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Parallels Vs Boot Camp Vs Remote Desktop To A Local/remote Machine

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I thought I'd offer a first-hand perspective on what I've found to be the optimal way to interact with Windows based programs (specifically UBot Studio) while using a Mac.


Three popular options are: Parallels, Boot Camp, and obtaining Microsoft's remote desktop connection software from the App store and then remotely connecting to a local/remote machine that's running the Windows operating system.


I've done all three, and here is what I've discovered (again, this is subjective, but potentially useful):




My iMac only has 8 gigabytes of 2133 MHz DDR4 memory, and unfortunately my model doesn't make it particularly easy to upgrade to having additional memory. I've still been able to successfully use Parallels, and have opted to use Windows 7 Professional within the Parallels virtualized environment. I realize that at this point Windows 7 is no longer supported, but the the reason why I still have opted to use it in Parallels is because it continues to allow the use of UBot Studio's FTP commands and functions. (As noted in Bug #1210 and Bug #1271, all of UBot Studio's FTP commands and functions stopped working on Windows 10).


The challenge that I've occasionally encountered is that heavy use of Parallels increases the memory pressure inside MacOS, and will sporadically result in the entire system becoming somewhat unstable and sluggish. This challenge is likely easy to overcome with an internal memory upgrade to 12 or 16 gigabytes of 2133 MHz DDR4 memory, but that options is challenging on my iMac 2017. As a result of this, I relatively recently decided to build a standalone PC that would enable me to run Windows on an entirely separate (non-virtualized) environment.


Remote Desktop To A Local/Remote Machine


I built a spare PC using some spare computer parts. The machine runs on an Intel 3.4 GHz Core i3-4130 microprocessor and 32 gigabytes of 1600 MHz DDR3 memory. It has an approximately 1 terabyte SSD drive and uses a newly purchased Windows 10 Professional license. This machine is located nearby, but not right where my iMac is located. Downloading the Microsoft remote desktop connection software from the App store was quick and easy, and setting everything up was relatively easy as well. 


The real benefit to this setup is that now I have a dedicated machine that can run UBot Studio without sapping away any of the relatively modest resources that my iMac is built with. I should also mention, I use my iMac for a lot of things that are MacOS specific, so it's rare that I'd have nothing but Parallels open. This means that the overall use of system resources on my iMac can sporadically cause challenges. There *is* a bit of a performance hit with the standalone PC. The iMac is running with an Intel 2.3 GHz Dual-Core Intel Core i5 (7th generation, as I recall, compared to the 4th generation Core i3 on the standalone PC). Even though MacOS throttles the performance of the CPU to manage heat, it still completes certain things within UBot Studio a lot faster (defined as approximately 20+ percent faster) than the spare machine. Given that UBot Studio is a 32-bit application, the memory consumption is, to the best of my knowledge, capped at 4 gigabytes. However, even when I allocate just 2 gigabytes of iMac 2133 DDR4 memory to the virtual machine, I notice that things can become a bit sluggish.


Boot Camp


The best way to think of Boot Camp is as a mechanism that lets you reboot your iMac and have Windows be the default/standard operating system. You basically have the option of being in MacOS, or alternatively, being in Windows. You can't use Boot Camp and magically be in both the MacOS and Windows operating systems at the same time. That's the biggest drawback to Boot Camp, from my perspective. So, if I wanted to use UBot Studio on my iMac, then I'd need to boot into Windows and that's all I could use.




In my experience, the emerging winner for my situation is to use Remote Desktop on my iMac to access a standalone local machine that's running Windows 10 professional. It doesn't have to be a local machine, I should add. It's relatively simple to have a 3rd party remote hosting platform wherein you can access a Windows system that way. Not a bad choice per se if you're disinterested in having a second computer.


This isn't intended to be an exhaustive analysis, but rather a quick summary of my experience using all three of the aforementioned mechanisms through which to use UBot Studio while also using a Mac.

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  • 2 years later...

My original post was on August 1, 2020. 

It's now December 5, 2022.

I'm still using the previously mentioned Windows machine that runs on an Intel 3.4 GHz Core i3-4130 microprocessor and 32 gigabytes of 1600 MHz DDR3 memory.

The only mission-critical app in my arsenal that requires Windows is UBot Studio.

In my experience, the best way to use something like UBot Studio if your primary computing environment is macOS is via a dedicated machine that runs Windows 10/11 Professional wherein you can use remote desktop from your Mac to access the machine.

Two things that I've discovered along the way:

1) If you've create an app with UBot Studio that's compiled to an EXE and that ideally needs to be running 24/7, consider adding a shortcut to the app to the Windows startup folder. For me, that folder is located here: ("C:\Users\USERNAME\AppData\Roaming\Microsoft\Windows\Start Menu\Programs\Startup"). You'll want to add the "/play" parameter to the app so that upon system restart (like for example when Windows forces a system reboot to update the OS) your app will startup and begin running right away. That could look like this: appname.exe /play

2) It's important than a machine re-start itself after a power outage. I've yet to do this, but have been meaning to do so for a while. Now that I'm posting this, it's time to implement it. I'm going to try to modify the BIOS of my Windows machine to automatically restart in the event of a power failure. Yes, I do have an uninterruptible power supply - but it doesn't last forever. And what if I'm not physically there to restart the computer? Maybe software like "PowerChute" could be helpful as well - just not entirely sure yet. Electricity reliability has been phenomenal over the past couple years, but watch it be my luck that the moment I decide to leave the area for a couple days that everything comes crashing down. This is a basic set of instructions that I found that appear useful insofar as implementing the BIOS change: http://www.wintips.org/setup-computer-to-auto-power-on-after-power-outage/

In summary, I continue to be a huge proponent of using UBot Studio on a dedicated machine that runs Windows 10/11 Professional wherein you can use remote desktop from your Mac to access the machine.

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