Home > Blogs > VMware Fusion Blog > Monthly Archives: September 2008

Monthly Archives: September 2008

Windows Gets Even Better on the Mac with VMware Fusion 2: 100+ New Features, Free Upgrade for Existing Users

BXSHT_Fusion2_Q308_LoRes

We’re proud to announce that VMware Fusion 2 is now available.

VMware Fusion 2 builds on the success of VMware Fusion 1, which in its first year on the market has earned hundreds of thousands of users, won more than a dozen awards, and convinced thousands to switch the power and performance VMware Fusion brings to Windows on the Mac.

VMware Fusion 2, a free, downloadable upgrade for all VMware Fusion 1.x customers, adds over 100 new features and enhancements including:

More Seamless with Unity 2.0: Application Sharing, Link Handling, Mirrored Folders, Driverless Printing, True Multiple Display Support, and Custom Keyboard Mapping

Safer Windows on Mac experience with AutoProtect automated snapshots and a 12-month complimentary subscription to McAfee VirusScan Plus security software for Windows XP and Vista

More Power with DirectX 9.0c with Shader Model 2 3D graphics, 1080p HD video playback, Multiple Snapshots, 4-way vSMP, and Better Linux Support (Unity & Easy Install)

More Mac-like, More Mac-friendly with all new Welcome Screen, Virtual Machine Library and Virtual Machine Settings, Cover Flow and Quick Look integration, and Apple Help

Finally, Mac OS X Leopard Server now is supported in a virtual machine on Mac hardware

To all our early supporters, we’d like to thank you, and encourage you to grab the shiny new bits here.

And we would similarly like to encourage anyone interested in running Windows, Linux, Mac OS X Server, and more than 60+ other operating systems, on their Mac to give VMware Fusion 2 a spin by grabbing 30-day trial.

VMware Fusion at VMworld in Vegas, baby, Vegas

VMworld.com_ The Online Virtualization ConferenceThe VMware Fusion team will be at VMworld, VMware’s annual conference, this entire week. 

Stop by the VMware booth too say hi.  Look for the VMware Fusion “pod” (hint…it’s the one with the iMac). 

We’ll take some pictures and some video about what your favorite thing about VMware Fusion is.

See you in Las Vegas!

Optimizing Vista on VMware Fusion 2: Reducing Memory Use and Improving Application Performance

As the team gets ready for VMworld in Las Vegas this week, I have been building new demo virtual machines for our VMware Fusion 2 demos.

Whenever I build new virtual machines, there are number of small changes I make to Windows to make it run even better on the Mac.  I thought this would be a good opportunity to share them with you.

Tweaking Microsoft Vista to Work Better in a Virtual Machine

In VMware Fusion 2, in addition to all the great features we added like Unity 2.0 and Multiple Snapshots with AutoProtect, we continued to look for ways to make performance even better, especially with the little things that matter for every day use.

I am happy to say that we found a number of technical improvements that make a big difference with VMware Fusion 2, especially when dragging and moving Windows application windows around the screen.

In addition to the performance improvements we made in VMware Fusion 2, you can make some additional  tweaks to Windows that combine to really enhance Microsoft Vista’s performance.

With Windows XP harder and harder to come by, it’s important to tune Vista, to make it easy to run the Windows applications you care about , while avoiding any unnecessary Vista overhead and background apps that get in the way.

The tweaks I make to new Windows virtual machines are:

1) Disable System Restore
2) Disable Screen Savers
3) Optimize Power Management for Virtual Machine
4) Disable Windows Sidebar
5) Disable Remote Management
6) Run Windows Disk Defragmentation Utilities
7) OPTIONAL: Change to Classic UI

While of these changes apply to Windows XP as well as Vista, I am focusing on Microsoft Vista for my examples in this post.

Step 1 – Disable System Restore

While Microsoft’s System Restore makes sense when running on a physical computer, it makes much less sense in a virtual machine especially when you have Multiple Snapshots with AutoProtect protecting your virtual machine.

Step 2 – Disable Screen Savers

There is little reason to have a screen saver enabled both in your Windows virtual machine as well as on the Mac. Disable screen savers on Windows and reduce a little more Windows overhead.

Step 3 -  Optimize Power Management for Virtual Machine

VMware Fusion 1 was the first virtualization solution on the Mac to provide power management support. This is great on a laptop to make sure that the virtual machine suspends when power gets low, but there is little reason to have the virtual disks to spin down every minute. By enabling the right power management profile, you get the benefits of tracking battery life and suspending your virtual machine when needed without Windows slowing down things that don’t matter.

First, you need to shut down your virtual machine and enable the Battery option.

Second, you need to create a Virtual Machine power management profile in Windows that disables display and hard drive sleep.

By enabling the right power management profile, you get the benefits of tracking battery life and suspending your virtual machine when needed without Windows slowing down things that don’t matter.

Step 4 -  Disable Windows Sidebar

Most people I have spoken to run Windows on their Mac in order to run specific Windows applications they prefer to Mac alternatives, or whic they can’t otherwise run on the Mac.

The Windows Sidebar in Microsoft Vista have Windows "Gadgets," which are made redundant by the MUCH better Dashboard Widgets that come with the Mac. Disabling the Windows Sidebar on Microsoft Vista will reduce unneeded overhead that can be used for the Windows applications you care about.

Step 5 -  Disable Remote Management

If you are using Windows personally and don’t rely on others to remotely fix Windows, you can disable Remote Management which trims another background service at startup.

Step 6 -  Run Windows Hard Disk Defragmentation Tools

Over time, your Windows installation will get lots of fragmented files that slow down performance. Luckily, Windows includes disk defragmentation utilities that help resolve this problem. Since most virtual machines are not running 24×7, but only when needed, the "Schedule Disk Fragmentation" feature of Windows won’t be of much help. Set a reminder in iCal to run the Windows Disk Defragmenter once a month to reclaim some lost performance.

OPTIONAL Step 7 -  Change to Classic UI

Windows Vista has a greatly improved user interface that is trying to compete with Mac OS X Leopard. The problem with all these UI bells and whistles is that they take away some performance.

While I don’t feel it 100% necessary to change to Classic UI, if you feel you need one last extra bit of performance, switching from the new Vista UI to the Classic UI may help – though I don’t think it is needed for more modern Macs (those that have shipped in the last year or so) with enough RAM.

What Tweaks Do You Make to Improve Windows Performance?

By using these tweaks, I am able to get excellent performance running Windows Vista with only 1 GB of RAM assigned to my VM on my 4 GB MacBook Pro.

Do you have any other tweaks you make to improve Windows performance? If so, let us know in the comments.

BTW, if you are at VMworld this week, make sure to come to the VMware Fusion sessions or drop by the VMware booth for a demo of VMware Fusion 2.

VMware Fusion Helping to Make Mini Black Holes!

LHC-ATLAS-beampipe

People may be familiar with some of the buzz that the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) has been getting out at CERN, in Geneva, Switzerland.  But did you know that VMware Fusion is playing a part?

The LHC is now the world’s largest particle collider, helping scientists to learn about how the Universe began by smashing particles into each other in a 17 mile-long tunnel underground in Switzerland.

No, there’s no fusion of a nuclear sort going on, but VMware Fusion is being used to help them crunch the data that gets pulled from the experiments.  The scientists are running Linux virtual machines across any hardware, including Mac hardware, to run their proprietary software.

So even though this isn’t a case of people needing to run Windows on the Mac to run Windows-only software, like Photosynth on Mac or Worldwide Telescope on Mac or even Google Chrome on Mac, it is an example of “any app, on any Mac’” regardless of underlying OS.

You can read more about the LHC, their Macs, and VMware Fusion here at Macworld and on the VMblog, and the original press release here.

Google Chrome for Mac: It’s Already Here, and It’s Smoking Fast

Chrome on the Mac with VMware Fusion

 

There was a lot of chatter yesterday about Google’s new web browser, called “Chrome” and its potential impact on the workings of the Web.  Almost equally loud was some of the chatter amongst Mac users osut there about how Chrome is only shipping for installation on Windows right now.

Google Chrome for Mac, Right Now

As we’ve noted in the past, like with Photosynth for the Mac and Worldwide Telescope for the Mac, these apps already run on the Mac, with the help of VMware Fusion.

But people still have this misconception that running in a virtual machine will mean that an application won’t run quickly.  This is why we’ve spent so much time making sure that VMware Fusion runs fast and light on your Mac.

Hot, Smokin’ Chrome

How does this relate to Chrome?  Well, I got to play around with it yesterday on my demo MacBook Air, installing it in a Windows XP virtual machine with 512 MB of RAM assigned, running on VMware Fusion 2 Release Candidate 1

And based on some of the blog posts that were flying around today about JavaScript rendering speeds—which is supposed to be one of the big innovations of Chrome—I thought I’d compare the results of Google Chrome for Windows, Safari 3.1.2 for Mac , and Firefox 3.0.1 for Mac on the widely used “SunSpider” Javascript rendering benchmark.

Now, keep in mind that this is only one type of benchmark, and browser performance depends a lot on what sites you visit, and what you’re doing.  However, it was still pretty neat to see how smoking fast Chrome was, running on that XP VM in VMware Fusion 2.

The results, from slowest to fastest to run through all the tests: Safari for Mac, then Firefox for Mac, then Chrome for Windows, running in the VMware Fusion 2 RC1 VM.s

Safari 3.1.2:

Safari SunSpider Results

Firefox for Mac 3.0.1:

Picture 3

Google Chrome Beta on VMware Fusion:

Picture 2

What’s even cooler, is that if you wanted to, using VMware Fusion 2’s Application Sharing features (you can watch a demo video here) means that you could make Google Chrome your default browser for *all* web links you click on in your Mac.  That is, if you wanted to do some immersion testing yourself.

Chrome as Default Browser

Pretty neat stuff!