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Long-time Windows user needing some tips on migrating to a Mac world. :)

I'm a software developer. My company uses Visual Studio / IIS / SQL Server to build web-based apps. I'm also working on some iOS apps using a Mac Mini.

I've just purchased a new Retina Mac Book Pro. Relevant specs are: Quad-core i7; 16GB RAM; 768GB Flash Storage.

I'd like to setup Windows 7 in a BootCamp partition (for when I need native performance/experience) and use Parallels to run my Windows apps most of the time.

My questions are:

  • What is the best way to share files. Is it a bad idea to create a FAT32 partition for my data and allow both OSes native access to the files? Will I end up with corrupted files as the OSes compete for resources? Or will they both respect accesses to the files as they would in a network-shared-resource environment?

  • What is the ideal backup situation? I currently use Mozy to back up my files, though I've considered moving to a SkyDrive/Google Drive setup. Should I run that from both the OS X and the Windows installations separately? Will my backup software run on the Windows installing when I'm accessing it through Parallels? I don't want to backup the Windows installation as a VM because then I don't have access to individual files in the backup.

  • Are there any "gotchas" I need to be aware of as far as SSD life running in this configuration? Extra large loading and saving cycles as the (Bootcamp) VM is accessed, for example?

  • I'm planning on allocating 8-12GB to the VM. How many cores should I allocate to the VM?

Appreciate any help/tips as I learn to navigate the Mac world!

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I can not answer all of your questions, however a few of them are easy:

  • Do not simultaneously use a single FAT32 partition from the OS's. FAT32 is not aware of this and if both decide to write to the filesystem they will overwrite each others changes.
  • You write my company uses . I assume this means you work with multiple people. Consider a NAS.

  • Backups depend on how much data you ant to be able to restore, and how fast. Storing it in the cloud for disaster recovery is fine.

  • If you use a NAS and or a repository with all the data in those then backups become very easy.

SSD gotchas:

  • Ignore most warnings about write problems. A modern SSD will die sooner if you write a lot to it. But the difference between dying in 5 years or in 10 years is moot. Odds are that you have a new computer before the SSD dies.
  • Having said that: Avoid needlessly swapping on it. Not because it will die soon, but it might get slower. With 16GB RAM this should not be an issue.
  • Do not defrag the bootcamp disc. A defrag does not help on a SSD. It is even likely to harm performance). A native win7 install to a SSD detects that it is installed on a SSD and disables this by default. I am not sure how that will work on mac. Worth checking.

Memory and cores to the VM:

This is an easy answer: How fast do you want you VM to be, and how heavy do you use it? Allocate accordingly. Personally I would probably use 3 cores for the VM. I assume (untested!) that this always leaves enough CPU for the host. And it will allow the vm to use up to the CPU power of 3 cores.

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