For me, one Boot Camp-based VM just isn’t enough, I have to have it all. Next step in the process was to get all three of the Microsoft-provided Internet Explorer Application Compatibility VPC Images installed as Fusion Virtual Machines.
Not So Fast
Great! Fusion has a menu item named import! This will be easy! Nope. However, our trusty friend Google, after a bit of bouncing around, did turn up this little gem from Jay Levitt. Following the suggested process exactly as described resulted in three working virtual machines. This is way harder than it needs to be though…
Tuning For Performance
VMware provides a nice article on how to go about tuning the performance of virtual machines. Most of the optimizations shown there I had made before even consulting that article so it was nice to get validation on what I’d done. I really wish this were able to be handled automatically…
Fusion has a display mode called Unity, a method to create seamless integration between the host (OS X) and guest operating systems. That comes in quite handy when all you really want to do is run Internet Explorer. I run all three of the compatibility VMs in Unity mode. I’ve grabbed the relevant application links and added them to my browser folder I’ve got on my dock (they’re buried in the filesystem—I found it easier to open the application inside the VM in Unity mode and from the dock choose “Show in Finder”).
I’ve started running my Boot Camp partition VM in the background in full screen mode. I just think of it as really ugly wallpaper. Since I’ve set it up to run on load of VMware Fusion, I can easily hop over to it for any task I need though as of yet I haven’t found that I have any needs for it. If that continues to be the case I’ll eventually only boot into it when I need to.
I Wish That Came Standard
At the end of the day I came up with a few things that I really wish Fusion handled better, or even handled at all:
- Better support for importing the IE Compatibility VPC Images. This has to be a common use case. I’d like to avoid having to install three programs and go through 50 steps to make that happen. How about even including these three images as a one-click install in the Create New VM window? Sounds like a good place to me!
- Better support for automatic optimization of virtual machines. The list of things that can be tweaked for performance gains has already been come up with. Now make it possible to handle all of those automatically—either through VMtools or some command on the host OS. We shouldn’t have to do this by hand.
- Boot Camp VM-run-time optimizations. Since we can’t wantonly set up a Boot Camp install to not support power management profiles and have a screen saver for locking, the optimization scenario will need to be a bit different. How about applying the tweaks as above at runtime if it detects that it is running in a VM? I presently hate having to switch to my Boot Camp VM and then login because it has put itself in standby.
- Also, while you’re at it, go ahead and synchronize the host and Boot Camp power management settings. Thanks!
VMware Fusion doesn’t quite do everything yet, but that is okay. So far it also hasn’t failed spectacularly, which, all by itself, is a much more impressive feat. I really would love it if the folks over at VMware took notice of some of these feature requests and started to work them into their next release.
Next on my list to test with VMware is easy hosts file replication so that I can run Apache Virtual Hosts on the host OS and easily access them from the guest OS. Wow that sentence makes almost no sense.