Hi Jeff. Thanks for the clarification. Here's how I think it works. Tell me if I'm wrong. I admit I've reached the limits of my knowledge on this.
Your virtual OS cannot get direct access to the Hw the way it normally does, by using a windows driver, because the Hw is already being used by OS X. There's a "wrapper" provided by parallels (or vmware) that gives the guest OS access to the Hw through the native OS.
For example, OS X is accessing the network card through an OS X driver. Windows, running in parallels, will access it through a parallels driver, not a windows driver. This parallels driver passes the request onto the OS X driver. In the end, the requests do have to get to the actual hw, but there's an intermediate layer so that the two OS's don't fight over the Hw. At least that's how I think it works.
Parallels has created "wrappers" (my term, parallels calls it "virtualization technology") for most common drivers, but I don't think the guest OS ever uses its native drivers. They would contend with the main OS. But, my USB debugger did crash while trying to load a windows driver in the virtual machine. If my previous statement is true, that was a silly thing to try and do. Frankly, I'm not sure. I've exceeded my knowledge in this area. Maybe you can use actual Windows drives in the virtual machine, but I'm not sure how parallels would intercept the hw access, which I would think it would need to.
So, I think common devices, or devices that use a standard interface, will work, but proprietary, uncommon things, like the USB driver for my debugger, often will not. It certainly did not in my case.
As for the virtualization being done in Hw, I think there are 2 issues.
1: Some of this is marketing speak. The hw is the same, so the wrappers are much simpler to manage, and there's a lot less overhead, but you still need something.
2. There is also this Hw layer called a hypervisor that is supposed to help virtualization run faster. It's hardware that I think helps how threads are managed, making a significant performance increase, but this is a different issue than the drivers.
All the opinions (and they are opinions) expressed above are the sole opinions of the writer, and BMW Luxury Touring is responsible, or probably even slightly interested, in said opinions. Now back to your regularly scheduled motorcycling forum.
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