Anyone using Visual Studio in Parallels on a MacBook Pro?

Anyone using Visual Studio in Parallels on a MacBook Pro? Right now I'm doing the BootCamp thing, but obviously virtualization would be a better solution.


  • I've been using Parallels on a MacBook Pro for about a month and it's fantastic. Within the virtual PC, I run Windows XP, Visual Studio 2003/2005, IIS, SQL Server 2000/2005 and various other apps. Everything works beautifully - no speed issues whatsoever. In fact, running within Parallels on the MacBook Pro is faster than running on a year-old PC laptop I used to use. I highly recommend the setup.

    Also, with Parallels' full-screen support, it's awesome to be able to stick the laptop next to my LCD panel, plug in a few USB cables (keyboard/mouse/whatever) and have access to OS X on the laptop screen and Windows XP on the LCD screen with a single keyboard/mouse.

  • rlaneve

    What kind of spec are you running?? Been wanting to get myself a new MacBook (got an ibook, very cool machine - shame it can't run Visual Studio) but my girlfriend isn't happy with the idea of me buying yet another machine....

  • Well, I'd say chances are pretty good that he has the 2 GHz or higher model since the "slower" ones weren't around very long. And if you have any experience with OS X, you know more memory == a good thing!

  • I'm also running VS and SQL 2005, Adobe suite, etc. on a 2 Ghz MBPro in XP under Parallels. I ditched my old Dell about 4 months ago (since Beta 5 or so of Parallels) and have not looked back. Only two issues regarding performance:

    - I started with 1Gb of memory, but in Parallels you have to statically size your "guest" OS memory. So I had to give XP a decent chunk, but that left OSX a bit anemic at times when I would switch back and forth. For example, switching from XP to the OSX dock, there would be a noticeable pause before the icons began to move. Same thing when pausing iTunes or something -- noticeable lag in responsiveness. I upgraded to 2Gb last month, so now I run XP with about 1.4Gb memory and 600Mb for OSX, and everything runs great!

    - The guest graphics under Parallels is not accelerated. If you just run off the MBPro monitor, that is not a problem. However, when attaching a larger external monitor (I bought a Cinema Display to go with it) you start to get more noticeable redrawing and refresh lagging the larger the resolution is (this only affects the guest OS -- OSX is not affected). My understanding is that it's basically buffering the graphics in memory -- I'm not sure of the technical details, but they can't currently "virtualize" to the graphics card like they can to the processor. Supposeduly this might be fixed in the future, but at the moment, it is my only source of irritation with this setup.

    Aside from the external monitor performance issue (annoying, but acceptable) it is a perfect setup and I couldn't really be happier.

  • Forgot to mention -- the other great thing is that I also have a couple of different flavors of Linux installed as separate guest OSes. As a web developer, being able to natively fire up IE on XP/OSX, FF on XP/OSX/Linux, Konqueror, Safari, etc. without ever leaving the comfort of my laptop (and without having to multi-boot) is... well, fantastic!

    Which also brings up another nice thing -- creating backup disk images is as easy as copying your virtual hard disk file. I have a base, clean XP SP2 install with VS and SQL as a backup, and then I have the working hard drive file that I use day to day. I can backup or restore at any time just by pointing to a different hard drive file -- even better than running Ghost!

    So, like I said... incredible setup!

  • I got the MacBook Pro about three weeks ago and I am also running VS 2005 and Sql Server 2005. I am using Parallels over Bootcamp and I completly love it!

    I have not tried bootcamp so I cannot comment on if it is good/bad.

    I am having a few issues with VS 2005 though that I am wondering if anyone else has had and found a solution for. In debugging I cannot get the F10 to step into as it tries to set the light of the keyboard. Is there a utility out there to map the keyboard while using parallels?

    The second issue I am having is when I use a FileUpload class in my code. When I hit the browse button it does nothing and I get the Page error icon at the bottom of the page.

    Anyone know a solution to these issues? Other than these issues I am 100% happy and I think I have bought my last PC!

  • As it turns out the file upload problem was just bad coding on my part :p

    And I figured out the F10 stuff, so I am good to go.

    Now that I have been using this MacBook pro I will never be buying anything but a Mac from now on.

  • And anyone using the Windows DDK to build device drivers or doing some kernel programming? Any experiences?

  • I recently posted about my experiences using Visual Studio.NET on my MacBook Pro using Parallels. You can find the post here:

  • quick question: does anyone know how the localhost will work?
    Currently we have several projects in a folder "c:/inetpub/www_root/projexample" which i can preview through the browser with localhost/projexample

    do i need to store this in the macs web server/documents folder?

    essentially i want to be able to see the project on both mac and pc browsers using localhost.. is this going to be possible?

    clear as mud right?

  • The virtual machine has an IP address (look at the VM settings). Use that, not localhost.

  • I'm a little late, but I run Parallels on a 12" MacBookPro Core 2 Duo with 3 gigs of ram. I give XP only about 756megs of memory to work with, and 32gigs of hard drive. Visual Studio 2005 and a full SQL install work quite well. However, I've gotten lots of blue screen's in general when things down shutdown properly (like if osx freezes). But fortunately, you can easily clone your whole xp instance in just a few minutes, so complete backups are easy, and you can boot instantly to it in case of emergency. (I probably have 6 or 7 standby XP/Vista/Linux images)

    With parallel's coherence mode, it's really nice!

  • Anyone got any updates on this having used it for a while?

    I'm a fairly heavy VS2005 user, and also run Resharper. I'm thinking of getting an 2.4Ghz MBC with 4GB RAM - but it's gonna be a big expensive step from my current XP Laptop.

  • Still using it, with ReSharper, on first gen MacBook Pro and a Mac Pro. Super zippy as always.

  • Don Hansen, you're killing me! You didn't mention the solution!
    ************ Don Hansen *******
    And I figured out the F10 stuff, so I am good to go.

    Could Don, or anyone else please post the solution?


  • Now for the answer:
    Windows has keyboard equivalents for everything. Shift-F10 is the second mouse button. I have to use Control-Shift-F10 under Parallels, otherwise the F10 gets grabbed by Expose.
    You'll find this F10 nonsense frustrating. Select the target with a normal mouse-click, then try typing the Ctrl-Shift-F10.

    Another thing I've done is using the System Preferences to:
    * under Keyboard - click the checkbox for "Use the F1-F12 keys to control the software features . . ."
    * keyboard shortcuts - adding a modifier to all the keyboard shortcuts that use F* keys. I added the Apple key as the modifier.

    No matter what, this is a hassle. I'd rather have F11 do its thing when I'm clicked on a Mac app, and then have Parallels do what the guest OS is supposed to do when I'm working in the Parallels window. (I can think of technical reasons why this is hard, but so what, it's a computer and it's supposed to make MY life easier. Not the developers. :-)

    Another suggestion:
    Getting tired of using ctrl-C and then going to a Mac app and doing Mac-V? This gets confusing. So Parallels lets you fix this (thanks Parallels!) to just the Mac keystrokes by:
    Parallels->Preferences, choose Keyboard, then use the dropdown for "Remapping Keys:" to Swap CMD/CTRL.

    Happy virtualizing,


  • Whoa... that's overkill. Use a two finger tap on the pad on the Macbook Pro and it's like a right click. You may have to turn it on in sys prefs, but it works in everything. You don't have to do any mapping at all to get things working the way you desire.

  • Regarding what Jeff said:
    You can just set the expose keys to something else in system preferences app. I just set mine to use command-F10 and F11.

    Jeff, after doing the above, does shift-F10 in parallels bring up the context menu?

    It doesn't for me.
    I did the same thing, even fact, later I went even further and disabled the keyboard shortcut. However when I go into parallels, shift-F10 still activates expose' and selects the application.

    There is something weird going on with the F10 key binding (maybe a bug). Notice that in the systems settings for the keyboard short cut area or in the expose area, in neither place do they mention the shift-f10 binding. I'm baffled how to disable that binding.

    I'm on OSX 10.4.10.

  • I don't have it in front of me, but I've not had any problem using any keyboard shortcuts using Parallels in Visual Studio or with Resharper, both on my Macbook Pro and Mac Pro.

  • Yeah, two finger tap works great. It's just not sustainable for the amount of work I do with the computer. My fingers start falling off. :-(

    Windows is ahead of the Mac in accessibility. I'm still trying to figure out how to navigate all the windows with the keyboard and I'm finding it challenging. But that's a different thread. :-)

  • Command-~ to navigate windows in OS X. Alt-tab as usual in Windows.

    I don't get the issues some people are having. There's nothing fundamentally different other than the double tap, which frankly is less work than pushing a physical button to right-click.

  • I'm using a mac book pro with 2GB of RAM - I'm still not that happy with some of my parallels performance. Have people reported much of a performance improvement by upgrading to 3 or 4 GB RAM?

  • Parallels + Visual Studio = goodness

    I find that Parallels has more quality problems than VMWare, but I find Parallels a touch better. Plus I really love coherence mode!

    Anyone using CrossOver with Visual Studio?

  • Does the touchpad scrolling work within windows apps in parallels?

  • Sure does.

  • Has anybody done a Parallel install of Vista Ultimate? I am thinking of going to MacPro, but I really need a Vista machine at my disposal. I will need to sell my Vista TabletPC running Vista in order to justify the expense of buying the more costly MAC.

  • Yeah, I just installed Vista ultimate in Parallels and am impressed so far. I only got the macbook pro a couple of days ago but have tried Visual Studio 2008 Beta 2 running in Vista Ultimate and am impressed by the way it runs, although I have only built and run some of the Acropolis WPF sample apps so far. I was not sure about the choice of a mac but so far am very impressed. The hardware and os work very well, installing Vista in Parallels was very easy, a much better expeience than a native install to my old Tohiba laptop! I'm running 4GB of ram, and have set the virtual image to use 1.5GB but haven't done any other changes. Taking the snapshot image before installing the VS beta was really easy, I was originally thinking I would use boot camp and run Vista natively and will try that when I install the Leopard OS update but Parallels looks very good so far.

  • Spec for spec, the Mac is not more expensive than a comparably built Dell.

  • When you share folders, you're essentially mapping a network resource, so the usual permissions issues apply.

  • So its a permission related problem. should i try giving permission through impersonation, or setting permissions at the folders? ive tried to find a solution for several hours, but i dont think anyone has tried this before. (should that be a hint...)

  • I don't think IIS or the built-in dev server will let you run the app on a "foreign" network source for security reasons.

  • Are you guys serious that VS 2005 & ReSharper & Vista Ultimate run smoothly in Parallel Desktops?

    I was buying a new laptop in April - was thinking about MacBook Pro as well but didn't trust Vista compatibility at that time - and ended up with a top spec Acer Travelmate 8215 with 2.2 GHz Intel Duo Core 64-bit, 3GB of RAM (Blue Ray burner, etc. :), installed VS & R# & Vista & SQL Express and it's sort of slowish.
    Someone here was comparing the Parallel Desktops to VMWare, which i know for sure is much slower (the virtualization overhead is definitely visible).

    Is it just you being enthusiastic (which i would definitely understand :) or is it really comparable to a non-virtualized pc installation?

  • Why would we make it up?

    The thing that's critical is that you have as much RAM as you can afford. Otherwise, yeah, performance is sweet.

  • Put it this way... you're better off spending that money on as much RAM as you can afford (third party, so you don't get screwed). I'm running on a 2 GHz Core Duo model from almost two years ago (not a Core 2 Duo). My only real issue is the limitation on RAM, since mine can only do 2 gigs.

  • wow..thanks jeff..that was fast
    u mean RAM frm third party store? ur rite..coz RAM costs arms and legs in apple store
    u said ur runnin a 2.0 GHz machine rite? ru doin the same thing wht i intend to do? visual studio, sql server etc..jst askin
    can u also temme when 2.4 GHz scores more than 2.2 GHz processors? i presume 2.4 GHz will suit for i rite?

  • If you want an answer, try posting like a normal human being.

  • hmm..tht sounds a bit harsh mate..i didnt get u

  • Hello Jeff

    I am planning to buy the new MBP and also planning to install Windows XP. From your above views, I gather that installing XP and further installing visual studio .net with SQL Server is a breeze. Have you or your friends faced any problem w.r.t. working with web applications created in .Net? BTW I have been a PC guy all my life but want to make use of the multimedia capabilities that OS X offers.

    Any input is deeply appreciated.

  • Have you tried 2008 and turn on generate preprocessed header for a simple console application. Compile, it never finds or generates the object files with error LNK 1104 can't find .\Debug

    The machine is super charged so no issues with power.

  • What does that have to do with it being a Mac?

  • I know this is old, but I wanted to say that I just upgraded to Parallels 4 and I'm having a terrible time. I definitely noticed a performance increase, but at random intervals windows acts like the ctrl or alt key is press when it's not. All sort of funky shortcut functions will start firing while I'm writing code. It's pretty annoying.

    Mac Pro 8core 8gb ram, OSX 10.5.6, VS 2008, Vista Ultimate 32bit, Parallels 4.0.381

    Any advice would be awesome!

  • I would like to know if anybody have a solution for the problem when trying to run af website from a network location?


  • I have the same problem with network shared drive, can someone please help us showing a definitive solution?

  • I just purchased VS 2010 and installed on my Macbook Pro 2.53GHz/Core Duo/4M RAM/OS X 10.6.7. When I trt to create a new project, I get the following error:
    "Invalid URI: The Hostname could not be Parsed". Can anyone shed soem light?

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