Parallels Desktop 9 for Mac the highest-performance virtualization package for OS X

“One of the great things about using a Mac is its versatility in running all manner of software. As well as the best user OS in the business in OS X, a Mac can also run UNIX, Windows and Linux programs, the latter two quite effectively through virtualising an entire OS in a virtual machine,” Andrew Harrison writes for Macworld UK.

“Three programs exist to do the job – Oracle’s Virtual Box, VMware’s Fusion and Parallels Desktop for Mac,” Harrison writes. “The first option is powerful, and free to use, but not always the easiest to work with since it’s designed for experienced users prepared to learn its hidden foibles. By paying for one of the two commercial applications you may find it simpler to get up and running.”

“Besides offering official support of Windows 8 and 8.1, Parallels goes further by making Microsoft’s unloved operating system marginally more usable,” Harrison writes. “Even before the sticking plaster of v8.1, Parallels had included an option to let Windows boot directly into the regular desktop, rather than the original default of huge Metro tiles. And with the help of Stardock’s Start8 utility included with Parallels 9, the much-missed Windows Start menu returns too. If you do find Metro apps useful, you can also use them windowed within the classic desktop, to save you having to move to and fro inside the schizophrenic operating system”

Much more in the full review here.

Related articles:
Parallels releases Parallels Desktop 9 for Mac with up to 40% performance improvement – August 29, 2013
New Parallels Access for iPad ‘applifies’ Mac apps and Windows programs, making them iPad-friendly – August 28, 2013


  1. Every time Parallels changes something they want another $79 (sometimes $49 if you can find a deal).

    Solved the problem by realizing I don’t need Windows and got a lot of disk space back.

  2. I use it.
    I only use it because I have a roommate who uses my machine and does not know Mac. Plus if he gets malware on the windows box I can simply delete the wvm file and revert to a saved copy of it.

    Works like a breeze.

  3. “Three programs exist to do the job – Oracle’s Virtual Box, VMware’s Fusion and ,” Harrison writes.

    What’s the third one, I”m dying to know! The suspense is awful. 😉

    1. It looks like MDN accidentally did a search-and-replace for the name of the product this article is about and replaced it with nothing. Notice that the subject of the article only appears in the title? 🙂 There are at least two other places it is missing:
      “Besides offering official support of Windows 8 and 8.1, ______ goes further by making Microsoft’s unloved operating system marginally more usable…”
      “Even before the sticking plaster of v8.1, ______ had…”

  4. Parallels may perform slightly better than VMware Fusion but Parallels is very intrusive in regard to OS X. Fusion, on the other hand, is self-contained and does not install drivers, kexts, etc. into OS X.

    For that reason along with lower cost, multiple computer licensing, etc., I chose Fusion.

  5. I use Parallels and love it! I get the best of all worlds on my Mac: OS X, Windows and unix.
    A Mac with Parallels and Windows is a machine that can do pretty much anything.

  6. I use Parallels also and have to say it is a VERY expensive endeavor. I have one program that I have to use for work – MS MapPoint and I have to keep Windows + Parallels around just for it (custom version of MapPoiint so no I can’t use Google Earth or Apple Maps).

    Parallels makes you pay $49 or so a year – basically you have to pay them every time Apple upgrades the OS. Program works fine but if I had it all to do over again I would go with another option. I think I will try VM Ware the next upgrade.

  7. Because of the Windows junk I use, I use virtualization. I’ve used Parallels for years. I’m not familiar with VMWare except by reputation. Parallels works great. I’ve played 3D games with it running and found the speed to be terrific.

    What I don’t like is Microsoft-anything. Just this week Microsoft was forced to report a Windows XP and Window 2003 Server kernel security hole being exploited in the wild (called a ‘Zero-Day Vulnerability’). IOW: The problem is Microsoft.

    As for Parallels pricing, please go price the far-less-functional CrossOver software which is nothing more than the latest version of WINE. Much as I appreciate WINE, I’m not paying high prices for it’s minuscule functionality.

    Parallels is worth paying for, especially if you keep an eye out for bundles and cheap deals. I’ve never, ever paid full price for Parallels.

  8. Since Quicken could/would never come up with a Mac version that was useable for Home/Business, a $450 Lenovo runs Quicken here and my Mac is free of bloatware. Not cheap, but the best solution for me to get everything Microsoft off my Macs.

    1. Yes! I almost forgot. Let me rephrase my statement from above.
      A Mac with Parallels and Windows and Snow Leopard and a Blu-ray writer is a machine that can do pretty much anything.

  9. I have a question for anyone who has experience with these visualization apps. Will they allow you to run an older version of Mac OS (and correspondingly older Mac centric software) on a newer Mac?

    I’d like to run an older version of iMovie with some of the 3rd party effects/transitions plug-ins that were available.

    1. Yes. I run a VM of Mountain Lion under Mavericks/Parallels 9 to (a) demonstrate this to people, and (b) run Monopoly and Hordes of Orcs, neither of which will run properly under Mavericks. Depending upon what’s being done, however, you may experience some hesitation; I’m running it on a Core i7 MacBook Pro with 16 GB (8 GB on the VM).

    2. Yes. If you can find an installation CD then you can run a virtual OS X on Parallels. They seem to support this much better than Fusion. Once reason is that until 10.8, virutalizing OS X was against the EULA and Fusion specifically noted that.

  10. I use both and Parallels runs Windows from XP to 8.1 significantly better than Fusion especially if you want to use any of the Windows integration technologies. Parallels is much more Mac UI oriented than VMWare.

    That being said I still have both because Fusion is much more useful for orgs that already are using VMWare for their infrastructure. You can create deployable VMs directly from Fusion. Fusion also has a much better network emulation than Parallels. This lets you create a virtual network (with virtual switches, etc) in order to simulate an active Windows Domain with servers, DCs, and workstations.

    Both companies are thieves with their pricing schemes I will strongly admit.

  11. Switching to Oracle’s Virtual Box is a good choice. It’s actually unbelievable that people have to pay such large amount of money just for an update of Parallels. Can’t be justified.

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