I started with the idea of using Parallels, but ran into technical issues (not seeing my CD drive, finding my Internet connection or recognizing my USB drives) and decided to save myself $30 and go with the free Boot Camp. Of course, I also can’t think of anything I really want to use on Windows anymore. I guess that means my transformation is complete …
(For some reason I don’t fully understand, I was able to install and run my Windows version of Warcraft III without issue in Mac OS X. While in Windows XP via BootCamp, however, the game would frequently shutdown, listing a CD reading error.)
I didn’t and haven’t had a single problem with Parallels to date…although I too have hardly used it since I got everything installed. It found the internet just fine, which is great, because I had to apply copious patches immediately after installing Windows, and again after installing Office.
I had no problems with CDs, and what you might’ve experienced is the way Parallels handles CDs. To prevent reading conflicts with Mac OS X, EITHER Windows within Parallels has the CD OR Mac OS X has control of the CD. You can use the little CD icon on the Parallels "dock" with the devices on it to toggle between which OS has it or not.
As for your USB drives, you would have to have the Windows drivers configured for that (depending on the flavor of Windows you are using). Normally USB thumb drives and memory sticks automatically load the driver from 2000 and XP, but older versions require an explicit driver download, which is the problem I had with my ’98 installation.
Anyway, I too have hardly used it anyway, but I detest having to reboot, so the $30 I paid is worth it if I can get in and get out without having to futz with a reboot. My installation is a contingency for Office documents with special formatting that may not translate properly in their OS X counterparts and also for proprietary Windows only apps my employer uses from time to time for forms and stuff.
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