A quick follow up to yesterday’s post about Parallels. When you create a virtual install of Windows on your Mac, Parallels creates a file. Your OS, applications, and data all live within this file.
Upon installing (and activating) a fresh copy of Windows and all your various applications, make a duplicate of this file. It’ll be a gigabyte or two in size, depending on how much you’ve added, but you can easily store it on a backup drive or DVD.
There are a few reasons to do this. If you’re worried about exposing your Mac to Windows worms and virii, you now have a backup you can restore from at any point. Just move any important data out of the corrupted Windows install, delete it, and make a clone of the backup. Whether that’s easier or harder than maintaining anti-virus software on your copy of Windows entirely depends on how you use it. It’s easier for me, anyway, since my data lives on the Mac portion of my hard drive.
Or if you take the IE team’s advice to heart and decide to maintain multiple versions of Windows for the purposes of testing multiple versions of IE (something I’ve yet to be convinced is necessary, by the way), you can simply clone a few copies of your backup and vary your IE installs between them.
This is all possible with Virtual PC as well, incidentally. The files are much larger, though.