Helpful hint for using Parallels to boot off of a BootCamp volume


From today’s mail bag:

After installing Windows 7 in BootCamp, I now realize that I don’t want to reboot my Mac every time I want to run Windows. I’d rather use a software program like Parallels Desktop 6 so I can switch between Windows 7 and Mac OS X without rebooting and easily transfer files and folders between the two operating systems. After configuring Parallels to read my Windows install on the BootCamp partition, Parallels fails to go beyond step one of the conversion process. What am I doing wrong? Could it have anything to do with how I’ve partitioned my drives? I’m using a MacPro that is equipped with three internal hard drives. My Mac startup system is stored on one drive, I use another drive for Time Machine backups, and the third drive is split into two partitions: one that contains my BootCamp setup plus a second NTFS partition that I plan to use for Windows file backups.

The BootCamp tool in Parallels 6 balks if you try to read from a drive that is partitioned into two or more NTFS volumes. As a result, you either have to use Disk Utility to reformat that drive as a single partition or use a different drive for this purpose. Whatever choice you make, if you want to run Parallels off your BootCamp partition, you will have to reinstall Windows from scratch, unless you take the extra step of cloning your Windows setup in BootCamp before reformatting. If you’ve already activated your Windows 7 license while running BootCamp, you will have to reactivate it again in your new Parallels configuration due to a substantial change in your hardware (which may require a phone call to Microsoft support, depending on your software license).

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