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VMware Fusion 3.0: Take 2

Mel Martin

Update 5:30p: VMware's Pat Lee has acknowledged the problems on the serial-number system and has posted a universal 30-day trial license code and download link to allow users to install the new version.


I never was able to upgrade to a paid version of Fusion 3.0, so I downloaded a demo version and 2.5 hours later received a 30-day serial number.

Installation was trivial, but now I can't find my old version 2.06. That would be bad for people who are trying 3.0 and decide to go back to an older version. I tried a Spotlight search, and my older version is nowhere to be found. That's not good. Has anyone else making the upgrade experienced this? Update: Commenters make it clear that 2.0 will automatically be removed when you move to 3.

I'd already upgraded to Windows 7 on version 2.06, so the same OS came up fine under version 3.0. One of the advantages of 3.0 is that you can assign multiple cores to the app, and since I'm running on a 2 x 2.66 Dual Core Xeon I assigned 2 cores.

Start-up was faster than the old version. About 45 seconds to the Windows 7 desktop, and a few more seconds to bring up a couple of gadgets and settle down. Launch times of apps seem pretty fast, but I don't find the difference dramatic.

My graphics card is a Nvidia GeForce 7300 GT. I won't get all the Aero effects, but I do get transparency and some other visual eye candy. VMware is now the first of the virtualization packages to support Aero and Flip3D, and it also includes OpenGL 2.1 and DirectX 9.0c.

A new menu bar appears in Fusion hovering at the top of the screen. It is helpful when in full screen mode, and gives you quick access to the virtual screen controls without having to see the Mac menu bar.

This new version of Fusion has a PC Migration Wizard, making it quite easy to migrate a physical Windows PC into the VMware virtual machine.

You now get an app menu as part of Unity instead of seeing the start menu when you are in that mode.

Overall I find the new features helpful but not outstanding. The performance of version 3.0 seems faster, and I hoped to do some benchmarks -- but as I said, my old version of Fusion is missing in action.

Fusion for first-time users is US $80. An upgrade from version 1.x or 2.x is $40. There is a half-price education discount of 50% available here.

I'll caution our readers again that VMware seems to be having problems taking orders and finding serial numbers of some registered users. It may take a while to settle down, but you can do what I did, which is download the demo and let VMware mail you a 30 day serial number.

I think Fusion 3.0 is a worthwhile upgrade. Combined with some of the speed improvements in Windows 7, there is no doubt that everything runs a bit faster, and the Snow Leopard compatibility and the always-on application menu let you run Windows apps in a very unobtrusive and integrated way.

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