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I have dual-boot setup on my MacBook using bootcamp. I have 2 partitions: 1 is Windows 7 and the other is Mac OS X 10.8. I have all of my stuff personal stuff setup for the Mac side. I have programming things that are only compatible with Windows. I want to make it so I can do things on my Mac computer and have a way to switch to the Windows side without quitting running applications (and being able to switch back)

I would prefer if the software is free, but if you can assure me that it will work flawlessly, I will be willing to pay for software to make this work.

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Both the paid virtualization apps, VMWare Fusion and Parallels Desktop for Mac, allow you to boot the Windows partition from within OS X. You could also do this manually with the free Virtualbox solution, but it's a bit tedious and I'm not sure if it works reliably.

For instructions on VMWare Fusion and Parallels, see the below, respectively:
Launching your Boot Camp partition in VMware Fusion
Can I run my Boot Camp partition with Parallels?

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    I would say that if anyone expects something approaching flawless - then picking a paid product whose support forums and options seem best suited to support you is a large part of the selection criteria. Both the products here have a long tack record of improving their products, fixing bugs and supporting users. – bmike Oct 18 '13 at 11:53
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VMware Fusion 6 works flawlessly for me, on a Mid 2011 MBP, running Mac OS X 10.8.5

I run Windows XP, 7 and 8 guests without any issues.

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VMWare Fusion is your best bet, it is free for 28 days trial I believe and then you can decide if you want it after that. It is easy to configure your virtual machines and gives options for snapshots etc. if you ever want to roll back to an earlier state on your machine.

Why dont you download VMWare Fusion and VirtualBox (if you have the space on your hard drive) and see which one you like most? Also consider that virtual machines can use a lot of RAM and consume your battery quicker. If you have an SSD or at least 8GB RAM however these will run most applications flawlessly.

  • What makes fusion a "best bet" in your eyes? – bmike Oct 18 '13 at 12:32
  • I have worked briefly with virtual box and it is good for free software but has a few limitations such as booting from a network. – MBP2013 Oct 19 '13 at 12:39
  • Vmware fusion has a good license scheme. It's not hugely expensive either. I have used it for a number of years and it has tons of great features such as being able to use Bootcamp partitions as vm's and converting your old desktop into a vm. – MBP2013 Oct 19 '13 at 12:42

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