GeekWire: Parallels Desktop 12 for Mac shows why a virtual machine matters

“Parallels Desktop 12 supports several use cases, most notably that of legacy application support and multi-platform development,” Daniel Rasmus writes for GeekWire. “While these two very different scenarios describe the edges of Parallels Desktop 12’s intended use, it also just runs Windows apps with considerable elegance and good performance.”

“People working outside of large corporations may be surprised by how much of the world continues to run on old software — some supported, some not. If a financial application relies on an old Windows NT or other legacy framework that doesn’t run on Windows 10, let alone on macOS, the choice comes down to investing in new software and the associated implementation costs, or keeping old hardware in play, or using a virtualization solution,” Rasmus writes. “Parallels is also a great alternative to a second machine for those who need a Windows app to complement their normally Macintosh-centric work experience.”

“But Parallels goes well beyond Windows 10 cozying up to macOS. It also allows people to run a number of other operating systems, for a variety of reasons,” Rasmus writes. “the real power of Parallels Desktop isn’t looking backward at legacy applications, it is looking forward to tomorrow’s cross platform applications that require an array of hardware for testing and development. With Parallels and a big and beefy Mac, developers need only one box to develop and test across various versions of Windows, MacOS (and previous OS X versions) and the plethora of Linux implementations. At $99.99 a year for business and pro users, the service is reasonably priced, especially when the bundled Access and Toolbox features are considered. The $79.99 version for individuals [$68.99 at Amazon] is an even better deal.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: If you have to run Windows apps on your Mac, Parallels Desktop 12 is what you want.


  1. Why run Windows on slow virtualization when you can run it straight on native hardware like the new Surface Book. Virtualization made sense when Apple hadn’t abandoned the desktop.

    1. I’ll switch to that Surface Book as soon as I can run Logic and Final Cut Pro X on it.

      There is no application that offers, for me, what those two can do. Especially not at those prices.

      Don’t forget; that Surface Book, regardless of how fast its processor may be (compared to the latest MBP), still requires cycle-robbing anti-malware tool at all times.

    2. Because on a Surface Book you can run, maybe, one operating system – while with a Mac, you get multiple, by being able to run an operating system that is not only better, but will also allow you to run virtual machines to run several additional operating systems, including MacOS.

      The Surface book doesn’t do that, nor does it run MacOS applications.

    3. Virtualization is not ‘slow’. It’s at the full speed of the processor (with occasional exceptions where the virtualization software requires better optimization).

      Apple hadn’t/hasn’t abandoned the desktop. DUH. No one with a brain has said they have. Whether Apple has abandoned the Mac Pro and is stumbling keeping up with the lastest CPUs for other desktops, that’s up for debate.

      Why anyone would want to run anything on a Surface anything is beyond my comprehension. Pity is all I can offer.

      Apple still provides free Boot Camp, which allows creating a Windows partition on Macs for running Windows natively, not even virtualization required.

  2. Parallels is basically subscription software.

    Every year Apple releases a new OS, you’re forced to upgrade Parallels (and it isn’t cheap). I feel like they intentionally impose this limit to force upgrades. I can find no other reasonable explanation the software would be “incompatible” with an incremental OS upgrade. That drives me crazy, and it’s why I don’t use their otherwise decent software.

    1. Agreed, I stopped buying the software several years ago for this reason. My use case was connecting to my companies VPN and using remote desktop to access my work PC. When I found that there was a Mac software that worked with the VPN, I was able to dump parallels.
      I totally understand the need to run legacy software and it is often a case of it is ain’t broke don’t fix it. Most companies are standardized on Win 7, having finally moved from XP. The biggest change I’ve seen is to Office365 which IT seems to like a lot (or have no choice to upgrade to).
      Parallels was good for virtualization and I generally skipped an upgrade. When they started forcing upgrades each year that was when I looked for alternatives.

        1. Parallels 11 runs perfectly Windows 10 well on macOS 10.12.x Sierra. I’m soaking in it right now!

          Parallels 12 has optimization tweaks, it’s faster and they fiddled around with the Parallels Toolkit. That’s about it.

          Don’t bother with Parallels 10 on Sierra. No go.

    2. Screw Parallels – updated to Sierra and the version I had which was only a few years old would not recognize USB devices. Which is the ONLY reason I needed the product – to print to a legacy Windows-only industrial printer. No upgrade pricing. And no way to downgrade to the previous version unless I ditched Sierra.

      And Parallels is basically subscription now. You pay $79.99 to purchase it and get no free upgrades, ever. Or you can get a 1-year subscription for $79.99. For a program that I literally use 2-3x a month, tops. Again, screw that.

      And the support I got from Parallels *sucked*. It’s basically self-help if you’re not current. You have to read through their “forums” and their search engine for those is horrid – returns all kinds of replies about solving problems for other versions for other OS’s. I emailed them about the USB issue above and they did not even give me the courtesy of a canned reply.

      Had I bought VMWare at the same time, I would have still been eligible for an upgrade at 50% off. So, I am done with Parallels. Downloaded the free trial of VMWare – it imported my Parallels machine just fine. And then I bought it because it comes with better support. They even offer upgrade pricing from Parallels!

    3. The price for Parallels software is reasonable given how much Apple changes stuff under the hood with each new release. The developmental costs in time are significant.

      Next, buying Parallels also gives you Parallels Tools and Access. Access will let you not only remote into your Mac on your iPad or other Mac, it will make Mac apps appear as iOS apps on your iPad.

    4. No Matt S., Parallels is NOT forcing yearly upgrades with macOS upgrades. That most certainly is NOT the case with Parallels 12, to which I am quite successfully NOT upgrading. I’m using Parallels 11 and it runs quite well, including Windows 10.

      However, does Parallels marketing attempt to convince you that it would be in your best interest to upgrade every year? YES! I just ignore them.

  3. Why run windows on a mac instead of a surface? so you don’t have to buy hardware.

    Subscription software? In case in the case of parallels, it is well worth it. Buy it and get over it.

    I run P12 with win7 on a 2012 iMac with an i7, 24g of Ram, and a HDD. It runs just fine. I run Microstation, a CAD program- works like a charm.

    The best part about it is that to the Mac, windows looks like a FILE. In my case a 100 gigabyte file. When you need to do an update, copy the file, do the update. Update goes south? Blow away the file and try again. 🙂

    It works so well, that on my next corporate laptop (when my client FINALLY updates to win 10), I’m running win 10 in a virtual environment on a WINDOWS machine.

    Warning: the key to performance is LOTS of ram and disk or SDD space. You need a minimum of 16gig of ram and 300 gigs of HD or SSD space. 🙂 cough up the money, you’ll be glad you did.

  4. “If you have to run Windows apps on your Mac, Parallels Desktop 12 is what you want.”

    Nope. If you have to run Windows apps on your Mac, VMware Fusion 8.5 is what you want. It’s more system-friendly, less invasive, and more wallet-friendly if you want to run it on multiple owned systems.

    1. Have used both and Parallels is better in most cases.

      Bertrand Serlet is on the board of Parallels and he used to be the head of Mac OS at Apple back when it was great (Snow Leopard was done on his watch).

  5. The BIG FAT ONGOING PROBLEM with ALL virtualization software: NONE of them run DirectX 11.

    At version 8, Parallels added DirectX 10 support. It’s now four years later and NO support for DirectX 11 or DirectX 12. There is no indication that they ever will. Their only response is to ‘wait and see’. 💤💤

    Use Apple’s Boot Camp if you want to run the latest Windows 3D games. Skip virtualization.

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