Okay I'll let the cat out of the bag: I bought a MacBook. I've had it for a month and it's awesome. I'll leave the review of it for another day (I've been working on a post but can never find the time to finish it).
When I first got the MacBook my plan was to install Boot Camp on it so I could boot into Windows XP every now and then for some Windows Mobile development I've been working on. Boot Camp worked really well but has a major problem: You own a mac to run OS X and all your OS X applications. I have all my productivity applications and data setup in OS X. I don't want to have to install windows equivalents and set them up so I can have access to my mail, IM, word processor, etc. I'd rather use those applications in OS X and be able to work in Windows....enter Parallels.
Parallels is a virtual machine that runs on OS X that will let you virtualize your x86 hardware. This allows you to run other operating systems at the same time as your main operating system at near native speed (provided you have LOTS of RAM). This type of technology is amazing for software testers and application developers who work in one environment but test/develop for another. No rebooting madness or computer switching. Plus if your buggy software pulls down the operating system...just kill the virtual machine and restart it all while still being able to work on your machine (great time to check your email).
Note: To date I believe Parallels is the only virtualization software that takes advantage of Intel Virtualization technology
So back on point. I started with Boot Camp and it worked well but rebooting all the time was annoying and not having access to my data and applications was even more annoying. Parallels was the way BUT I spent a bit of time installing Boot Camp and getting it all configured for my work. I didn't want to waste lots of time starting from scratch and rebuilding yet another work environment. Wouldn't it be cool if you could take your Boot Camp install and transform it into a Parallels install?
That's exactly what I did, but I can't take credit for this amazing feat. I give big props to Colddiver (whoever he is) for posting this set of instructions to migrate Boot Camp to Parallels. Well done.
How did it work out? Really well. The speed of Parallels is really great. I'm running Windows XP in a virtual machine and then running an Pocket PC emulator inside that and it's not slowed to a crawl. I do have 2 gig of RAM though which helps greatly. The only major snag I found was that the switch over invalidated my Windows XP install and I had to call Microsoft to get a new activation key. No biggie. It takes all of 5 minutes to get a new one.
If you are in a similar situation my advice would be to start from scratch and install Windows fresh in the virtual machine if it's reasonable to do so but if you don't have the time these instructions work pretty well. Also note you will need a good amount of hard drive space to perform these steps. I had an external firewire drive that did the trick.
Oh and if you use Parallels go and use it along with Virtue Desktop. I'll let this video speak for itself. Heck use Virtue Desktop even if you don't use Parallels. It's wicked cool. Amaze your friends.