Boot Camp is being shipped with newer intel MACs (since Jan 08) using the Leopard operating system (10.5) and is a program that allows you to install the Windows XP or Vista operating system so you can run windows-only applications on you MAC. When you switch from one operating system to the other they both run at native speed. Part of the setup process is to create a partition or dedicated portion of the hard drive so the different operating systems don’t interfere with each other. You must purchase the Windows operating system of your choice and install any Windows based applications you want to use. Programs for that specific operating system are stored on their respective partition. The reviews that I have read say that Bootcamp runs Window well with few errors. Some say that applications run faster then on PC-only machines. A huge downside is that if you want to switch between the two operating systems you must close out of all applications and perform a restart. If you want to switch back and forth between them you can’t do it without a restart. Thus enter Parallels!
For a small fee (currently $59.99) you can install Parallels which creates a virtual machine much like the older Virtual PC except….Parallels is a lot slicker, doesn’t bog down your speed and actually works!
After installing Parallels, just like with Bootcamp, you have to install the Windows operating system of your choice. Once you’ve done that you can install your Windows-only applications and get started.
A couple of really great features is when you are in Parallels you have access to all of your MAC files and folders so you don’t have to have duplicates or mount a separate drive. Windows mirrors your Mac’s home directory. This includes drag and drop capability.
You can also open Windows files with Mac apps and vice versa as long as you have the same software. You can see any USB devices you add and you can use the Parallels explorer to look for files that you have on Windows even if Windows is not open.
I don’t need a PC very often but there are a few applications that aren’t MAC-friendly so it’s really nice to have the option when I need it. I have found that working with parallels is very easy and suits my needs nicely. When I need windows I’m normally manipulating a file that I need to move back and forth between MAC and Windows so the seamless file management systems is a great addition. I also like the fact that I can check to see how Windows XP reacts with other tools I use like Blackboard.