Macs - Windows and Casper

New Contributor

Our school district is considering the use of mac computers only and using VM Fusion, Parallels, or Boot Camp for users that need to have Windows. What are your individual preferences for Windows on macs along with the ease of each for imaging with Casper?


Esteemed Contributor II

We deploy Parallels Desktop 7 Enterprise, using their wrapper PKG and a volume license key. Found some minor issues but most were resolved. Deployment has been fairly problem free (several hundred users so far). Works when deployed during imaging time, as well as pushing to existing Macs, and through Self Service.


Contributor III

I use Parallels on my workstation. Works great for me. :)

Contributor III

5 years ago everyone got a dual-boot Mac with a Boot Camp partition and Parallels setup to use the Boot Camp partition as the VM disk.

We found that offering a Terminal Services farm proved to be a MUCH better experience for nearly everyone that did not want to reboot into Boot Camp. So much so that about 2 years ago only about 4 people were even using Parallels anymore.

More recently a lot of the things teachers needed Windows for have been moved into webapps so last year when we got new machines I didn't even put Parallels in the Mac OS partition and no one asked for it. ;)

Personally I use VirtualBox on my iMac as it seems faster nowadays then the others and the ability to ssh into my iMac, start a headless VM from the command line, and then RDP into it is just awesome. :D

Contributor II

I second Terminal Services! I work for a School District and we dabbled with both Boot Camp and VM Ware several years back, for the most part just to run a few applications that weren't available for Mac, or web apps that just didn't quite work. We moved 2 years ago to 2X Application Server - it's relatively affordable if you already have a Windows Server infrastructure, and has been pretty slick.

Users understand it better than virtualization, it doesn't mess with workflow like Bootcamp, and maintenance is much easier. We even have a database backed app that users say runs faster than before (used to run in VM Ware, but connected to a server at our central site - now it just runs the UI at the remote site, and the 2x Server talks direct to the database server in the same room).

Definitely no regrets on our end on the move to Terminal Services, and I would never want to go back to deploying (and worrying about backups) of a second 'machine' (whether virtualized or Bootcamped).

Only frustrations:

1) Getting users trained to navigate the 2X/Windows file structure to save to their local home folder - not too bad with Windows apps, but very difficult if you need to run old DOS apps, and we have one of those.

2) We're a French school district, and there has been some challenges translating accents and special characters from Mac - 2X - Windows.

Honored Contributor

We don't run terminal services but rather Citrix to windows instances that sit in a datacenter. It not only allows non-Windows users a Windows environment, but company data stays in the datacenter.