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First Look: VMWare Fusion 2.0

updated 10:05 am EDT, Thu September 18, 2008

First Look: Fusion 2.0

No matter how much you may love your Mac, there may be at least a handful of Windows programs that don't have an equivalent Mac OS X version. Rather than buy a separate machine, of course, you can always use Boot Camp to turn your Mac into a PC. However, a more practical solution may be to run Windows inside a virtual machine using Fusion 2.0.

Unlike older virtualization programs, which mimic the complete configuration of a PC, apps such as Fusion essentially trick operating systems into thinking they have exclusive hardware access. Mac OS X runs in the background, while any additional operating systems run inside a window.



The real advantage of running another operating system is to access programs unavailable on Mac OS X, which usually means running a Windows program. Since loading Windows and then navigating through the Start menu to load a particular program can be clumsy, you can skip this process using a special Unity feature. Unity lets you treat your favorite Windows program as just another Mac OS X icon, which you can drop into the Dock.



Because Windows is infamous for crashing, you can protect yourself using a special Snapshot feature, which essentially freezes the state of Windows at a particular moment. If Windows then crashes, or is wrecked by a virus, you can use the Snapshot feature to return the OS to an earlier state. Naturally, you'll lose any changes you may have made since.



Snapshots can only protect you, however, if you take the time to save them. For convenience Fusion uses the AutoProtect feature, which will automatically capture snapshots at periodic intervals. This increases the hard disk space needed, but does provide an additional layer of security.



To keep Windows safe from malware infections, the program also includes a complimentary 12-month subscription to McAfee VirusScan. After this subscription expires, you'll need to pay for additional protection.

Besides installing Windows off a CD or DVD, you can also run Windows directly from a Boot Camp partition, or even convert a virtual machine from
Parallels. If you have an existing Windows PC, you can run a converter program that will transfer your Windows programs and settings into a virtual machine on your Mac. Although this process isn't difficult, it does involve multiple steps that make the whole process more complicated than necessary.

One area where the Mac trails Windows is in the availability of games. For enthusiasts the program now supports DirectX 9.0, allowing Mac owners to play more graphically advanced titles.

Fusion 2.0 gives any Intel-based Mac the ability to run multiple operating systems safely, and relatively easily. At $79.99, Fusion 2.0 is also a fairly inexpensive solution for keeping a Mac while accessing vast amounts of Windows titles.




by MacNN Staff

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Comments

  1. ebeyer

    Joined: Dec 1969

    0

    More details please..

    Your review leaves me unclear what features are new to this version. Also, while your screenshot shows the virtualized machine playing a movie, there is no mention of DirectX support. Can you play games on it?

    Also, further discussion regarding the stability and performance of the product would have been very helpful. As it stands I don't see a compelling reason to upgrade.

  1. vasic

    Joined: Dec 1969

    +2

    Read through, please

    Ebeyer,

    It seems that you haven't read the last two paragraphs (DirectX 9 supported), which would have answered your second (and third) question.

    Would those answers make it more compelling?

  1. Guest

    Joined: Dec 1969

    +2

    VMware is the best...

    My job requires the usage of Windows software. I've looked at all the virtualization options for the Mac. I started with Parallels 1.0 when it was the only option for Mac, and even paid for the upgrade to 3.0.

    I even dabbled with the freeware VirtualBox, which I maintain a few images for casual users I support. VirtualBox is amazing for a free solution, but it's still pretty rough around the edges: it's not as clean or easy to configure and set up (only my experience with Parallels and VMware was able to help me through it), nor does it offer the level of features the commercial options offer.


    But, for anyone who relies on Windows virtualization, the ultimate choice is VMware. I fully switched VMware, and use it daily. It is overall a much nicer solution than any other, and heartily recommend it to anyone who needs to run Windows (I've sold several people based on my recommendation, I should get a commission!). VMware feels smoother and configuration is more straightforward. I've been using the beta's, and it's a substantial, nice upgrade over 1.1.

    -Rick

  1. andrew_l

    Joined: Dec 1969

    0

    OpenGL unusable still

    I just purchased VMWare 2.0 and installed it on my MacBookPro (2.5Ghz/512VRAM).It was a little tricky to activate/reactive my XP Professional OEM license, but I think I've done that now.Unfortunately the OpenGL performance on VMWare is simply unacceptable, it looks like none of the rendering is being done in hardware. General boot times, compile times, etc. seem to be okay (better than Parallels). But for tasks that I need OpenGL (which is often in my case), I have to keep using BootCamp.

  1. Guest

    Joined: Dec 1969

    +3

    Windows Windows Windows

    Is Windows the only operating system reviewers know? No reviews try these virtualisation tools with Linux variants. The reason I want that tested is because there aren't versions or stable versions of programs like Synfig, XaraXtreme, or KToon for OSX. It would be good to have the ability to have Unbuntu or whatever along with OSX to give these open source apps a go. At least look into that side, after all, it is stated as a feature.

  1. ebeyer

    Joined: Dec 1969

    +2

    DirectX 9

    "For enthusiasts the program now supports DirectX 9.0, allowing Mac owners to play more graphically advanced titles. "

    Did the author actually try any currently-available windows games and see if they run well under this new version? This would have taken ten minutes and would have been very helpful.

  1. Macaholic

    Joined: Dec 1969

    +4

    Here are the new features

    http://www.vmware.com/support/fusion2/doc/releasenotes_fusion.html

  1. bjojade

    Joined: Dec 1969

    -2

    Bootcamp compatibility

    One of the HUGE features of Parallels is that it can use your BootCamp partition as the virtual OS. This allows you to boot your machine as a Windows machine when you need the performance boost. By being able to use the same WIndows installation, it keeps all of your documents and settings intact.

    Does VMWare offer this with the latest update?

  1. VValdo

    Joined: Dec 1969

    +1

    A couple notes..

    If you bought vmware 1.0, then 2.0 is a free upgrade.

    My two big problems with vmware:

    1. in GNOME, when you move the mouse up to the top of the screen to pull down a menu item in full-screen mode, it brings up the vmware menu bar and you end up clicking the wrong item.

    2. There is no "console" mode for running remote VMs on a network. If you want to manage off-computer VMs, you have to install VMware in Linux and then use that.

    Aside from that, it's great. Oh, and Unity for GNOME is pretty nifty. Unity is that feature that allows you to run windows in linux side-by-side with OS X.

    W

  1. chadpengar

    Joined: Dec 1969

    0

    Direct X / OPenGL

    There is a cool YouTube video showing all sorts of games playing at a good speed on VMWare 2.0. It said something about choosing a preference or menu item to enable the optional direct HW rendering so for those who are getting all SW rendering in OpenGL etc, find the preference/menu item to enable the direct HW rendering.

    I am still at 1.1 and am waiting for my machine to come back from getting a fix at the Apple Store so I cannot actually tell you exactly how to find it but the YouTube video talked about changing this setting and the games appeared to be pretty fast!

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