O’Reilly MacDevCenter Review: Parallels Desktop for the Mac is ‘amazing’

Apple Store“Let’s get this out of the way first. The short version of this discussion of Parallels Desktop for the Mac can be summed up in a single word: amazing. Nothing is perfect, of course, and there is room for improvement as Parallels moves this product beyond version 1.0. However, if you have an Intel-based Mac and need to or want to run Microsoft Windows, some version of Linux, or some other supported operating system, read on,” Todd Ogasawara writes for MacDevCenter.

“If the OS you are trying to install is supported by Parallels Desktop, you can go through the installation procedure for that OS as you normally would on any x86-based PC. Parallels Desktop may work with your OS even if it is not explicitly listed as a supported OS. I, for example, wanted to install the recently released Ubuntu Linux 6.06 LTS. So I selected the Other Linux option from the list of supported Linux distributions, and found the installation proceeded successfully,” Ogasawara writes. “Installing Microsoft Windows XP SP2 (which is specifically supported by Parallels Desktop) went very smoothly, too. Installation for both Windows and Linux can be summarized by saying there were no surprises. And that is exactly what you want for any installation: smooth, unexciting procedural execution.”

Ogasawara explain, “Although you can probably comfortably read and use a guest OS in a window on top of Mac OS X, you can also switch to full-screen viewing.”

Video example:

Much more in the full article here.

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Related articles:
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Why buy a Dell when Apple’s Intel-based computers will run both Mac OS X and Windows? – June 08, 2005


  1. not that i’d really want Windows but you have to admit that this is cool. i’m gonna love responding to my Windows user friends when they needle me about my Mac by saying:

    “What? You cant run Windows, Linux, Unix AND Mac OS? Wow. Must be one of those OLD FASHIONED Pee Cees.”

  2. I’ve been running parallels for about a month in my MacBooc Pro 17. I have exactly the same opinion as the author of the above article – AMAZING!!!. It’s so amazing that I’ve been having lots of fun in making my PeeCee friends opening their jaws wide when they see this app running. They just say AMAZING!!! After that they have some wishes of threw their PeeCees out of the window – no joking. Great times for the MAC platform in the years to come… To increase the fun i use ShadowBook (search for it in google). That’s where the PC guys got pissed with the David Coperfield style…

  3. If Apple does not buy out Parallel, M$ will. Just like they did Virtual PC. Virtual PC ran all the OS’s mentioned in the articel plus OS/2. Once M$ bought it, all non-windows OS’s were tossed. Even Woz has said that boot camp is a bad solution and that he uses Virtual PC but it is slow and erratic (M$ will never release a robust version of Virtual PC, it is not in their interest for ppl to use Macs).

    Apple must buy Parallel.

  4. No, you can’t. You have to use a shared folder to share files back and forth. A bit cumbersome if you ask me. But on my intel iMac, I love being able to switch back and forth when the need arrises. And it’s plenty speedy.

  5. I use Parallels everyday and I can say it’s amazingly fast. Compared to the unusable Virtual PC, Parallels is more than usable, it’s better than most budget PCs. I’m running on a 20″ iMac with 1.5GB RAM and I give my virtual instance 512MB to run in. It’s not as fast as running Windows in Bootcamp, but fast is a very relative term. It all depends on what you want to do.

    For basic productivity apps Parallels is great. It can even handle simple games, video, and other tasks that VPC would have choked on. No lag, no screen redraw issues. You simply can’t tell your running virtually. No native 3D graphics support, but I believe it’s only a matter of time. Can we say Leapord?

    What’s really cool is using it with You Control: Desktops. This wonderful app lets you have multiple desktops. I run Parallels in full screen on it’s own desktop and with a flick of the mouse the screen rotates like fast user switching. Amazing!

    I can’t believe Parallels got this software out so fast. It is well worth $50. It’s been very stable. The only problem I have had is when waking my MacBook up from sleep, Parallels crashed. A minor problem which I’m sure they will fix in subsquent releases. Oh, did I mention this set up rocks on a MacBook? It does. That is, if you have enough RAM.

    OS X is such a versatile operating system. I don’t understand why people would choose Windows as their primary OS. I’m very excited at the prospect of what Leapord will bring to the table. I suspect that Parallels will be marginalized by whatever Apple has in store.

  6. The transition to fullscreen is cool, but even cooler is running Parallels full-screen on a second display. You can move the mouse cursor from OS X over into the virtual machine (not like the usual way Parallels “captures” the cursor). Very, very slick.

  7. Copy and paste between Mac and PC is nice. It would be even better if I could use my Boot Camp partition as the virtual drive. There’d be driver support issues in that case, but if anyone can circumvent them, I bet the Parallels team can. The speed in which this app was developed was the most amazing part. I was using it since the early public beta and I purchased it days after the final candidate was announced.

    I use it mostly in full-screen on a second monitor and it’s remote-desktoped to my work PC. The reason I do this is that it is far snappier than using the Mac OS X Remote Desktop client. Maybe that’s because RDC is a PPC app… Or more likely it has something to do with the way Windows and Mac redraw their screens differently.

  8. Object-X writes regarding Parallels:

    “OS X is such a versatile operating system. I don’t understand why people would choose Windows as their primary OS.”

    While I agree with your statement, don’t make the mistake of using Parallels as its basis. I use Windows at work and in 2002 I was running VMWare 3.0 on an 800MHz Dell D600 Windows 2000 Pro host with two virtual machines simulating a closed db production environment: Windows 2000 Server + SQL 7.0 and a Windows 2000 Pro client. The performance was adequate for the time (I would never put up with it now ” width=”19″ height=”19″ alt=”grin” style=”border:0;” />, and VMWare handled it very well even though I only had 1GB of RAM installed.

  9. I really bought it just to be able to show it off to my Microsoft user skeptic friends. I have no real need for it.

    But any objection to running some windows legacy app (or really , needing a security blanket before making the leap to a Mac) are squashed like a bug in a 45 second demo of Windows running in a Mac OSX Session or a fast user switch full screen mode.

    Of course then we go Expose, spotlight, iLife intergration, scour the hardrive for the usual suspect laundry list of Antispam, spyware or virus protection needed on a PC.

    Apple owes me a commission.

  10. Have it. Good idea. Only useful for few websites which insist on Internet Explorer. Doesn’t support my iMac camera 🙁 – So, even though I bought it (an I prefer Fedora 5 in virtual computer, anyway), it is mostly unused. Somebody have an iMac iSite driver? That would make it better, so yahoo and msn chat clients work fully. Alas, Apple rules. Bill

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