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Installing the Windows Phone 8 SDK on a Mac, using Parallels
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Windows Phone 8
Pre-requisites / Technical requirements
- Your reasonably powerful Apple Mac computer ( i5 or higher CPU, 8GB RAM recommended)
- Parallels Desktop 8 for Mac
- A Windows 8 installation kit (for example the Windows 8 Enterprise Evaluation release)
- The Windows Phone 8 SDK installer (offline or online if internet connection is available)
Install Parallels Desktop 8 following product's typical install guide and then follow Parallels' guide for installing Windows 8. It is a rather straight-forward process but since we aim to run the Windows Phone emulator (a virtual machine) inside the Parallels virtual machine we have to customize the Windows VM installation, so make sure to select "Customize settings before installation".
Windows VM customization
If you have neglected to enabled VM customization at install time, or if you want to experiment with other combination of options, you can edit the setting below, and many more which are not directly relevant for this subject, using Parallels' Virtual machine -> Configure... menu. For the settings to be accessible simply stop the running VM then restart it after the settings have been changed.
Number of CPU cores
The Windows Phone Emulator's Windows Phone 8 images come configured for multicore devices, so they expect to have two CPU cores available to them. However by default Parallels makes only once CPU core available to Windows, invoking stability concerns. We have therefore two options here:
- change VM's configuration to allow Windows to see two (or more) CPU cores
- install Windows on a machine with just 1 CPU and later edit emulator VM's settings to lower its CPU setting.
You can experiment with the two options and see which works best on your machine, we recommend the first approach if your machine is powerful enough.
Parallels recommends that for a Windows VM you should allocate between 512 MB and 4 GB. We recommend at least 2 GB if you do not plan to use the SDK emulator and 4 GB or more if you plan to use the SDK emulator inside the VM. Of course the amount of memory you can make available to the VM depends on the amount of RAM available on your Mac, you should not allocate more than 50% of the total RAM to the VM.
Virtualization solutions such as Parallels do not typically encourage the use of virtual machines inside virtual machines (i.e. nested virtualization) but some do support it as an optional feature. We need to enable this feature in order for Windows Phone SDK's emulator to work, so as the next step we will check the corresponding "Enable" box in the Optimization page of the Options configuration dialog.
With these settings you are now ready to complete the Windows 8 installation according to Parallels' install guide.
Once you have Windows 8 installed fully, you can now install one of its optional features, Hyper-V. This component is required by the SDK's emulator so you must complete this step before the SDK