Running Windows on your Mac: Parallels Desktop 10 vs. VMWare Fusion 7

“Transitioning from a Windows PC to a Mac can be challenging, especially if you use applications or workflows that are dependent on Windows,” Peter Cohen writes for iMore.

“Sometimes equivalent software isn’t available — and even if it is, files aren’t fully compatible with those Mac versions — and sometimes employer IT departments are reluctant to support the Mac. If that’s the case for you, installing Windows on your Mac could be your best solution,” Cohen writes. “There are two prominent commercial packages to help you with that: VMWare Fusion and Parallels Desktop.”

“First of all, let me say that I think either Parallels Desktop or VMWare Fusion are excellent choices for virtualizing Windows. What’s more, both vendors make trial versions available for download, so I heartily encourage anyone interested in giving them a try to do so. You have nothing to lose,” Cohen writes. “Having said that, I’ve found that Parallels Desktop 10 works faster on my Mac (a 2013 15-inch Retina MacBook Pro) than VMWare Fusion 7 does. Boot times are less and 3D graphics run faster.”

Much more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: From what we’ve seen (and we’ve seen quite a few) the majority of these virtualization comparisons give the edge to Parallels Desktop over VMWare.


IT Enquirer reviews Parallels Desktop 10 for Mac: ‘It’s a lot faster’ – August 22, 2014
Parallels Desktop, not VMware Fusion, is the best virtualization software for most Mac users – January 30, 2013


  1. I have VMWare and it’s awesome. I haven’t tried Parallels yet, but my use of Windows is limited. I pretty much only use it when I need to use Excel to its fullest capabilities (some things really are just not possible in Numbers or Office for Mac), or troubleshooting problems at work that only occur in IE (most often, and because IE sucks, obviously).

    1. I use VirtualBox as well. I only use Windows to test my web sites and my needs are limited, but I find VirtualBox to be rock solid. The feature set is somewhat limited and performance is not up to the big boys reviewed above but the price can’t be beat.

  2. I use windows at work because I have to use remote desktop to connect to a system which I can only print from using a windows only piece of software. I also still use an old copy of word 2003 for word processing because I’m just so used to it that for what I need I really can’t be bothered to change. Other than that I’ve finally gone Apple for all my computing devices.

    1. And being distracted by something I forgot to say that I’ve used both, and the majority of the time you’re not going to notice the difference. I just bought them when they were on sale.

      1. Yes, it works fine, my DBA AND my SysAdmin (Windows shop) both use a Macbook Pro with MRD to do ALL their work. And we have a VM Ware VM with Windows to RDP to if we need to use the occational local Windows Program. This way we can have a Mac, do everything on the Mac except those Windows tasks, and keep the Mac as clean as possible. We use Keynote, Word, Pages and Excel. Numbers can do stuff Excel can not but Excel is better suited in larger shops like ours.

  3. I use parallels. Runs great. Only two minor problems: sometimes on wake up from sleep thumb drives aren’t right- eject is required. Never lost any information. Second problem is sometimes Time Machine backs up 30-40 gigs of data. This is not a huge problem because this doesn’t take up more then 2-3 gigs net space. Another words TM backs up 40gigs but available backup space drops by only 3 gigs.

    All in all parallels creates the best windows machine you will ever have. 😀

    1. I agree. I have used Parallels for about 5 years. Currently with windows 7. It has been very solid until this last upgrade (parallels 10). I have had annoying USB stuff waking up from sleep (doesn’t recognize microphone) and I have about 1 blue screen of death a week. The latter has been irritating enough for me to consider trying vmware. I have been upgrading windows with all patches (surprisingly hard to do) and I haven’t yet upgraded to yosemite. So I am not blaming parallels until I have everything dialed in.

      1. I’ve never had a blue screen of death under Windows 7. Only once did parallels stop and “blink out” since Jan 2013. OS X continued to run.

        The BIG thing about Parallels is you can copy the WHOLE installation of windows- to OS X it is just one big file (mine is 128Gb) and then test new stuff out. If the new stuff doesn’t work, you can just blow the second installation away in about 2 minutes. 🙂

      1. VMWare allows you to import your Bootcamp partition as a virtual machine image so you can run it alongside your Mac programs without having to reboot into Bootcamp to use Windows.

  4. I’ve used both.

    Currently, I use VMWare (and stopped using Parallels) because (1) VMWare can work with a bootcamp partition and (2) Windows is more cleanly contained (less invasive) to the Mac side.

  5. With the speed of SSDs giving very fast reboot times, it is not as bad using Windows in Boot Camp on a separate partition as it once was.

    Native Windows is required for some Apps serial number systems to work, so virtualization is no go there.

  6. I setup an old PC to always be running and just remote in when needed. I got fed up with always having to pay for an upgrade to the software every time a new Mac OS came out. And this way it runs native and doesn’t steal your Mac’s resources.

  7. I use VMware Fusion and it works better than VirtualBox. Faster, much more resolution friendly and mouse friendly than VB. The best VMware feature is that in unity mode, you can make a window app run like a mac app, without seeing windows.

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