More from Glenn Fleishman:
SAN FRANCISCO — In a briefing with Parallels today, the firm that released the first of what is expected to be three or four “virtual machines”
for Intel-based Macs, I found that they’ve already licked an activation problem with Windows under their system.
The background is that a virtual machine allows an operating system, like Windows, to run relatively rapidly under Mac OS X because the virtual machine can use the processor in Intel-based Macs to carry out instructions relatively rapidly. This emulation runs so fast that it has struck many people as a painless way to run a lower-risk operating system — Mac OS X for the moment — with higher-risk systems in bubbles inside it.
Apple has a beta version of its own way to run Windows: it’s called Boot Camp, and it requires restarting your Intel Mac to install and use Windows. It’s not a virtual machine; it really turns one partition on your hard drive into a real Windows installation that can boot.
Parallels came up in its current testing version with a way to mount a Boot Camp partition as a virtual machine. So you can choose to get better speed and compatibility by starting your Mac into Windows with Boot Camp; or you can use the same installation with lower speed and a little less compatibility within Parallels.
But Windows XP requires activation every time the operating system believes it has been moved to a different computer based on characteristics like memory, hard drive, and other elements.
Parallels’ current testing version now makes Boot Camp running in a virtual machine appear to be the Mac booting the Windows operating system, and the problem has been solved.
Parallels expects to ship their latest upgrade shortly with no cost to current owners.