MacFixIt Answers is a feature in which we answer questions e-mailed from our readers. This week we focus on using a VM image or Boot Camp partition in Parallels, adding alarms to the "Birthdays" calendar in iCal, and getting movies to view on an Apple TV. We continually answer e-mail questions and while we present a few here, we certainly welcome alternative approaches and views from readers and encourage you to post your suggestions in the comments.
Question: Standalone Virtual Machine or Boot Camp in Parallels?
MacFixIt reader "Jack" asks:
When installing Parallels 6 and Windows XP on my MacBook Pro, is it better to use a Boot Camp partition for Windows XP, or just install Windows XP using Parallels 6?
Parallels will allow you to use the Boot Camp partition as well as a standalone Virtual Machine image. It really depends on what you want to do. The one drawback of using the Boot Camp partition is the continual change of core hardware components that Windows XP will see. When you boot to Boot Camp, you will be running off the bare system components, and the drivers for this will be loaded; however, when you boot the same installation to Parallels, you will be loading a different set of drivers. Technically, and for the most part, this should work just fine; however, there is a possibility that constant reconfiguration increases the potential for errors to occur.
You will not see a performance difference between using Boot Camp and a VM image when running in Parallels. The benefit from using Boot Camp is that when you need faster performance you can boot directly into Windows and you will not need to create two separate installations of Windows. The benefit from a virtual machine is the VM size will grow with use, instead of being a set partition size. If you do not need advanced graphics processing power for CAD programs or games, then this may be a quicker way to access your windows applications with less of a resource footprint on the system. If you do need the Windows applications to run as fast as possible on your system, then Boot Camp is the only way to go.
Question: Alarms in iCal's "Birthdays" calendar
MacFixIt reader "Mark" asks:
I foundbut don't know how to automatically send out an e-mail when a birthday comes up: how do you do it?
You cannot edit a birthday--even one that was automatically generated by Address Book. These events are just reminders, similar to a subscription for U.S. holidays and cannot be edited. If you want to create a separate birthday event on the day of the birthday, you can do so separately and add a group of contacts to the "Invitees" section so alarm reminders and information about the specific birthday "event" will be e-mailed to folks.
Question: Getting movies to view on an AppleTV
MacFixIt reader "mje" asks:
I have some movies on a Western Digital external hard drive connected to my MacBook Pro. I have just recently purchased a first-gen Apple TV but am not sure how to sync or stream these movies on my Apple TV.
To view movies on your AppleTV, open iTunes and drag the movies to the iTunes window to import them. This way the iTunes program will manage them, and the iTunes library will be able to track the files, which is how the AppleTV will locate them. Doing this will copy them to your iTunes library folder, unless you uncheck the option to "copy files to iTunes Media folder when adding to library" in the "Advanced" preferences for the program.