Archive for the ‘Parallels’ Category

Shared Storage Options for Windows & Mac Video Editing Collaboration

Friday, October 18th, 2013

In summary:

There’s no magic option, each workstation needs a local storage volume with block-level data access (as opposed to simply file-level access) and formatted to a file system that is native (doesn’t require translation) to that workstation’s operating system.  Migration and collaboration imply file copying/synchronization, which implies read-access to the “foreign” file-system.  Mac OS can read NTFS, Winows can only read HFS+ via third-party add-on utilities.  Furthermore, for speed and responsiveness appropriate to video editing, the local storage should ideally be RAID or SSD.  In either case, it is possible to split the local storage (e.g. via partitioning) into more than one file-system.  At least, that worked on the mutiple occasions I have taken that approach, and have not been aware of any issues.

In greater detail:

Consider the challenge of setting up a shared data storage volume (e.g. RAID array or SSD) for video editing, such that either Windows or Mac computers can connect to it, and a video project started on (and saved to) on one of those operating systems (OS) can be continued on the other (and vice versa).

My current solution is to split the drive into separate volumes, one for each OS.  For example I have done this on RAIDs of various kinds and on an internal drive for Mac systems bootable to either Mac OS or (via Boot Camp) to Windows.  In the case of RAIDs I was advised against this by my system supplier, but got the impression they were just being defensive, not knowing of any definite issues, and to my knowledge I did not experience any issues.

It is is not practical to have just one volume (necessarily in that case, one file-system format), because:

  • Mac OS on its own is able to read NTFS but cannot write to it.
    • This is a show-stopper.  Some of the major video editing applications (e.g. NLEs), slightly disturbingly, may use (or for some functionality, even depend on) read/write access to source-files and the folders containing them.
      • I initially, naively, imagined that video editing systems etc. would only ever read source media files, not write to them, or to the folders containing them.  However that proved very naive indeed…
        • In Apple/Mac’s (erstwhile) Final Cut Pro 7 I regularly used their (moving) image stabilization effect, SmoothCam.  Its analysis phased was typically slow and heavy – not something one would wish to repeat.  The result was a “sidecar” file of similar forename to the analyzed source file, but a different extension, placed in the same folder as the source file.
        • I’m not certain, but got the feeling that maybe the source file (or folder) meta data, such as permissions or somekind of interpretation-change to media files in the quicktime ([.mov] mmedia format.
      • Certainly, Adobe (on Windows and Mac) could adulterate both files (by appending XMP data – being an Adobe media metadata dialect in XML) and the folders they occurred in (depending on uder-configuration) in terms of sidecar-files.
      • Sony Vegas also generates sidecar-files, e.g. for audio peaks.
  • File system translation add-ons can add Windows read/write access to HFS+ (ordinarily it could not even read it) and add Mac OS write access to NTFS (ordinarily it could only read it), but not sufficiently transparent/seamless for big real-time data access as required for demanding video editing endeavours.
    • File system translation add-ons (to operating systems) exist, such as MacDrive, to allow Windows to read/write Mac OS, or Tuxera NTFS, Paragon NTFS or Parallels for Mac to enable it to read/write NTFS, but these (reportedly, and in part of my experience) only really work well for standard “Office” type applications, not so well for heavy (big andd real-time) data applications such as video editing, where they can impede the data throughput.  Doh!
    • Some people have experienced obscure issues of application functionality, beyond data-movement speed issues.
    • {Also, I am concerned over the (unknown/imagined/potential) risk that the “alien” operating system and/or its translation utility might alter the file system in some way that upsets its appearance to the “home” operating system.}
  • FAT is universal but is a riskier option:
    • FAT is un-journaled, hence risks loss not only of individual files but of whole volume (integrity).
      • In video editing, corruption could be disastrous to a project, not only in terms of possible data-loss or time wasting and project delays on data recovery, but also in terms of “weird” effects during editing, such as poor responsiveness to commands, whose cause the user may not appreciate. or even an increased risk of unacceptable flaws in the final product.
    • FAT32 is essentially obsolete, because its maximum file size is (1 bit under) 4GB.
    • exFAT, a kind of “FAT64” is practical, and indeed a big successful corporate Mac-based production company once supplied me with many GB of footage on an exFAT-formatted external disk.
      • The largest file I have so far stored there is 40GB.  No problems.
  • NAS (Network-Attached Storage) sounds at first an easy option, but in my experience they impede big real-time data throughput (as stated earlier for “file system tyranslation” add-ons). Double-Doh!
    • Such devices only permit file-level access.  Consequently, the client systems can e.g. create or retrieve folders and files, but cannot e.g. format the device or address it in terms of lower-level data structures.
    • A likely explanation for the “impedement” of a NAS (to data responsiveness and throughput) is that such devices store in a local format (typically they run linux) that is invisible to the client, then translate to an appropriate protocol for each operating system accessing it.  They normally incorporate a bunch of such protocols.  As always, translation => overhead.
    • Other options, such as SAN and iSCSI, instead of providing file-level access to the client systems, instead offer the lower level of data block access.  Thus they appear to the client system as would any local storage device, and can be formatted as appropriate to the client system.
  • One suggestion I saw was to use a Seagate GoFlex drive, which can be used (read/write) with both Mac and Windows.  But the supplier’s FAQ (about that drive) indicates that it depends upon a translator utility for the Mac:
    •  If you would like to be able to “shuttle” data back and forth between a Mac and a PC, a special driver needs to be installed onto the Mac that allows it to access a Windows-formatted drive (i.e. NTFS). Time Machine will not work in this case, nor will Memeo Premium software for Mac. However, if you want your GoFlex solution to also work with TimeMachine, the drive will need to be reformatted to HFS+ journaled.

So I guess there is no “magic storage” option, my main work setup will have to remain based on separate volumes for each OS.

When transferring an editing project from one OS to another, the following actions will be necessary:

  • Copy any absent or updated files across.
    • e.g. via a file-synch utility such as Syncovery.
  • Allow time etc. for possible file re-linking, re-indexing, re-preview generation, re-“SmoothCam” (or equivalent).
    • This aspect is down to the editing application etc., as opposed to the operating or file systems themselves.
  • Ensure any effects used in the edit are present on both systems.
    • If so then these should presumably still work…


Mac: Parallels: Omit VM Apps from Spotlight

Friday, April 5th, 2013

It can be very annoying when I type say Gimp into Spotlight and it defaults to the Windows version. That causes Parallels to launch, then Windows within that then Windows-Gimp…when all I really wanted was Mac-Gimp. So easy to type without looking!

The solution, from the following weblink, is to open up Mac’s [SystemPreferences > Personal > Spotlight > Privacy] then drag the VM folders there (I assume this simply creates references to those folders). The VM folders are to be found, from your root directory, [Applications > Windows 7 Applications] (say).

Mac Shutdown Hang: Kaspersky 2011 (for Mac)

Wednesday, November 14th, 2012

My MacBook Pro, running Snow Leopard i.e. Mac OS 10.6.8, often hangs during shutdown.  If I start it up, do almost nothing, then shut down it is ok. But otherwise, if I do something significant, like run Adobe Premiere, it hangs on shutdown.  The only way out is to “Button It” i.e. press and hold the Power Button to force a power-off.  This leaves the file system slightly damaged, as reported by [Boot Camp > Windows] (not sure if I have MacDrive running or not), if I happen to run that immediately afterwards.

On booting again to Mac OS, the OS appears to mend the file system and recover lost files, which appear in a [Recovered] folder of [Trash].  Typically these are files I (directly or indirectly via an application) most recently created prior to shutdown, for example Adobe project-saves and cache file saves.

This is a nuisance, and (naively at least) raises concerns of some more significant kind of damage occurring some day…

Web-search suggested maybe Kapersky Anti-Virus 2011 (for Mac) might be responsible.  My experience indeed confirmed that – once I removed Kaspersky (for Mac), the Mac OS shutdown behaved normally once again.

{BUT, as recorded in my next post, re Adobe, could the apparent Kaspersky-hang be the result of an Adobe failure-to-terminate process?}

Kaspersky removal:

  • Since my copy of Kaspersky (for Mac) was installed as part of Parallels Desktop 8, it did not come with its own installer/uninstaller package.  Instead I had to run Parallels Desktop (no need for any of the VMs to be running, just the “shell”), then use menu option: [Parallels Desktop >  File > Uninstall Antivirus for Mac…].
  • Tip: on doing that, nothing seemed to happen for quite a while, so maybe worth leaving it for say 15 minutes to see if a confirmation “Removal succeeded” message pops up.  Or if that doesn’t work, try updating Parallels Desktop and trying again (that is what I ended up having to do).


Parallels 8

Saturday, September 22nd, 2012

For occasional convenience, I use Parallels 6.  Now I am considering upgrading to 8.

    • The many enhancements in Desktop 8, including Windows 8 support, are aimed at making the integration between these two OSes even more seamless.
    • Improved speed. Parallels claims that Desktop 8 performance is up to 30 percent faster for input/output operations, 30 percent faster for games and up to 25 percent faster for virtual machine operations such as boot, suspend, shutdown and resume, when compared to Parallels Desktop 7 for Mac. The Mac Observer will be publishing a full review of Desktop 8, including benchmarks, in the near future.
    • OpenGL performance was good for all configurations, although Parallels performed about 20 percent better in the Windows 7 tests.
    • Windows 8 on Parallels made up for its inability to run the OpenGL test by scoring the highest on the single- and multi-core rendering tests. Parallels overall scored higher than Fusion, but by less than five percent.
    • The pattern of Parallels holding a slight, but consistent lead over Fusion continues with Geekbench. However, as was mentioned above, both applications have reached near-native processing performance, and virtual performance in all categories is less than five percent off of native Geekbench results on OS X.
    • Windows 8 has a significant advantage over Windows 7 in boot times, and Windows 8 via Parallels recorded an amazingly fast 9 second boot. Loading Windows 8 on Fusion took about five seconds longer, and Windows 7 on Fusion took the longest time, 22 seconds.
    • From Comments:
      • There are things much more important than speed. VMware Fusion works great collecting data on lab machines connected via USB, using Windows on Mac. Parallels Desktop fails all the time: crashes, unexpected Windows reboots, etc, losing precious and expensive experiments, hard work and time. A real nightmare!
        • {But data collection doesn’t sound too stressful, and as always, what was their configuration (especially RAM) and what version of Parallels were they using?  I am specifically interested in Parallels 8.}

Mobile Editing Blues: FW800 Unusable on MacBook via BootCamp

Thursday, October 27th, 2011

This is a problem I encountered some time ago, when I was running Boot Camp v3.1 on my MacBook Pro.  Since then I upgraded to v3.2.  I know there’s a v3.3 around but before upgrading I thought it worthwhile to see whether v3.2 had fixed that problem (especially since I couldn’t rule out the possibility of v3.3 reintroducing it).   Only one thing to do: prevaricate test.

  • Copy file from GRaid Mini (GRm) to Desktop:
    • 2GB fine
    • 12GB appears ok initially but then fails (to zero b/s transfer rate, then the Grm device “no longer exists”, at least until reboot)
  • Reverse: 2GB fails (same way) almost immediately.

OK not good thus far…

Next tried an alternative approach: run W7 as a Virtual Machine on Mac Os via Parallel.  I have Parallels v6.  Forum search revealed that there is no FW support in either v6 or v7, though the developers seem interested in knowing why people want it.

  • 2GB GRm to W7 Desktop: ok
  • The reverse: ok.

Had to stop there due to other work – and a very full W7 disk.

The next workaround to consider is attaching a NAS.  Ethernet bandwidths can be 1Gbps, hence more than FW800’s 0.8 Gbps, though I wonder if there could be any issues of lag / latency in this approach.  I’ll do some research and put up another post about this idea.

Upgrade: XP to W7: Virtual XP Copy

Saturday, October 8th, 2011

One thing that might help when in W7, re-building the set of apps previously installed under XP, would be to migrate the whole XP instance to a virtual machine elsewhere, in practice my MacBook Pro, which has Parallels 6 under Mac OS.

Then, while installing apps to the new W7 instance, can do a side-by-side comparison with the virtual XP instance.  The only unknown is the Microsoft activation/licensing issue – could it “clog the gears” of this proposed process?  Presumably I need to transfer the activation(s) to the XP virtual machine.  But could the W7 Upgrade process itself absorb the XP activation, crippling the XP virtual machine?

Only one way to find out, and that time is not now…

Windows 7 Start-Up Repair

Saturday, August 7th, 2010

Here are the steps that worked for me:

As it happened, this whole process was a distraction.  I was trying to get a BootCamp-W7 Virtual Machine (VM) in Parallels working – it would boot OK in BootCamp but not Parallels.  It was a matter of identifying the problem by excluding other possibilities, as much as hoping for this to be the fix.   However I record the process I went through, here, for posterity.

Parallels – “Clone” a Boot Camp to a VM

Friday, July 30th, 2010

Migrate a Windows system to Parallels – manually

Saturday, July 24th, 2010

Article about migrating an existing Boot Camp windows system to Parallels.  I’m guessing the method could equally be applied to manually migrating any windows installation (e.g. from another machine), as an alternative to the mainstream method.

Some background knowledge available here (from around 2007?):

Home Network

Thursday, January 7th, 2010

Need to establish a better home network, e.g. so Parallels on my Mac can see my Windows laptop, so it can suck the XP out of it.  Also want shared printer etc. (I have a node for that).   Just a question of setting it all up…

Parallels – Transport a Windows PC to a VM

Thursday, January 7th, 2010

I want to transport everything off an existing PC into a Parallels VM (on a Mac).  I want to confirm it is possible and find out how to do it.  So, after a bit of googling:

  • Yes it is possible.
  • The source machine (the Windows PC in this case) needs to be running the Parallels Transporter Agent
  •  The Transporter Agent may be obtained from
  • Here’s a problem someone experienced when installing it to Windows 7 (though my main source PC is running XP):
  • Here’s someone who is attempting to do the same thing I wish to do, but stumbled:
    • (no answer to his question so far)
  • x

Exclude Virtual Machines from Time Machine Backups

Monday, January 4th, 2010

Regarding Time Machine and Virtual Machines of Parallels, ensure these VMs are excluded from Time Machine’s source volumes.   That can be done in the Config dialogs of the VMs themselves.

Parallels 5 hiccups with Kapersky (or v/v?)

Sunday, January 3rd, 2010

I was getting a problem where Boot Camp Windows 7,  accessed as a virtual machine under Parallels, failed to recognize that Parallels Internet Security (Kapersky 2009) was fully running.  It was unable to see that the Kapersky Firewall was running and only had limited visibility of the Kapersky AntiVirus.Some advice from a Parallels official was found in the article at the following link: that article it was advised to follow the steps below:

  1. In Virtual Machine uninstall Parallels Internet Security
    • from Add/Remove Program.
  2. Select Uninstall, Complete Uninstall.
  3. Reboot guest OS.
  4. In Virtual Machine uninstall Parallels Tools
    • from Add/Remove Program.
  5. Select Uninstall, Complete Uninstall.
  6. Reboot guest OS.
  7. Install Parallels Tools
    • from Parallels Desktop Menu – Virtual Machine -> Install Parallels Tools.
  8. Install Parallels Internet Security
    • from Parallels Desktop Menu – Virtual Machine -> Install Parallels Internet Security.
  9. Reboot guest OS.

However when I followed this exactly it resulted in no difference.