat Lee, and Peter Kazanjy.
If you want a printed copy: You can print this PDF on your own
printer, but if you’d prefer to order a copy that’s printed double-sided
on 7x9 paper with a spiral binding, flip to the cover (page 1) of this
book and click the Order Print copy button.
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In reading this book, you may get stuck if you don’t know certain fundamental facts about using your Mac or if you don’t understand Take
Control syntax for things like working with menus or finding items in
the Finder. Keep reading to learn about these basics, and pay special
attention to the information about right clicking, since it covers the
best way to do so not only on the Mac but also in Fusion’s virtualization
Note: I cover basic terminology and concepts relating to Fusion
and virtualization in Understand Fusion Basics (p. 13).
Where I describe choosing a command from a menu in the menu
bar, I use a compact description. For example, to create a new virtual
machine in Fusion, you choose New from the File menu; I abbreviate
this by saying “File > New.”
Finding an Application’s Preferences
I often refer to preferences in an application that you may want to
adjust. Don’t confuse an application’s preferences with the system-wide
settings found in System Preferences.
To access an application’s preferences, choose Application Name >
Preferences. For example, in VMware Fusion, you would choose
VMware Fusion > Preferences. Within some applications, all preference
controls appear in a single window. In others (including Fusion), a row
of buttons is located across the top. In those cases, click a button to
display a pane with that category of preferences. Instead of providing
detailed directions each time, I may use an abbreviated notation such
as “go to the General preference pane.”
I occasionally use a path to show the location of a file or folder in
your file system. For example, Mac OS X stores most utilities, such
as Terminal, in the Utilities folder. The path to Terminal is:
The slash at the start of the path tells you to start from the root level of
the disk. You will also encounter paths that begin with ~ (tilde), which
is a shortcut for a user’s home directory. For example, if the person
currently logged in has the user name joe and wants to install fonts that
only he can access, he would install the fonts in his ~/Library/Fonts
folder, which is just another way of writing /Users/joe/Library/Fonts.
Windows uses a different convention for paths, so in cases where
I’m talking about files in Windows, I start from the hard drive letter
(usually C:) and use backslashes instead of regular slashes—like so:
C:\Documents and Settings\Joe Kissell.
Note: In either Mac OS X or Windows, when typing a path that
includes spaces, you should enclose the entire path in quotation
marks: "C:\Documents and Settings\Joe Kissell". Alternatively, in
Mac OS X, you can precede each space with a backslash and skip
the quotation marks: /Users/jk/My\ Folder/My\ Document.
In Mac OS X, when you hold down the Control key and click your
mouse button, a pop-up contextual menu appears, with commands
appropriate to whatever is under the pointer. For example, if you
Control-click on a file in the Finder, you’ll see commands such
as Get Info, Duplicate, and Make Alias. Although Control-clicking
nearly always works to open a contextual menu, your mouse or
trackpad might support a better method:
• Multi-button mouse: If you have a multi-button mouse (such
as the Apple Magic Mouse, or the Apple Mouse, formerly known
as “Mighty Mouse”), you can click the right mouse button (“rightclicking”) to display the same menu, assuming your preferences are
set correctly. You do this by going to the Mouse view of the Keyboard
& Mouse pane of System Preferences (in Leopard and earlier) or
the Mouse pane (in Snow Leopard) and setting the right button to
Secondary Button. (You can also set a different button to produce
a secondary click, if you prefer.)
For non-Apple mice, the right button automatically produces a
secondary click, but you can swap the functions of left and right
buttons in the Mouse (or Keyboard & Mouse) pane, if you prefer.
• Mac notebook: If you have a Mac notebook computer, you can
configure the trackpad to display contextual menus when you tap
with both fingers, or when you put two fingers on the trackpad and
click the button. To configure this setting, open the Trackpad view
of the Keyboard & Mouse preference pane (in Leopard and earlier)
or the Trackpad pane (in Snow Leopard). If Clicking is selected
(meaning you can tap on the trackpad to click), check Tap Trackpad
Using Two Fingers for Secondary Click. Otherwise, check For
Secondary Clicks, Place Two Fingers on the Trackpad Then Click
the Button.
Some newer Mac notebooks (released starting in October 2008) have
a glass multi-touch trackpad without a separate button. On these
computers, regardless of which version of Mac OS X you’re running,
you configure trackpad behavior in the Trackpad pane of System
Preferences. To display a contextual menu with a single click, check
the Secondary Click box under “One Finger,” and choose either
Bottom Right Corner or Bottom Left corner. Press the trackpad in
the selected corner with one finger to display a contextual menu.
Instead or in addition, you can check Secondary Click under “Two
Fingers,” in which case pressing anywhere on the trackpad with two
fingers displays a contextual menu.
Windows, too, has contextual menus accessed with a right click.
(All mice included with Windows PCs—in fact, virtually all non-Apple
mice—have at least two buttons.) In Fusion, you can execute a right
click even if your mouse has only one button—Control-click, just as
in Mac OS X, and Fusion translates that into a Windows right-click.
In this book, when I tell you to “right-click” in Windows, that means
click the right mouse button if you have one (or whichever button
you’ve designated as “secondary”); Control-click if you have a desktop
Mac with a one-button mouse; or, on a notebook Mac, use the gesture(s) you’ve configured in the Keyboard & Mouse preference pane
or the Trackpad preference pane.
This book is a major update to Take Control of VMware Fusion 2. With
only a few exceptions, the changes from the previous edition reflect the
changes in version 3 of VMware Fusion. (Although Fusion 3 contains
tons of new features, bug fixes, and interface improvements, I don’t
address all of them in this book; for a complete list of what’s new, see
URLs not working? In Snow Leopard’s Preview, longer URL links
may appear to be broken. To avoid this Preview bug, try clicking the
last character in the URL.
The major Fusion changes discussed in this book are the following:
• Expanded guest support: You can now run either the 32-bit or
64-bit version of Windows 7 from a Boot Camp partition (see Use
a Boot Camp Partition in Fusion, p. 35). In addition, you can run
Windows 7 or Snow Leopard Server (either the 32-bit or 64-bit
version) in a virtual machine (see Windows 7, p. 22, and Install
Mac OS X Server as a Guest Operating System, p. 131).
• Enhanced Virtual Machine Library window: The Virtual
Machine Library (p. 38) now shows virtual machines that were
created in other programs, for easy importing. It also includes
a Home view with shortcuts to common tasks such as setting up
Fusion to use a Boot Camp partition; installing Windows; and
migrating from a physical PC, which is now far easier than before.
• Preview window: A new Preview window (see the sidebar The
Preview Window, p. 50) gives you a live, resizable view of your
entire Windows Desktop, even when Windows is running in
Unity view.
• Full screen title bar: When in Full Screen view (see Use Full
Screen View, p. 51), you can now use a new floating menu bar
that gives you more convenient access to frequently used Fusion
• Improved Unity view: Windows applications now work better
with Exposé, and you can also access system tray items while in
Unity view, even if the taskbar isn’t showing. See Unity View (p. 52)
for further details.
• Redesigned Applications menu: This system-wide menu can
now give you access to any Windows application—even if you have
multiple copies of Windows installed, and even when Fusion isn’t
running—and is no longer restricted to Unity mode. For details, read
Use the Applications Menu (p. 55).
• Copy and paste or drag and drop images: You can now move
images between host and guest via copy and paste or drag and drop
(see Move Data between Host and Guest, p. 58).
• Revamped settings: The Settings window has been reorganized,
with various panes added, removed, or otherwise rejiggered. I cover
all these changes throughout the section Configure Virtual Machine
Settings (p. 63).
• Better support for symmetric multiprocessing (SMP):
Fusion now offers 4-way SMP, and automatically lets virtual
machines with the necessary capabilities use multi-core CPUs.
I discuss this further in Processors (p. 74).
• Improved graphics acceleration: For Windows XP virtual
machines, Fusion now supports DirectX 9.0c with Shader Model 3
and OpenGL 2.1. For Windows Vista and Windows 7, Fusion supports DirectX 9.0EX and OpenGL 1.4. These changes open the door
to more Windows games and other graphics-intensive applications,
as well as the Aero interface in Vista and later. To learn about
enabling graphics acceleration, read Display Settings (p. 77).
• Software update: When Fusion is updated, the software can now
download and install the new version automatically. See General
Preferences (p. 95).
As an enthusiastic Mac user for many years, I’d developed a common
habit. Every time I heard of some fantastic program that’s available only
for Windows, I scowled and grumbled, miffed at the fact that we Mac
users had been marginalized yet again. Mac OS X may be the superior
operating system, but my Windows-using friends could still do cool
things that I couldn’t do with my Mac—and I didn’t like that one bit.
My, how times have changed. Today, I can run virtually any Windows
program on my Mac as easily as I run native Mac software. For that
matter, most Linux/Unix programs run beautifully too. In fact, my
biggest problem is breaking that old habit. I still have an impulse to
cringe when I see “Windows XP or later” as a system requirement,
but then I remember: I have an Intel-based Mac. I have the power.
Maybe it’s a Web site using ActiveX controls that work only in Internet
Explorer for Windows. Maybe it’s a Microsoft business application that
was never ported to Mac OS X. Or maybe it’s a one-of-a-kind shareware
program. Whatever the case, I don’t sweat it. It’ll work. Everything
works. This magic resulted from Apple’s choice to switch to Intel
processors, which turned out to be a brilliantly shrewd move.
Apple provides its own way to install Windows on your Mac—Boot
Camp, included as part of Mac OS X 10.5 Leopard and later. It works
well, but it’s awkward in that you must restart your computer to switch
operating systems. You can’t run a Mac application at the same time as
a Windows application, and sharing information between the two platforms is cumbersome at best.
This is where virtualization software like VMware Fusion comes in.
It lets Windows run at near-native speeds right alongside Mac OS X
on your Intel-based Mac. Not only do you avoid the inconvenience of
rebooting and gain easy file sharing, you can also even make Windows
itself effectively disappear so the only traces of Windows you see are
your Windows applications themselves. In fact, that’s just the start of
the ways in which you can integrate Windows and Mac OS X, for a truly
seamless environment that can run just about anything.
VMware Fusion isn’t the only way to do this. Parallels Desktop was the
first competitor in this category, and a somewhat less powerful but free
program, VirtualBox (now owned by Sun), also lets you run Windows
under Mac OS X. (I cover both of these alternatives, as well as Boot
Camp, in my book Take Control of Running Windows on a Mac.)
Regardless of the virtues of other approaches to running Windows
on a Mac, the book you’re now reading focuses entirely on VMware
Fusion. (By the way, the program’s official, trademarked name is
“VMware Fusion,” but for simplicity I refer to it throughout this book
simply as “Fusion” or, in some cases, “Fusion 3.”) The first edition of
this book was about Fusion version 2; this edition covers only version 3,
which includes powerful new features, interface improvements, and
enhanced performance. Whether you’re upgrading from an earlier
version of Fusion or beginning with version 3, this book will help you
get the most from the program.
My goal here is not to provide a comprehensive reference guide, but
rather to help you make the most of Fusion by focusing on the most
common, important, and interesting tasks you’re likely to perform. By
the time you’ve finished with this book, you should know how to create
that magical combination of Windows and Mac OS X that lets you run
nearly any software on either platform with equal ease.
As you may know, Fusion supports lots of operating systems—not just
Windows. Although I mention some of these (particularly Linux and
Mac OS X Server) from time to time, I assume that Windows is what
most readers are interested in and direct my attention accordingly.
I should also mention that Fusion includes some fantastically powerful
command-line tools for power users. Great as they are, I say little about
them (except for Appendix B: Fusion for Propellerheads) because I
assume most people with the geeky disposition to use those tools can
also figure out how to use them on their own.
If you need help beyond what’s in this book, you have several options:
• While running Fusion, choose Help > VMware Fusion Help.
• Visit the Fusion User Forums at http://communities.vmware.com/
• Search the VMware Knowledge Base at http://kb.vmware.com/.
Fusion Quick Start
For the most part, this book progresses from basic material through
more advanced topics. So to get the most out of this book, and of
Fusion, I recommend working through each section in order. At the
very least, read Understand Fusion Basics and Use Windows in a
Virtual Machine before delving into later sections.
Get started:
• Learn how virtualization works and some of the common terms
Fusion uses; see Understand Fusion Basics (p. 13).
• Get Fusion—and Windows (or another operating system of your
choice) up and running on your Intel-based Mac; see Install Fusion
and Windows (p. 20). You can also Use a Boot Camp Partition in
Fusion (p. 35). And for Linux details, see Installing Linux (p. 37).
• Find out how to use Windows from within Mac OS X; see Use
Windows in a Virtual Machine (p. 38).
Customize and maintain your virtual machines:
• Select the best options for file sharing, RAM usage, and tons of other
settings; see Configure Virtual Machine Settings (p. 63).
• Keep Windows safe from malware, user error, and data loss; see
Protect Your Virtual Machine (p. 101).
Go beyond the basics:
• Import a Windows installation from Boot Camp, another virtualization program, or a PC; see Move to Fusion from Another
Environment (p. 117).
• Simplify repetitive installations of Windows; see Appendix A: Create
a Slipstream Installer Disc (p. 121).
• Use Mac OS X Server in a virtual machine and discover the new
Fusion command-line tools; see Appendix B: Fusion for Propellerheads (p. 130).
Understand Fusion Basics
You’ll have an easier time using Fusion if you start with a bit of background about how it works, what terminology it uses, and how it can
interact with Apple’s Boot Camp software. I describe all these things
in the next few pages.
Virtualization software, such as Fusion, provides a way for one operating
system to work within another, while directly accessing the same CPU
(central processing unit) most of the time. (By contrast, emulation software simulates a different type of CPU, resulting in much slower performance because of the constant need to translate instructions.) When
such software is running, the environment it creates for another operating system (OS) is called a virtual machine, and an operating system
that runs inside that virtual machine is called a guest operating system,
in order to distinguish it from the main OS that the computer is running,
called the host operating system.
Virtual Machines
Even though Intel Macs have the same type of CPU as PCs, you still
need a virtual machine to run Windows within Mac OS X. One reason
is that apart from the CPU, there are other hardware differences
between Macs and PCs and thus other hardware components that must
be emulated (simulated in software). Another reason is that Windows
expects to have direct access to your hardware, but the host OS (Mac
OS X in this case) controls the hardware. A virtual machine tricks the
guest OS into believing it has direct access to the machine’s CPU and
other hardware, and it emulates any physical devices—such as sound
cards—that might be different between platforms.
Each guest operating system that you install requires its own virtual
machine. If you want, you can install several different operating systems or several instances of the same operating system; you can even
run multiple virtual machines at the same time. Fusion gives you the
choice to run each virtual machine in its own window, in full-screen
mode, or in Unity view, which means the Windows Desktop disappears
and windows from your Windows applications act more or less like
windows from Mac applications (see Use Unity View for details.)
Fusion’s Virtual Machine Library window lists all the virtual machines
you’ve configured (as well as your Boot Camp partition, if any) and lets
you change a wide variety of settings for each one, such as the amount
of RAM they use and how networking is configured. With only a few
exceptions, these settings can’t be changed while the guest operating
system is running.
Virtual Disks
When you set up a new virtual machine, Fusion also creates a special
disk image file. When you run Windows, it will see this file as a separate
disk. All your Windows files are installed in this virtual disk, but when
you’re running Mac OS X you won’t see the individual files inside; it
looks and acts like a single file. You can move this file to another disk
or another Mac running Fusion, and the virtual machine runs just as it
did on the original Mac.
Note: With Boot Camp volumes, which I discuss a few pages
ahead, the virtual disk is simply a pointer to your Boot Camp
By default, Fusion gives each new Windows virtual disk a 40 GB capacity (although the disk image file starts out much smaller). The disk size
can grow to accommodate more files up to the maximum size you set,
though of course not beyond the amount of free space on your real disk.
Note: Snapshots, which I discuss later in Save and Restore Your
Windows State with Snapshots, can increase the amount of real
disk space used beyond the maximum capacity you set for your
virtual disks.
Real and Virtual Hardware
A big challenge for any virtualization software is enabling communication between the guest operating system and the computer’s
hardware—including built-in devices (such as graphics cards and
network adapters) and external devices (printers, external hard drives,
and the like). I want to explain a bit about how Fusion handles this
challenge so you’ll understand what hardware will and won’t work
under various conditions—and why.
Drivers and Emulated Hardware
When an operating system is running directly on a computer (such
as your regular installation of Mac OS X or a Windows installation
running under Boot Camp), it can access all your hardware directly.
In general, each device needs a driver—a piece of software that knows
the device’s capabilities and lets it communicate with your operating
system. Both Mac OS X and Windows include built-in drivers for hundreds of common devices, from keyboards to printers, so you can use
most hardware without having to install extra software. For third-party
devices that can’t use built-in drivers, manufacturers generally offer
their own drivers, typically on a CD packaged with the product or as
a free download.
But things are different in a virtual machine, because both the host
operating system and the guest system need access to some of your
hardware. For example, you must use your mouse in Mac OS X to
operate Fusion itself (among other things), while the copy of Windows
running in Fusion also needs to respond to mouse movement and
clicks. But, of course, you wouldn’t want to switch to a different mouse
when you’re running Windows, so Fusion takes your mouse data from
Mac OS X and passes it through to Windows.
In some cases, Fusion emulates a particular type of hardware (say,
a floppy drive or serial port) that isn’t physically there, and Windows
obligingly uses an appropriate built-in driver to access that virtual
hardware. In other cases, no existing driver enables proper communication between Windows and Fusion’s emulated hardware, so
Windows needs special, Fusion-specific drivers.
VMware Tools
Fusion’s collection of drivers is included in a software package called
VMware Tools. This software not only handles all the basic hardware
functions (such as sound and video), but also lets Windows do fancy
things like share files with your Mac OS X host operating system, adjust
its display resolution automatically when you resize your Fusion window, and much more. Because this software makes using Windows (or
Linux) a vastly better experience, you should always be sure to install it.
When you set up a new virtual machine using the Easy Install method,
Fusion installs VMware Tools for you automatically; otherwise, you can
install it manually by choosing Virtual Machine > Install VMware Tools.
Although VMware Tools contains drivers for Fusion’s emulated hardware, it doesn’t include drivers for some custom Apple hardware that
may be built into your Mac. To use such hardware (including your
iSight camera and Apple Remote) in Windows, you must install Apple’s
drivers, which are included with Boot Camp—see Install Boot Camp
Drivers for instructions.
Sharing vs. Taking Turns
Regardless of what drivers you have installed, most of your hardware
can be used by only one operating system at a time. For example,
your Mac’s SuperDrive can be used either by Mac OS X or by
Windows—but not both at once, because the drive can’t work correctly
if two different operating systems are giving it competing instructions.
The same goes for most USB and Bluetooth devices. As a result, you
must configure your virtual machine to use (or ignore) certain hardware, or use controls in Fusion to manually connect or disconnect
devices as the need arises. (I say more about this topic in CD & DVD
Settings, USB Device Settings, and Connect and Disconnect Devices.)
FireWire Devices
FireWire devices present an entirely different challenge. For complex
technical reasons, Fusion can’t take over or even “listen in on” your
Mac’s FireWire devices, even if you have the proper drivers installed.
Neither can Parallels Desktop or VirtualBox, by the way.) So as far as
Windows is concerned, any FireWire devices you may have installed are
completely invisible.
This need not be a problem with FireWire hard drives, because you
can work around the lack of FireWire support by sharing the drives
(see Sharing Individual Folders for instructions). Likewise, if you have
a FireWire printer that works in Mac OS X, you can share that printer
with your virtual machine (as I describe in Printer Settings).
But other than that, FireWire is unfortunately a non-starter in Fusion.
FireWire scanners, Blu-ray disc and DVD recorders, cameras, audio
interfaces, and other gadgets that work great in Mac OS X won’t show
up at all in Windows.
Fusion and other virtualization programs provide one way to run
Windows on your Mac. Apple provides a different one—Boot Camp,
software that’s part of Mac OS X 10.5 Leopard and later. With Boot
Camp, you divide your hard disk into two volumes: one for Mac OS X
and all your Mac applications and data, and the other for Windows. To
switch between operating systems, you must restart your Mac.
Apple provides drivers that give Windows access to some Mac-specific
hardware features such as the built-in iSight camera (on portable Macs
and iMacs) and the Apple Remote, but other than a few such niceties,
your Mac running Windows via Boot Camp is, for all practical purposes,
just another Intel-based PC.
The nice thing about Boot Camp is that it gives Windows full, direct
access to your hardware—100 percent of your CPU power, RAM,
graphics card, and network bandwidth, for example, go to Windows. In
fact, some tests have shown that certain Mac models can run Windows
under Boot Camp faster than PCs with similar specs. In Boot Camp,
Windows can also use any FireWire devices you may have installed. By
contrast, when using Fusion, Windows must share resources with Mac
OS X, potentially making both somewhat slower and less efficient, and
limiting the kinds of hardware you can use.
The downside of Boot Camp is that you must always make a choice
to run one operating system or the other. Let’s say you’re developing
a Web site using Dreamweaver or BBEdit in Mac OS X and you want
to test the site, as you go, in Internet Explorer for Windows. To do this,
you must open the Startup Disk pane of System Preferences, select your
Windows volume, restart your computer, and run Internet Explorer.
Then, you have to repeat a similar procedure to restart in Mac OS X
to make any changes…and repeat this over and over again. That’s
extremely time-consuming and awkward. Likewise, sharing files
between the two operating systems may (depending on several
variables) require jumping through a number of hoops.
As a result, Boot Camp works best for situations in which your use of
Windows is entirely separate from your use of Mac OS X. For example,
if you plan to play a resource-intensive Windows-only game (and do
nothing else) for a few hours, rebooting into Windows is no big deal,
and Boot Camp will give you the best possible performance. But if
you want to use Mac and Windows programs side-by-side or switch
between them frequently, Boot Camp isn’t what you want.
So why, as a Fusion user, should you care about all this?
Fusion offers two ways to work with Boot Camp. First, you can use
Fusion to run the copy of Windows you’ve already installed under Boot
Camp—and switch back and forth at any time between the two ways
of running that copy of Windows. Second, if you think the benefits
of Fusion outweigh the benefits of Boot Camp sufficiently that you’ll
never want to boot directly into Windows again, you can convert your
Boot Camp installation into a virtual disk and then remove it—thus
freeing up considerable space on your hard disk.
I tell you this now because once you install and configure Windows
(along with your Windows software and documents), you’d most
likely prefer not to repeat the process. So if you haven’t yet installed
Windows and think Boot Camp might be useful to you, you should
install Windows there rather than on a virtual disk. But that choice
may not be as straightforward as it sounds; read on for help making
the decision.
Fusion gives you three main options with respect to running Windows
under Boot Camp:
• Ignore Boot Camp: If you aren’t using Boot Camp now, and if
you don’t plan to use any Windows applications that need every
last ounce of CPU power and RAM your Mac has (or direct access
to FireWire devices), you’ll be happiest ignoring Boot Camp
altogether. Just install Windows conventionally under Fusion (see
Create a Virtual Machine in Fusion) and go on your merry way. But
bear in mind that Fusion offers no way to move a copy of Windows
from a virtual disk to a Boot Camp volume—if you later decide you
want to use Boot Camp after all, you’ll have to reinstall Windows
there from scratch.
• Use your Boot Camp volume in Fusion: If you’ve already
installed Windows in Boot Camp—or if you know you’ll need to—you
can simply configure Fusion to use your Boot Camp installation and
decide, on any given occasion, whether you want to run Windows
within Fusion or by rebooting. However, be aware of some downsides to this approach:
Windows is significantly slower to start up and shut down in
Fusion when running from a Boot Camp partition than when
running from a disk image. So, using a Boot Camp volume in
Fusion is more appropriate for occasional use than regular,
repeated use (in which case installing Windows on a virtual disk
is the better approach).
Several nifty Fusion features are unavailable when running a Boot
Camp installation of Windows in a virtual machine. You can’t take
snapshots or use AutoProtect; you can’t suspend and resume the
virtual machine; and you can’t mirror folders between Windows
and Mac OS X.
Note: I cover how to use a Boot Camp Windows installation under
Fusion in Use a Boot Camp Partition in Fusion.
• Migrate your Boot Camp volume to a virtual disk: If you have
Windows installed in Boot Camp, you can move that installation over
to a Fusion virtual disk with very little effort—and then, once you’re
satisfied that it’s running correctly—delete your Boot Camp partition,
freeing up the disk space it was using. (For instructions, see Import a
Boot Camp Volume.)
Having trouble deciding? In my opinion, the convenience of using
Windows without rebooting overwhelmingly outweighs the minor speed
boost I get by using Boot Camp. Although installing Windows under
Boot Camp and running it in a Fusion virtual machine may seem like
the best of both worlds, my experience has been that Windows works
far better in Fusion when running from a virtual disk than a Boot Camp
partition. After trying it both ways for a while, I finally gave up on Boot
Camp altogether and imported my erstwhile Boot Camp volume into
Fusion. So unless you’re absolutely certain that you need something you
can get only in Boot Camp—and few people do—my counsel is to stick
with a virtual disk.
Install Fusion and Windows
Getting Windows up and running under Fusion can be even easier
than doing so on a PC. Simply follow the steps in this section. However, if you want to do something special with the way you install
Windows, you may need to refer to a particular area of this book:
• To Use a Boot Camp Partition in Fusion, skip ahead to the last
topic in this section (p. 35).
• To upgrade from an older version of Fusion, read the sidebar
Upgrade from Fusion 1.x or 2.x (p. 27).
• To use an existing Windows installation created under Parallels
Desktop, Virtual PC, or on an actual PC, see Move to Fusion from
Another Environment (p. 117).
• For a few notes on installing Virtual Appliances, consult Use
Virtual Appliances (p. 136).
Before you can begin setting up Windows under Fusion, you must have
the necessary hardware and software.
An Intel-based Mac
If you have a Mac with an Intel processor (in other words, any model
introduced in 2006 or later), you can run Fusion. Needless to say, the
faster your processor(s) and the more cores you have, the better your
performance will be, but even a slow, single-core Intel-based Mac can
get the job done.
The 64-bit question: To run a 64-bit guest operating system under
Fusion, you must have a Macintosh with a 64-bit processor (meaning,
at the moment, a Core 2 Duo, Xeon, Core i5, or Core i7 processor).
Disk Space
Windows requires a lot of empty disk space, although the amount
depends on which version of Windows you have, how many Windows
programs you plan to install, and other factors. Before installing Fusion
and Windows, I suggest making sure you have at least 10 GB of free
space if you’ll be using Windows XP, and 20 GB if you’ll be using Vista
or Windows 7.
Fusion requires a Macintosh with at least 1 GB of RAM, and more is
certainly better—your Mac must have enough RAM for Mac OS X as
well as Windows, since both will be running at the same time:
• Windows XP: Microsoft recommends a minimum of 128 MB of
RAM for Windows XP, but it runs better and faster with more; I’d
suggest 512 MB as a more realistic minimum.
• Windows Vista: For Vista, Microsoft increased the minimum
recommended RAM to 512 MB, but suggests (as I do) 1 GB as a more
comfortable amount.
• Windows 7: The official system requirements call for 1 GB of RAM
for the 32-bit version or 2 GB of RAM for the 64-bit version.
In any case, the above figures are on top of what you need to run Mac
OS X and any Mac applications. If your Mac has only 1 GB of RAM, both
Mac OS X and Windows will be quite squeezed—and Windows 7 may
not run at all. Installing more RAM give you more breathing room for
both operating systems. VMware recommends 2 GB; based on my
experience, I’d go further and suggest 4 GB or more if possible.
A Windows CD or DVD
Fusion doesn’t include a copy of Windows; it merely provides an
environment in which you can install and run Windows. So you’ll need
a Windows CD or DVD. If you already have a copy of Windows, you may
or may not be able to use it with Fusion; if you don’t yet have a copy,
you have many options from which to choose. Read on to learn about
choosing among Windows 7, Windows Vista, and XP and the difference
between a retail version and an OEM version.
Tip: You can download trial versions of Windows from the Home
view of the Virtual Machine Library (see The Virtual Machine
Library). Note, however, that these trial versions can’t be converted to full versions later on—you must start over from scratch
if you decide you want to continue using one of these versions of
Windows after the demo period ends.
Which Version of Windows?
Fusion supports just about every version of Windows—all the way
back to Windows 3.1. However, since you most likely want to be using
a modern, currently supported version of Windows, you’ll probably
want to look at Windows 7, Windows Vista, or Windows XP. Which
should you choose?
Windows 7
In much the same way that Snow Leopard improved the speed and
stability of Mac OS X without adding lots of new features or making
major changes to the user interface, Windows 7 closely resembles
Windows Vista but is intended to improve performance and compatibility. It does have some new features and interface adjustments, but
the biggest change most users are likely to see is that it’s snappier and
less annoying than its predecessor. Windows 7 shipped on October 22,
2009, but had been available prior to that for a number of months as
a public release candidate.
Windows 7 comes in a variety of editions, including Home Premium,
Professional, and Ultimate. (To see the details about the differences
between editions, visit http://www.microsoft.com/windows/windows7/compare-editions/.) All editions ship with two discs: a 32-bit version
and a 64-bit version.
URLs not working? In Snow Leopard’s Preview, longer URL links
may appear to be broken. To avoid this Preview bug, try clicking the
last character in the URL.
Windows Vista
Windows Vista, the immediate successor to Windows XP, has generally
good security, an attractive interface, and (at least as of Service Pack 1)
fewer annoyances on the whole than earlier versions of Windows.
Windows Vista comes in four main flavors: Home Basic, Home
Premium, Business, and Ultimate (along with several other special
versions, which I don’t cover here); to learn about the different versions
of Windows Vista, see http://www.microsoft.com/windows/windowsvista/compare-editions/. Like Windows 7, Windows Vista ships with
32-bit and 64-bit discs.
Windows XP
Despite having been eclipsed by Windows Vista and Windows 7,
Windows XP is still holding on strong—much to Microsoft’s dismay.
The company officially discontinued retail sales of Windows XP on June
30, 2008, and OEM (original equipment manufacturer) sales as of
January 31, 2009, but as of September 2009, I had no trouble finding
new copies available for sale at major U.S. online retailers. I suspect it
will continue to be available for some time.
Early versions of Windows XP were rightly criticized for being highly
insecure—prone to malware and network attacks of all sorts—but
Microsoft improved security considerably with Service Pack 1. (The
latest update of Windows XP is Service Pack 3, which fixes numerous
bugs and improves security even more.)
Windows XP comes in Home and Professional editions; for a
comparison of the two, check out http://www.winsupersite.com/
Making the Choice
Still undecided about which version of Windows to use? Although
there’s no correct answer for everyone, my advice is to use Windows 7
if you have a reasonably fast Mac with at least 4 GB of RAM, and
Windows XP otherwise (assuming, of course, that you can still find
a copy). Because Windows 7 is superior to Vista in nearly every way
(although with somewhat higher system requirements), there aren’t
many situations in which I’d recommend Vista. On the other hand, XP
is still adequate for most things you might want to run in Fusion and
even peppier than Windows 7—it’s just that it’s a severely outdated
operating system with no future, and therefore an unwise investment
if you’re able to run Windows 7.
In any case, remember that the important thing is being able to run
Windows applications—not necessarily Windows itself. Virtually every
Windows program you might want to run will work perfectly well in
Windows XP; at the moment, very little software is designed exclusively
for Windows Vista and Windows 7. If you’re unable to find a copy of XP,
or if you want many of the benefits of Windows 7 with as little demand
on system resources as possible, the Windows Vista Home Basic edition
might be a fair compromise.
Retail or OEM Licensing?
Another consideration is the license for the version of Windows you
have (or are considering). Microsoft has two categories of licenses:
• Retail: If you buy an individual boxed copy of Windows (a full
version, not an upgrade) from a store, you have a retail license. This
license lets you install Windows on any compatible computer; you
can transfer it from one computer to another as long as it’s installed
on only one at a time.
• OEM: An original equipment manufacturer, or OEM license, is
designed for companies that bundle Windows with computers that
they build. (A copy of Windows that uses this license is also called
a “System Builder” edition.) So if you buy a PC from, say, Dell or HP,
the copy of Windows that comes preinstalled has an OEM license.
Similarly, copies of Windows bundled with Microsoft’s Virtual PC
emulation software use the OEM license, even though the “hardware” they’re bundled with is virtual rather than physical.
The OEM license is more restrictive than the retail license, in that
it says you can run that copy of Windows only on the hardware
(or with the emulator) it was bundled with. You’re not permitted
to install that copy of Windows elsewhere—not even if you stop using
it on the original machine.
Note: Microsoft also offers volume licenses—but only for upgrades.
Each copy of Windows must start with either a retail or OEM
In general, you should opt for a retail copy of Windows, which will
run about $200–$400, depending on which version and edition you
buy. Be circumspect about OEM versions of Windows. If you have an
OEM copy of Windows that came with a product you already own, its
license precludes installing it on another computer (and that includes
using it with Fusion); even if you were willing to violate the license,
Windows won’t let you (see the sidebar Windows Activation, next page).
A number of online retailers sell OEM copies of Windows (just a disc—
no box or documentation) at a significant discount without a computer.
This is a violation of Microsoft’s policies, and in my opinion the cost
savings isn’t worth the risk of incurring Microsoft’s wrath.
Windows for less: If you work for an employer enrolled in the
Microsoft Software Assurance program, you may be able to purchase
a full, legal copy of Windows through your company at a substantially
reduced rate. Likewise, if you’re a student or teacher, you can probably get an academic version of Windows at a discount by providing
a dealer with your credentials.
Windows Activation
Unlike Mac OS X, Windows requires a serial number (or product
key) plus an online activation process that ties the product key to
a particular hardware configuration. When you install a retail copy
of Windows for the first time, the installer prompts you to activate
at the end of installation; if you ignore the prompt, you’ll see a
pop-up notice in the system tray (in the lower-right corner of the
screen) telling you to activate the product within 30 days. Click this
notice, and then follow the instructions to activate Windows. (After
30 days, you won’t be able to start Windows without activating.)
Behind the scenes, Windows records your product key and several
pieces of data about your hardware, and sends it to Microsoft.
If you later try to activate a copy of Windows with the same
product key but on substantially different hardware, Windows
prompts you to reactivate. It overlooks certain minor hardware
changes, and in some cases you can easily reactivate after adding,
removing, or upgrading hardware. But if Windows suspects that
you’re trying to violate your license agreement by reusing the
same product key in two completely different places, you’ll be
forced to call Microsoft. If you can convince the person you’re
speaking to that you haven’t circumvented your license, you’ll
be given a long code that you can enter to reactivate Windows.
A copy of Windows running under Boot Camp sees your Mac’s
actual hardware, but Windows running in Fusion sees the virtual
hardware that Fusion creates to simulate a PC. So, if you activate
Windows under Boot Camp and then try to use the same copy
(with the same product key) in Fusion, you’re prompted to
reactivate. See Use a Boot Camp Partition in Fusion for details.
A Copy of Fusion
Yes, that one last little detail! If you have this book, chances are you
already have a copy of Fusion 3.0 or higher. If not, you can either buy
a retail box containing a CD and a serial number or purchase Fusion
online. You can also download a free trial version of Fusion.
To obtain Fusion online, go to http://www.vmware.com/products/
fusion/. Before you can download Fusion, you must register, supplying
your name and address. Be sure to note the serial number shown on the
screen when you register; you’ll need it in a moment. (If you’re using
the demo version, this serial number will be temporary; if you buy
Fusion, VMware will supply you with a permanent serial number.)
To install Fusion, follow these steps:
1. Insert the Fusion CD, or open the folder containing the Fusion
installer you downloaded.
2. Double-click the installer icon and follow the prompts.
3. Enter your serial number when prompted. (If you forgot to record
the serial number for a demo of Fusion, or if you lost your number,
click Get Serial Number.) Click Continue, and then click Close.
With Fusion installed, you can install Windows using the instructions
that follow—or, if you plan to use a copy of Windows already installed
using Boot Camp, skip ahead to Use a Boot Camp Partition in Fusion.
Upgrade from Fusion 1.x or 2.x
If you already had an earlier version of Fusion installed, your existing virtual machines will still work in Fusion 3. However, I suggest
shutting down your virtual machines in the earlier version of Fusion
(not merely suspending them) before installing the new version.
In addition, if you’re upgrading directly from version 1.x, the first
time you open each virtual machine, Fusion should ask if you want
to upgrade it. (If it doesn’t, choose Virtual Machine > Upgrade
Virtual Machine.) In general, the answer is yes: upgrading lets your
existing virtual machine take advantage of newer Fusion features,
such as better 3D graphics support. However, upgraded virtual
machines can’t run again in Fusion 1.x. If you later want to do so,
you can return to the older format by running the virtual machine
and choosing Virtual Machine > Downgrade Virtual Machine.
After upgrading Fusion (and, if necessary, upgrading a virtual
machine), you should be prompted to upgrade VMware Tools too
the first time you use any virtual machine. If the installer doesn’t
run automatically, choose Virtual Machine > Install VMware Tools.
Assuming you’ll be installing Windows XP, Windows Vista, or
Windows 7, Fusion lets you configure a new virtual machine and install
Windows in it with a single procedure. Follow these steps:
1. Launch VMware Fusion (in /Applications).
2. If you’re running Fusion for the first time, you may see a Welcome
screen. If so, click the Create New Virtual Machine button at the
bottom. Otherwise, choose File > New. The New Virtual Machine
Assistant appears.
3. Insert your Windows installer disc.
The window changes to show the version of Windows on the disc
(as long as it’s Windows XP or later).
Air apparent: Having trouble completing Step 3 on a MacBook
Air? See the sidebar Installing Windows on a MacBook Air (p. 33).
4. Leave Install This Operating System selected, and click Continue.
5. At this point, you can choose the Easy Install method, which automates the entire installation of Windows and VMware Tools, or
a standard installation, in which you manually complete each step
of the Windows installation process:
• To use Easy Install (which I recommend for most people),
continue with the steps under “Easy Install,” below.
• To do a standard installation, skip ahead to Standard Install.
Room to grow: Both Easy Install and Standard Install set the
default Windows virtual disk size at 40 GB. This is the maximum
size to which the disk image file can grow—and it should be plenty
for most people. Initially, the virtual disk will be much smaller (just
large enough to hold your Windows installation). Of course, the
disk image can never exceed the amount of free space on your disk,
so if you left (for example) only 20 GB free, that’s the largest your
Windows volume could grow.
Easy Install
To perform an Easy Install, first follow Steps 1–5 above. Then do the
1. Leave Use Easy Install checked. Enter your name, optionally enter
and confirm a password for your initial Windows user account, and
optionally (but recommended), enter your Windows Product Key,
which can be found inside the Windows retail package. Click
(Some Windows distributions may not require a Product Key. If
you’re using one that does, and you don’t enter it here, you can enter
it later, when activating Windows.)
The Integration screen appears (Figure 1).
Figure 1: On this screen, select how (if at all) you want to share files
between Windows and Mac OS X.
2. Select the way you want to share files between Windows and Mac
• Selecting More Seamless is the same as checking all four items
(Desktop, Documents, Music, and Pictures) under Mirrored
Folders in the Sharing pane of Fusion’s Settings window (see
Mirror Folders, p. 66).
• Selecting More Isolated is equivalent to unchecking Share Folders
on Your Mac in the Sharing pane of the Settings window.
If you’re uncertain which option to select, I suggest More Seamless.
If you don’t want to set up file sharing now, select None. You can
always change this later.
After making your selection, click Continue.
3. Review the default settings (such as RAM and maximum disk size)
shown in the Virtual Machine Summary (Figure 2).
Figure 2: Review the configuration of your newly created virtual
machine on this screen.
If you’re content with these settings, skip ahead to Step 4. If you
want to make any modifications now, rather than changing the
settings after the fact, continue with Steps a–d:
a. Click Customize Settings.
b. Enter a name and select a location for your virtual machine (or
simply accept the defaults), and click Save.
c. The Settings window appears; see Configure Virtual Machine
Settings to learn about your options. When you’re finished, close
the window.
d. Double-click your new virtual machine in the Virtual Machine
Library window. Skip Step 4.
4. Click Finish. Enter a name and select a location for your virtual
machine (the defaults are usually best); then click Save.
Your new virtual machine appears in the Virtual Machine Library and
should start automatically.
Fusion runs the Windows installer, configuring it with the information
you entered. It also installs VMware Tools, the set of drivers and other
software needed for Windows to run smoothly in a virtual machine. The
process may take an hour or more, so take this opportunity to catch up
on your email or call your mother.
Note: Skip ahead to Finish Your Windows Installation, next page,
to get ideas for what to do next.
Standard Install
To perform a Standard Install, first follow Steps 1–5 immediately under
Create a Virtual Machine in Fusion, a few pages back. Then do the
1. Uncheck Use Easy Install and click Continue.
2. Review the default settings (such as RAM and maximum disk size)
shown in the Virtual Machine Summary:
• If you’re content with these settings, click Finish. Enter a name
and select a location for your virtual machine (the defaults are
usually best); then click Save.
Your new virtual machine appears in the Virtual Machine Library
and should start automatically.
• If you want to make any modifications now, rather than changing
the settings after the fact, Continue with Steps a–d:
a. Click Customize Settings.
b. Enter a name and select a location for your virtual machine (or
simply accept the defaults), and click Save.
c. The Settings window appears; see Configure Virtual Machine
Settings to learn about your options. When you’re finished,
close the window.
d. Double-click your new virtual machine in the Virtual Machine
Library window.
3. The Windows installer runs automatically. However, you must
advance through all its screens manually, entering your Product Key,
name, and password, and answering a variety of other questions
about how you want Windows to be configured.
4. Install VMware Tools by choosing Virtual Machine > Install VMware
Tools; see VMware Tools to learn more.
Finish Your Windows Installation
Regardless of whether you used Easy Install or Standard Install, now
that you’ve finished installing a virtual machine, you should next consider performing three additional steps:
• You may want to install Apple’s Boot Camp Drivers under Fusion—
even if you never used Boot Camp and have no intention of doing so.
Read on in this section to find out why and how.
• You’ll also want to install anti-virus software (such as McAfee
VirusScan Plus, included with Fusion) as soon as possible; see Install
Anti-Virus Software, later.
• After installing this software, consider taking a snapshot (see
Save and Restore Your Windows State with Snapshots), which
will enable you to return your Windows installation to its current
state if anything were to go wrong in the future, as well as improve
the performance of your backups (see Take Snapshots).
Installing Windows on a MacBook Air
The MacBook Air has no internal optical drive, which creates
some complications when installing Windows. If you have a
MacBook Air SuperDrive attached, you can use that and follow
the normal installation instructions. However, the MacBook Air’s
Remote Disc feature—which normally lets you use a CD or DVD
inserted in another computer on your network—doesn’t work with
the Windows installer.
To work around this problem, you must create a disk image from
your Windows installation disc. Follow these steps on a Mac with
an optical drive:
1. Insert the Windows installation disc.
2. Launch Disk Utility (in /Applications/Utilities).
3. Select the CD/DVD icon (the indented icon containing the
volume name, not the topmost icon showing the drive model),
and click the New Image button in the toolbar.
4. Enter any name for the disk image file and select a location
(or keep the defaults). From the Image Format pop-up menu,
choose DVD/CD Master. From the Encryption pop-up menu,
choose None. Click Save.
5. Once the disk image has been converted, copy it over the network to your MacBook Air or put it in a shared location your
MacBook Air can access.
6. In Fusion, follow the instructions just previously for installing
Windows. But in Step 3, which asks you to insert a disc, instead
click Continue Without Disk. Select Use Operating System
Installation Disk Image File, navigate to the disk image, and
click Choose. Click Continue, verify or correct the operating system details, and click Continue again. Then pick up with Step 4.
The VMware Tools package includes drivers for most of the Mac hardware that Windows will use when running in a virtual machine, with
a few notable exceptions—particularly Apple’s proprietary devices that
use USB internally, including iSight cameras, Bluetooth transceivers,
and the infrared port used for the Apple Remote. Drivers for these
devices are available only from Apple, and only as part of the Boot
Camp driver package (included on your Leopard or Snow Leopard
Install DVD—you can’t download them separately).
So, if you want Windows applications to be able to access your iSight
camera or Apple Remote directly, or if you want to use Bluetooth
devices such as headsets or PDAs in Windows without going through
Mac OS X, you’ll need these drivers. (If you’re already using a Bluetooth
mouse or keyboard in Mac OS X, you can continue using it in Windows
without any additional drivers.) If you don’t plan to use any of these
devices in Windows, you can skip this topic.
To install the Boot Camp drivers under Windows:
1. With Windows running in Fusion, insert your Leopard or Snow
Leopard Install DVD. The Boot Camp installer should run
Auto repair: If the installer doesn’t run, check if the virtual
CD/DVD drive is in use. To do this, open the Virtual Machine >
CD/DVD menu. If Disconnect CD/DVD is enabled, select it. That
should cause the Boot Camp installer to run; if not, choose Start >
(My) Computer and double-click the DVD icon.
2. Follow the onscreen instructions to install the software.
3. You’ll be prompted to restart Windows when the installer finishes.
After your virtual machine has restarted, you can use your iSight
camera (see Connect and Disconnect Devices), Apple Remote, or
Bluetooth devices from within Windows. (To learn about using USB
devices, read USB Device Settings.)
Resolve a Keyboard Driver Problem
Although Boot Camp includes drivers for lots of other devices you
don’t need when using Fusion, I generally suggest leaving them
alone; in trying to uninstall extra drivers, you might inadvertently
delete something you need. However, there’s one exception to
this rule. The keyboard software Apple includes in some older versions of the Boot Camp Drivers package apparently had a bug that
may cause Windows to start up slowly under Fusion.
If you encounter this problem, follow these steps in Windows:
1. Choose Start > Run.
2. Enter msconfig and click OK.
3. Click on Startup, and then uncheck KbdMgr and click OK.
The downside is that if you’re running Windows from a Boot
Camp partition in Fusion and you later want to boot directly into
Windows, you must first repeat this approximate procedure to reenable KbdMgr or your keyboard may not work properly.
Continue reading to find out how to use a Boot Camp installation of
Windows instead of (or in addition to) Windows installed on a virtual
disk. If you want to tweak the settings of your virtual machine, read
Configure Virtual Machine Settings. Or, to learn how to use Windows
within Fusion, skip straight to Use Windows in a Virtual Machine.
If you’ve already installed Windows using Boot Camp, you need not
reinstall Windows (though you may later want to convert it to a virtual
machine; see Import a Boot Camp Volume). You can quickly configure
Fusion to use your existing installation by following these steps:
1. Launch VMware Fusion (in /Applications).
2. In the Virtual Machine Library window, do either of the following:
• Double-click Boot Camp Partition in the list on the left.
• Select Home on the left and then click Run Windows from Your
Boot Camp Partition.
Enter your administrator password when prompted and click OK.
3. Wait for Windows to launch. On the first run of Windows, Fusion
modifies your Boot Camp Windows installation to work correctly
in a virtual machine—a process that can take several minutes.
4. You will most likely be prompted to reactivate Windows the first
time it runs under Fusion. Ordinarily this requires just a couple of
clicks, though in rare cases you might have to call Microsoft (using
a number provided on the screen) to get an activation code.
Just this once: In most cases, the first time you run your Boot
Camp installation of Windows in Fusion, you must reactivate. But,
as long as you install VMware Tools (the next step) before rebooting directly in Boot Camp, you won’t have to reactivate again when
you switch between the two methods of running Windows.
5. After Windows boots (and you log in to Windows, if necessary),
Fusion runs the VMware Tools installer. Follow the prompts to
complete the installation; you can accept all the default settings.
Auto repair: If the installer doesn’t run by itself, check if the virtual CD/DVD drive is in use. To do this, check the Virtual Machine >
CD/DVD menu. If Disconnect CD/DVD is enabled, select it. Then
choose Virtual Machine > Install VMware Tools.
6. When the installation is complete, click Finish; then click Yes to
restart Windows.
Windows restarts. From here on, you can use Windows normally.
Remember that when running Windows from your Boot Camp
partition, you can’t suspend or resume it—you must shut it down
completely when you quit Fusion—nor can you take snapshots or
use AutoProtect.
Installing Linux
Although I’ve been talking about Windows, you may also want
to install another operating system, such as any of the numerous
Linux distributions. Fusion’s Easy Install feature works with Ubuntu
7.10 or later, Ubuntu Server Edition 8.10 or later, Red Hat
Enterprise Linux 3 or later.
For any of these distributions, if you have a disc containing the
installer, you can insert it at Step 3 in Create a Virtual Machine in
Fusion and follow the remaining steps (some wording and options
will be slightly different than for Windows).
If you have downloaded Linux as a disk image (.iso) file, do the
1. Follow the steps in Create a Virtual Machine in Fusion, but click
Continue Without Disk in Step 3.
2. Select Use Operating System Installation Disk Image File,
navigate to the disk image, and click Choose.
3. Click Continue, verify or correct the operating system details,
and click Continue again. Then:
To use Easy Install (if available), skip to the steps given
under Easy Install.
To perform a Standard Install, flip back to Standard Install.
Another way to install Linux under Fusion is to use one of the many
prebuilt Virtual Appliances based on Linux (consult Use Virtual
Appliances, p. 136).
If you’re eager to get started using Windows, read the next section
to learn how to get around. If you’re curious about the many Fusion
settings you can adjust and want to get everything tuned just so from
the outset, skip ahead to Configure Virtual Machine Settings.
Use Windows in
a Virtual Machine
Now that Windows is installed, you can run it almost as if you were
using a PC. In this section, I walk you through some highlights of
Fusion’s interface—how you run and manage your virtual machines.
I also discuss how to avoid some of the confusion that can occur
when running two operating systems at the same time, especially
when they have different expectations about basic things like mouse
and keyboard behavior.
Although I focus on Windows in this section, most of what I describe
here is equally true of other operating systems you may install in
Fusion, especially Linux (in that Linux, like Windows—but unlike
other operating systems—supports Unity view).
Tip: If, as you’re using Fusion, anything seems not to work quite
right, check to see if it’s mentioned in the list of Known Issues in
Fusion’s release notes (http://www.vmware.com/support/fusion3/
Most of the time you spend working in Fusion will involve just two
windows: the Virtual Machine Library, in which you can select, run, and
modify virtual machines, and the main Fusion window that contains
Windows (or the operating system of your choice) while it’s running.
The Virtual Machine Library
Fusion’s Virtual Machine Library window (Figure 3) lists all your
virtual machines. (If it’s not visible, choose Window > Virtual Machine
Library to display it.) It gives you a central location where you can run
them and change their settings, as well as create and delete virtual
machines. If you used an earlier version of Fusion, you may notice that
version 3 significantly expands the capabilities of this window, and
rearranges a few things.
Figure 3: The Virtual Machine Library lists all your virtual machines.
The left side of the window lists all the virtual machines you’ve set up
and indicates whether they’re running, suspended, or powered off. If
the virtual machine is running or suspended, the list also displays a
thumbnail image of its Desktop, including any open windows.
If you have Windows installed on a Boot Camp partition, the Virtual
Machine Library includes that in the list too (see Use a Boot Camp
Partition in Fusion). Likewise, if Fusion detects any existing installations of Windows under Parallels Desktop or Virtual PC, they’re listed
under Other Virtual Machines (see Import a Virtual Machine from
Parallels Desktop or Virtual PC).
The Home icon on the left (which may be the only icon you see the first
time you run Fusion) is new in Fusion 3, and provides shortcuts to several common tasks, such as installing Windows, migrating from a PC
(see Import a Windows Installation from a PC), and downloading trial
versions of Windows.
However, the most common reasons you’ll visit the Virtual Machine
Library window are to start, stop, suspend, resume, and change various
other settings of virtual machines. Specifically, you may want to do any
of the following:
• Run a virtual machine: To run a virtual machine, thus booting
Windows or whichever operating system is installed in it, you can
double-click the virtual machine in the list, click the
icon beside it,
or select the virtual machine and choose Virtual Machine > Start Up.
• Suspend or resume a virtual machine: To pause a virtual
machine, saving its state so that you can later pick up where you left
off without waiting to reboot, select it in the list and click the
or choose Virtual Machine > Suspend.
To resume a suspended virtual machine, double-click its name in
the list, click the
icon beside it, or select the virtual machine and
choose Virtual Machine > Resume.
(I say more about suspending and resuming virtual machines ahead
a few pages, in Suspend, Resume, and Shut Down Windows.)
Forgotten but not gone: After you suspend or shut down a
virtual machine, its window may remain open; you can click the
big “play” button in this window to (re)start the virtual machine.
Feel free to close this window; you can reopen it at any time by
Control-clicking (right-clicking) on the virtual machine in the list
and choosing Show Windows.
• Set a virtual machine to run automatically: If you want a
particular virtual machine to run (or resume) automatically every
time you launch Fusion, click the
icon beside it, which turns to
orange: . To remove this setting, click the icon again. (You can
have only one virtual machine start automatically.)
• Change a virtual machine’s settings: Select the virtual machine
and click the Settings button at the bottom of the window, choose
Virtual Machine > Settings, or Control-click (right-click) a virtual
machine and choose Settings from the contextual menu.
• Rearrange the virtual machine list: Drag a virtual machine up
or down in the list to change its order.
• Rename a virtual machine: Select a virtual machine, click on its
name on the right side of the window, and make any desired edits.
• Add notes: If you have many virtual machines—particularly if
several of them are similar but with slight differences—you can enter
descriptive notes to help you tell them apart. Simply click in the area
to the right of the word “Notes” and type.
• Show in Finder: The files constituting your virtual machines
are located in ~/Documents/Virtual Machines by default (except
in the case of a Boot Camp partition, whose virtual machine uses
a somewhat different format, and is stored by default in ~/Library/
Application Support/VMware Fusion/Virtual Machines/Boot Camp).
But you can store them elsewhere, if you prefer. To reveal the virtual
machine’s files in the Finder, Control-click (right-click) the virtual
machine in the list and choose Show in Finder.
If you decide to move an existing virtual machine, be sure to shut it
down first. (You can then open it by choosing File > Open and navigating to the new location; this also adds it to the Virtual Library list.)
Look inside a Virtual Machine
In Fusion, a virtual machine includes a number of components:
settings files, the file(s) constituting the virtual disk image(s), any
snapshots you’ve taken manually or using AutoProtect, log files,
and more. All these files are packaged in a special format called
a bundle, which looks like a single file in the Finder but which is
really a folder in disguise.
To see the contents of a virtual machine, follow the instructions
just previously. Then, in the Finder, Control-click (right-click)
the file (which has the extension .vmwarevm) and choose Show
Package Contents. A new window opens, revealing all the constituent files and folders.
• Delete a virtual machine: To remove a virtual machine, select
it and choose Edit > Delete (or press the Delete key). In the dialog
that appears, click Keep File to remove the virtual machine from the
Virtual Machine Library but keep its data on disk (meaning you can
easily add it again later). To remove the machine and also move all
its data to the Trash, click Move to Trash (do this with caution!).
Or click Cancel to do nothing.
Automatic Screenshots
As you use your virtual machine, Fusion displays a live thumbnail
of your entire Windows screen in the Virtual Machine Library
window. If you drag a thumbnail from this window to your Mac
Desktop (or another folder), a full-size PNG image of your virtual
machine as it exists at that moment is copied there.
The Main Virtual Machine Window
When you run a virtual machine, it initially appears in its own window
(Figure 4).
Figure 4: The main virtual machine window, showing Windows 7
running as a guest.
The interior of the window, of course, shows your Windows Desktop,
and that’s where most of your attention will be. In addition, though,
note the toolbar at the top of the window, which contains buttons for
frequently used Fusion commands (read on to learn more about these).
Also note the series of icons along the bottom of the window at the
right; these enable you to connect or disconnect various physical and
virtual devices (see Connect and Disconnect Devices).
Apart from activities you perform in Windows itself, you can do the
following things in this main window:
• Resize the window: To change the window’s size—which will
automatically adjust the Windows resolution to match, too, as long
as you’ve installed VMware Tools—drag the resize control ( ) in the
lower-right corner of the window.
• Customize the toolbar: To rearrange the buttons on the toolbar,
add new ones, or remove ones you don’t need, Control-click (rightclick) in any blank area of the toolbar and choose Customize Toolbar
from the contextual menu. Using the dialog that appears, drag icons
onto or off of the toolbar, or drag them to other positions on the toolbar. You can also determine whether icons, labels, or both appear
using the Show pop-up menu, and optionally switch to a smaller icon
size by checking Use Small Size. Click Done when you’re finished
modifying the toolbar.
• Hide the toolbar: To hide the toolbar, click the lozenge-shaped
button (
) in the upper-right corner; click the button again to
display the toolbar again.
When you’re finished with a given session of work (or play) in
Windows, you can either shut it down (that is, “power off” the virtual
machine) or suspend it.
Suspending a virtual machine is somewhat like putting a laptop to
sleep, in that you put it into an inactive mode but can restore it to the
state you were last in quickly, without waiting for Windows to reboot
and for your applications to load. Fusion saves not only the state of your
disk but also the state of the virtual machine’s RAM. This requires some
extra disk space, but generally repays you in time savings.
Suspend a Virtual Machine
To suspend Windows, do any of the following:
• Click the Suspend button in the toolbar.
• Choose Virtual Machine > Suspend.
• In the Virtual Machine Library window, click the
Fusion saves the virtual machine’s state and suspends it. At this point,
you can safely quit Fusion—though you can easily keep it running in the
background, as suspending a virtual machine makes all the RAM it was
using available to Mac OS X again.
Resume a Virtual Machine
To resume running Windows, do any of the following:
• If the virtual machine window is open, click the Resume button in
the toolbar.
• Choose Virtual Machine > Resume.
• In the Virtual Machine Library window, double-click the virtual
machine name or click the
Shut Down a Virtual Machine
To shut down Windows entirely, make sure it’s currently running (not
suspended) and do either of the following:
• Shut down from within Windows. (In Windows XP, choose Start >
Turn Off Computer and click Turn Off; or, in Windows Vista or
Windows 7, choose Start >
> Shut Down.)
• Choose Virtual Machine > Shut Down.
Restart a Virtual Machine
You can restart a virtual machine in essentially the same way that you
shut one down. With Windows running, do either of the following:
• Restart from within Windows. (In Windows XP, choose Start > Turn
Off Computer and click Restart; or, in Windows Vista or Windows 7,
choose Start >
> Restart.)
• Choose Virtual Machine > Restart.
Pull the plug: If Windows refuses to shut down or restart, you can
perform the virtual equivalent of pulling the plug. Hold down the
Option key and choose Virtual Machine > Force Shut Down (in the
spot where Shut Down usually is). Or, to do a “hard” reset (like flipping the power switch off and back on), hold down the Option key and
choose Virtual Machine > Force Restart.
Tip: In Fusion’s General Preferences, you further refine how your
actions cause virtual machines to shut down or be suspended.
A complication that arises when running Windows in a Fusion virtual
machine is that standard Windows input devices (keyboards and mice)
are different from standard Mac input devices. As a result, you may find
yourself needing to press keys or click buttons that don’t exist. Not to
worry: Fusion can help you deal with these problems easily.
Remap Mouse Buttons
Unlike Macs, Windows requires at least two, if not three, buttons on
a mouse. If you have a multi-button mouse—or trackball—attached to
your Mac, it will most likely work correctly in a Windows virtual machine without further configuration. However, if your mouse has fewer
buttons than you need, Fusion can provide alternative ways of clicking.
By default, Fusion lets you click the “right” (or secondary) button by
holding down the Control key while clicking. (On a Mac laptop, you
have other options as well; see Right-Clicking (p. 6) for details.) To get
a “button 3” response, hold down the Command key while clicking.
If you want to change either of these settings, do this:
1. Choose VMware Fusion > Preferences, click the Keyboard & Mouse
button in the toolbar, and then click Mouse Shortcuts.
2. Double-click the setting you want to change—for example, to change
the shortcut to simulate a right click, double-click Secondary Button.
3. In the dialog that appears, select the modifier key(s) and mouse
button you want to use. Then click OK.
Find a Missing Pointer
In a few situations, you may find yourself without a pointer—you
move the mouse but nothing shows up, either in Windows or in
Mac OS X. Don’t panic. It’s likely one of three issues:
• First, during part of the time that Windows is starting up,
shutting down, suspending, or resuming, the VMware Tools
drivers aren’t active, so Fusion can’t perform its usual trick of
handing off the pointer between Mac and Windows. In most
cases, if you wait a minute, it’ll come back. If it doesn’t—or if
you can’t wait—press Command-Control to release the pointer
from the virtual machine’s control and hand it to Mac OS X.
• Second, in rare cases, your pointer may move just fine in Mac
OS X, but when you move it over the virtual machine window,
the Windows pointer doesn’t move (or doesn’t appear at all).
If this happens, press Command-G, which jogs Fusion into
attaching mouse input to the virtual machine.
• Third, Fusion may lock your pointer to the virtual machine
window to make a game work correctly. If this happens, you
won’t see your Mac pointer even when you try to move outside
the window. If this happens at an inappropriate time, see
General Preferences for the gaming-related settings to change.
Simulate Missing Keys
If you have an Apple keyboard (or a third-party Mac keyboard) attached
to your Mac, rather than a Windows keyboard, you may be missing a
few keys, such as Print Screen, Pause, and Break. On a laptop, you may
be missing other keys too, such as Forward-delete, Home, and End.
If you use any of these keys frequently, you can set up a keyboard
shortcut that lets you press some other combination of keys to get the
same effect (as I cover next). But for occasional use, there’s an easier
way to simulate missing keys: choose a keystroke from the Virtual
Machine > Send Key submenu. Unfortunately, you can’t use modifier
keys with these keystrokes—for example, holding down Option (Alt)
while choosing Virtual Machine > Send Key > Print Scrn doesn’t take a
screen shot of just the active window, as Alt-Print Scrn normally would.
Tip: To send Control-Alt-Delete to Windows (to log out or display a
list of running tasks), choose Virtual Machine > Send Ctrl-Alt-Del.
Configure Keyboard Shortcuts
If you’re accustomed to using Mac keyboard shortcuts, which typically
involve the Command key rather than the Control key (for example,
Command-C for Copy), you can in most cases get Fusion to translate
those combinations so that they perform the equivalent operation
in Windows. You can also set up mappings so that keys on your Mac
keyboard simulate keys (like the Windows key) that aren’t physically
there. To do this, start by choosing VMware Fusion > Preferences and
clicking the Keyboard & Mouse button in the toolbar (Figure 5).
Figure 5: Configure keyboard shortcuts in this pane.
Note: The Windows key displays the Start menu when you press
and release it; it can also be used as a modifier key (like Control
and Alt) in keyboard shortcuts. To learn more, read
By default, Fusion is already set up to translate several common
shortcuts, as shown in Figure 5 (previous page). For example, you
can press Command-Z to get the effect of Control-Z, or press the
Command key by itself to “press” the Windows key, or use Option
in place of Alt.
To add a new mapping, follow these steps:
1. Click the
button at the bottom of the window. A dialog appears
(Figure 6).
Figure 6: Use this dialog to select Mac keys (top) and the Windows
keystrokes they emulate (bottom).
2. At the top of the dialog (“From”), select the modifier key(s), if any,
that you want to physically press on your Mac. Then press a key
(which will show up in the field) that you’ll press together with the
3. At the bottom of the dialog (“To”), click in the field on the right.
Select the modifier keys (if any) that you want Windows to see
as a result of your keyboard shortcut. Then either press a key or,
if the key that you want to emulate isn’t on your keyboard, choose
it from the pop-up menu.
4. Click OK.
To modify an existing key mapping, double-click it in the list and follow
the steps above. To disable a shortcut, uncheck it; to delete it altogether,
select it and click
. To disable all key mappings in Fusion, uncheck
Enable Key Mappings.
Note: In addition to these key mappings, you may want to
modify the way Fusion uses global Mac OS X shortcuts, or disable
shortcuts for built-in Fusion commands. See Mac OS Shortcuts and
Fusion Shortcuts (both on p. 98), respectively, for details.
Fusion lets you view your Windows virtual machine in any of three
modes (each with its own unique advantages):
• Single Window View: Windows appears within one window, which
acts much like any other Mac OS X window.
• Full Screen View: Windows takes over the entire screen (or space).
• Unity View: The Windows Desktop effectively disappears, and each
Windows application operates within a single window. (If you
particularly want to minimize your interactions with the Windows
operating system, also read Make Windows Invisible.)
You can switch between these views whenever you want, with just a
couple of clicks or keystrokes. I cover each view in turn, ahead.
The Preview Window
A new feature in Fusion 3 is a special floating window called the
Preview window (Figure 7). This small, resizable window shows you
a live thumbnail display of any virtual machine, regardless of which
view it’s in (Single Window, Full Screen, or Unity)—and even if it’s
suspended or powered off. To display the Preview window, choose
View > Preview.
Figure 7: Keep track of what a virtual machine is up to in the
Preview window.
The Preview window is ideal for situations when you want to be
able to see at a glance how Windows is progressing on some task
(downloading a file, for example) without requiring extra screen
space to display one or more entire windows. Although the miniature display is updated in real time, it’s view-only; clicks on the
thumbnail have no effect. You can, however, use the buttons at
the bottom of the window to activate Single Window, Full Screen,
or Unity View (from left to right, respectively) for the virtual
machine shown in the Preview window.
Single Window View
Initially, every new virtual machine appears in Single Window view,
which is exactly what it sounds like: your entire Windows environment
is contained in a single window. That window behaves just like any
other Mac window, in that you can move, resize, zoom, or minimize it.
When it’s frontmost on your screen, your mouse and keyboard actions
are sent to Windows (and the pointer changes to the white Windows
style). You can also drag files from folders on your Mac into the window
to copy them to your virtual machine—or vice versa.
If you like to see your entire Windows screen while keeping your Mac
OS X windows in view, Single Window view is the ideal choice. And, if
you like Single Window view but want to keep track of what Windows is
doing in the background without taking up lots of screen space, you can
minimize the window and then use The Preview Window (described in
the sidebar on the previous page) to see a miniature representation of
your Windows virtual machine.
To switch to Single Window view from any other view, choose View >
Single Window.
Full Screen View
In Full Screen view, Windows occupies—you guessed it—your whole
screen, just as it would if you were running Windows on a PC. This
gives you maximum screen real estate for your virtual machine, effectively hiding the fact that you’re running Windows on a Mac. In Full
Screen view, you can’t see your Mac’s Dock, and you can’t drag files
between the two environments.
To enter Full Screen view, you can either click the Full Screen button
( ) in the toolbar or choose View > Enter Full Screen (CommandControl-Return).
While Fusion is in Full Screen view, your Mac’s menu bar is hidden.
So, to enable you to perform commands in Fusion itself, Fusion 3 adds
a new feature called the Full Screen Title Bar (Figure 8). It contains
the View, Virtual Machine, and Window menus as well as the usual
close, minimize, and zoom buttons and a pause/resume button—thus
giving you full control of your virtual machine.
Figure 8: The Full Screen Title Bar gives you access to the most
crucial Fusion menus when in Full Screen mode.
Of course, this bar, too, can get in the way, so Fusion offers several
ways to put it in its place. Choose one of the following commands on
the View > Full Screen Title Bar submenu to alter its behavior:
• Always Show: This option, the default, means the Title Bar is
always visible.
• Automatically Show and Hide: With this option selected, the
Title Bar is normally hidden, but becomes visible when your pointer
approaches the edge of the screen where it would otherwise appear.
• Always Hide: Choose this option to turn off the Title Bar
altogether. (If you do this, you can return to Single Window view by
pressing Command-Control-Return.)
• Position on Screen: Choose Top, Left, Bottom, or Right from this
submenu to move the Full Screen Title Bar to another location on
your screen.
To exit Full Screen view, you can either press Command-ControlReturn again or, if the Full Screen Title Bar is visible, choose View >
Single Window to return to Single Window view or View > Unity to
enter Unity view (described below).
Full Screen view is fully compatible with the Spaces feature in Leopard
and Snow Leopard (configured in the Exposé & Spaces pane of System
Preferences). In other words, Windows can occupy an entire space in
Full Screen mode, while the other spaces show your Mac Desktop and
applications as usual. You can then use all the standard Spaces keyboard shortcuts to switch from one space to another, thus letting you
switch into and out of a full-screen Windows experience without ever
leaving Full Screen view. (And, in such a situation, The Preview
Window, described a few pages back, can be especially handy.) In fact,
with a virtual machine running full-screen in a space, you can even copy
a file from one operating system to another, by dragging it to the edge
of the screen nearest the space you want to switch to and waiting for a
moment while the spaces switch.
Cover-up: If you use Full Screen view with Spaces, be sure the space
you’re using for Windows doesn’t already have any Mac windows
showing, because they’ll be completely covered by your Windows
Unity View
Full Screen view gives you the most PC-like experience of running
Windows, but Unity view gives you the most Mac-like experience. In
Unity view, the virtual machine window disappears—and with it, your
Windows Desktop. All you see are the windows from your Windows
applications, right alongside the windows from your Mac applications
(Figure 9). If you want to see Windows and Mac windows side-by-side
with maximum flexibility, Unity is the view for you.
Figure 9: In Unity view, windows from Windows applications can mingle
with those from Mac applications.
To enter Unity view, you can either click the Unity button ( ) in the
toolbar or choose View > Unity (Command-Control-U). To return to
Single Window view, first make sure a window from Fusion (or from
Windows itself) is in the foreground; then choose View > Single
Window or press Command-Control-U again. To switch from Unity
view directly to Full Screen view, choose View > Full Screen
Use Dock Icons in Unity View
When you’re in Unity view, your Mac OS X Dock displays an icon for
each open application in Windows. (A single Windows Explorer icon
appears if you have any number of windows open in Windows
Explorer.) These icons work just like regular Dock icons. For example,
you can drag a document to the icon of a Windows program in your
Dock to open the document in that program. You can also Control-click
(or right-click) on a Dock icon to display commands such as Keep in
Dock (which lets you keep Windows application icons in your Dock
even when Fusion isn’t running), Hide, and Quit—and in Snow
Leopard, you can click and hold on a Dock icon to activate Exposé for
that Windows application.
Where’d it go? If you’re in Unity view and happen to close all of your
windows, you may not see anything to suggest that Windows is still
running. If you ever get lost, click the VMware Fusion icon in your
Dock to bring Fusion to the foreground, and then Use the Applications
Menu (described on the next page) to locate or launch a Windows
Use the Taskbar in Unity View
Just as the Mac OS X menu bar disappears in Full Screen view, the
Windows taskbar normally disappears in Unity view. So what if you
need to access icons in the Start menu, say, or in the Notification Area
(better known as the System Tray)? You have a few options.
Display the Taskbar
To display the taskbar, choose View > Show Taskbar in Unity. By
default, the Mac OS X Dock and the Windows taskbar both go at
the bottom of the screen, so if you choose this option, the two could
overlap—not at all what you want! Therefore, if you want to display
the taskbar, I suggest changing the location of either the Dock or the
taskbar (for example, put one on the right side of the screen and the
other on the left, if you want to keep them as separate as possible):
• To change the position of the Mac OS X Dock, choose  > Dock >
Position on Left, Position on Bottom, or Position on Right.
• To relocate the Windows taskbar, right-click on it and select Lock
the Taskbar to uncheck it. Then drag the taskbar to your preferred
screen edge and again choose Lock the Taskbar to check it. To hide
the taskbar again, make sure Fusion (or a Windows window) is in
the foreground, and choose View > Hide Taskbar in Unity.
Display System Tray Icons
If the taskbar is hidden, you can still opt to display only the System Tray
icons. To do this, choose View > Show System Tray in Unity. When you
choose this option, the System Tray icons move to your main Mac menu
bar, positioned to the left of any other icons already there. They continue to function as they would on the taskbar. To hide the icons, choose
View > Hide System Tray in Unity.
Note: Although this feature works for most third-party System Tray
icons, some items in the System Tray (such as the volume control
and network icon) don’t appear on your Mac’s menu bar, regardless of this setting.
Forget the Taskbar
You may not need the taskbar at all; perhaps you only need to get at the
items on the Start menu, for example. If so, Fusion 3’s new system-wide
Applications menu (described next) may do the trick.
Fusion 2 included a feature called the Applications menu, which
appeared only in Unity view and provided a way to launch applications
and perform many of the other activities that would normally require
the taskbar. Fusion 3 also has a feature called the Applications menu,
but it looks completely different, is far more advanced, and now works
throughout Mac OS X—even when Fusion isn’t running.
The Applications menu is enabled by default; you can turn it off or
modify its behavior by selecting a virtual machine, choosing Virtual
Machine > Settings, clicking Applications, and clicking Applications
Menu (see Applications Settings, later). When the menu is active, a
small icon appears in your Mac OS X menu bar; clicking it displays the
full menu as shown in Figure 10.
Figure 10: Use Fusion’s Applications menu to access Start menu items
and other Fusion controls anywhere in Mac OS X.
The Applications menu displays an approximation of the contents of
the Windows Start menu, giving you one-click access to My Computer
(Windows XP) or Computer (Windows Vista or Windows 7), the Control
Panel, the Run command, and so on. All your Windows applications
appear in the All Programs submenu (although some might have
slightly different names from those that appear in Windows), and
recently used applications appear in the main menu. To search in
Windows, type a search term in the field at the top of the menu.
If you have more than one Windows virtual machine, you can select
which one the menu applies to at any given moment by choosing the
virtual machine’s name from the pop-up menu in the upper-left of the
Applications menu. After a moment or two, the program list updates
to reflect what’s installed in that particular copy of Windows.
In addition to the commands on the Start menu, the Applications menu
contains submenus that give you access to Fusion’s Virtual Machine and
View menus, plus Start Up, Suspend/Resume, Restart, and Shut Down
commands (depending on the state of the virtual machine).
One thing you can’t do in the Applications menu is right-click on a
program or command, as you may need to do, for example, to view or
change an application’s properties. To do so, make sure Windows is
running and either switch temporarily to Single Window or Full Screen
view, or (in Unity view) display the Windows taskbar.
Also be aware that changes you make in your Windows Start menu may
not be reflected automatically in the Applications menu.
Make Windows Invisible
Are you the type of person who needs to run Windows applications
but never wants to see Windows itself? If you would prefer for
Windows to completely disappear into the background and yet
be available at all times to run programs you download or display
Web sites that work only in Internet Explorer, you can do several
things to make the integration with Mac OS X as tight as possible:
• Switch to Unity View, as described previously. When you quit
Fusion, always suspend Windows (rather than shutting it down).
When you resume running Windows, Fusion restores it to the
last view you used.
• Activate folder sharing and turn on all mirrored folders (see
Sharing Settings).
• Whenever an alert appears (for example, to confirm that you
want to suspend or shut down Windows) with a Never Show This
Dialog Again checkbox, check it!
• Configure Application Sharing to use Mac defaults for URLs (see
Default Application Preferences).
• Add Fusion to your Login Items so it launches automatically
when you turn on your Mac or log in: Control-click (right-click)
the VMware Fusion icon in the Dock and choose Options> Open
at Login (Snow Leopard) or Open at Login (Leopard).
• Set a Windows virtual machine to open automatically when you
run Fusion (see The Virtual Machine Library). Alternatively, add
a particular virtual machine (from your ~/Documents/Virtual
Machines folder) to the Login Items list in the Accounts pane of
System Preferences, in lieu of Fusion itself (as described in the
previous bullet item).
• To use Spotlight as a Windows application launcher, follow the
steps in Spotlight and Windows Applications (p. 62).
Just as you can copy and paste information between Mac OS X
applications, or between Windows applications, you can also copy and
paste from one operating system to another in either direction. Fusion 2
supported copy and paste only for text, but Fusion 3 lets you copy and
paste graphics as well. (Some other kinds of data, such as sounds and
entire files, do not transfer via copy and paste between host and guest
operating systems.)
You can also drag and drop text and entire files (but not graphical data
from within a document window) between host and guest in either
Tip: For more ways to share files and other data between host and
guest, see Sharing Settings.
If you have more than one display connected to your Mac, Fusion
enables Windows to use any or all of them (up to ten). Multiple display
support lets you run Windows applications that require more than one
screen, or spread out if you need more screen space. In Single Window
view, you can move the window freely to any display, and in Unity view,
you can move any of your windows to any display.
1D: If you enabled 3D graphics acceleration, note that this feature
applies only to your primary display.
If you switch to Full Screen view on a Mac with multiple displays,
Windows normally fills the window of just the current display. To
extend your Windows Desktop to fill all displays, choose View > Use All
Displays in Full Screen; to return to running Windows full-screen on
just one display, choose View > Use Single Display in Full Screen.
All or one: Although Windows can run full-screen on any one display
or on all your displays, you can’t pick and choose. For example, if you
have four displays connected to your Mac, you can’t spread your
Windows Desktop across just two of them.
To configure multiple displays in Windows, open the Windows Control
Panel, go to Displays, and click the Settings tab (Figure 11). Drag the
icons representing your displays to reflect their physical positions, and
optionally change the resolution and bit depth of each one.
Figure 11: If you use more than one monitor in Full Screen view,
configure their arrangement in the Settings tab of Display Properties
(the Windows XP version is shown here).
As I mentioned in USB Device Settings, with only a few exceptions
(such as your keyboard and mouse), every USB hardware device built
into, or attached to, your Mac can be used only by a single operating
system at any given time. (The same goes for optical drives—see CD &
DVD Settings.) If you plug in a USB camera, for example, you can either
make it available to applications running in Mac OS X (in which case
it’s invisible to Windows) or make it available to your Windows applications (in which case Mac OS X doesn’t see it).
Most of the time, Fusion’s default settings mean that the right thing
happens without your having to do anything. In general, if a device
was already connected when you started Windows, it remains under
the control of Mac OS X, whereas if you plug in a device while Windows
is in the foreground, Fusion assumes you want Windows to take over
the device. And that is usually the safe assumption.
However, in some cases you may want to override the default behavior.
For example, if you want Windows to use your built-in iSight camera
(which, behind the scenes, is a USB device), you must explicitly tell it
to do so. Or, if you plugged in a USB hard drive that Windows took over
but you want to make it available to Mac OS X instead, you must again
take manual action via a menu or icon:
• Menu: Use the commands at the bottom of the Virtual Machine
menu (for example, Virtual Machine > CD/DVD > Disconnect CD/
DVD or Virtual Machine > USB > Connect Apple Built-in iSight).
• Icon: Use the icons that appear in the bottom right corner of the
virtual machine window (Figure 12). The number and types of icons
that appear here will vary depending on your hardware.
Figure 12: A row of icons similar to this one at the bottom of the
Fusion window lets you connect and disconnect devices.
Most of these icons are self-explanatory, but if you’re unsure what
anything means, hover over the icon with your mouse pointer for
a moment, and a pop-up tooltip tells you what device it refers to.
To connect or disconnect a device using these icons, click the icon
and choose the appropriate “Connect” or “Disconnect” command
from the pop-up menu.
When you connect a device, Windows acts as though you just physically
plugged it in—which means that it may attempt to find and install a
driver for the device if it isn’t already installed. When you disconnect
a device, Windows acts as though you physically unplugged it.
Spotlight and Windows Applications
Some people like to use Spotlight as an application launcher—
that is, click the
icon at the right of the menu bar, type in a few
letters of an application’s name, select it with the arrow keys, and
press Return to launch it. That works fine with Mac applications,
but not with Windows applications—Spotlight can’t normally see
them, even when you’re using Unity view.
Fusion 3’s Applications menu can give you nearly the same capability, but if you prefer to stick with Spotlight, you can work around
this limitation with the following trick that lets all your Windows
applications show up in a Spotlight search:
1. In the Finder, navigate to ~/Documents/Virtual Machines (or
to wherever you stored your virtual machines).
2. Control-click (right-click) the name of a Windows virtual
machine and choose Show Package Contents. A new window
3. Tell Spotlight to index all your Windows applications, or only
the ones you expect to launch with Spotlight; working from the
window you just opened:
• To index all applications, hold down the Command and
Option keys and drag the Applications folder to your Mac’s
Applications folder (/Applications), or to a subfolder inside
the Applications folder.
• To index only some applications, open the Applications folder.
You should see icons representing all your Windows applications. Select one or more of these. Then, hold down the
Command and Option keys and drag the selected icon(s)
to your Mac’s Applications folder (/Applications), or to a
subfolder inside the Applications folder.
(Note that if you choose this second approach, Spotlight
won’t automatically pick up new applications you install
in Windows. After installing Windows software, repeat this
procedure to add the new application’s alias to your Mac’s
Applications folder.)
You’ve now created aliases to your Windows applications that
Spotlight can see, and it treats these as real applications for the
purpose of launching them.
Configure Virtual
Machine Settings
Each virtual machine that you create in Fusion can have a wide
variety of settings, affecting such features as file sharing with Mac
OS X, use of system resources, and hardware configurations. In addition, Fusion has some global preferences that affect how all virtual
machines behave. I cover these settings in the next several pages.
To adjust settings for a virtual machine, select it in the Virtual Machine
Library and click the Settings button or choose Virtual Machine >
Settings. The Settings window (Figure 13) appears. If your virtual
machine is running or suspended, this window shows a thumbnail on
the left. Click a category to change its settings.
Figure 13: The Settings window. Click a category to configure its
settings for the selected virtual machine.
Keeping you in suspense: Although you can change many settings
while your virtual machine is running or suspended, you must power
off your virtual machine before you can change any of the following
settings: Processors & RAM, Display, Hard Disks, Sound, USB Devices
(except for connecting or disconnecting individual devices), and Other
Devices. Also, some Network settings can’t be changed while a virtual
machine is running. If you visit a pane of the Settings window with
options that can’t be changed in your virtual machine’s current state,
you’ll see an alert to that effect at the top of the window.
Fusion offers two convenient ways to share files between a Windows
virtual machine and Mac OS X. You can share one or more folders from
Mac OS X so they appear in Windows. You can also mirror any or all of
four key Windows folders with their Mac OS X counterparts.
Warning! Sharing files may increase your risk of problems from
Windows malware; see Can Windows Malware Affect My Mac?,
p. 103, for more information.
You configure these settings in the Sharing pane of the Settings window
(Figure 14, next page). Start by making sure Share Folders on Your
Mac is checked, and then you can share individual folders (covered
below) or Mirror Folders. If you’re not sure whether you want to share
individual folders, use mirrored folders, or both, I suggest starting with
activating the four mirrored folders and then manually adding any
other individual folders you discover you need as you use Fusion. My
instructions ahead begin with the steps for sharing individual folders,
since those controls appear first in the Sharing pane.
Tip: Besides the methods I describe here, Fusion offers another
way to get at your Windows data from within Mac OS X when
Windows isn’t even running—but it’s awkward for day-to-day use.
For details, see Mount Virtual Disks in the Finder, in Appendix B.
Share Individual Folders
When you share a folder from your Mac, it shows up in Windows
Explorer. You can open any of the files in it using Windows
applications, and (depending on your preferences) modify and delete
them from within Windows too. That way, you need not copy a file from
one operating system to the other to work on it; just leave it in a designated folder on your Mac and both operating systems can see it equally.
Share alike: Besides folders, you can use this procedure to share any
volume that’s mounted on your Mac, including your iDisk, external
FireWire or USB drives, and network volumes.
To share a folder (after checking Share Folders on Your Mac):
1. Click the
button (Figure 14).
2. Navigate to the folder you want to share and click Add.
Figure 14: In this window, you can configure settings for sharing
files between your virtual machine and Mac OS X.
3. Make sure the On box beside it in the list is checked, as it should be
by default. (You can enable or disable a shared folder whenever you
want without removing it from the list.)
4. To enable Windows to make changes to files in the folder, make sure
Read & Write appears in the Permissions column, as it should by
default; if not, choose it from the pop-up menu. For read-only access,
choose Read Only from this menu.
5. In Windows, to see folders you’ve shared this way, double-click the
VMware Shared Folders shortcut on the Desktop. Or, choose Start >
My Computer (XP) or Computer (Vista or Windows 7) and doubleclick Shared Folders under Network Drives (XP) or Network
Locations (Vista or Windows 7).
To remove a shared folder completely, select it and click
Map a Shared Folder to a Drive Letter
To map shared folders to Windows drive letters (like E:), which can
save you a click or two when navigating, follow these steps:
1. Click the Start menu, right-click My Computer (XP) or Computer
(Vista or Windows 7), and choose Map Network Drive from the
pop-up menu.
2. Pick a letter from the Drive pop-up menu.
3. Click the Browse button next to the Folder field. Navigate to the
shared folder you want to map:
• In XP, look under My Network Places > Entire Network >
VMware Shared Folders > vmware-host > Shared Folders.
• In Vista or Windows 7, look under Network > vmware-host >
Shared Folders.
4. Select the folder and click OK.
5. To have the folder automatically map to the selected drive letter
when you start Windows, check Reconnect at Logon.
6. Click Finish.
Mirror Folders
Several standard folders in Windows, where common user-created files
such as documents and music are stored by default, have analogous folders in Mac OS X. So instead of having two folders for a certain kind of
data (one each in the host and guest operating systems), Fusion lets you
mirror these folders from your Mac onto your Windows setup.
What this means is that the existing Windows folder will be hidden
(though not deleted), and a special shortcut will be created so that when
you go to, for example, My Documents in Windows, what you see is, in
fact, the contents of your Documents folder in Mac OS X.
With all four mirroring options selected, most of the files you create in
Windows will automatically be saved in their default locations on your
Mac, so that you can access them even when Fusion isn’t running. This
also makes backups more convenient (see Store Personal Data on Your
Mac Disk).
To mirror a folder, make sure Share Folders on Your Mac is checked
in the Sharing pane of the Settings window, and then check the box
beside each folder you want to mirror. (After making changes here,
you’ll be prompted to log off from Windows and log back on.) Your
options (of which you can select any or all) are:
• Desktop: Your Mac user account’s Desktop folder (~/Desktop)
is used as the Desktop folder in Windows (normally located at
C:\Documents and Settings\your-name\Desktop in XP, or at
C:\Users\your-name\Desktop in Vista or Windows 7).
• Documents: Your Mac user account’s Documents folder
(~/Documents) is used as the My Documents folder in Windows
(normally located at C:\Documents and Settings\your-name\My
Documents in XP, or at C:\Users\your-name\Documents in Vista
or Windows 7).
• Music: Your Mac user account’s Music folder (~/Music), which by
default contains your iTunes Library, is used as the My Music folder
in Windows (normally located at C:\Documents and Settings\yourname\My Documents\My Music in XP, or at C:\Users\yourname\Music in Vista or Windows 7).
• Pictures: Your Mac user account’s Pictures folder (~/Pictures),
which by default contains your iPhoto Library, is used as the My
Pictures folder in Windows (normally located at C:\Documents and
Settings\your-name\My Documents\My Pictures in XP, or at
C:\Users\your-name\Pictures in Vista or Windows 7).
The Applications category in Fusion’s Preferences window governs the
behavior of two distinct features: the system-wide Applications menu
and the settings for how files from one operating system can open in an
application from the other.
Applications Menu Settings
The Applications menu (see Use the Applications Menu) gives you
access to the contents of your Windows Start menu, along with a
number of important Fusion commands, from anywhere in Mac OS X—
regardless of whether Fusion is running.
To adjust how this menu works, select a virtual machine, choose Virtual
Machine > Settings, click Applications, and then click Applications
Menu (Figure 15).
Figure 15: Change a few aspects of the Applications menu’s
behavior in this view.
Applications Menu Visibility
Your first choice is whether, or when, the Applications menu should
appear. Choose one of the following self-explanatory commands from
the Show Applications Menu in Menu bar pop-up menu: Always, Never,
or Only When Fusion Is Running.
User-Defined Applications
Although the Applications menu contains all your installed Windows
applications in the All Programs submenu, by default, only recently
used applications appear in the main part of the menu. If there’s
another Windows application you want to put in the main menu to
make it more easily accessible, follow these steps:
1. Click the
2. In the list of applications that appears, select the application you
want to add. (Note that the names in this list may be slightly
different from the names Windows normally uses.)
3. Click Add.
4. Repeat Steps 1–3 as necessary for additional applications.
The newly added applications appear in a separate section at the top of
the Applications menu. To remove an application from the list, select it
and click
. To remove all the recently used applications from the list,
click Clear Recent Applications.
Keyboard Shortcut
Normally, you display the Applications menu by clicking its icon in the
menu bar. You can also, optionally, activate it with a keystroke. To do
so, check Applications Menu Keyboard Shortcut and choose the desired
keystroke or key combination from the pop-up menu. (Be careful not to
choose a shortcut that Mac OS X already uses for another purpose.)
Default Applications Settings
Suppose you have Microsoft Word installed in Windows, but don’t
have the Mac version. Wouldn’t it be nice if double-clicking any Word
document in Mac OS X would automatically open it in the Windows
version of Word? Or, perhaps you have the Mac version of Acrobat Pro,
but not the Windows version. Wouldn’t it be nice if any PDF you downloaded in Windows automatically opened in Acrobat Pro for Mac?
These scenarios are, of course, two sides of the same coin—in the first
case, you’re sharing a Windows application with Mac OS X, and in the
second case you’re sharing a Mac application with Windows. Fusion can
give you either or both of these capabilities—though setting them up is
less straightforward than it may first appear.
Thanks for sharing: Note that application sharing (in either direction) works only for files in folders you’ve shared with Windows from
Mac OS X (which can include mirrored folders). For instructions on
setting this up, see Sharing Settings, just previously.
Both types of application sharing are enabled by default. To change
their settings, click Default Applications in the Applications preference
pane (Figure 16).
Figure 16: Determine how Windows files open in Mac applications,
and vice versa, in this view.
Sharing Windows Applications
To configure Mac OS X to open a given file type in Windows, first make
sure Open Your Mac Files and Web Links Using Windows Applications
is checked. Then, complete an additional procedure for each type of file
you want to open.
Note: The procedure that follows changes the default application
for all files of a certain type, but you can also open an individual
Mac file in a given Windows application without changing the setting for every such file. To do this, Control-click (right-click) the
file and choose the Windows application you want to use from the
Open With submenu of the contextual menu.
To associate a given Mac file type with a Windows application, follow
these steps:
1. Select a file in one of your shared Mac OS X folders and choose File >
Get Info.
2. In the “Open With” section of the Get Info window, use the pop-up
menu to choose the Windows application you want to use to open
files of this type. (Windows applications appearing in this list include
the name of the virtual machine, for example, “Paint—Windows XP
3. Click Change All, and when the confirmation alert appears, click
From now on, when you double-click a file with this extension in one
of your shared Mac OS X folders, it opens in the designated Windows
application in Fusion.
Sharing Mac Applications
If you want to be able to launch a Mac application when you doubleclick a file in Windows (or open it in some other fashion), you must
first check Open Your Windows Files and Web Links Using Mac
Applications. As with the process described just previously for sharing
Windows applications, checking this box enables the underlying capability, but you must then go through an additional procedure with each
type of file you want to open.
Note: The steps that follow changes the default application for all
files of a certain type, but you can also open an individual Windows
file in its default Mac application without changing the setting for
each file. To do this, right-click the file and choose Open With >
Choose File. Select Default Host Application and click OK.
To associate a Windows file type with a Mac application, follow these steps:
1. In Windows, right-click a file in one of your shared Mac OS X folders
and choose Properties.
2. Click the Change button next to “Opens With.”
3. In the list that appears (Figure 17), select Default Host Application.
(If it isn’t visible, click the arrow to the right of Other Programs to
display it.) Click OK; then click OK again.
Figure 17: Choose Default Host Application here to associate a
Windows file type with the default Mac application. (This is the Vista
version; the XP and Windows 7 versions look a bit different.)
Depending on the file type, the file’s icon (as well as the icons for all
other files with the same extension) may change to indicate that the file
is “owned” by Fusion. From now on, when you double-click a file from
one of your Mac’s shared folders with this extension in Windows, it
opens in the default Mac application for that file type.
Unfortunately, the default Mac application is your only choice—you
can’t freely choose to open the files in any compatible Mac application.
So, if Preview is your default Mac application for opening PDF files, you
can’t have PDF files from Windows open automatically in Acrobat Pro
instead. There’s currently no way around this limitation, but if you want
to change the default Mac application for a given file type (which will
then apply to both Mac and Windows), follow these steps:
1. In Mac OS X, select a file of the type you want to change and choose
File > Get Info.
2. In the “Open With” section of the Get Info window, use the pop-up
menu to choose the application you want to use to open files of this
type. (If the application doesn’t appear on the list, scroll down to
Other at the bottom and navigate to select the application.)
3. Click Change All, and when the confirmation alert appears, click
Note: To determine which Mac application opens when you click
URLs of various kinds in Windows, click the Configure button in
the Default Applications view of the Applications preference pane,
which takes you to the Default Applications pane of Fusion’s preferences window (see Default Application Preferences, later in this
section). Despite this button’s position here, default settings for
URLs are global rather than specific to a virtual machine.
The Processors & RAM pane (Figure 18) lets you configure how many
virtual processors the virtual machine can use, and how much RAM it
can access. Your virtual machine must be powered off before you can
change these settings.
Figure 18: Configure processor usage and RAM availability here.
Most Intel-based Macs use CPU chips with two or more cores, which
is essentially a way of saying they have two or more processors on a
chip. In addition, a Mac may have two or more multi-core processors.
For example, my MacBook Pro has a single dual-core processor,
whereas a high-end Mac Pro has two quad-core processors, for a total
of eight cores. (To check how many processors or cores your Mac has,
or how much RAM, open /Applications/Utilities/System Profiler and
look in Hardware Overview.) In the Processors portion of this window,
you can set how many virtual processors this virtual machine will use.
Fusion lets you assign up to four virtual cores to any given virtual
machine (provided that the guest operating system supports them)—
that is to say, the guest operating system will perceive the presence of
up to four cores, regardless of how many physical cores your Mac has.
Although you can in theory assign more virtual cores than you have
physical cores, this won’t improve performance, and VMware
recommends against it.
You may find this feature somewhat confusing, so allow me to elaborate. Let’s say your Mac has two cores. If you tell a virtual machine to
use only one processor, then the processing power available to that
virtual machine is equivalent to one of your Mac’s cores—but that
doesn’t necessarily mean only one physical core will ever be used for
that virtual machine. At any given time, Mac OS X could decide to (for
example) assign 75 percent of the virtual machine’s processing to one
core and 25 percent to the other. The point is, the virtual machine sees
only one virtual processor, and gets only one core’s worth of power.
If you assign two processors to a virtual machine, it can use up to two
cores’ worth of processing power, which may or may not map to two
physical cores if you have more than that in your Mac. If you assign
more virtual cores than have physical counterparts, the power available
to each virtual core decreases proportionally. (So, again: that’s a bad
idea—you should always assign fewer virtual cores than you have
physical cores.)
So what’s the point of changing this setting?
Well, by giving Windows access to more than one virtual processor,
you enable symmetric multiprocessing, or SMP, in which the software
running in the virtual machine (rather than Fusion) can determine how
work is divided between processors or cores. Some Windows programs
require multiple processors, and others simply run more efficiently
with more than one. Making two or more virtual processors available
can increase the performance of certain programs.
Unfortunately, enabling multiple processors also has a downside,
which is that it significantly reduces the CPU power available for the
host operating system. In addition, it can cause problems with applications that rely on precise timing between host and guest, such as audio
processing tools, which can get out of sync. The likelihood of performance and syncing problems is greatest when the number of virtual
processors you’ve assigned to actively running virtual machines is
greater than the number of physical cores in your Mac, and it decreases
as the ratio of physical cores to virtual processors increases.
Air on the low side: Oh, one other downside: If you have a MacBook
Air, setting a virtual machine to use two processors will almost certainly trigger your computer’s aggressive power management system
to shut down one of its cores, producing exactly the opposite of the
effect you want! Always leave this set to 1 Virtual Processor on a
MacBook Air.
The bottom line? I suggest leaving this set to 1 Virtual Processor if
your Mac has only two cores. If it has four or more cores, try setting it
to 2 Virtual Processors (or more, if you’re running an operating system
that supports them) and see how much it affects the performance of
the virtual machine (positively) and your Mac (negatively). If you’re
unhappy with the tradeoff, simply reduce the number of processors.
Unlike most Mac OS X programs, which dynamically adjust the amount
of RAM they use, Fusion allocates a fixed amount of RAM to each
virtual machine. For example, Fusion sets a default of 512 MB of RAM
for Windows XP, and 1 GB (1,024 MB) of RAM for Vista or Windows 7.
You can change the amount of RAM the current virtual machine uses
by moving the slider, entering a new number, or using the Up and
Down arrows.
Although Windows XP can theoretically run in as little as 128 MB and
Vista in as little as 256 MB, having so little RAM available makes them
quite slow. Up to a point, giving the guest operating system more RAM
increases its performance markedly. The tradeoff is that the more RAM
you allocate to Windows, the less is available for Mac OS X and Mac
applications. By speeding up Windows, you can slow down your Mac.
I suggest sticking with the default settings unless you notice significant
performance problems. If Windows is running too slowly, give it a bit
more RAM, and if Mac OS X is running too slowly, give Windows a bit
less. If your Mac can hold more RAM than you currently have installed,
you might also consider adding more—it never hurts, and it often helps.
On the Display pane of the Settings window (Figure 19), you can
toggle a single option: whether Fusion uses accelerated 3D graphics.
Figure 19: Turn on support for DirectX 9.0 in this settings pane.
If Fusion uses accelerated 3D graphics, then many DirectX 9.0 and
OpenGL applications can run in Windows—plus Vista and Windows 7
can use their slick Aero interface. (Graphics-intensive applications,
especially games, may not run without accelerated 3D graphics.) To
activate this feature, check the box.
Even with this box checked, not all software that relies on DirectX
or OpenGL will work properly when running in a Windows virtual
machine. To see if a program is likely to work, see VMware’s DirectX
Compatibility List for Fusion at http://communities.vmware.com/
docs/DOC-1287 (but note that it may take some time for the list to
be updated to fully reflect Fusion 3’s increased compatibility).
Why might you uncheck this box? Turning on accelerated 3D graphics
increases the amount of RAM Fusion uses for the guest by 128 MB,
thus making that much less available to Mac OS X. The additional RAM
also slightly increases the time required to make snapshots, suspend,
or resume Windows. So if you’re extremely short on RAM (or time),
you might want to turn this feature off.
Fusion 3 includes a snazzy feature VMware calls “driverless printing.”
It’s a mechanism whereby Fusion channels communication between
Windows applications and your printers through your existing Mac
OS X printer drivers. (In contrast, the way most virtualization programs
work is to require appropriate Windows drivers to be installed for each
of your printers—an extra hassle that often complicates printing.) To
turn on this feature, check the Enabled box in the Printers pane of the
Settings window (Figure 20).
Figure 20: Set up driverless printing for your virtual machines in this
When Enabled is checked, any printer you have configured in the Print
& Fax pane of Mac OS X’s System Preferences application is automatically available in Windows, too (appearing in the Windows Printers
and Faxes window). That even goes for shared network printers!
If you have a special application that requires Windows to communicate
directly with a printer (perhaps one for which no Mac driver exists), you
may need to uncheck this box to get it to work correctly. But for almost
everyone, this setting should be enabled.
With driverless printing enabled, you can select either Match the
Default Printer on the Mac (which sets your default printer in Windows
to be the same as the default printer in Mac OS X) or Allow a Different
Default Printer (which does exactly what it sounds like).
Fusion lets you take snapshots of your current Windows configuration
so that, in the event of system problems (such as a virus infection or
damage caused by installing new software) you can easily revert to an
earlier state. (I discuss this later, in Save and Restore Your Windows
State with Snapshots.)
AutoProtect automates the Snapshots feature by automatically saving
snapshots at the interval you specify. You configure this feature in the
AutoProtect pane of the Settings window (Figure 21).
Figure 21: AutoProtect settings, configured here, let Fusion take
snapshots of your Windows installation on an automatic schedule.
To turn on these automatic snapshots, check the Enable AutoProtect
box. Then choose a frequency (30 Minutes, 1 Hour, or 1 Day) from the
pop-up menu and enter the maximum number of snapshots you want
AutoProtect to store.
Keep in mind that snapshots require considerable disk space (the exact
amount depends on many variables, including the size of your virtual
disk and the amount of RAM your virtual machine uses). So you should
limit the number of snapshots you store to avoid running out of space.
Somewhat like Time Machine, AutoProtect intelligently purges older
snapshots, rather than simply keeping the last ten (or however many
you’ve asked for). As the window shows, it keeps snapshots from a
variety of time periods (for example, daily, weekly, and monthly snapshots—the selection depends on how often you take snapshots and the
maximum number of snapshots you set) so that you have several options
to restore Windows to an older state if necessary. Regardless of your
settings, AutoProtect does not automatically delete any snapshots you
create manually.
New in Fusion 3 is the Advanced pane of the Settings window, which
contains a number of miscellaneous options, not all of which are, in
fact, terribly advanced. It’s divided into two views, the first of which is
Startup Device (Figure 22).
Figure 22: Determine which volume this virtual machine will start
from next time in this view.
Much like Mac OS X’s Startup Disk preference pane, this view lets you
decide which volume—such as a virtual disk or a physical DVD—the
current virtual machine will use to start up next time. (The options
in this list may vary with your configuration.) To change the startup
device, click the icon of your choice. Then, if you want to restart
immediately, click Restart.
This new setting can be very useful if you need to restart a virtual
machine from another volume (for example, to repair your main virtual
disk), because otherwise the only way to do so is to press one or more
function keys at exactly the right time(s) during the startup process—
a twitchy and frustrating procedure I’ve performed too many times.
The Other view of Advanced settings (Figure 23) contains a potpourri
of other preferences, nearly all of which most people can safely ignore.
Figure 23: Configure the most random miscellaneous settings here.
But, for the record, here’s what you could change in this view if you
were so inclined:
• Pass Power Status to VM: This checkbox replaces one previously
in its own Battery preference pane. When it’s checked, Fusion
informs your virtual machine of your portable Mac’s battery level.
(Obviously, this setting applies only if your Mac can run on a battery.) One benefit to turning this on is that Windows will be able
to tell you when your battery is running low—that could be useful
especially if you’re running in full-screen mode. Another is that
you can configure the Windows Power Options control panel to use
power conservations features when you’re running on battery. If you
find that you’re getting extra, intrusive battery warnings in Windows,
you can disable the feature by unchecking the box.
• Preferred Virtualization Engine: Fusion can use any of several
different virtualization techniques, some of which are best suited to
a certain operating system or CPU type. If you know a lot about virtualization and think you can make a better choice of engine than
Fusion’s default Automatic setting, choose a different engine from
this pop-up menu. (Fusion’s Help pages have some additional information on what the various choices mean.) But if you have to ask
what this is all about, trust me: you don’t need to know.
• Hard Disk Buffering: Buffering trades a bit of your Mac’s RAM
for slightly improved disk performance. As with the virtualization
engine, the best choice is Automatic, which lets Fusion decide when
buffering is appropriate. (This setting replaces the choice to optimize
for virtual disk performance or Mac OS X application performance
found in Fusion 2.)
• Remote Display Over VNC: If you want to make your virtual
machine visible to other computers (separate from your Mac host)
using VNC screen sharing, check Remote Display Over VNC, optionally
enter a password, and change the port if 5900 is unsuitable for any
reason. (If you also use Mac OS X’s built-in screen sharing, for example,
you should switch the port to a different number, such as 5901.)
Fusion offers three networking modes, which affect how (if at all)
Windows can communicate with other computers, both locally and over
the Internet. You determine which mode the selected virtual machine
uses in the Network pane of the Settings window (Figure 24). The
Connected box should be checked, indicating that the virtual network
adapter is available to Windows.
Figure 24: Use this pane to determine how your virtual machine communicates over the network.
The following networking options are available:
• Share the Mac’s Network Connection (NAT): NAT (Network
Address Translation), or shared networking, is the default setting; it
lets Windows access the Internet without itself being visible to other
computers on a network. Windows uses a special, private IP address
that’s provided by Fusion.
• Connect Directly to the Physical Network (Bridged): In
this mode, the virtual machine appears as a separate computer on
the network. This means that Windows will have its own IP address,
separate from that of your Mac. Bridged Ethernet mode provides
somewhat faster network performance than shared networking,
but it doesn’t work in all cases. If your network has a router or
AirPort base station that uses DHCP to distribute IP addresses
(as most do), and other computers on your network need to access
your Windows virtual machine (for file sharing, say), this is the
best choice. New in Fusion 3 is the option to choose which network
interface to use in Bridged mode, via the Using pop-up menu. In
most cases, the default choice of Autodetect is best.
• Create a Private Network Available Only to the Mac
(Host Only): In this mode, Fusion simulates a network within
your computer, meaning that Windows can use networking services
to communicate with the Mac it’s running on but does not have
network access to the outside world.
For most users, the default choice of NAT is best. It provides good
security and is usually completely transparent in operation. Bridged
Ethernet is the mode most likely to expose your Windows installation
to outside attack—a significant concern these days, unfortunately. In
addition, if you’re using a virtual private network (VPN) or logging in to
a commercial wireless network while on the road, bridged Ethernet may
not play nicely with the host network. Host-only networking completely
isolates Windows from outside networks but, in so doing, prevents
Windows programs (such as Web browsers and email clients) from
accessing the Internet.
Fusion lets any virtual machine have up to ten virtual network adapters,
each with its own network settings. You can add a network adapter by
clicking the
button (as long as your virtual machine is powered off).
For ordinary users, the likelihood of needing more than one network
adapter is close to zero, so you can generally ignore this feature.
Finally, Fusion 3 adds another obscure option. Click the triangle next
to Advanced Options to display a MAC Address field and a Generate
button. To specify which MAC (media access control) address Fusion’s
virtual network card claims to have, type the address into the field.
(This can be useful in cases where a router or base station offers access
only to specific MAC addresses, or when a software license is tied to a
computer by way of its MAC address. But be sure not to assign the host
computer’s MAC address (or that of any other device on your network)
to a virtual machine. To have Fusion create a new, unique MAC address,
click Generate.
Virtual machines usually store their data (including Windows) on
a virtual disk—a file or set of files that Windows treats as a separate
hard disk. (This rule has one exception: when you Use a Boot Camp
Partition in Fusion, no virtual disk is needed.) In addition to the main
virtual disk for a given operating system, you can define secondary
disks. To configure the size, format, and other characteristics of virtual
disk(s), use the Hard Disks pane of the Settings window (Figure 25).
Figure 25: Configure the size and format of the virtual disk(s) used
by Windows in this pane of the Settings window.
To modify or remove an existing disk, first power off the virtual
machine if it’s running. Then select the disk and change the settings
to your liking. Your options are as follows:
• Bus Type: Generally speaking, leave this at its default setting
(IDE or SCSI), as Fusion picks the best option for your computer.
The virtual SCSI bus provides better performance, but it may not
be compatible with certain system configurations.
• Disk Size: Use the slider, or enter a number, to set the size of your
virtual disk in gigabytes. Depending on how you set the next option
(Pre-Allocate Disk Space), this figure may be the actual size of the
file or the maximum size to which it can grow. Once you’ve written
data to a virtual disk, you can increase—but not decrease—its size.
• Pre-Allocate Disk Space: If you check this, Fusion creates a
disk image file that is exactly the size you specify. If this box is
unchecked, Fusion instead creates a much smaller file, but uses
a sparse image, which can grow as needed up to a maximum of the
size you specified.
Leaving this unchecked means your virtual disk takes up less space
on your Mac’s hard disk—usually a very good thing (but see the sidebar Shrink a Virtual Disk, next page, to learn about extra maintenance you may need to perform). On the other hand, pre-allocating
space can result in slightly better performance for your virtual
machine. It also avoids excess fragmentation of your Mac’s disk,
which can reduce your performance if your drive is close to being
full, or if you heavily use audio or video applications that read and
write data in large pieces. In most cases unchecked is the best
setting, but remember that you can always change this later.
• Split into 2 GB Files: When this box is checked, Fusion stores
your virtual disk (whether or not it’s of the “expanding” variety)
in a series of files, each no larger than 2 GB, rather than in a single
monolithic file. The main reason you might want to do this is if
you’re storing your virtual disk files on a drive or server that’s formatted as FAT32 or UFS, as these file systems limit the maximum
size of a single file (4 GB for FAT32, 2 GB for UFS). Another benefit
of splitting files is that when you shrink a disk (see Shrink a Virtual
Disk, next page), you need less free space on your disk to perform
the operation, and you might be slightly less vulnerable to file corruption. The default setting for this box is checked, and I don’t have
a strong preference for one setting or the other.
After making changes to the settings described above, click Apply.
Most people need only a single virtual disk for each virtual machine.
If for some reason you need another, you can add it (as long as the
virtual machine is not running) by clicking the
button. By default,
all virtual disks are stored inside the virtual machine bundle itself (see
the sidebar Look inside a Virtual Machine for details, p. 41).
To remove a virtual disk, select it and click the
button. But note that
removing a virtual disk in this window doesn’t delete its file(s). To do
that, open the virtual machine bundle manually and drag to the Trash the
file(s) beginning with the name you selected for the virtual disk.
Shrink a Virtual Disk
Because virtual disks behave differently from real disks, making
any sort of change—even deleting files—can increase the size of
automatically expanding disk images. Fusion lets you recover this
extra, unused space, and you might want to do so from time to
time (say, every couple of months) to keep the files small.
You can’t shrink a disk that has snapshots (see Save and Restore
Your Windows State with Snapshots), so if you’ve created snapshots—manually or using AutoProtect—you must delete them first
(as I describe below). This means that you lose the ability to go
back to earlier states of your disk, and that your next backup may
take longer than usual (see Understand the Backup Challenges).
To shrink a virtual disk, follow these steps:
1. (Optional, but recommended for best performance) In Windows,
defragment your hard disk:
a. Choose Start > (My) Computer, right-click your hard disk,
and choose Properties.
b. Click the Tools tab, and then click Defragment Now.
c. In Windows XP, click Defragment. In Vista or Windows 7, click
Continue; then click Defragment Now, select your drive, and
click OK.
2. Shut down (don’t merely suspend) Windows by choosing Virtual
Machine > Shut Down.
3. If you have any snapshots, or aren’t sure if you do:
a. Choose Virtual Machine > Snapshots > Snapshots, and at the
bottom of the window, uncheck Only Show My Snapshots.
b. Select a snapshot (“Current State” is not a snapshot), click
Delete Snapshot, and click Delete to confirm. Once the snapshot goes away, repeat this step for all remaining snapshots.
4. Double-click the VMware Tools icon in the system tray or choose
Start > Control Panel and double-click VMware Tools.
5. Click the Shrink tab.
6. Click Prepare to Shrink, and then click Yes to confirm. When
asked “Do you want to shrink your disk(s) now?” click Yes again.
Fusion may take several minutes to compact your virtual disk.
In the CDs & DVDs pane of the Settings window (Figure 26), you
configure how Fusion’s virtual CD/DVD drive behaves. As long as
Connected is checked (which it normally should be), Windows will
see an optical drive of some sort. The remaining controls in this pane
specify exactly what that means.
Figure 26: In this pane, specify how Fusion’s virtual optical drive
behaves in Windows.
You can select any of the following options:
• Automatically Detect Physical CD/DVD Drive: This is the
default option, which is normally what you want. It means Windows
will take over communication with your Mac’s optical drive unless
you tell it otherwise. Ordinarily, this will be a built-in SuperDrive
or Combo Drive, though if your Mac has more than one optical drive
(or only an external drive), Fusion chooses which one Windows uses.
• Specify Physical CD/DVD Drive: In cases where you have two or
more optical drives connected—or if, for any reason, Windows does
not automatically recognize your built-in SuperDrive—select this
radio button and choose a drive from the pop-up menu. You might
use this option, for example, to force Fusion to use an external
FireWire DVD writer even though your Mac also has an internal
• Use Disk Image: If you have a disk image in ISO format (a
standard common in the Windows and Unix worlds; extension .iso),
Windows can connect to it as though it were a physical CD-ROM.
(In fact, that’s what happens behind the scenes when you install
VMware Tools—the installer is on a special ISO disk image that’s
stored inside the VMware Fusion application.) To manually specify
that such a disk image be used as a CD/DVD in Windows, select
Use Disk Image, navigate to the file, and click Open.
If necessary, you can create one or two additional virtual CD/DVD
drives, each with its own settings. For example, you might do this if you
have two optical drives attached to your Mac and want to use them both
in Windows at the same time. To add a drive, click the
button and
fill in all the settings as just described; to remove a drive, select it and
click the
Fusion supplies a virtual sound card, which lets sounds from Windows
pass through your Mac’s default audio output (such as its built-in
speakers or headphones), and also lets sound travel from your Mac’s
default audio input (such as a built-in or external microphone) to
You can enable or disable this sound adapter by checking, or
unchecking, the box in the Sound pane of the Settings window
(Figure 27)—though in practice, most users should never need to
disable it.
Figure 27: When this box is checked, Windows routes audio
through your Mac OS X sound input and output devices.
To change the audio devices currently used for input or output on your
Mac, open the Sound pane of System Preferences—clicking the Open
System Preferences button is a shortcut to get there.
Fusion enables Windows to use almost any USB device you may have
connected to your Mac. In a few cases (including your keyboard and
mouse), Fusion automatically handles passing their data through to
Windows. In general, though, only one operating system—the host or
a single guest—can use a particular USB device at a time. You configure
the way these devices work in a virtual machine using the USB Devices
pane of the Settings window (Figure 28).
Note: Some devices built into a Mac, such as an iSight camera,
use USB behind the scenes. To get them to work properly in
Fusion, you may need to install Apple’s drivers; read Install Boot
Camp Drivers for details.
Figure 28: Configure the way USB devices interact with Windows in
this pane of the Settings window.
You have two main options, both of which are enabled by default, and
both of which should most likely stay enabled:
• Enable USB 2.0 Support: When checked, your virtual machine
supports version 2.0 of the USB standard. When unchecked, only
the older, slower USB 1.1 standard is supported. Since USB 2.0 is
backward-compatible with version 1.1, it’s unlikely you’d ever have
a reason to uncheck this box.
• Automatically Connect USB Devices: When this box is checked,
as long as Windows has focus (that is, it’s running and Windows
itself, or a Windows application, is the frontmost window), plugging
in a USB device connects that device to Windows, bypassing Mac
OS X. For example, if you plug in a USB flash drive, it appears in
Windows Explorer but not in the Finder. (This does not affect USB
devices that were already connected when Windows started.)
Ordinarily, this is probably what you want—though you can always
manually connect or disconnect USB devices as you work, regardless
of this setting (see Connect and Disconnect Devices). If you find that,
more often than not, you have to disconnect USB devices that you
didn’t want Windows to use, uncheck this box.
In addition, when your virtual machine is running, the Connect USB
Devices portion of the window lists all the USB devices attached to
your Mac (which may include built-in devices that use USB behind
the scenes, such as an iSight camera). To connect any listed device
to the virtual machine so that it appears in Windows, check its box; to
disconnect it, uncheck its box. This does the same thing as connecting
or disconnecting devices in the main Fusion window (as described in
Connect and Disconnect Devices).
In the Other Devices pane of the Settings window (Figure 29), you can
configure other virtual devices Windows may need: a floppy drive, serial
port, or parallel port.
Figure 29: Configure virtual floppy drives, serial ports, and parallel
ports in this pane.
The vast majority of users will never need any of these devices. Even
so, let me give you just a quick overview of what they do and how to
use them.
Floppy Drive
On occasion you may encounter a Windows program that assumes your
computer has a floppy drive. Fusion can give you the next best thing: a
virtual floppy drive that uses a disk image, rather than a physical disk,
to store data.
To create a virtual floppy drive (of which you can have up to two),
follow these steps:
1. Make sure Windows is powered off.
If you already have a floppy image file (provided by VMware or
another company, or one you created yourself), skip ahead to Step 6.
Otherwise, continue with Steps 2–5 to create your own.
2. Open Disk Utility (in /Applications/Utilities).
3. In Disk Utility, choose File > New > Blank Disk Image.
4. Enter a name for the disk image file itself in the Save As field and
a name for the volume (as it’ll appear when mounted) in the Name
field, and choose a location. Leave all the other settings at their
defaults, except the following:
• Format: Choose MS-DOS (FAT).
• Size: This can be anything you want, but for authenticity, choose
Custom and enter 1.44 MB. (Do this after changing the Volume
• Partitions: Choose No Partition Map.
5. Click Create.
6. In the Finder, select the file you just created and choose File >
Get Info. In the Name & Extension section, change .dmg to .flp
(and agree to an alert confirming that’s what you want to do, if
it appears).
7. In Fusion, click the
button at the bottom of the Other Devices
settings pane and choose Add Floppy from the pop-up menu.
Navigate to your floppy image file and click Open.
The floppy disk will be available when you run Windows. To disconnect
it later, uncheck Connected. To make it read-only, check Read Only.
And to remove it completely, click
Serial and Parallel Ports
Since your Mac doesn’t have a physical serial or parallel port, Fusion
provides virtual ports you can use for the rare Windows application that
needs one.
If you’ve enabled printer sharing (see Printer Settings, earlier), one
serial port will show in the Other Devices settings pane. Fusion tricks
Windows into thinking you have a printer attached to this virtual serial
port, and then directs any output sent there to your Mac printer.
You can add another serial or parallel port, but those you add can’t do
anything so spiffy—your only option is to save the output from these
ports to a file on your Mac. To add a new serial or parallel port:
1. Make sure Windows is powered off.
2. Click the
button at the bottom of the window, and choose Add
Serial Port or Add Parallel Port from the pop-up menu.
3. Enter a name for the file that will contain the output of the virtual
port, select a location, and click Save.
Your new port will be available when you launch Windows, and Fusion
will direct its output to your selected file. To disconnect the port later,
select it in the list and uncheck Connected; to change the file used
to store its output, choose Choose from the pop-up menu and repeat
Step 3. To remove the port altogether, select it and click
All the settings covered so far in this section apply to individual virtual
machines. In addition, Fusion has a number of preferences that apply
globally. To modify these, choose Fusion > Preferences to display the
Preferences window. Then, click a button in the toolbar at the top of the
window to modify that category of preferences.
General Preferences
The settings on the General pane of Fusion’s preferences window
(Figure 30) affect a variety of miscellaneous features.
Figure 30: Configure general preferences for Fusion in this pane.
Your options are as follows:
• When Closing a Virtual Machine: When you close a running
virtual machine (by quitting Fusion, by clicking the Close button in
the virtual machine window, or by choosing File > Close), you can
have Fusion take any of two actions:
Suspend the Virtual Machine (saving its state so you can restore
it later)
Power Off the Virtual Machine (meaning you’ll have to reboot the
guest operating system from scratch next time you run it)
I find that suspending a virtual machine saves considerable time,
so I recommend selecting the first option. Uncheck Confirm Before
Closing to avoid the alert that confirms you truly do want to suspend
a virtual machine.
Note: Regardless of what you set as the default, you can always
manually suspend or shut down a virtual machine.
• Diagnostics: If you check the Enable Debugging Checks box,
Fusion stores detailed logs and activates debugging features. Use
this only if instructed to do so by VMware technical support because
it can also decrease Fusion’s performance.
• Gaming: Some Windows applications (primarily games) expect
a mouse to report relative changes of position, while others expect
it to report absolute positions. If a game expects one type of mouse
data and Fusion sends it the other, the pointer may fly around uncontrollably or become stuck. This pop-up menu lets you address
that problem.
The default setting, Auto-detect Mouse for Games, attempts to detect
when a problematic application is running and modifies the mouse
behavior appropriately; in so doing, Fusion prevents the pointer
from moving outside the virtual machine window. To prevent this
sort of locking (for example, if Fusion refuses to “let go” of the pointer even when you’re not running a game), choose Never Optimize
Mouse for Games. To force Fusion to adjust the mouse behavior if
you’re running a game or other application (such as AutoCAD) that
has the mouse data problem but isn’t recognized automatically,
choose Always Optimize Mouse for Games.
• Updates: When this box is checked (which I recommend), Fusion
checks to see if there’s a newer version available each time you
launch it. Unlike earlier versions of Fusion, Fusion 3 can update
itself without requiring you to mess with Web browsers, downloaded
disk images, or other complications. Just follow the prompts to
install any available updates. To check for updates manually at any
time (whether or not this box is checked), choose VMware Fusion >
Check for Updates.
Keyboard & Mouse Preferences
In the Keyboard & Mouse pane of Fusion’s preferences (Figure 31),
you can adjust many aspects of the way Fusion interacts with your
keyboard and mouse.
Figure 31: Configure the way Fusion uses your keyboard and mouse
in this preference pane.
The settings are divided into four categories; click a category name to
change its preferences.
Key Mappings
I describe how to change the keyboard shortcuts for common key
combinations to Windows in Configure Keyboard Shortcuts (p. 47).
Mouse Shortcuts
To learn how to reconfigure your mouse buttons in the Mouse Shortcuts
view, skip back to Remap Mouse Buttons (p. 45).
Mac OS Shortcuts
Mac OS X uses a number of system-wide keyboard shortcuts that
involve switching between windows, applications, or views. For example, you press Command-Tab to switch applications (much like Alt-Tab
in Windows), F8 to activate Spaces, F9–F11 for Exposé, and F12 for
Dashboard. However, any of these key combinations might also mean
something in Windows. So when you’re running Windows and you
press one of them, what happens—the Mac thing or the Windows thing?
That’s what you determine in this view:
If Enable Mac OS Keyboard Shortcuts is checked (as it is by default),
the standard Mac keystrokes do the standard Mac thing when your
virtual machine is in Single Window or Full Screen view. (The Mac
keystrokes are always used in Unity view, regardless of this setting.)
If this box is unchecked, the Mac keyboard shortcuts do nothing
when Fusion is the foreground application, and instead, those
keystrokes are sent through to Windows.
Tip: To see the Mac keystrokes that this setting affects, open
System Preferences, go to the Keyboard (Snow Leopard) or
Keyboard & Mouse (Leopard) pane, and click Keyboard Shortcuts.
Most (not quite all) of the system-wide Mac shortcuts are listed
If you want to have your cake and eat it too—keep your Mac keystrokes
but not lose Windows shortcuts—see Configure Keyboard Shortcuts
(p. 47) for one way to change what keys do what in Windows.
Fusion Shortcuts
Fusion itself uses a number of keyboard shortcuts, such as CommandControl-U to enter Unity view and Command-Q to quit. You can’t
change these shortcuts, but you can disable them if they cause any
confusion. To do so, go to the Fusion Shortcuts view. Uncheck the
On box to disable a command, or check it to re-enable the command.
You can save all your keyboard and mouse settings together in a profile
and switch between profiles by choosing one from the Keyboard &
Mouse Profile pop-up menu at the top of the window. If you find yourself having to change certain settings frequently, using a profile can save
you several steps. You can also assign each virtual machine its own
profile—useful, for example, if you want to use one set of keystrokes in
Windows XP but a different one in Windows 7.
To make changes to your profiles, choose Edit from the pop-up menu.
In the dialog that appears, use the controls at the top to add, remove,
duplicate, or rename profiles. To tie a profile to a virtual machine, select
the profile name from the pop-up menu beside the virtual machine’s
name in the list at the bottom of the dialog. Then click Done.
Default Application Preferences
The Default Application pane of Fusion’s preferences (Figure 32)
has a potentially misleading name. It’s not about setting default applications for opening documents (like specifying TextEdit or WordPad
to open .rtf files)—for that, read Default Applications Settings (p. 69).
Instead, this pane lets you set which application opens when you try
to open URLs with various schemes. For example, if you’re in an email
program and you click a URL like http://www.tidbits.com/, which Web
browser opens it?
Figure 32: In this pane, specify which application opens URLs of
various kinds.
Initially, this window shows just two options: Open Mail (for mailto
URLs) and Open Web Pages (for http and https URLs). To set a default
application for either of these, check the box next to it and choose the
application’s name from the pop-up menu. (Applications from virtual
machines show the name of the guest operating system in the menu.)
If the box is unchecked, each operating system (host and guest) uses
its default application for opening URLs of that type.
Super Important Clarification
The default applications you choose here are universal—they apply
both to Mac OS X and to all guest operating systems. Think carefully about the implications of that. For example:
• If you choose a Windows Web browser as your default, clicking
a link in an email message in Apple Mail will open the page in
Windows—meaning, if it’s not already running, you might have
to wait for Windows to boot first.
• If you choose a Mac Web browser as your default and click a link
in Microsoft Outlook running under Windows to download a file,
your Mac Web browser will open (potentially saving the file to a
spot where Windows can’t access it).
• If you have two or more guest operating systems, they must
share a default. So, you can’t set Web URLs to open in one
browser under Windows XP but a different one under Vista.
Unfortunately, you can’t say something like, “Open a certain URL
type in Application X when I’m running this virtual machine, but
use the default setting for Operating System Y when I’m running
that virtual machine.”
More often than not, settings I’ve made in this pane have yielded
unexpected (and undesired) results. So my advice is to leave
everything here unchecked unless you’re sure you always want
a specific application, in a specific operating system, to open when
you click links of a certain sort.
To set defaults for other URL types, click the
button in the lower
left corner of the window and choose Remote Sessions (telnet, ssh),
Newsgroups (news), File Transfers (ftp, sftp), or RSS Feeds (feed).
Then choose the application for the URL type you just added. To
remove default settings for a URL type, click the
button next to it.
Protect Your Virtual Machine
As a Mac user, you’ve probably never lost any sleep over viruses,
Trojan horses, worms, spyware, adware, and all the other nasty
stuff known collectively as malware (that is, malicious software).
Such programs are few and far between on Mac OS X, but they’re
a gigantic problem on Windows. Now that you’re running Windows,
you have to worry about malware too, especially since a program
could conceivably cause damage not only to your Windows partition
(or virtual disk) but also to your Mac files. You can learn more about
malware in Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Malware.
One way to protect Windows is to check your security settings
and make sure anti-malware software is installed. Fusion offers
another layer of protection, too, in the form of snapshots that can
restore Windows to an earlier state (for example, before virus
damage occurred).
In addition, you should have a plan for backing up your Windows
software and documents. In some situations, your existing Mac
backup system may do the trick, but you should know about some
hidden pitfalls and how to work around them—you may want to
choose a different backup method altogether.
Preventing attacks by malware (and repairing the damage they’ve
caused) is a large and complex subject that could easily fill several large
books. In this section, I want to outline just the basics, acquainting you
with some of the most important steps you should take to protect your
computer and a few good tools to help you.
Apply Windows Updates
In addition to major updates like service packs, Microsoft releases
numerous smaller updates that fix bugs, plug security holes, and make
Windows more resistant to malware. You should install these as soon
as possible after installing Windows (and configure Windows to download and install new updates automatically as they appear). By default,
Windows downloads new updates at 3:00 A.M., and that’s a great time
for it (assuming your Mac is on, and Windows is running) because these
updates can be rather time-consuming!
If you didn’t turn on Automatic Updates when you installed Windows,
if you’re not sure whether it’s enabled, or if you want to change its settings, choose Start > Control Panel; then do one the following, depending on the operating system:
• Windows XP: If the window says “Pick a category,” click the Switch
to Classic View link. Then double-click the Automatic Updates icon.
In the control panel that appears (Figure 33), make any desired
settings and click OK.
Figure 33: The Automatic Updates control panel lets you change
the frequency and time of checking for new Windows updates.
• Windows Vista: In Category View, click the Check for Updates
link, or, in Classic View, double-click Windows Update. Then click
the Change Settings link on the left, select Install Updates
Automatically (Recommended), and click OK.
• Windows 7: If you’re in Category view, choose either Large Icons
or Small Icons from the View By pop-up menu, and click Windows
Update. Then click the Change Settings link on the left, select Install
Updates Automatically (Recommended), and click OK.
Can Windows Malware Affect My Mac?
Suppose your Windows installation, running in Fusion, were
infiltrated by a virus, Trojan horse, or other malware. Needless
to say, it could cause all kinds of damage, up to and including
deleting all your Windows software and data. But Windows itself
is contained on a virtual disk that’s just a single file as far as Mac
OS X is concerned, and Windows, operating as it is in a virtual
machine, is kept separate from Mac OS X. So the question is, could
damage from Windows malware ever extend beyond the confines
of Windows to affect the other files on your Mac?
If you’ve turned on folder sharing or mirroring, then the answer
is yes: Windows malware could certainly see, and modify, any
of the files in your shared or mirrored folders. (And thus, if you
chose to share your entire Mac hard disk, all your files could
potentially be at risk.) At the moment, I’m unaware of any other
scenario in which files outside your virtual disk could be damaged
by Windows malware, but I wouldn’t bet against the possibility.
The best way to mitigate this risk is to install Windows anti-virus
software, as described next. But you might also consider restricting
your shared folders to only those you absolutely need to get your
work done, because the fewer files you expose to Windows, the
smaller your risk.
Install Anti-Virus Software
Every Windows computer—and that includes your Mac, now that it’s
running Windows—needs anti-virus software. Windows viruses are so
numerous, virulent, and nasty that you’d be foolish not to avoid them
if humanly possible.
Fusion 3 includes a complimentary one-year subscription to McAfee
VirusScan Plus, a well-regarded package that includes anti-virus, firewall (see Use a Firewall), and anti-spyware (see Remove and Block
Spyware and Adware) features.
In my opinion, installing VirusScan Plus should be a no-brainer unless
you already own another anti-virus program for which you have a
special fondness (prominent examples include Norton AntiVirus, AVG
Anti-Virus and avast! antivirus). VirusScan is highly capable and easy
to install—and the price is right.
To install VirusScan Plus, choose Virtual Machine > Install McAfee
VirusScan Plus and follow the onscreen prompts. If the VirusScan Plus
installer does not run by itself, make certain that the virtual CD/DVD
drive isn’t in use. To do this, check the Virtual Machine > CD/DVD
menu. If Disconnect CD/DVD is enabled, select it. Then choose Virtual
Machine > Install McAfee VirusScan Plus again.
The price of security: Any anti-virus software—and VirusScan
Plus is no exception—can slow down your computer, especially when
it’s doing scheduled scans of all your files. In some cases, it can also
reduce the speed of network transfers. Although the extra overhead
may be annoying, it’s much less annoying than a virus infection!
Use a Firewall
In computing terms, a firewall is a program that monitors all the
network traffic to and from your computer and filters or blocks communication based on a set of rules. For example, a firewall may allow
you to view Web pages and send email but prevent other computers
from accessing your files, installing new software, or hijacking your
computer to act as a spam-sending robot. A great deal of malware
gets onto Windows computers because a potentially harmful avenue
of network access was left open, so a firewall is an important first line
of defense.
McAfee VirusScan Plus includes a firewall, so if you installed that
software (as recommended just previously) and turned on all the
default settings, you’re in good shape. If not, Windows XP includes
its own firewall, which is activated by default in Service Pack 2 or 3;
Windows Vista and Windows 7 also include a firewall. These basic
firewalls should be adequate for most home users—and they provide
much better protection than nothing.
To confirm that your Windows Firewall is on, choose Start > Control
Panel, and do one of the following, depending on the operating system:
• Windows XP: Make sure you’re in Classic view (if not, click the
Switch to Classic View link) and then double-click the Windows
Firewall icon. Make sure On is selected (Figure 34).
Figure 34: “On” is the only right setting for the built-in Windows
Firewall, unless you’ve installed a more advanced firewall utility as
a replacement.
• Windows Vista: Make sure you’re in Classic view (if not, click the
Classic View link) and then double-click the Windows Firewall icon.
If you see a message that says “Windows Firewall Is Off,” click the
Change Settings link; then select On and click OK.
• Windows 7: If you’re in Category view, choose either Large Icons
or Small Icons from the View By pop-up menu, and click Windows
Firewall. If you see the word “Off” next to “Windows Firewall State”
in either of the “Home or work (private) networks” or “Public
networks” categories, click the Turn Windows Firewall On or Off
link; then select Turn on Windows Firewall (in both places it
appears) and click OK.
If you need more-advanced firewall features but don’t want to install
VirusScan Plus, consider using another third-party firewall, such as one
of these:
• ZoneAlarm or ZoneAlarm Pro
http://www.zonelabs.com/ (ZoneAlarm, free; Pro version, $39.95)
• Sunbelt Personal Firewall
http://www.sunbelt-software.com/Kerio.cfm ($19.95 for a one-year
• Lavasoft Personal Firewall
($29.95 for a one-year license)
Remove and Block Spyware and Adware
Technically a different category of software from viruses (and their
cousins, Trojan horses and worms), spyware (or adware) runs in the
background and monitors what you do, including which Web sites you
visit. Usually this is for the purpose of displaying targeted ads (even
when you don’t have a Web browser open), though more devious and
malign uses are also possible—such as stealing your passwords and
other sensitive data.
McAfee VirusScan Plus (you did install it, right?) includes a competent
spyware blocker. Other popular anti-spyware/adware includes:
• Ad-Aware
http://www.lavasoft.com/ (personal version, free; Plus version,
$26.95 for a one-year license; Pro version, $39.95 for a one-year
• Microsoft Windows Defender
fce7-da2b-4a6a-afa4-f7f14e605a0d&DisplayLang=en (free; included
with Windows 7)
URLs not working? In Snow Leopard’s Preview, longer URL
links may appear to be broken. To avoid this Preview bug, try
clicking the last character in the URL.
• Spybot Search & Destroy
http://www.safer-networking.org/ (donationware)
• Spyware Detector
http://spywaredetector.com/ ($29.95 for a one-year license)
• Webroot Spy Sweeper
http://www.webroot.com/consumer/products/spysweeper/ ($29.95
for a one-year subscription)
Fusion’s Snapshots feature lets you turn back the clock, restoring
Windows to its exact state at some time in the past—every file and
setting as it was, every application still running, every window in the
same position. This makes snapshots more powerful (not to mention
much faster and easier to use) than the System Restore feature built
into Windows.
Warning! When you restore a snapshot, any changes you’ve made
since making that snapshot will be lost forever. To prevent unwanted
data loss, you can take a new snapshot before restoring an old one.
Why would you want to do this? Perhaps you’ve installed buggy software and Windows refuses to work properly. Maybe you have a virus or
other malware that you can’t get rid of. Or maybe you’re testing a new
application and want to be able to quickly and repeatedly get Windows
back to a specific, known good state. In cases like these, snapshots let
you rewind Windows to an earlier point and start again.
Fusion 3 lets you store as many snapshots as you need (assuming you
have enough disk space). You can go back to any snapshot at any time
without losing more-recent snapshots.
Snapshots use a nontrivial amount of disk space; the exact amount
depends on the size of your virtual disk and the amount of RAM
assigned to your virtual machine. So although you should manually
take a snapshot after initially installing Windows and before making
any major system changes, avoid taking snapshots indiscriminately
unless you have loads of empty disk space.
Back to backup: Although snapshots do, in a limited sense, back
up your Windows installation, they’re no substitute for conventional
backups. In Back Up Your Virtual Machine, a few pages ahead, I go
into detail about the special challenges of backing up Fusion virtual
Take a Snapshot
To take a snapshot, choose Virtual Machine > Snapshots > Take
Snapshot (Command-Shift-S), or (if running in Single Window view)
click the Take Snapshot button in the toolbar. Optionally enter a name,
description, or both (or just accept the defaults), and then click Take
Snapshot. The process of saving your virtual machine’s state normally
takes a few seconds or so; you can then continue using Windows
In addition to manual snapshots, Fusion can take snapshots automatically every half hour, hour, or day. To learn about configuring these
automatic snapshots, read AutoProtect Settings, earlier.
Restore a Snapshot
To restore your virtual machine to an earlier state, follow these steps:
1. Choose Virtual Machine > Snapshots > Rollback (Command-ShiftR), or (if running in Single Window view) click the Rollback button
in the toolbar. The Snapshots window (Figure 35) appears, with the
Rollback pane selected.
Figure 35: Choose a snapshot in this window to restore Windows to
an earlier state.
Snapshot or rollback? Because you can repeatedly go back to
old snapshots and then save new ones that derived from different
starting points, your list of snapshots may consist of several
“branches.” With Rollback selected in the toolbar, Fusion shows
you only the snapshots that are direct ancestors of your virtual
machine’s current state—the current branch. But you can go back
to any earlier state, even from another branch. To display all your
snapshots, click Snapshots in the toolbar.
2. Select the snapshot you want to restore.
3. On the right, click Restore Snapshot.
4. Now:
• If, before restoring this snapshot, you want to take a snapshot of
your current state too, click Save, optionally enter a name and/or
description, and click Take Snapshot.
• Otherwise, click Don’t Save.
Fusion restores Windows to the state it was in when you took the
Tip: To revert to your most recent snapshot and discard your
current Windows state without going through all these steps, just
choose Virtual Machine > Snapshots > Revert to Snapshot and
click Don’t Save.
Manage Snapshots
Over time, as you accumulate snapshots, you may realize you can do
without some of them—so you can delete them to recover disk space.
You can also add or edit notes, change the name of a snapshot, and
prevent AutoProtect snapshots from being deleted.
To make any of these changes, choose Virtual Machine > Snapshots >
Snapshots. The Snapshots window (Figure 36) appears, with the
Snapshots pane selected.
Figure 36: Delete, rename, or otherwise modify existing snapshots
in this view.
By default, this view shows only the snapshots you’ve taken manually.
To display AutoProtect snapshots too, uncheck Only Show My
After selecting a snapshot on the left, you can do the following with one
of the controls on the right:
• Rename a snapshot: Click anywhere in the snapshot name to edit
the text.
• Add or edit a note: Type in the note field.
• Delete a snapshot: Click Delete Snapshot, and click Delete again
to confirm.
• Restore a snapshot: Click Restore Snapshot, and click either Save
or Don’t Save (as described two pages previously under Restore a
• Protect an AutoProtect snapshot from deletion: With Only
Show My Snapshots unchecked, the Snapshots window displays your
AutoProtect snapshots along with manual snapshots. Depending on
your AutoProtect Settings, Fusion will keep only a limited number of
AutoProtect snapshots, deleting older ones to maintain the quantity
of snapshots for the various time periods shown in the AutoProtect
Settings pane. To prevent this automatic deletion, Control-click
(right-click) an AutoProtect snapshot and choose Keep Snapshot
from the contextual menu. You can still delete the snapshot
manually, but it won’t disappear on its own.
Backing up your virtual machine can range from trivially easy to
painfully difficult, depending on a number of variables. Because
backups are so important, I want to give you enough background to
understand what the challenges are and what your options are for
overcoming them.
Tip: To learn much more about how to back up your Mac (including
Windows virtual disks), read either of my books on the subject:
Take Control of Mac OS X Backups or Take Control of Easy Backups
in Leopard.
Understand the Backup Challenges
Fusion stores Windows itself, and all your Windows data, in a file (or
set of files) called a virtual disk. Your virtual disk(s), along with your
virtual machine settings, snapshots, and numerous other supporting
files, are contained in a bundle—a special folder that acts like a single
file—which is stored by default in ~/Documents/Virtual Machines. (To
learn more about these bundles, see Look inside a Virtual Machine; for
more information about virtual disk formats, read Hard Disk Settings.)
If you’re using any Mac backup software to back up your Windows
installation, the virtual machine bundle is what you need to back up.
Warning! Before running Mac backup software (of any sort), I
strongly recommend suspending or shutting down your virtual
machine. If your virtual disk changes while a backup is in progress,
your backup will probably be unusable.
If you create bootable duplicates of your entire Mac hard disk onto an
external drive, the virtual machine files will automatically be included
in your backups, and you need not change anything. (By the way, if you
don’t already create bootable duplicates, now is a good time to start!)
However, you may also perform another common type of backup, which
I refer to as an additive incremental archive. (It goes by a variety of
other names, too, including versioned backups.) In this type of backup,
your backup software copies all your files to your backup media the first
time it runs. Then, each time it runs afterward, it copies only those files
that are new or modified since the last run—but it leaves any existing
copies of your files on your backup media. That way, you have not just
the most recent copy of your files, but multiple copies, so you can
restore your data to the state in which it appeared at various points
in the past. Apple’s Time Machine software, among many others, uses
this approach.
Here’s where it gets tricky with Fusion. Every time you run Windows,
Fusion modifies your virtual disk file—which can easily be tens of gigabytes in size. Most backup software will notice that the file has changed,
and dutifully copy the entire file again on its next run. This process will
repeat every time your backup runs, assuming you’ve used Fusion in the
meantime. So you could be copying multi-gigabyte files many times a
day—bogging down your Mac, and rapidly filling up your backup media.
If you back up your Mac over a network, the problem is worse; not only
will your own backups take longer, but you could slow down the network for everyone else too.
Parts is parts: If your virtual disk is split into 2 GB segments (see
Hard Disk Settings), Fusion marks every segment as changed when
you run your virtual machine. So choosing this option (regardless of
its other virtues) won’t necessarily help with backups.
You can cope with (or at least mitigate) this potential problem in any of
several ways. Depending on your needs and preferences, you may want
to adopt one or more of the following approaches.
Take Snapshots
When you create a snapshot (see Save and Restore Your Windows State
with Snapshots, earlier in this section), Fusion does something interesting: it stops modifying your existing virtual disk file(s) and creates one
or more new files, which then contain all the changes you make to your
virtual disk. When you take your next snapshot (either manually or with
AutoProtect), Fusion stops modifying the files from the previous snapshot and creates another new file (or files) to hold the updated data.
These new files, like your virtual disk itself, have the extension .vmdk
and live inside the virtual machine bundle. Also like a virtual disk, they
start out quite small and grow only as needed. They therefore serve
two useful purposes: they let you return your entire virtual machine
to an earlier state and they prevent your main virtual disk file(s) from
changing—thus giving your backup software less to worry about.
The moral of the story is that by creating even a single snapshot, you
can lighten the load on your backup software and reduce the amount
of storage space you need. If you use AutoProtect to create snapshots
regularly, you’ll create more files to back up—but, surprisingly, this
may actually decrease the total amount of storage space your backups
occupy, because your backup software won’t also have to copy older,
larger files to pick up recent changes.
I should, however, mention one little catch. If you decide to shrink your
virtual disk(s) to save space (see Shrink a Virtual Disk), you must first
delete all your snapshots. When you do this, your original virtual disk
file(s) will then change, so that even if you take another snapshot
immediately after shrinking your disk, your backup software will still
most likely back up your entire virtual disk again on its next run.
Use Sub-File Updating
Not all backup software copies an entire file every time it changes.
Some backup programs get much fancier: they look for only the portions of files that have changed since their last backup. Because hard
disks store data in small segments called blocks, such backup software
sometimes copies every block that contains changed data—a block-level
backup—or, in some cases, only the specific bytes that have changed—
a byte-level backup. (I use the term sub-file updating to refer to either
variety.) So, if you back up a 10 GB file and then modify it, causing,
say, 100 MB of that file to change, a backup program that offers sub-file
updating copies only that 100 MB the next time it runs.
Sub-file updates run more quickly, and require less storage space, than
file-level backups. Most online backup services use sub-file updating
to reduce bandwidth usage and storage costs, and some desktop backup
programs have this capability as well. (I maintain a list of Mac backup
software at http://www.takecontrolbooks.com/resources/0014/
basics.html; on the Versioning Features tab, look in the Sub-File
Updates column to see which programs currently offer that feature.)
If you back up your Mac using software with this feature, you’ll avoid
having your Fusion virtual machines overwhelm your backup program
and media. You can enhance backup performance even more by combining snapshots (as described above) with sub-file updates.
Note: Some backup software (particularly software used by online
backup services), even though it offers sub-file updating, can take
a long time to examine each file looking for changes from the previous version. As a result, if the files are extremely large, it can
bog down. So, that may be another argument for splitting virtual
disk files into 2 GB segments: doing so can increase the performance of your backup software, even though the actual file data
to be transferred is quite small.
Store Personal Data on Your Mac Disk
Unless you’re using Fusion to run Windows from your Boot Camp
volume, there’s no getting around the fact that Windows itself
(including any updates from Microsoft), and your Windows appli114
cations, will reside on your Windows virtual disk. Thus, any changes
you make to Windows—and the mere fact of running it changes a
few things—causes changes to your virtual disk file(s).
However, all your personal data—your documents, music, and pretty
much anything else you create or download—can, by way of shared
folders, reside directly on your Mac hard disk, outside the virtual disk.
(Flip back to Sharing Settings, p. 64, to learn how to share individual
folders or mirror your main Desktop, Documents, Music, and Pictures
folders.) That means you can back up all these files simply by using
your normal Mac backup software (Time Machine or something else)
without having to jump through any special hoops. It also means that
although your virtual disk will still change, it won’t change as much,
so using backup software that supports block-level updates will be
that much faster and more efficient.
If you’re not keeping any personal data on your virtual disk, your risk
of data loss in Windows is dramatically decreased. The worst that could
happen is that your Windows installation became so badly damaged
that you had to reinstall Windows, and your Windows software, from
scratch. That could be time-consuming, to be sure, but reinstalling software is a relatively minor inconvenience compared to reconstructing
your data.
Therefore, with your data stored on your Mac disk, you could opt to
exclude your virtual machines from your Mac backup plan—trading the
potential trouble of having to reinstall Windows for significant savings
in time and storage space when performing backups. Most backup programs let you select specific files or folders to omit when backing up (in
which case, select ~/Documents/Virtual Machines) or files with certain
extensions (in which case, exclude the extensions .vmwarevm, .vmdk,
.vmem, .vmsd, .vmss, .vmsn, .vmss, .vmxf, and .nvram). If you choose
this approach, I suggest you back up your virtual machine(s) at least
once and then exclude them from future backups. That way, if disaster
strikes, you can at least restore an earlier version of your Windows
setup and get back to work quickly—and then update your virtual
machine with newer software updates or other modifications when you
have the time.
Alternatively, exclude your virtual machines from your regular backups,
but create a separate backup routine—perhaps on different media—just
for your virtual machines. If you run this backup routine less often than
your regular routine (say, once a week instead of once an hour), you’ll
have the benefit of a full backup but minimize the amount of storage
space used.
Use Windows Backup Software
So far, I’ve assumed that you’re running Mac OS X backup software.
That’s because I feel strongly that you should back up your Mac, and
as long as you’re at it, you might as well include your Windows installation. However, you can bypass many of the issues discussed in this
section by taking an entirely different approach with your virtual
machines: running Windows backup software.
Get the boot: This is the best option when using Fusion to run a Boot
Camp installation of Windows, because it’s the only one you can also
use when booted directly into Windows.
For example, you could install the Windows version of EMC Retrospect
(http://www.retrospect.com/products/software/retroforwin/), hook
up an external USB hard drive, and create a duplicate or archives of any
or all of your Windows files directly to that disk, bypassing Mac OS X
altogether. The big advantage of doing this is that you’ll need much less
storage space, because you’re backing up individual Windows files, not
complete virtual disks (which may contain a lot of unused space). You
can also restore individual Windows files, if need be, rather than restoring your whole Windows installation en masse. The disadvantage is that
you’ll have to buy, install, and maintain another backup program, and
you’ll be able to back up Windows only when it’s running.
If you do choose Windows backup software, be sure to exclude your
virtual machines from your Mac backups, following the instructions
on the previous page.
Move to Fusion from
Another Environment
Installing Windows takes some time, and once you’ve downloaded
dozens of software updates, added your own programs, and customized everything to your liking, the prospect of rebuilding all of that
from scratch is unpleasant at best. So if you’ve already invested that
effort on a Windows setup in another environment—Boot Camp,
Parallels Desktop, Virtual PC, or a stand-alone PC—Fusion provides
an easy way to import your entire existing Windows installation.
If you already have Windows running in Boot Camp (whether or not
you’ve used that installation of Windows in Fusion), you can convert
it to run from a virtual disk instead. As I described in Decide Whether
(or How) to Use Boot Camp with Fusion, doing this conversion not only
lets Windows run side-by-side with Mac OS X, it also gives you access
to more Fusion features (such as snapshots) and enables you to free up
some of the disk space currently occupied by your Boot Camp partition.
Space: the intermediate frontier: Ironically, although switching
from Boot Camp to a virtual machine ultimately reduces your disk
space requirements, you need extra space to start with. To follow these
steps, you should have at least as much free space on your disk as the
size of your Boot Camp volume. You’ll get much of that back after you
deactivate Boot Camp.
To convert a Boot Camp partition to a virtual machine, follow these
1. In Fusion’s Library window, select your Boot Camp volume and click
the Import button at the bottom of the window. Enter your administrator password when prompted.
2. Enter a name and choose a location (or simply accept the defaults),
and click Save.
3. Wait. The import can take quite a while. When it’s finished, click Run
Now to boot the virtual machine.
4. If you hadn’t previously done so (by running your Boot Camp
installation of Windows in a virtual machine), install VMware Tools.
Usually the installer runs automatically. If it doesn’t, choose Virtual
Machine > Install VMware Tools. And if the installer still doesn’t
run, choose Virtual Machine > CD/DVD > Disconnect CD/DVD, and
then again choose Virtual Machine > Install VMware Tools. When
the installation is finished, follow the prompts to reboot your virtual
5. You will most likely be prompted to reactivate Windows when it
restarts the first time. (VMware Tools should prevent recurring
reactivation requests.) Follow the onscreen prompts to do so.
At this point, you have two essentially identical copies of Windows—
one installed on your Boot Camp partition and the other installed on
a virtual disk. Once you’re satisfied that the imported copy is working
correctly, you should deactivate Boot Camp and remove its Windows
partition to recover all that disk space.
To remove your Windows partition, follow these steps:
1. Optional, but recommended for safety: Back up the Mac OS X
partition of your drive. A bootable duplicate on an external hard
drive is your safest bet.
2. Launch Boot Camp Assistant (in /Applications/Utilities) and click
through the introduction window.
3. In the Select Task window, select Create or Remove a Windows
Partition and click Continue.
4. Read the warning that your Windows volume will be completely
erased, and then:
• If your Mac has just one hard disk, click Restore.
• If your Mac has more than one hard disk, select the one on
which you installed Windows, select Restore to a Single Mac OS
Partition, and click Continue.
Boot Camp Assistant prompts you for an administrator password
and then removes the Windows partition.
5. Click Restart. Your Mac is now back to having a single, Mac OS X
Fusion can also import virtual machines from Parallels Desktop
(versions 2.5, 3.0, or 4.0), Parallels Server 3.0, and Virtual PC for Mac
version 7. In any case, the other virtual machine must be running one
of the following guest operating systems: Windows 7, Windows Vista,
Windows XP (with Service Pack 2 or higher), Windows 2000 (with
Service Pack 4), or Windows Server 2003 or 2008. Fusion 3 makes
the process easier than it was previously by automatically discovering
eligible virtual machines and listing them in the Virtual Machine
Library, and by automating a few steps that used to require manual
To import your existing virtual machine:
1. Optional but recommended: With Windows running in Parallels
or Virtual PC, uninstall the existing drivers for emulated hardware
(in Parallels, it’s Parallels Tools; in Virtual PC, it’s Virtual Machine
Additions). Consult the Parallels or Virtual PC documentation for
specific instructions.
2. Make sure the Parallels or Virtual PC virtual machine is completely
powered off (not merely suspended), and then quit the application.
Virtually impossible: Virtual PC 7 for Mac runs only on
PowerPC Macs, so obviously you couldn’t have been using it on the
same computer you’re using to run Fusion. However, the file must
still have been saved in the proper state. You can then share it or
copy it over the network, or transfer it to your Intel-based Mac via
3. In Fusion’s Virtual Machine Library, select the virtual machine you
want to import, which should be listed under Other Virtual
Machines, and click the Import button at the bottom of the window.
4. Enter a name and choose a location (or simply accept the defaults)
and click Save.
5. Wait for the import to complete. When it’s finished, click Start Up
to boot the virtual machine.
6. Install VMware Tools. Usually the installer runs automatically. If
it doesn’t, choose Virtual Machine > Install VMware Tools. And if
the installer still doesn’t run, choose Virtual Machine > CD/DVD >
Disconnect CD/DVD, and then again choose Virtual Machine >
Install VMware Tools. When the installation is finished, follow the
prompts to reboot your virtual machine.
7. You will most likely be prompted to reactivate Windows when it
restarts the first time. Follow the onscreen prompts to do so.
If you already have a standalone PC with Windows installed, you can
also migrate that entire copy of Windows to Fusion. (Well, technically
you can do it; your Windows license may or may not permit you to do
this—see Retail or OEM Licensing?—p. 24—for further discussion.)
Although it was possible under Fusion 2 to import a copy of Windows
from a physical PC, the process was cumbersome and time-consuming.
Fusion 3 simplifies the procedure tremendously, although it still
includes quite a few steps.
The basic idea is that you begin by running a free program on your
PC called PC Migration Agent. (This program is included on the Fusion
installation disc, or, for people who downloaded Fusion, available on
the Fusion download page.) PC Migration Agent displays a passcode
on your PC, which you must then enter on your Mac in a Fusion component called Migration Assistant. Fusion then copies the necessary
files from your PC over the network and sets up a new virtual machine
for you.
For complete instructions on migrating data from a PC to Fusion,
consult the Fusion Help menu.
Appendix A: Create a
Slipstream Installer Disc
If you plan to install Windows just once and use it indefinitely,
you can skip this appendix—the normal way of installing Windows,
described earlier, will work just fine. However, if you expect to install
Windows repeatedly in a virtual machine (say, for testing software
under a variety of conditions), you can make your life easier by
creating a customized Windows installation CD or DVD—or what’s
commonly referred to as a slipstream disc.
This disc can contain not only Windows itself, but service packs,
software updates, drivers, preset options (such as your Product Key,
user name, and password), and other user preferences. Once these
pieces are integrated into your new slipstream disc, you can install
a customized version of Windows very quickly, without waiting for
downloads and updates to complete each time.
Before we get to the instructions, I should mention that you can
find dozens of different methods on the Web for creating slipstream
installers. This is just one of many, but I like it because it’s easy,
flexible, and fast, and it produced good results for me.
As always, you must assemble certain ingredients and configure your
computer properly before proceeding. Follow these steps:
1. Run Windows in a Fusion virtual machine.
2. If your existing Windows installer disc does not already have the
latest service pack (as of October 2009, that’s SP3 for Windows XP
or SP1 for Vista—Windows 7 was only just released, so it doesn’t have
any service packs yet), I strongly recommend obtaining it and
integrating it into your slipstream installer.
To obtain a service pack:
• You can download Windows XP Service Pack 3 from
• Or, download Windows Vista Service Pack 1 from
3. Copy the contents of your existing Windows CD or DVD to your hard
a. Still working in your Windows virtual environment, insert the
Windows disc into your optical drive. A window will probably
appear automatically; close it.
b. Right-click on the Desktop, choose New > Folder, and enter a
name for the folder (such as XP_Installation).
c. Choose Start > My Computer (in XP) or Computer (in Vista).
Right-click the icon for the Windows disc and choose Explore.
d. Select all the files and folders on the disc and drag them into your
XP_Installation folder.
e. Leave the Windows disc in your drive for now; the installer you
run in the next step may need to copy some files from it.
4. If you’re running Windows XP in the virtual machine and haven’t
already done so (or aren’t sure), install the Microsoft .NET Framework. To do this:
a. In any Windows Web browser, go to http://www.microsoft.com/
downloads/details.aspx?FamilyId=333325FD-AE52-4E35-B531508D977D32A6&displaylang=en and click the Download button.
b. Click Save when asked what you want to do with the file, and
select your Windows Desktop as the destination.
c. When the download is complete, double-click the file called
dotnetfx.exe on your Desktop; if a Security Warning dialog
box appears, click Run.
d. Follow the prompts to install the .NET Framework. When
installation is done, click Finish.
5. If you’re making a Windows XP slipstream disc, download the
VMware SCSI Disk Drivers from http://www.vmware.com/
download/fusion/drivers_tools.html (scroll to the bottom of
the page). Unzip the file and store it in a convenient place, such
as your Windows Desktop. (This driver lets Windows use a virtual
disk configured as a virtual SCSI drive in the event that the Easy
Install method can’t be used.)
6. Make sure you have a blank recordable CD (for a Windows XP
installer) or DVD (for a Windows Vista installer).
Your computer is now ready for the slipstreaming process.
Although you can create a slipstream installer using nothing more
than the Windows command prompt, a free helper application called
nLite (for creating Windows XP slipstream discs) or its counterpart
vLite (for creating Windows Vista or Windows 7 slipstream discs)
makes the process easier. Follow these steps (all within Windows):
1. Download and install nLite or vLite:
a. Download nLite from http://www.nliteos.com/download.html
or vLite from http://www.vlite.net/download.html.
b. Click Save when asked what you want to do with the file, and
select your Windows Desktop as the destination.
c. When the download is completed, double-click the nLite
or vLite file on your Desktop (which may have a name like
nLite-; if a Security Warning dialog
box appears, click Run.
d. Follow the prompts to install nLite or vLite. (You can accept the
default settings in the installer.) When the installation is done,
make sure the Launch nLite or Launch vLite checkbox is selected
and click Finish.
The application opens. In the remainder of these instructions, I
describe nLite (Figure 37), which has been around much longer and
is a more mature product. But the process of using vLite is similar,
so if you’re going to be using vLite, read these instructions to get an
idea of what to do, and then consult the vLite documentation if anything is unclear during use.
Figure 37: The opening window of nLite, a slipstream helper
2. Click Next.
3. In the next window (Figure 38), click Browse. Select the
XP_Installation folder on your Desktop and click OK. Click Next.
Figure 38: Click Browse and navigate to the folder into which you
copied the contents of your Windows installation disc.
4. In the nLite Presets window that appears next, you needn’t do
anything, so simply click Next.
5. In the Task Selection window (Figure 39), select the ways you want
to modify the Windows installer. Regardless of what other options
you select, be sure to select Bootable ISO.
Figure 39: For a basic slipstream installer, which adds only a service
pack, select just the top and bottom options here. The other options
give you more control over your Windows installation.
Your options are:
• Service Pack: Select this to integrate a service pack. As most
users will want to do that, I assume you’ve selected this option
in the steps that follow.
• Hotfixes, Add-ons and Update Packs: Some Microsoft
Windows updates are distributed as standalone installers. If
you want to include any of them on your slipstream disc, select
this button.
• Drivers: To include drivers (in the form of .inf files, not
installers) for third-party devices, select Drivers. If you’re creating
a Windows XP slipstream disc, be sure to select this option in
order to include VMware’s SCSI Disk Drivers, which you downloaded earlier.
• Components: Select Components if you want to remove standard Windows components from your installation. (I recommend
this only for advanced users.)
Easy does it: The Fusion Easy Install method may not work
with all slipstream discs—particularly those from which you’ve
removed standard Windows components. But if Easy Install
doesn’t work with your slipstream disc, you can always use
Standard Install.
• Unattended: Select this button to enter your Product Key, user
name, password, or any of numerous other pieces of information
you may otherwise be required to supply manually during
Windows installation.
• Options: To override various default settings in the Windows
installer, select this option. (Most users can safely ignore this.)
• Tweaks: Select Tweaks to set any of numerous preferences
for Windows, including Desktop appearance, Internet Explorer
defaults, and Start Menu contents.
After making your selections, click Next. For each button you
selected, you’ll see a configuration screen that allows you to enter
additional details.
6. Assuming you selected Service Pack, the next screen (Figure 40)
lets you specify where to find it.
Figure 40: Click Select to locate the CD or downloaded file containing
the service pack.
Click Select and then:
• If you downloaded the service pack, navigate to the file (with
a name like XPSP3.exe) and select it.
• If you have the service pack on a CD, click My Computer (or
Computer). Right-click the CD/DVD icon and choose Eject to
eject your Windows disc. Insert the service pack CD. When it
appears in the window, double-click it and select the service
pack installer icon.
Then click Open.
7. nLite immediately begins creating the slipstream installer, integrating the service pack you selected. When the process (which
can be quite lengthy) is finished, click OK. Then click Next.
8. Work your way through any remaining screens, specifying which
other updates, drivers, and additional settings you want. (On the
Drivers screen, for example, click Insert and navigate to the SCSI
Disk Driver you downloaded earlier.) After each screen, click Next.
After you click Next on the last screen (whichever one that is), you
may see an alert that says “Do you want to start the process?” If so,
click Yes.
nLite integrates all the changes you’ve specified into the installer.
9. Your final task in nLite is to create a disk image for the installer,
which you can later burn onto a CD or DVD. To do this, fill in a name
for the disc (such as WinXP-SP3) or stick with the default (WinLite),
and click Make ISO (Figure 41). Select a destination (the Desktop is
a good idea), and click Save.
When the image is complete, click Next and then Finish.
Figure 41: Enter a name for your disc image and click Make ISO.
Finally, burn a CD or DVD from the disk image you just created. (You
can fit a Windows XP installer on a CD, but because Windows Vista and
Windows 7 are larger, they require a DVD.) Follow these steps:
1. Make sure the file is in a shared folder, so that you can access it from
Mac OS X.
2. In Mac OS X, open Disk Utility (in /Applications/Utilities).
3. Choose Images > Burn.
4. Navigate to the disk image file, select it, and click Burn.
5. Insert a blank recordable CD or DVD, and click Burn.
Disk Utility automatically ejects the disc when it’s ready; you can then
quit Disk Utility.
Appendix B: Fusion for
Fusion was designed to be easy for ordinary folks to use, without
requiring any technical expertise. Because this book is geared toward
a general audience, I’ve steered clear of the geekier features that
would appeal mainly to system administrators, IT personnel, and
those of a more technical bent who just like to fiddle. Nevertheless,
if you are such a person, Fusion 3 contains a great many obscure but
delightful capabilities you may want to explore.
In this appendix, I discuss mounting virtual disks in the Finder
(when Fusion isn’t running) and installing Mac OS X Server as a
guest operating system. I also provide a brief overview of Fusion’s
command-line tool, vmrun, which lets you perform (and even script)
nearly any Fusion action without touching the graphical user
interface. Finally, I talk about Virtual Appliances.
Tip: To learn about many more of Fusion’s extra-geeky features,
check out a Web page in the Fusion forum called “A Power User’s
Guide to VMware Fusion,” written by Fusion developer Eric Tung
In some situations, you may want to get at files on your Windows
volume when Windows is not running. Sure, you could launch Fusion
and then open your virtual machine, but that may take longer than you
have—especially if you’re running numerous other programs on your
Mac that are already maxing out its RAM and CPU. Once you’ve
installed Fusion 3, you can use a shortcut that lets you mount your
Windows virtual disk even if Fusion isn’t running.
To pull off this trick, Fusion uses software called MacFUSE. MacFUSE
is installed automatically along with Fusion under Leopard, but due to a
bug in Snow Leopard, if you want this software you must either click the
Customize button in the Snow Leopard installer and explicitly select it,
or else download and install MacFUSE separately.
There are two other small catches, too:
• Although MacFUSE in Snow Leopard supports reading and
writing NTFS-formatted virtual disks, in Leopard, such disks are
always read-only (unless you install extra third-party software to
enable write support).
• In either operating system, if the virtual machine whose disk
you’re opening was not shut down, only suspended, the mounted
disk will be read-only. (To make it writable, you’d have to launch
Fusion and open the virtual machine to shut it down—in which
case, you could simply access your files within Windows.)
To mount a virtual disk in the Finder, follow these steps:
1. In the Finder, navigate to ~/Documents/Virtual Machines (or
wherever you’ve stored your virtual machine).
2. Control-click (right-click) the virtual machine whose disk(s) you
want to mount. From the contextual menu that appears, choose
Open With > VMDKMounter.
Your virtual disk mounts. (Or, if the virtual machine has multiple disks,
they all mount.) Depending on your preferences, it may appear in the
sidebar of Finder windows, on your Desktop, or both. You can then view
or modify the files on it just as if it were a Mac disk. (Be careful not to
change any files needed by Windows.) When you finish using your virtual disk, select its icon in the Finder sidebar or on your Desktop and
choose File > Eject “Name of Disk” to unmount it.
Fusion lets you install Mac OS X Server (version 10.5 or higher) in a
virtual machine and run it as a guest operating system, even if the host
operating system is the standard version of Mac OS X. You must have a
separate license for each copy of Mac OS X Server you install this way.
Because of Apple’s licensing restrictions, Fusion does not let you install
non-server versions of Mac OS X—nor can you run a Mac OS X Server
virtual machine using a VMware product other than Fusion.
Installing Mac OS X Server in this way lets a system administrator run
more than one distinct copy of the operating system on a single computer, move the system between computers as needed, and restart a
server operating system without having to restart the hardware itself.
What a drag: When Mac OS X Server is running as a guest, you’ll
encounter two main limitations as compared to Windows: dragging
and dropping files and folders between host and guest is not possible,
and the virtual machine can use only a single display.
To install Mac OS X Server in a Fusion virtual machine, follow these
steps in Fusion:
1. Choose File > New. The New Virtual Machine Assistant appears.
2. Insert your Mac OS X Server Install Disc.
The window changes to show the version of Mac OS X Server that
will be installed.
3. Verify that the correct operating system and version are shown (or
change them if not), and click Continue.
4. On the Finish screen, review the default settings (such as RAM
and maximum disk size) shown in the Virtual Machine Summary.
If you’re content with these settings, skip ahead to Step 5. If you
want to make any modifications now, rather than changing the
settings after the fact, continue with Steps a–d:
a. Click Customize Settings.
b. Enter a name and select a location for your virtual machine
(or simply accept the defaults), and click Save.
c. The Settings window appears; see Configure Virtual Machine
Settings to learn about your options. When you’re finished, close
the window.
d. Double-click your new virtual machine in the Virtual Machine
Library window. Skip Step 5.
5. Click Finish. Enter a name and select a location for your virtual
machine (the defaults are usually best); then click Save.
Your new virtual machine appears in the Virtual Machine Library
and should start automatically.
Don’t touch: When the virtual machine starts the first time, you’ll
see white text on a black background listing various options involving
pressing keys. However tempting it may be, do not press any keys at
this point! In a few moments, the Mac OS X Server installer will run.
6. Follow the prompts to complete installation of Mac OS X Server.
7. When the virtual machine reboots, choose Virtual Machine > Install
VMware Tools. A CD icon will appear on the guest’s Desktop.
8. Double-click the CD icon, and then, in the window that appears,
double-click the Install VMware Tools icon. Follow the prompts
to install VMware Tools.
After VMware Tools is installed, the guest operating system restarts
automatically. You can then begin using it.
Fusion 3 includes a command-line utility called vmrun that lets you
perform many actions in Fusion, as well as inside virtual machines,
from Terminal (or your favorite terminal emulator). Because you can
run Fusion from the command line, you can also automate it using shell
scripting, perl, python, or any of numerous other languages, and you
can both view and control many aspects of Fusion’s behavior remotely
using ssh.
Naturally, you can open, suspend, resume, and shut down virtual
machines from the command line. But you can also perform other
Fusion commands (such as taking and deleting snapshots, installing
VMware Tools, and cloning virtual machines) as well as numerous
activities inside the guest operating system itself (adding and removing
shared folders, running and stopping programs, retrieving file lists,
renaming and deleting files, and much more).
Because vmrun has so many capabilities, I can cover only a few basics
here. To get the full list of vmrun commands and syntax, I recommend
reading a PDF distributed by VMware called “Using vmrun to Control
Virtual Machines.” You can download it at http://www.vmware.com/
Set Up vmrun
The first thing you should do is to open Terminal (in /Applications/
Utilities) and enter the following command, which lets you run vmrun
without having to specify its full path:
export PATH="$PATH:/Library/Application Support/VMware Fusion"
Having done this, you can enter vmrun followed by Return at any time
to see a list of supported arguments.
vmrun Syntax
The basic syntax for vmrun is:
vmrun <flags> <command> <parameters>
That is, vmrun followed by one or more flags and an optional
command, which may require additional parameters.
Some of the most commonly used flags are:
type (for Fusion, the type is always fusion)
guest user name (for operations in a guest operating system
that require a user name)
guest password (for operations in a guest operating system that
require a password)
Commands and Parameters
Among the dozens of commands available to vmrun, a few basics may
be of particular interest:
• start, stop, suspend: These three commands start (or resume), stop,
and suspend a virtual machine, respectively. Include as a parameter
the pathname of the virtual machine’s .vmx file.
• snapshot: Take a snapshot of the virtual machine. For parameters,
include the pathname of the virtual machine’s .vmx file followed by
the filename of the snapshot.
• runProgramInGuest: Run an application in the guest OS. Minimum
parameters are the pathname of the virtual machine’s .vmx file
followed by the pathname (inside the virtual machine) of the
program you want to run.
• installtools: Install VMware Tools in the guest OS. Include as a
parameter the pathname of the virtual machine’s .vmx file.
Let me show you just a few examples of how this all works in real life.
Start a Virtual Machine
To start one of the virtual machines on my Mac, I might issue this
command in Terminal:
vmrun -T fusion start ~/Documents/Virtual\ Machines.localized/
Windows\ XP.vmwarevm/Windows\ XP.vmx
Notice two interesting things about this command:
• The actual name of the folder containing your virtual machines is
Virtual Machines.localized, and you must use that full name, even
though the folder’s extension doesn’t appear in the Finder. Likewise,
the bundle that contains your virtual machine ends in .vmwarevm,
which may not appear in the Finder.
• Spaces in the pathname are preceded by the backslash (\) character.
Alternatively, I could have omitted the backslashes and enclosed the
entire pathname in quotation marks, but in that case I could not use
the tilde (~) and would instead have to spell out the full path:
vmrun -T fusion start "/Users/jk/Documents/Virtual
Machines.localized/Windows XP.vmwarevm/Windows XP.vmx"
Tip: To avoid typing a long path, you can drag a file from the
Finder into the Terminal window. Terminal inserts the full path,
automatically adding a backslash before each space.
Take a Snapshot
To take a snapshot of the virtual machine described in the last example,
I’d use this command:
vmrun -T fusion snapshot ~/Documents/Virtual\
Machines.localized/Windows\ XP.vmwarevm/Windows\ XP.vmx
In this example, the snapshot gets the name MySnapshot.
Run an Application
To run iTunes in Windows XP, I might use the following command:
vmrun -gu "Test User" -gp "Test Password" runProgramInGuest
~/Documents/Virtual\ Machines.localized/Windows\ XP.
vmwarevm/Windows\ XP.vmx "C:\Program Files\iTunes\
Notice that I’ve included the flags for user name and password; these
must be a user authorized to run the application in question. I’ve
enclosed the argument for each flag in quotation marks, because each
argument contains a space. Similarly, I’ve enclosed the entire pathname
of the iTunes application in quotation marks because it contains a space
and the backslash notation means something different in Windows than
it does in Mac OS X.
Of course, these basic examples don’t even scratch the surface of what
vmrun can do. To learn more, consult the PDF guide—and experiment!
In this book, I mainly describe installing standard, off-the-shelf operating systems in virtual machines. The assumption is that you’ll obtain
the other software you need, install it yourself, and configure it to do
whatever you need to do. That’s the ordinary way of doing things, but
Fusion offers another approach, too.
Let’s say you create a new virtual machine and install an operating
system, using just the components and options you want. Then you
install software to perform a specific task—serving databases, providing
network security, indexing Web pages, or whatever. You customize
everything thoroughly to create a lean, mean, highly optimized virtual
machine. And then…you give it away so that other people can get all
those capabilities simply by dropping a file into the Fusion Virtual
Machine Library—no installation or setup required! That’s the general
idea behind Virtual Appliances.
Appliances come in all shapes and sizes. As I write this, you can find
more than 1,200 to choose from in more than a dozen categories. Many
are free (built entirely from open-source software); some are commercial, and of those, some offer limited-time evaluation versions. Browse
the available appliances at http://www.vmware.com/appliances/.
(You can also get to that page by choosing VMware Fusion > Download
Virtual Appliances.)
After downloading a VMware Appliance (and, if necessary, decompressing the file), you should have a folder containing one or more files.
One of those files (or the only one) will have the extension .vmx. Drag
that file into Fusion’s Virtual Machine Library window. That’s it! No
other installation is required. You can double-click that virtual machine
to run it immediately.
Ask questions first: The first time you run a virtual appliance, you
may see a series of alerts asking you about the appliance’s location,
reminding you to install VMware Tools, and so on. In general, you can
accept the default choices in all these alerts.
About This Book
Thank you for purchasing this Take Control book. We hope you find
it both useful and enjoyable to read. We welcome your comments at
[email protected] Keep reading in this section to learn
more about the author, the Take Control series, and the publisher.
Joe Kissell is Senior Editor of TidBITS, a Web site
and email newsletter about the Macintosh and
the Internet, and the author of numerous print and
electronic books about Macintosh software,
including Take Control of Mac OS X Backups
and Take Control of Upgrading to Snow Leopard.
He is also a Senior Contributor to Macworld and
was the winner of a 2009 Neal award for Best Howto Article. Joe has worked in the Mac software industry since the early
1990s, including positions managing software development for Nisus
Software and Kensington Technology Group.
In his increasingly imaginary spare time, Joe likes to travel, cook, and
practice t’ai chi. He lives in Paris with his wife, Morgen Jahnke, and
their cat, Zora. To contact Joe about this book, send him email at
[email protected] and be sure to include the words Take Control of VMware
Fusion 3 in the subject of your message.
Special thanks to Pat Lee, David Liu, and Eric Tung at VMware, who
answered numerous questions and provided valuable input in preparing this book. As always, I appreciate Tonya Engst’s fine editing work.
Finally, thanks to Sandro Menzel for his careful technical review, and
to Caroline Rose and Sharon Aker for editorial suggestions.
Although I write about computers as my day job, I have a great many
other interests, which I write about on several Web sites, including
Interesting Thing of the Day (http://itotd.com/) and my personal blog.
You can find links to all my sites, a complete list of my publications, and
more personal details about me at JoeKissell.com
Publishers Adam and Tonya Engst have been
creating Macintosh-related content since they
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In TidBITS, you can find the latest Macintosh
news, plus read reviews, opinions, and more
Adam and Tonya are known in the Mac world
as writers, editors, and speakers. They are also
parents to Tristan, who thinks ebooks about
clipper ships and castles would be cool.
Take Control logo: Jeff Tolbert
Cover design: Jon Hersh
Tech Review: Sandro Menzel
Editor: Tonya Engst
Publisher: Adam Engst
Assistants: Shelly Goldhar, Julie Kulik
Special thanks to everyone at VMware who helped make this project
possible, with a tip of the hat especially to David Liu, Eric Tung, Pat
Lee, and Peter Kazanjy.
Copyright and Fine Print
Take Control of VMware Fusion 3
ISBN: 978-1-61542-005-6
Copyright © 2009, Joe Kissell. All rights reserved.
TidBITS Publishing Inc.
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