I have previously not managed to get the Windows Phone 7 emulator running on my dev install (Windows 7 on Parallels 7). After upgrading to Parallels 8, installing the latest Parallels update for Windows 8 and the Windows Phone 7.1.1 SDK update. I have managed to get it working a little more. It still takes ages to startup: 2-3 minutes of “Windows Emulator is doing a full OS boot” before the Windows Phone logo shows up. Then another 15-30 minutes for the phone emulator to actually activate.
While starting up it will use one full core of CPU (which seems to be the limiting factor) and the memory footprint will slowly rise to around 19 MB. Running WP7 emulator in a virtual machine is unsupported by Microsoft so we can’t expect any help or updates to get things running more smoothly but the setup I have now will at least let me try out my Cordova (formerly Phonegap) apps on a Windows Phone even if the performance is terrible.
The config I am running is Win7 32bit, 2 cores, 4 GB memory, 256 MB video memory with DirectX 10 support (new in Parallels 8) with all the Parallels settings optimized for VM performance. Bumping video memory to 1 GB had some positive impact on startup time – but I think this may make developing impossible since the environment will have too little memory in total for Visual Studio to run.
My next step is to try this out on a 64 bit Windows install in order to get access to more memory.