Parallels releases first virtualization solution for Intel-powered Apple Intel-based Macs

Parallels announced today that it is beginning beta testing for Parallels Workstation 2.1 for Mac OS X, the first virtualization software that gives Apple users the ability to simultaneously run Windows, Linux or any other operating system and their applications alongside Mac OS X on an Intel-powered Apple computer. Virtualization software enables users to run multiple operating systems, like Linux or Windows, in isolated “virtual machines” directly on a Mac OS X desktop, giving users the ability to run programs that are only available on those operating systems, without having to give up the usability and functionality of their Mac OS X machine .

Each virtual machine operates exactly like a stand-alone computer and contains its virtual hardware, including RAM, hard disk, processor, I/O ports, and CD/DVD-drives. New and existing Parallels users are welcome to download and evaluate a free, fully-functional 30-day trial of Parallels Workstation 2.1 for Mac OS X at:

Beta users can submit comments, suggestions and feedback by visiting or by sending an email to

“Parallels Workstation for MacOS X gives Mac users a viable virtualization solution that will let them embrace widely-used operating systems like Windows and Linux without having to give up the power, usability and familiarity of their Macintosh,” said Benjamin Rudolph, Parallels Marketing Manager in the press release. “This release underscores our commitment to building solutions that anyone, regardless of budget, technology savvy, or operating system can use to improve productivity and platform flexibility.”

The solution takes advantage of Apple’s inclusion of Intel Core Duo architected chips into all new Macintosh computer models. Because the Intel Core Duo chipset is x86-compatible, the Parallels virtualization engine can easily virtualize the hardware, thus enabling Macintosh users to build virtual machines running nearly any x86-compatible OS, including Windows 3.1-XP/2003, Linux, FreeBSD, Solaris, OS/2, eComStation, and MS-DOS.

Parallels’ full support of Intel Virtualization Technology, which is included in most new Core Duo chipset, ensures that virtual machine performance is close to near-native and that each virtual machine is stable and completely isolated from other virtual machines and the host physical machine.

The GA (general availability) release of the product is expected in the next several weeks. Apple users should be aware that the Parallels Workstation for Mac OS X works with any Intel-powered Apple computer running Mac OS 10.4.4 or higher. The product is not compatible with PowerPC-powered Apple computers.

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  1. PC Apologist, I have it installed and running, although unable to install Windows yet, it only seems to work with disc images, not physical drives. How do I make an .iso image in Mac OS X? Disk Utility only seems to create .dmg or .cdr images.

  2. Lookng forward to something like this more than boot camp for reasons others have already stated. It doesn’t download completely though…fails download @ 3 mb instead of 17 mb (which is why it won’t mount).

  3. Andy,

    I got it to mount as well. Weird problems w/ their server, I guess.

    p. 44 of the docs cover setting up the physical CD drive for use with the virtual machine. I haven’t done it yet, but they seem to say it can be done either way.

  4. From the user manual it looks like the virtualization mimics a pentium II equipped computer. If this is all that it does, it is more analogous to virtual pc than to Bootcamp. After all, with the dual boot you get multi-Ghz computing.

    Hopefully virtualization operational speeds will improve with time.

  5. Holy crap people – Why is anyone arguing about virtualization vs. dual boot? YOU CAN DO BOTH NOW.

    I personally would rather use virtualization for the one Windows app that I want to use every once in a while, but thats just me.

    MDN word: summer
    This should be a great summer for Apple Computer.

  6. I prefer this virtulaization option, which would allow me to use my mac applications simultaneously and I wouldn’t have to restart my computer every time I needed windows functionality.

  7. Wow, the stock is over $70 again for the first time in weeks. This is a good sign…I foresee a lot more to come in the near future.

    Virtualization over Dual Booting is my choice. But that’s the beautiful thing. NOW we have a choice! Before there wasn’t much in the way of choice, only Virtual PC on PowerPC Macs. Now I can choose to either dual boot into a version of XP that runs at blazing speeds for my games, or simply boot into OS X and use Parallels Workstation so I don’t have to reboot all the time. I can run my required Windows apps in virtulization while using OS X for everything else.

    What excuses are left for Windows sufferers to use to NOT switch to Mac? Honestly, I can’t think of anything now.

    “Price too high?” Nope, Macs cost roughly the same or a little more than a comparably Equiped PC.

    “No 2-Button Mouse?” Nope, all Macs (except Mac mini) come with the Mighty Mouse.

    “Slower than PCs?” Not that it mattered much before, but now Mac OS X runs on the same kind of Processors as regular PCs. It’s no longer an Apples to Lemons comparison.

    “Not enough software?” That no longer is an excuse, since you can run both Mac titles and now Windows titles on the same Mac, either in virtualization or after rebooting into XP. Macs have access now to BOTH worlds of titles.

    “Don’t want to lose my investment in all this windows software?” Nope, don’t have to. Just bring it over to the Mac.

    Any others? I can’t think of anything else they could use to stop themselves from coming over to the Mac….

  8. I think Parallels will have MS very worried – not only because of the price, but also because MS likes to limit the OSs that can run under VPC.

    While I find Parallels very exciting I believe that they will only be the first out of the block and others will follow, improving performance and features. I wouldn’t be surprised to see even Apple delivering in this area.

    Some very exciting times ahead for Mac users – and some worries for PC OEMs.

  9. What matters isn’t a dual boot v. virtualization debate.

    What matters is that people now have either as an option.

    By the way, one way that virtualization is better *right now* is that unlike boot camp at this time you can also apparently run various linux flavors, bsd, etc.

    Hilarious magic word: START

  10. interesting, only works on Intel Macs, 10.4.4 … me thinky that is using low-level APIs. basically, apple supplied half the code, parallels is using it.
    first to offer virtualization.
    let’s wait what apple will add in Leopard.

  11. Personally, I would rather run windblows in a cage using virtual technique so the winblows nasties don’t get out and screw things up.

    If windblows gets gooey, just trash the vm file and open the backup. A 30 sec investment vs. reloading actual windblows from scratch (as M$ now recommends when windblows really goes south).

  12. Is there any way to save the Mac’s state (all open apps, documents etc) before restarting (like Virtual PCs save function)? That would make it easier to come back to your work on the Mac, all ready for you exactly as you left it, after using Windows.

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