Parallels Desktop for Mac Review

In the first issue we decided to make a brief description of Parallels, Inc and its products. Parallels, Inc. is a privately held, fast-growing software company based in Renton, Washington that is entirely focused on developing industry-leading workstation and server virtualization technologies. The Parallels team is one of the most mature in the industry. Core team members have been involved in software development, testing, and deployment since 1995, and have been entirely focused on virtualization technologies since 1999. The 1980s and 1990s saw enterprises worldwide invested hundreds of billions of dollars into creating complex, underused IT environments that were unable to cope with constantly changing needs and a perpetually evolving business climate.

The only available solution in a “traditional” IT infrastructure is to upgrade existing workstations and servers, or add additional hardware to accommodate new requirements. This “buy and try” approach results in monstrous, resource-hungry environments that include

disparate operating systems, hardware standards, and applications. Through the development of ground-breaking virtualization solutions for both servers and workstations, Parallels is helping to alleviate the cost and headache associated with a traditional IT infrastructure. Virtual IT infrastructures help enterprises lower operating costs, improve user productivity, and maximize hardware value by reducing the total number of machines needed to complete critical tasks. With fewer machines in operation, enterprises save time, energy costs, and can make more efficient use of physical space, existing hardware, and support team efforts. They produce the award-winning and industry leading virtualization software that is acknowledged worldwide to be the most convenient, reliable and easy-to-use virtualization software in the industry.

Now let us start with Parallels Desktop for Mac Review.

Parallels Desktop for Mac is the first solution for Intel-Macs that give you the flexibility of running Windows on a Mac OS X simultaneously without rebooting. You can use Parallels Desktop for Mac on any Intel-powered iMac, Mac Mini, MacBook, MacBook Pro, & Mac Pro Towers. Now you can take advantage of important Windows-only software applications like Internet Explorer, Microsoft Outlook, Microsoft Project, Quicken, Microsoft Visio, Microsoft SharePoint, SQL Server, and more, without giving up the security, comfort and functionality of your Mac!

Parallels Desktop for Mac is the main and top-selling product for Parallels. For many Mac users, running Windows applications is a necessity. There was a problem with other virtual machines working with Mac, because they didn’t allow working simultaneously with Windows on Mac, there was only an opportunity to move between the OSes by rebooting the PC. Of course, that was inconvenient for users.

That’s why Desktop for Mac is so popular in Mac-users community. By using this software Mac-users got the ability to work with Windows and use Windows applications on Mac without rebooting. Desktop gives the ability to support a great amount of operating systems, including such popular as Windows Vista and Mac OS X 10.5, code-named “Leopard”. Desktop for Mac is the only solution that automatically takes full advantage of Intel Core Duo Virtualization Technology which allows you to run Windows and its applications at full speed.

Parallels Desktop for Mac received many famous awards: Macworld – “Editor’s choice”, MacUser 06 Awards – “Innovation of the year”, "Best of Show" at the 2007 MacWorld Expo, PC World - one of the 20 Most Innovative Products of 2006, one of the Washington Times' "Best Tech Products of 2006" and many others.

Windows & Parallels Desktop for Mac

Installing Windows XP or Windows Vista inside of Parallels is downright easy and problem free. With Windows Vista in particular and the Express Installation mode there were only a handful of boxes to click before Vista was completely installed.

Actually using Windows within Parallels feels no different than using Windows on a standalone computer, albeit with one minor caveat. Compared with previous versions Parallels made a big change, now Desktop 3.0 for Mac supports 3D graphics and you will be in possibility to play video games. Personally, I don’t play games or use any 3d rendering programs so this caveat did not bother me much. It would have been nice to have the Aero features available in Vista but this really didn’t affect my productivity in any appreciable way. Other than that, all the Windows programs you normally use can be used with Windows & Parallels. Parallels does offer three distinct viewing modes when working with the guest Windows operating system: Window, Full screen, or Coherence modes. Using the window mode is probably the most familiar method, but on my 13″ MacBook that would have been the least desirable method out of the three. In full screen mode, it really does feel like you are running Windows on a PC.

Linux & Parallels Desktop for Mac

Parallels had no problem installing Ubuntu’s Edgy Eft. If you have never used Linux before, Parallels is a great way to get your feet wet with Linux but not having to completely commit yourself to the alternative operating system. Although Parallels doesn’t feature all the bells and whistles for Linux guest operating systems as they do for Windows, nevertheless Parallels ran Linux great.

One of the first things that I wanted to change was the default aspect ratio. On my Macbook with its native resolution of 1280×800, the available resolutions were 1024×768 (height was to tall) or 800×600 (width was to small), which were not ideal for my needs. In order to change the resolution two steps were needed. In the “Configuration Editor” I selected “Video” then clicked the “Enable custom screen resolutions” box and then added 1024×600. Next step was to boot up Ubuntu. Then add custom settings in xorg.conf. Under the “Screen” section next to “Depth 24″ I added “1024×600” and then under the “Monitor” section I added this line :

# 1024×600 @ 60.00 Hz (GTF) hsync: 37.32 kHz; pclk: 48.96 MHz Modeline “1024×600_60.00″ 48.96 1024 1064 1168 1312 600 601 604 622 -HSync +Vsync

From there things worked quite nicely, but as I said before, you don’t get all the features that are available for Windows guest operating systems. I was surprised that Parallels did not have a “Shared Folders” option available for Linux. Since I have used VMware in the past on my Linux desktop (as the host OS) and they have shared folders available for Linux I thought it was strange you could not do the same for Parallels and Linux. Needless to say that was disappointing. Nonetheless, I was able to share folders between OS X and Ubuntu via NFS.

Final Conclusions

Parallels Desktop for Mac has come along very nicely in only a short of amount of time. The software runs very smoothly and is priced reasonably at $79.99. I did wish that they would have included more features for alternative operating systems like Linux. There’s no reason why “Shared Folders” could not work in Linux, but perhaps Parallels were simply devoting their resources for Windows working as smoothly as possible in their 1.0 release. Hopefully for their next version some of these features will be available for other operating systems.

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