Parallels Tip – use an external drive

I’ve switched to a laptop as my primary business computer — this turns out to be a wonderful convenience, because I’m no longer having to duplicate my development environment between three different computers (a casual laptop, work desktop, and home desktop — given that I used my home desktop for about 95% work).

Like many of my colleagues I use Parallels Desktop — some of the systems management tools require windows, and I’ll use the parallels windows image to connect to other windows computers running in VMWare (I should so diagram the almost absurdity of that). And I also use to double-check my web development — given that some of our applications get more modern features and are starting to push the 5-year-old Internet Explorer 6 to its limits.

Well, Parallels rocks — but either it’s the 5400 RPM drive in the Macbook Pro, or it’s some other I/O issue — or even the fact that I’m running the Parallels beta — but when the Parallels image is doing heavy I/O — the whole box goes to pot.

I’ve found that I am much, much, much happier when I run the Parallels images off an external FireWire hard drive. Highly recommended.

(yes, it kills portability for the windows image but the performance benefit is way worth it).