Parallels server for mac review

If you've switched from Windows to a Mac, there's a good chance you want to run some of your old Windows apps, but there's no exact match for them in the Apple-centric world. Even if there's an OS X version of your favorite program, it may work differently than it does on Windows—as the OS X versions of Microsoft Word and Excel apps work differently than their Windows counterparts.

This is the problem virtualization utilities like Parallels Desktop are designed to solve. Parallels offers the deepest integration between Windows apps and OS X systems, and the latest version, Parallels Desktop 12, offers major advances in the depth of its integration with Windows Combined with impressive speed improvements, Parallels remains the top choice for less technical users, though both Parallels and Fusion have their own advantages. Versions and Pricing Parallels Desktop comes in three versions.

The Pro version also includes high-level features that I didn't test, including the ability to access a guest OS via SSH or from a browser if the guest OS is set up as a Web server and integration with Microsoft Visual Studio and virtualization tools like Docker. Use Cases Users typically run Parallels or competitor Fusion in one of two modes.

Parallels Desktop (for Mac) Review & Rating |

Either you use the virtualization app to open a complete Windows desktop on your Mac, or you use it to open a single Windows app in an OS X window, as if the Windows app were actually an OS X app. If you sometimes need to work as if you were using a real Windows system, you use the Windows Desktop mode—and you can drag files between the OS X desktop and the Windows desktop.

In either mode, you can set up a sharing option that lets your Windows apps save and open files directly to and from any folder on your OS X disk. View All 10 Photos in Gallery. For example, you can select a file on the Windows desktop, or in a Windows Explorer window, then pop up the file's right-click context menu and find an option to Open in Mac. This causes the file to open in the default OS X application for that file type.

This latter operation may require you to follow some manual steps in Parallels, however. This means that you select a file in a Windows folder, then press the spacebar, and the OS X QuickLook window pops up a preview of the file. For me, and I think for most users, this is less distracting and more useful than the full Windows Desktop mode. An additional button in Parallels' OS X title bar switches from Windows Desktop mode to Coherence mode—the switch takes a few seconds, but not enough to be annoying—and you can set the Windows app always to open in Coherence mode, even from a Dock icon.

The latest version of Parallels takes Windows integration to a new level.

Windows 10 on the 15" MacBook Pro (Late 2016 Touch Bar)

You can now schedule Windows 10 updates to take place at night or on weekends, to avoid slowing down your system when you need to get work done. Another small but welcome change: You can tell Parallels to start up a virtual machine when you start up your Mac. You can also leave the Windows machine paused in the background so you can start up a Windows app in far less time than with previous versions. Getting Started To use Parallels, you'll need a copy of Windows on your Mac, and Parallels gives you multiple ways of getting one. A button on the New Virtual Machine wizard lets you download Windows 10 directly from Microsoft, either buying a new copy or using a license key that you already own.

Parallels then automatically installs Windows If you want to migrate an existing Windows system, an option in the wizard lets you download and install the Parallels Transporter utility to transfer your existing Windows system—including applications and files—either across a network or via a portable disk, You can also install any other Windows or Linux version from an ISO file or DVD.

Parallels Desktop (for Mac)

You also have the option of importing a Windows system you've installed on your Mac via Apple's Boot Camp feature. Or you can use the Parallels wizard to download prebuilt versions of Ubuntu, Android, Chrome, or other environments. Finally, you can also install a virtual copy of your current version of OS X from your Mac's recovery partition.

That's a rich assortment of choices, and Parallels' wizards make all these operations almost effortless. A virtualized system like Windows under Parallels will always be slower than a system running directly on the hardware—like Windows under Boot Camp. But Parallels has done an impressive job of making Windows respond snappily on modern hardware like the MacBook Air that I used for testing.

Compared to VMware Fusion, Parallels seems slightly but noticeably faster running Windows, but the difference isn't decisive. Parallels beat Fusion in my tests at starting a virtual machine and waking a sleeping one.

I set up Windows 10 in both apps so that Windows automatically booted directly to the desktop, without waiting at the log-in screen. Download the OS and Parallels will quickly configure and install it for you, all at the push of a button. Parallels also lets you download and install the free versions of Google Chrome, Fedora, and Ubuntu, directly from within the Parallels application. Virtualization of Lion is very handy for application developers, letting them test their apps without worrying about their Mac or its configuration.

But it can also be helpful for anyone who likes to download tons of apps and try them out. With virtualization, you can test apps and then install only the ones you like directly on your Mac. One of the areas where we always want to see improvements in any new version of a virtualization app is performance. From version to version, we want to see improvements in both processor performance and graphics performance. I'm happy to say that Parallels Desktop 7, at least on this cursory look at performance, delivers improvements over Parallels Desktop 6.

That's no mean feat.

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Parallels Desktop 6 was already the fastest virtualization app that we have tested, so when Parallels said they were going to squeeze out additional performance , it was gratifying to see that they weren't just talking about a few points here or there, but an overall improvement across the board. As you can see, Parallels Desktop 7 showed an improvement in just about every category, which led me to try a few PC games. In all cases, I found them quite playable, but I will need to do more testing, just to be sure. After all, you can't be too thorough.

Parallels Desktop 7 for Mac is without a doubt the best release of Parallels I have seen. It provides plenty of new features and performance improvements to warrant upgrading, and although I haven't yet tested Parallels Desktop 7 head-to-head against other popular virtualization applications, it seems that Parallels will once again come out on top. If you're looking for a virtualization app for your Mac, Parallels easily deserves consideration. Now you'll have to excuse me; it's time to get back to testing the graphics with some of the PC games we've got hanging around.

Share Pin Email. Tom Nelson has written hundreds of articles, tutorials, and reviews for Other World Computing and About. He is the president of Coyote Moon, Inc. Updated October 25, Intel Core 2 Duo or better. Mac OS X Parallels Desktop 7 For Mac - Performance.

Geekbench 2. Parallels 7 Parallels 6 Rendering 2.

Review: Parallels Server for Mac underwhelms

Parallels Desktop 7 For Mac - Conclusion. Supports Apple's multi-touch gestures within the Windows OS. Works with Expose, Spaces, and Mission Control. Works with Lion's full screen capabilities. Offers improved graphics performance. Gives you the choice of running it in a windowed environment or integrated as part of your Mac desktop.

Guest OSes are easy to set up with the built-in wizards.

Price and options

Improved battery life when running on portables. Installation process removes earlier versions of Parallels Desktop. Guest OSes must be updated to work properly. No support for DirectX Continue Reading.