One of the main reasons I decided I would buy the MacBook Air recently was that I knew I would be able to run Windows on it, either in a bootable install or in a virtual machine. In fact there is really one main app that I use all the time on Windows that I just can’t get for the Mac, but that’s a topic for another post. I’m quite happy with the Air — it’s a great machine and I have to admit that OS X has grown on me.
I bought a copy of VMWare Fusion after doing my required research. Compatibility with OSes and a variety of different features/capabilities put it at the top of my list for a virtualization host. I have a couple copies of Windows Server 2003 lying around here that I never broke the shrink wrap on, so I built a trimmed down virtual machine for use on the Mac.
In fact, I built three of them. But every time I installed a new VM and got it up and running, every time I restarted the machine VMWare would simply quit, die, crash — console and all. No running process and nothing on the screen.
Long story short, I searched and searched and searched and then went to the VMWare user forums, where I found a note about issues people have been having with Fusion and the MacBook Air when using the Air’s external DVD drive. Apparently because I was unplugging the DVD drive and then restarting the machine without it attached, Fusion was somehow wigging out (my term) and closing unexpectedly.
After reconfiguring the VM in Fusion’s control panel to no longer show the missing drive as “connected,” the VM fires right up and works. Hopefully this is something VMWare will address in it’s next Fusion update. It’s tough keeping up with the nuances of new hardware, to be sure, so looking forward to a fix. In the meanwhile, manually removing the DVD drive in the VM’s settings works like a charm.