Mossberg on running Windows 10 on your Mac: New Parallels 12 does the job well

“I’m writing this paragraph in Word for Windows on Windows 10. The process is as smooth as you’d expect on PC hardware built for Windows, with no hesitation or freezing, and all the features are enabled,” Walt Mossberg writes for The Verge. “But I’m not using a Windows PC; I’m using a three-year-old MacBook Air. And I haven’t had to give over the Air entirely to Windows. Instead, I’m running Windows 10 and its apps concurrently with the brand-new macOS Sierra. For instance, the Windows version of Word is running in its own window, right alongside open Mac apps, including Apple Mail and Safari.”

“I’m doing this all with the new version of a 10-year-old program, Parallels Desktop, from a Seattle-area company of the same name, which came out last month for $80,” Mossberg writes. “It’s faster and smoother than ever, and has some new tricks, including a new Mac utility suite that’s also sold separately.”

“With Parallels Desktop, I can hop back and forth between Sierra and Windows 10 — and even between individual apps — with ease,” Mossberg writes. “Through all this, the aging Air performed smoothly and quickly, even though I’m now running three Windows apps and 11 Mac apps, including two browsers — Microsoft Edge and Apple Safari — with about 15 tabs open, total. That includes two instances of the constantly updating TweetDeck app for Twitter power users.”

Much more in the full review here.

MacDailyNews Take: Hey, if you have to stoop to doing it, at least you can do it on quality Mac hardware, right?

Parallels is the smoothest way to slum it with Windows on your Mac.

ZDNet reviews Parallels Desktop 12 For Mac: ‘A worthwhile upgrade’ – August 22, 2016


      1. I Just upgraded to 12 because I’m on the pro plan and use win 7 at work and I want to stay updated (for upcoming sierra as well). My work requires dragon maturally speaking windows version. So far it is a little snappier, but there was a problem with spaces and multiple monitors. Bottom line, if v11 is working well I would not upgrade yet.

  1. For running Microsoft Office and Internet Explorer if you need it, Parallels is great. But if you need to run Visual Studio, PC games, or anything else that really needs full hardware performance, Bootcamp is still the only way to go.

  2. I would highly recommend a VM for anyone in my field (web design and front-end development). Using images I’m able to test site prototypes in the configurations my clients use, for example one Fortune 500 company is running IE9 on Windows 7. Although it’s painful to code specifically for that [expletive] browser, using a VM to test is very cost-effective and significantly reduces the risk of show-stopping bugs after handoff to their IT team. I’m also able to test email newsletter drafts in Outlook 2010 for the same company. And if you thought IE9 was painful, Outlook 2010 is like coding for 1990s-era browsers.

    Years ago, when I first needed a VM, I tested both Parallels (version 5) and Fusion—Parallels was far and away superior to Fusion at that time. In the intervening years I haven’t seen a compelling reason to switch. Although these days Parallels seems to want people to subscribe to their software, which is starting to get on my nerves. I tend to view that move as a company trying to protect a revenue stream rather than continue to innovate, and I’m reasonably certain that their product is feature complete when this happens (see: Office 365, and to a lesser degree, Adobe Creative Cloud which still pushes some innovations out but not necessarily compelling ones). Fortunately I don’t need to allocate more than 8GB RAM or use Visual Studio, so I can stick with the base version for now.

    Last week I found one more reason to use a VM: my older iMac hard drive is starting to make certain noises that indicate failure is a good possibility. I keep that system around for a few apps that don’t play nice with Sierra, and it runs Yosemite. So I rebooted it to the recovery disk, and cloned the main drive to an external USB3 drive. Back on my newer Sierra iMac, Parallels recognized the external drive was bootable and allowed me to create a VM and boot into it from the external drive. I then launched the App Store, downloaded the Yosemite installer, and installed it to the virtual hard drive. After rebooting the VM to the virtual drive, I ran Migration Assistant to pull over apps, docs, etc. from the external drive, and haven’t needed the external drive since. I had to reauthorize a few apps but that wasn’t much of a hassle.

    1. Have you tried Safari’s dev mode? Option-Command-F5 will bring up a preview mode for most browsers and devices/resolutions you would need to test for.

      I know you really need to test on I.E. and Edge but it’s pretty handy to not have to leave Safari for little things.

  3. I have most Windows versions and Mac OS X versions that you can install on a VM, already done. I went all the way back to Tiger, yep it was possible, but it only worked on my 2009 17 MBP.

    VMware 8.5 is pretty decent, what I am currently using. The last version of Parallels I have is v9. I am not so keen on upgrading every year, but maybe this time around. Parallels also makes software bundles for $49, every once in a while. Pretty good deals.

  4. I learned this the hard way:
    For anyone considering running Win10 via Parallels or natively, beware that Microsoft does things to ensure the ongoing use of Windows. If you are using Windows for personal use you may encounter no ill effects when running it via Parallels. However, if your prime use will be sharing important Office files on an enterprise Windows network, there are problems. Believe it or not, Word is set up to strip out some of the meta data if files are saved to anywhere other than a Windows application or desktop. IE: You can save a Word document to your Mac Desktop but when you open it back up (in Word again) some of the margins and bulletpoints will be gone. MicroSoft likes to claim Apple’s OS just can’t keep up (cough, cough, bullshit!) with their amazing products. Conveniently, for MicroSoft, the only way around this is to boot into Windows 10 natively. In the end I sometimes edit Word docs via Win10 in Parallels at home, but when I go to resend the document, I boot into Windows, attach it to an Outlook email and and send it from there. It goes through fine that way. At work I just boot into Windows to avoid the hassle, while cussing at all the simple things Windows still can’t do.

    Also, Running Windows on your Mac makes your Mac HD vulnerable to all that windows malware. UGH. In retrospect a cheapo Windows PC might have been apt for work-only use as I could use both at the same time and keep my Mac safe.

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