~MBP Leopard Install with Parallels 3

This post has been a long time coming as the family and I have been enjoying the Thanksgiving and Pre-Christmas festivities, church activities and shopping. But in addition to all of this fun, I have been able to get the last of my Leopard installs completed. I upgraded my father-in-law’s iMac and now have remote access to his machine from mine. This is worth the price of the Leopard admission alone as he doesn’t have to wait for me to drive an hour to help him, or try to explain the problem over the phone. And if you have read my previous posts on this blog you know I was a bit reluctant to get to my wife’s MacBook Pro. She has a very important Windows application that she had been running on the Bootcamp Beta on this Tiger machine. And it has been running very well despite its very heavy processor and bandwidth requirements.

I finally decided to get started on the install and actually told her I may need the machine for a week to get things done and back in order. I began work on a Sunday afternoon and actually finished late Sunday night, so the entire install took way less time than expected. After making sure I had a complete backup safely secured to an external drive, I repartitioned to a single partition and formatted the MBP’s hard drive, followed by a clean install of Leopard. Since she hadn’t really been using the OS X side of things because it was just too much trouble to keep rebooting to change operating systems, there was little on the OS X side to restore other than her desktop.

I then installed and configured Parallels 3. Parallels, for those that may not know, is software that allows emulation of Windows in OS X, without rebooting the machine. Windows applications can be made to run in a window, with the OS X dock and applications readily available at the same time Windows is running. This is a vast improvement over using Bootcamp, as OS X can continue to be used as the primary OS, with its vastly superior security and usability. And since OS X will be running at all times, it opens the possibility of synching bookmarks, mail, calendar (ical), and address book from a desktop machine (wife’s iMac) with the notebook. This way, she doesn’t have to go downstairs to her iMac to check mail or calendar, use iChat (video conferencing), etc. and her address book and bookmarks look the same on both her MBP and iMac.


The Parallels install went well with one glitch. If you get an early copy of Parallels 3, it is not Leopard ready. A quick visit to their download site will provide access to the most recent build which is approved for use with Leopard. After upgrading, the install ran flawlessly. There are quite a lot of configuration options to consider, and I highly recommend reading the 250 page tome that is included with the application, though I know that will be painful for many. Some configuration options to consider are how to run Windows applications (in a window or full screen), how peripherals interact with the two OS’s, whether to require all browsing to use Safari instead of Internet Explorer and how to shutdown Parallels (when Windows is shutdown is an option), and too many others to mention in this post.

After Parallels was up and running, I installed Windows XP SP2, and I must say this was fairly painless due to Parallels running much of the install after I entered my Windows license information. After updating Windows, I reinstalled the Bernina Artista Designer Plus application that my wife uses on the machine, and this went well after I figured out that you need to wait to attach any USB devices (in this case a security dongle) until after starting Windows so Windows can control the device. All that was left to do was copy the Windows data files from the external backup to her Windows drive and setup OS X synching.

After a bit of tweaking with the Parallels configuration, all was running much better than expected. Even when running both operating systems, the machine did not appear significantly slower, something I had expected. And copying files from OS X to Windows was a simple matter of dragging them from the OS X desktop to the Windows desktop. It doesn’t get any easier than this. Parallels is truly an extraordinary product and one for which Apple should be exceedingly grateful, as it has to be playing a significant role in the dramatic increase in Mac sales (of course along with those “special” TV ads).

Its now been a few weeks since the install and everything has been working well. I have ordered another 1gb of memory to take the MBP up to 3gb, but only because memory is so cheap right now. By the way, if you are considering the purchase of a new Mac, just purchase the base memory configuration and then visit Other World Computing to upgrade your ram. You can save hundreds on a new Mac going this route. I have purchased memory and hard drives from OWD for the past couple of years and they are a first rate operation with quality components and a great price. And check my previous posts to learn the secrets of purchasing macs at a discount online.

So there you have it, the final of four Leopard installations, all running well. Merry Christmas and Best Wishes for a Wonderful New Year – and remember the true “Reason for the Season” Matthew 1:21 – John

10 thoughts on “~MBP Leopard Install with Parallels 3

  1. jbkendrick says:

    Thanks for your comments Henry. The site is all done by WordPress. If you like any of their blog presentation styles, and they have many to choose from, there is nothing else needed (no FrontPage, Dreamweaver or other html clients to purchase) and they host the site so you don’t need your own domain, although you can use your domain if you have one. You can get your own WordPress site at no cost for hosting at http://wordpress.com/features.

  2. jessica says:

    so, you know how a bernina machine works with a mac…that is wonderful! I am wondering how did you connect your machine to your computer? And are you using Leopard as the operating system with the parallel program? If so, what version of parallel – vs 3?
    I have been trying to find someone that has made a mac and bernina work together and this is so encouraging!! thank you!!!!

  3. Loraine says:

    were there any installation issues with Bernina Designer Plus?which version,4 or 5? why XP? I understand Bernina will only run on a 32 bit os,are all the Macs 32 bit? Thanks for any advice.I’m looking for a new computer to install my software on and don’t know whether to get vista,xp or a Mac.

  4. Loraine – thanks for reading. We have had no install problems with version 4 or version 5. Mac OS X Leopard is a 64 bit OS, but it doesn’t really matter because you will be running the Artista software in Windows not OS X. Windows XP is a 32 bit OS and is preferred because of its lower overhead when compared to Vista. If you are only using Windows to run the Artista software on a Mac, then XP is definitely the way to go. If however, you just like the Mac hardware and are not planning on running OS X, then perhaps Vista is an alternative, but most folks are steering clear of Vista as hardware is still not as well supported as in WinXP. John

  5. Cathey says:

    Thanks so much for posting this info. Do you have any thoughts on running Windows 7 on a MacBook Pro? I’ve just ordered mine and am deciding whether to get Windows XP or 7. I also plan to install on Boot Camp, at least to start. I don’t mind rebooting to run a Windows program. I don’t plan to spend much time on the Windows side, just what’s necessary to run Artista Designer Plus v5 and EQ6.



    1. Cathey – We don’t have any experience with Windows 7. We’ve been running XP on a MacBook Pro and iMac for several years now and the Artista software runs just fine. We started with Bootcamp, but quickly moved to Parallels so we could use the Mac software right alongside Designer Plus. It has worked great for us and are currently using Designer v6. One cautionary note is that we have heard of folks having problems with Parallels v5 and Windows 7. Since both are new upgrades, it probably makes sense to wait a while on these while they shake the bugs out. If you don’t plan to spend time in Windows, then XP should be fine, otherwise I’ve heard very good press about Windows 7. Hope this helps, and thanks for reading – John.

  6. Anne Griffiths says:

    I know software has moved on yet again – and I have Macbook + latest version os Snow Leopard OS + parallels to run my very old( now ) Bernina Designer Plus V4 – and it it eworks very very well. However I am experiencing a real problem in connecting the Mac to my Old Bernina 165 -because I have to use RS 232 USB to serial converter (worked on my old PC) to connect the two machines. Driver is loaded in Parallels/Windows – but Mac does not recognise it. Did you have any problems with this?

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