I'm considering getting an Apple laptop, but I will continue to use Windows frequently. Dual-booting is a pain, but virtualization has its own issues, so I'd like to keep a foot in both camps if possible. To accomplish this, I'm thinking of installing Windows 7 on a Boot Camp partition, and sharing that partition with either VMware or Parallels (the two main virtualization programs for Mac OS X that I'm aware of), so that I can use Windows in an integrated, virtualized environment from Mac OS X while preserving of option of booting into Windows directly when needed.
Basically, I'd have two use-cases for my single Windows installation: 1) boot into Windows directly using Boot Camp and 2) boot Windows alongside Mac OS X using a virtual machine. I've seen a lot of questions about migrating completely from one to another, but I want to continue to use both in parallel.
I have a few questions regarding this:
- Which program would be better for this, VMware or Parallels?
- How painless would the transition between the different environments be? Would I encounter any problems or annoying chores (i.e. hardware reconfiguration) when I switch from booting via the virtual machine to booting via Boot Camp and vice versa?
- Is the virtualized hardware in a VMware or Parallels environment similar to the hardware on the actual machine?
- Are there any tricks to making this a workable solution?
- Is there any documentation out there to describe how to do this (booting the same partition from Boot Camp and a virtualization solution) in the best way possible (everything I've found concerns one-way migration)?
- Any general remarks about this sort of setup are welcome.