Running a Win 7 VM on a Macbook Air (2011)

A few days ago I bought a new Macbook Air. I went for the fully pimped one which comes with an i7 and a 256Gb SSD. With the VMware Fusion demo I was able to bring my old laptop over and run it as a VM inside the Mac.

A few notes:

1. VMware’s Migration Assistant wanted to create a VM of my entire laptop, with both C: and D: disks. I didn’t want to bring over the 200Gb D: and the Migration Assistant didn’t have any options to prevent that from happening. So on my old laptop, I installed VMware’s free VMware converter. That had many more options including the option to exclude D:

2. It looks like I don’t need to buy a new Windows license. So far my VM hasn’t phoned home to Microsoft – maybe it will?

3. For networking, although I’m connected on WiFi to my flat’s network on the Mac, the VM sees it as an ethernet connection. Initially I couldn’t connect to the network on the VM because it was complaining that there were no ethernet drivers installed. I had to edit the .vmx file and add a line ethernet0.virtualDEV = “e1000”.

4. Visual Studio is completely red and unusable! I haven’t figured that one out yet.

Update (Dec 2011)

The Visual Studio red problem I had was with VMWare Fusion 3 and Parallels 6, but it seems to be fixed in VMWare Fusion 4 and Parallels 7. Having said that, I don’t use virtualisation and reboot and run Win7 in Boot Camp.


4 thoughts on “Running a Win 7 VM on a Macbook Air (2011)

  1. Have you resolved the Visual Studio issue?
    I’m looking at getting the same configured MBA and also need to use Visual Studio in a Windows 7 VM (along with Firefox/firebug and lots of browser windows open).
    I’m wondering how the overall performance is with the less than 4 gigs of RAM of the MBA.


  2. No I haven’t resolved the Visual Studio issue yet. I also tried Parallels 6 and it had a pink-shaded Visual Studio.

    In the end I resorted to installing a fresh Windows via Boot Camp – and if I boot into Boot Camp Visual Studio works fine.

    Both Parallels and VMware have an option to run your Boot Camp installation as a VM on the Mac, and when I tried that alas Visual Studio was red/pink again.

    I notice both VMware and Parallels have new versions out in the last couple of weeks (4 & 7 respectively), which promise better Lion support, but TBH I haven’t tried those yet and I don’t think I can be bothered. I’ll stick to rebooting into Boot Camp for now.

    It looks like I’m not the only one to have pink Visual Studio under Parallels:

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