Wednesday, 17 December 2014

Parallels Desktop, VirtualBox or VMWare?

So, the day finally came when I decided I had to let my pretty pink Zenbook walk into the light. Or rather, permanently into my kids' room and their virus prone Youtubeing. Which meant no more .Net-developing at home. A small setback for a person that basically does .Net for a living, when I don't play around with my brand new MBP toy. So it had to be done: Windows on the Mac. The horror! I know, maybe not nowadays, but in my mind it's a "One does not simply walk into Mordor" type of moment.

Options then. Started out with Virtual Box. Have used it a bit at work to set up a nice virtual local dev environment for a system I worked with briefly. Mind you, I only used it once or twice, before I got tired of it and chose the less time consuming and simpler fashion of just getting the code and fiddle around with the config so everything was local. But anyhow, seemed nice enough. And free.

So off I went, installed Virtual Box and Windows 8.1. All very smooth, but when I start it up I get a resolution of 1024x768. Hey, the nineties! Luckily, there's Google who - yes, it's a who - tells me I have to install Virtual Box Guest Extensions. I'm sure all of this is there in the documentation, but it was TOO LONG so I didn't read it. But, OK, I install the Guest Extensions. Now I get 1440x900. Better, but with a retina screen... Come on! So I Google and find lots of tips I can use with the VBManage command to set the resolution. The screen changes in as many different ways, none of them however good. Blurry, only parts of the screen visible, yada yada.

Finally I add the small word 'retina' to my Google search and immediately get the answer. It's a no go. It just doesn't work. Maybe they'll fix it, but nah.

Uninstalling and moving on to Parallels desktop. Smooth installation, screen resolution works although it's a bit wonky with the size of the icons and texts if you don't change stuff. And wow, it's all shared between my two OS's. And fast. And I can call my Mac Elastic Search from my Windows MVC-app. It's like the dev environment from the future. I'll try it out for 11 more days before I decide if it's worth spending my precious money on. But it looks like a winner.

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