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81 of 84 people found the following review helpful
VINE VOICEon November 21, 2008
Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
Overview:

App Performance: A+
VM states suspend and resume seamlessly and quickly.

Windows Performance:A+
The windows users in my office are using fairly new PCs and laptops, but with crappy graphics cards. My Macbook Pro (early 2007 version) runs windows "faster" than any version of windows in the office. Is it really faster? There's no way to know without running benchmarks, but it seems faster, and that's something.

Interface: A -
Accessibility to Windows and Windows apps is simple, as are installation and configuration utilities. Windows apps are still bound to a single screen when using spaces - even in 'unity' mode. This is a major gripe I have with VMs in general, as I use multiple work spaces. For those who use a single screen, or who run the VM in a dedicate screen 'space', this isn't a problem. It keeps me out of 'unity' mode and in full screen though.

Mac/PC sharing: A
Your home folder on your Mac shows up as an attached drive (Z:), making navigation to mac directories and files simple and easy (and fast!)

Networking: A+
Fast networking, with setup so easy I almost forgot to review it :-)
Overall: A+

Details:

I'm a long-time Windows-on-Mac user, starting back in the day of Virtual PC, and most recently using Parallels (I currently use Parallels v3.0). I want to start this review by saying that, for many casual PC users looking to run Windows on a Mac, there probably isn't a need -- most everything I do day to day (at work and home) can be done on either OS, and if you own mac hardware, you'll be happier running Mac apps as well. UNLESS you have that "one application" that isn't supported natively.

In my office, we:
1. use Microsoft exchange for email and scheduling, and so I needed to run Windows
2. use one of those large printer/copier/scanner/collating/faxing monstrosities, and it lacks a working mac driver

Of course, there's a slew of word and powerpoint files to deal with as well, but these can be handled with Office for Mac or OpenOffice. Of course, once running Windows anyway for the two reasons above, I prefer to use native Office apps, because that way I'm 100% the files will be compatible (and plus, I end up having to open them on the Windows side to print them anyway).

My initial impressions of VMware Fusion 2 were very positive. It was easy to install, and the interface is very clean. While it's not 100% fair to compare VMware Fusion 2 to the older version of Parallels 3.0 in terms of performance, it is fair to compare things like interface and usability -- and in these areas, VMware wins, in my opinion. I'll give the blanket caveat up front: Parallels may have fixed some of these things in newer versions ... I'll try to get a copy of Parallels v4.0 and do a follow-up review.

VMware's 'unity' puts windows apps side by side with Mac apps (much like Parallel's 'Coherence'). When in 'unity' mode, you have the option to show the windows task bar, which plunks the ugly windows bar behind the Mac's dock. My dock fills the center 70% of my screen, so the Start Menu and the goofy windows tool tray are nice and visible on the far-left and far-right of the screen. However, because I use virtual screens (Mac's "spaces" feature), and because VMware is bound to one of those screens, I run in full-screen mode -- if I have to switch spaces to get to my PC apps anyway, I don't want the ugly conflict between taskbar & dock.

Networking was so clean I almost forgot to include it in this review: it just worked, piggy-backing my Mac's network connections without requiring any action on my part. Digging in, it offers direct network connections as well as private networking (the PC is only available to the Mac). Nice options, but what's even nicer is I didn't even notice they were there.

Performance is amazing for a VM ... even before enabling access to both processors and boosting the default 512MB of memory to 1GB. The only slow-down on the Mac side occurs during a windows boot (or re-boot as is more often the case) ... otherwise, Windows can sit, used or ignored, running on the mac without any noticeable performance degradation to Mac apps.
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74 of 78 people found the following review helpful
I am a Mac owner and a former PC owner--Compaq. I have quite a few PC software that would be very expensive to replace because of the difference between the Mac OS and Windows.

So what to do?

A few years ago when I was saving up to make the switch, there was only one software available--"Virtual PC"--then, Microsoft bought them out. Then, came word that several private companies were working on their own virtual software. Parallels Desktop for Mac came out and then came news of the Wine project-- a group of engineers whom pooled their resources to develop a kind of "anti-operating system" if you would. Once installed, many Windows based software would automatically install itself on the Mac (or Linux) operating system, thus bypassing the need to buy a Windows operation system or re-purchase the software for the different platform. One of the contributors to the Wine Project, Codeweavers developed their own brand of Wine, called "CrossOver For Mac,"with modifications and some improvements over the collective project.

I decided that I needed to get Parallels because I couldn't get my Sprint wireless card to adapt to the Mac OS. I forked over $70 plus $125 for Windows XP Home. I told myself $200 is a whole lot better than buying another PC laptop. Everything went fine for several months. Then it didn't. After about 4 months, Parallels stopped working. It would either freeze constantly or crash. Other reviewers have called it "the blue screen of death," and that's exactly the best way to describe it. I had to constantly reset the program. Nothing seemed to reduce the frequency of it stalling. I had to uninstall and re-install it only to repeat this feature every two (2) weeks. With it now being out-of-warranty, it now would have cost me more to talk on the phone with a rep for two hours than it cost me to buy the product. By email, it was on average a three day wait for a response. In the meantime, I bought CrossOver and used it for my Word, and Excel projects--it was (is) considerably slower but it got the job done.

I uninstalled Parallels for good and sold my copy for a fraction of the cost, but it relieved me of seeing that horrendous program on the icon bar.

Now to Fusion. I downloaded Fusion 1x and immediately after putting all of my Windows software on, including the King-Of-Eating-Up-Valuable-Harddrive Space....Photoshop, the software was up and running without fuss in less than 60 seconds. Until last week, the only way to watch free archival Netflix movies was to have the Windows OS, Fusion allowed me to watch literally dozens of movies over the course of several weekends as easy as turning on the tv. Because I bought Fusion within a period a few weeks before they introduced Fusion2, I upgraded at no extra cost.

Speed, reliability and Fusion is actually $15 cheaper, new, than Parallels if you pick it up here. It is now the same amount of time that I've had Fusion when Parallels started to malfunction and deteriorate. It has never had even a minor glitch.

Fusion is by far the superior program to Parallels, if you want to have access to Windows on your Mac.
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20 of 21 people found the following review helpful
VINE VOICEon November 3, 2008
Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
Over the past two weeks, I have been testing the VMware Fusion 2 product. Wow, I have to admit that I am seriously impressed with this software package. It truly makes using Windows a seamless experience that is truly enjoyable! Here is what's so great about Fusion 2:

1) It makes installing Windows a fun and "fearless" experience.

In the past, I have always used Apple's Bootcamp (a competing product) to run Windows on my Macbook Pro (2.4 GHz with 4 GB of RAM). Only problem is that Apple's Bootcamp program can be a "little confusing" to use -- and when I first went to install Windows on my new Mac, I apparently didn't read the technical installation manually as carefully as I should of, and accidentally wound up wiping out my machine to the point that it wouldn't start. Oh oh... Not good! ;-) I eventually got it back up and running, with Windows installed on it, but it really wasn't the most user-friendly way of installing Windows on my Mac!

However, with the introduction of VMware's Fusion 2, the process of installing Windows just became a real snap! When I first started the program, it asked me if I would like to install Windows on my computer. I said yes and it prompted me to insert my Windows installation disc into the drive. The moment that I did this, it took control over the installation and after a bit, I have Windows freshly installed on my computer! (Also, for those of you who want to use your Bootcamp partition, they give you the option of simply using it, or even migrating it directly to your Mac, as a virtual drive -- which helps to free up tons of space on your drive!) It works seamlessly...

2) Run both Windows and Mac applications together at once!

This is one seriously cool feature of VMware Fusion 2. Since Windows is running virtually on your machine, it means that you can unify both your Microsoft Office applications and your Mac programs together as one powerful software suite. Fusion 2 comes with a feature called "Unify" that allows me to start up my Mac contacts and Microsoft Excel at the same time. I can exchange information between these programs simply by using "copy and paste"! Also, unlike Apple's Bootcamp software, I don't have to reboot my system every time that I want to use a program from the other OS. This makes both me and my Mac more productive!

3) Run your favorite PC games on the Mac!

If you're like me, you probably enjoy a little break here and then -- and that means playing a computer game, once in a while. ;-) Best of all, with Fusion 2, you can enjoy a wide selection of PC games on your Mac, as if they were designed for it.

4) Excellent Hardware Support

Out of all of the virtualization that I have played with over the years, Fusion 2 (by far) is years ahead of the competition. They have written plug-ins for your operating systems that enable full hardware support, such as iSight cameras, USB drives and the ability to print over the network. These are very welcomed features in my mind that place this software package above the competition. This helps to make running Windows (and Linux) a vastly superior option.

THE DISADVANTAGES:
Honestly, it's kind of hard to find very many with this program, as it seems that the developers took the time needed to develop a well-tested application. However, I did find a few, minor issues that you will want to be aware of:

- Product Deactivation for Bootcamp users

If you already have Windows installed and running on your computer, Fusion 2 gives you the ability to run it virtually. When I ran Windows XP virtually for the first time, Windows immediately deactivated both the operating system and my copy of Microsoft Office. Also, Adobe Creative Suite CS2 immediately deactivated too, which was not good. To fix this, I had to reactivate my products, which means that you may have to spend some time on the phone waiting for customer service to give you permission to re-use your software again.

- There seems to be an issue with Time Machine. I have a USB hard drive connected to my Macbook Pro and while it's connected, it actually prevents Windows XP from being able to successfully boot. To fix this problem, simply disconnect the drive (during the booting process) and everything will work fine!

- Out of two weeks of heavy usage, I experienced only one minor crash. VMware Fusion 2 handled it beautifully and no data was lost.

IN SUMMARY:
This is one AWESOME product that I highly recommend. Don't waste your time with Apple's Bootcamp -- make the switch of being able to truly enjoy your mac the way you want. Yes, nowadays, who says you can't have it all... ;-)
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19 of 20 people found the following review helpful
Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
I started out using Parallels, the competition for this product. It was good, but ran a bit sluggish on my MacBook. I liked the way it handled my Boot Camp partition, but I hated the way it hogged memory and handled graphics. As a trial product, I found little need to keep it.

Then I tried the first version of VMare Fusion. It seemed to be about the same as Parallels, with some minor differences. It handled my Boot Camp partition and did some things better, but other things worse. Again, I used the trial, and I decided against keeping it and went back to rebooting into Boot Camp.

Now here we are at VMware Fusion 2. This is a vast improvement over previous products. The memory management is better, the graphics run better, and the setup is easier. It loads much faster than any other solution for Windows on a Mac.

My experience has been mostly good. VMware 2 did give me some trouble at first, though. The serial number is on the CD sleeve, and they don't make it clear that that's where they put it. It took my shuffling through the box and paperwork a few times before I thought to look at the sleeve, which I had sitting near the computer while the disc was in the drive. Duh. I think they probably should have put the serial number in the manual, but I guess the sleeve was the first place I should have looked.

Anyway, once I got it running, I had trouble getting it to work with Boot Camp. It saw my Boot Camp partition, but upon trying to run it, I got a "no media" error. After messing around for a while, looking through help, and digging around online, I finally gave up trying to get past this problem and just installed a new Virtual Machine from my Windows XP disc.

Installing Windows was a breeze. Easier, even, then when you do it on your own. VMware made all the choices and did all the work. When it was done, the hard part came: Updating Windows. Ugh. This reminded me why I rarely use Windows! After that, the next thing was activation (Cross your fingers. Hope MS doesn't reject it.) and then installing supplemental software.

One of the nice things about VMware Fusion 2 is that it includes a one-year subscription to McAfee Virus Scan Plus, which is pretty much necessary for Windows (another reason why I prefer to stay in OS X). It installed McAfee pretty easily, and VMware Tools went on without a hitch. For good measure, I loaded up the Boot Camp drivers disc, to make sure all the components were working.

Once it was all up and running, it worked great.

I like that I can share the contents of my Mac and virtual Windows XP with each other. That's something I couldn't do with Boot Camp. Now, instead of having to move files back and forth, I just pull them out of the Mac side of things and use them when needed in Windows.

For MacBook users, I would suggest having a bigger hard drive and maxed-out RAM. I'm running with 4GB of RAM, and it works well if I allocate at least 1GB to the virtual machine. I'd imagine new aluminum MacBooks will be great with this product, considering their better graphics chipset.

This is the one. Forget Parallels. VMware is getting it right with this iteration of their product.
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29 of 36 people found the following review helpful
on November 17, 2008
I bought VM Ware Fusion 1 and then upgraded to VM Fusion 2. The initial version worked fine and was most effective.

As soon as I upgraded to Fusion 2, I received a notice of "failure to connect peer process." I have been completely unsuccessful at correcting the problem; so I cannot use my virtual machine.
I have tried to get help from Smith Micro and from VM Ware. Smith says they cannot help because I bought the upgrade through Amazon. VM Ware sends you in every direction but one that offers assistance to the non technician. It is almost impossible to speak to a human being at VM Ware unless I sign on and pay for support, even though I have just purchased the basic and upgraded program.
The result is I have a Mac and no ability to use the virtual machine and no ability to get direct assistance from VM Ware. This discourages me from ever buying a VM Ware product in the future.
L.M.M.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
on January 27, 2009
I work in I.T. and I have always been a Mac fan, especially after the fact they went and started using Intel for their CPUs which opened the doors to Windows for me. After getting my Macbook Pro I eventually used Boot Camp to install XP on a second partition. So far I had been very happy with it except I still am in school and sometimes I do my work on XP side but mostly use Mac for my normal uses. I really wanted an option to boot up my partition without restarting each time and killing 10 minutes or more each time.

I looked into Parallels and heard good things about it but then I also was attracted to Fusion because of how great Virtual Machines are for me at work. After reading many reviews (customer and professional) I finally decided to place my decision on Fusion. Currently, my virtual XP partition works great and I also installed the new Windows 7 Beta as a VM for testing and curiosity.

The only problem I had though (which was minor) was having some trouble installing the latest version of Ubuntu which turned out to be something with the new Linux kernel and the compatibility of the current VMWare Fusion version. However, I did get the VM up and running successfully from a small workaround during the Installation process.

Tip: You should have AT LEAST 2 gigs of Ram in your machine. I would even recommend more. 4 gigs in my machine has been great so far.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
on November 3, 2008
I've been using VMWare Fusion since the first version, and this new version 2.0 adds a ton of improvements and refinements (and is a free upgrade for existing users, too.) For instance, version 2 directly supports multi-button mice (where version 1 only emulated a 3 button generic mouse.)

I use a MacBook Pro (2.2GHz) as my main computer at home, but I'm a Windows developer by day. It's much more convenient to be able to do Windows development projects on the same laptop rather than have two machines running and have to switch off monitors between them.

In Fusion I typically run Windows XP SP3, Visual Studio (both 2005 and 2008) and SQL Server (Express 2005) with no issues at all. Being able to run Visual Studio in Unity mode as a Windowed app is pretty sweet (especially since I "hide icons" on my Windows desktop anyway.) I also use this setup to do cross-browser testing for IE.

I've used Fusion + Windows to play NetFlix downloads, as NetFlix does not yet support OS X for streaming movies.

I haven't attempted any serious gaming on Fusion; for that I still use my desktop PC, so I'll let others speak for Windows-games-on-Mac options.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
VINE VOICEon October 16, 2008
Yes, while we Mac devotees love our computers, it's sometimes necessary to run a program that is only out for the Windows platform. I personally use Windows and Internet Explorer to view web sites that I've created to make sure they look good in both Mac and Windows environments. VMWare Fusion is a superlative product that makes Windows installation on the Mac completely seamless and intuitive. Fusion 2.0 has brought some welcome enhancements for making it possible to work in both environments at the same time, transfer files between OS's, and have Windows apps work nearly as well as native Mac apps. I was very pleased with Fusion 1's ability to automatically set up Internet connections, and version 2 has retained this ease of use. The only problem I've run into is that I haven't been able to have Windows find and recognize my 2 printers connected to the network. I'm in the process of debugging this, and in Windows it's a nightmare of drivers, network setups and arcane protocols--but this is not Fusion's fault. The only thing that VMWare could improve on is somehow automatically finding and copying network printer data from the Mac and copying it into the Windows environment, but I don't even know if this is possible.

When Mac users need to go over to the dark side temporarily, or for games or productivity software not available for the Mac, Fusion 2.0 will be a pleasant experience in making your Intel Mac a dual OS demon. Through Fusion you can also load various flavors of Linux and Unix if you're so inclined. As for speed concerns, any of the Intel-based Macs can run Windows at speeds worthy of any Dell, HP or Asus. VMWare has done a marvelous job and rates 5 stars easily in this improved version of Fusion.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on December 7, 2008
VMware is by far the best and easiest software out there for virtualizing in the PC world, thanks ti VMware Fusion, we can no enjoy such a technology on a Mac. I guess would be that most that purchase this, will be running Windows XP or Vista, since as Mac users we miss things like Microsoft's Access, SQL, and other stuff. Regardless of which of those you are running, you will be able to do so in an efficient manor, without having to log out of OS X.

I do recommend you have at least 3GB of RAM, but preferably 4GB (have all you want if your running this on a Mac Pro); although XP runs well on 1GB (on a 2GB computer). ...so if you have a 4GB iMac, MacBook or MacBook Pro with 4GB, allocate 1.5 - 2.5GB to your virtual environment. The RAM on a Mac Mini can be upgraded, although it will void your warranty, so upgrade this to 3GB (although some say it supports 4GB but will recognize only 3.5GB); and you can virtualize on the Mini too. If your stuck with a MacBook Air cause you like portability, Vista will be a headache to run, so I really recommend running XP on the MacBook Air, although it'll take a bit long to boot up cause of RAM, CPU and slow HDD.

I'm currently running XP, Vista, Ubuntu and Kubuntu on my iMac (not at once), and all runs well, installation was a breeze too. My Mac Mini runs XP and Kubuntu, and my MacBook Air runs XP well (although, like I mentioned, boot time os slow on the Air). What I really love about this software is that you can run an Operating System from an external hard drive. That means you don't have to use you valuable HDD space to run an other OS on you Mac, just plug in an external drive, and run the OS from there. For those that switch between computers and are on the go, you can transfer other operating systems amongst computers with ease. For example, at home I have XP running via firewire 800 on the iMac, but when I need XP at work or school, I just gram the file, and move it over to my MacBook Air (either through the network, or by plugging the HDD into it). Then when I get back home, transfer XP back into the iMac, since I likely made changes I want to keep while on the go.

Those that purchase this, enjoy it, and use it for more than running WIndows, actually try out other Operating Systems, like Solaris, Ubuntu, etc... Not only will it be fun, but this program allows you to further explore what's out there with out the need of buying new software, hardware, or even a new computer.

...just a side note for MacBook Air owners (or Mac Mini owners not willing to upgrade to 3 or 4GB of RAM); if your ok taking up your valuable hard drive space, and your ok running OS X and your other operating system separately, rather than Windows within OS X, perhaps Boot Camp i a better option. The Air runs Vista extremely well through Boot Camp, where with VMware, it runs ok, but a bit slow.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
to make your Mac all that it can be.....

1. Mac users have access to the best of both worlds thanks to Fusion2.
Programs, games, apps etc that are only available to those using Windows are now available to Mac users ...fINALLY!!!

2.Windows IS better on the Mac !!!

3. It is a seamless program , that is not just product hype. I can go from iPhoto to Adobe Element7( for Windows )easily and make the best quality videos / photos/montages etc.
as well as business programs like Quick Books
etc.

4. Graphics are better on Fusion than on Parellels , so that is important to know when deciding.

5. INSTALLING WINDOWS W/FUSION2 IS DRAMATICALLY EASIER THAN INSTALLING WINDOWS ON A PC!!! MICROSOFT COULD LEARN SOMETHING FROM FUSION2 !!
even a novice can do it...thats why my husband had me do it.......if I can
anyone can !!!! I am not a computer person..it my weakness...like kryptonite to Superman =+)

Highly recommend this!!!

PS Especially for those who have family members who believe Windows is easier and/or that PCs are better than Macs. It will help them transistion to the Mac !
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