VMWare Fusion Unity Mode

Now that I have run Apple BootCamp on my Mac for a while, I decided it was time to try something new. BootCamp had great driver support for running Windows XP on a Mac, but I was tired of rebooting to get back and forth. So virtualization would be my solution. I had already tried Paralells on a friend’s iMac and had a pretty good idea what that was all about. So I bought a copy of VMWare Fusion for my Mac.

The first mistake I made was deleting BootCamp before I installed Fusion. Did you know that Fusion can take your existing BootCamp partition and turn it into a VM? I clearly didn’t (but I probably should have – VMWare has great PTV tools). So I’m loading XP SP2 as a VM right now. Fusion supports much more than just XP. They can do Windows 3.1, 95, 98, Me, NT, 2000, XP, 2003, Vista, and Longhorn. But they do more than Windows. They can do Linux including: Red Hat, SUSE, Novell, Mandrake, Ubuntu, and many others. And as if that wasn’t enough, they support the VMWare Appliance Marketplace as well. I’m sure I will have a LAMP appliance up and going just as soon as I finish downloading it.

While I was typing the last paragraph, my XP VM install finished. So at first glance – it looks like most virtualization products (a Windows desktop inside a window sitting on a Mac desktop). Yes, you can go full screen. The real mojo comes with this little thing they call “Unity Mode” which makes your Windows applications appear to be running as Native “windowed” apps as opposed to windowed apps running on a desktop inside another window. What do I mean? Here are Windows Explorer and Internet Explorer running directly on my Mac desktop (eat your heart out) …


  1. undees said,

    August 19, 2007 @ 2:54 pm


    So, can it virtualize OS X, too?

  2. jdbarney said,

    August 20, 2007 @ 7:47 am

    That would be kind of funny now wouldn’t it. I doubt that virtualizing Mac OS X is supported however (but it should be).

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