Sunday, July 01, 2007

VMware Fusion Unity mode

I'll start this post with a question: what is wrong with this picture?

If you guessed that there are Windows apps running on my MacBook Pro's desktop, you'd be right! Of course, if you are a true Mac devotee, there's nothing "right" about that at all! In fact, it's all wrong!!

Seriously though, VMware Fusion's Unity mode (like Parallels Coherence mode) is a really nice piece of work. If you ever wanted to run Mac and Windows applications side by side on the same desktop, this is the program for you! I have Fusion running on my MacBook Pro using an XP Professional virtual guest OS and Unity is very sweet. There is a bit of a visual hiccup for the first couple of seconds while you switch from Single Window or Full Screen mode to Unity mode (look under Fusion's "View" menu to switch):

The Mac and Windows desktops then cohere together for a couple of seconds, but after that, Windows apps run right along side the native Mac applications. It was very cool to see and hear a video running in Windows Media Player on the Mac desktop. Now that's quite a feat of engineering! Thanks VMware! This will help ease the transition from PC to Mac for a lot of people. I will mention it to the powers that be at work.

A couple notes:
1) to have access to Unity mode, make sure you have the latest and greatest version of VMware Fusion Beta found here:
2) to enable the feature, make sure you have the latest version of VMware Tools installed in your guest operating system

3) if you are using XP Service Pack 2, a nice performance boost for the display is to utilize DirectX 8.1 acceleration features. So go to the Display menu under your XP virtual machines' Settings:


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