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Parallels Desktop for Mac (Intel Mac)

Platform : Mac OS X Intel

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  • Run important applications available only for Windows
  • Software for running Windows alongside Mac OS X; no need to reboot
  • Run Windows and other operating systems on the Mac simultaneously
  • Share files between Windows and Mac OS X with a shared folder
  • Set up with a simple wizard-driven interlace that even automates network settings

There is a newer version of this item:


System Requirements

  • Platform: Mac OS X Intel
  • Media: CD-ROM
  • Item Quantity: 1

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Product Details

  • Product Dimensions: 3.8 x 13.2 x 19 cm
  • ASIN: B000GHIV2Q
  • Release Date: July 11 2006
  • Average Customer Review: 2.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #2,293 in Software (See Top 100 in Software)

Product Description

From Amazon.ca

The first solution that gives Apple users the ability to run Windows, Linux or any other operating system and their critical applications at the same time as Mac OS X--without rebooting--on any Intel-powered iMac, Mac Mini, MacBook or MacBook Pro.

The killer app for Mac is now even better than ever!
Parallels Desktop for Mac enables you to run Windows, Linux, and more side-by-side with Mac OS X on any Intel-powered Mac, without rebooting. With Parallels' award-winning virtualization technology, you can run Mac OS X and your favorite Windows applications at the same time. You can even drag-and-drop files between desktops!

The latest release of Parallels Desktop for Mac comes packed with 50+ new features and enhancements, including SmartSelect, Snapshots, and 3D graphics. Learn more about the new capabilities in the latest release of our award-winning product.

Top 5 reasons to run Parallels:
Run Windows-only applications on your Mac.
Many of today's most popular applications are windows-only. Parallels enables you to run these applications on your Mac. Play computer games? Most PC games only run on Windows. With Parallels, you no longer have to sacrifice your favorite games!
Run Selected 3D Games and Applications.
OpenGL and DirectX support lets you explore a whole new world of 3D games and applications right on your Mac.
Use any phone, MP3 player, and camera with your Mac.
With Parallels, you can use your favorite devices, even if they're Windows-only. Connect your Blackberry, phone, camera, and MP3 player to your Mac!
Run OS X, Windows, and Linux at the same time.
With Parallels, you can run all of your favorite applications at the same time, regardless of the OS! No more rebooting to switch between OSes to use the applications you need.
No-worry migrations!
Parallels Transporter takes the hassle out of migration. No more losing valuable data, customizing your computer all over again, or reinstalling software. In just a few simple steps, you can move your entire existing Windows system to your new Mac.

With the latest version of Parallels, you can:

  • Use Windows and Mac OS X at the same time... without rebooting
  • Run Windows programs like native Mac applications with Parallels Coherence
  • New! Open Windows files with Mac programs and Mac files in Windows programs with Parallels SmartSelect
  • Share files and folders between Windows and Mac OS X
  • New! Browse through Windows folders and access files without launching Windows with Parallels Explorer
  • New! Run today's most popular PC games on a Mac with support for 3D graphics
  • Achieve maximum performance by leveraging Intel Virtualization Technology
  • New! Protect your Windows with Parallels Snapshots
  • Migrate your entire existing PC to your Mac with Parallels Transporter

Coherence
With Parallels Desktop 3.0 for Mac, you can run Windows applications like they were native to your Mac! Experience the new Coherence mode to enjoy the benefits of both operating systems, without managing two desktops. In Parallels Desktop 3.0, Coherence has been enhanced to make running both operating systems simultaneously even easier and more user-friendly.

Enjoy the benefits of both operating systems, without managing two desktops.

Using Parallels Desktop 3.0's Coherence, you can:

  • Navigate Windows using the Windows taskbar directly on your Mac desktop
  • Hide the Windows taskbar until you need it
  • Launch your favorite Windows applications and access the Windows Start menu straight from your Mac Dock
  • Use your Windows applications right on your Mac desktop, without resizing Windows itself
  • Manage your open documents and files on the Windows taskbar while enjoying your favorite Mac Dock applications at the same time
  • View Windows applications in Dock at your convenience! Choose your level of integration from Never, Always, and Only in Coherence.
  • Maintain seamless access to all of your Windows and Mac documents, files, applications, hardware, and devices, making your user environment truly hassle-free
  • Drag-and-drop files and folders instantly between Windows and Mac OS X
  • Choose the best application for your needs, without flipping from one operating system to another
  • Prefer Coherence over managing two desktops? Boot your virtual system to Coherence at startup, and truly avoid switching between operating systems.
  • Mount your Windows operating system directly on your Mac desktop and enjoy instant access to all of your files, regardless of their OS Enjoy two operating systems while managing only one desktop. Coherence eliminates your having to switch between operating systems to enjoy your favorite Windows and Mac applications. You can almost forget that you're running two OSes!


Transporter
Transporter is a powerful tool that enables you to migrate your entire PC system to a Parallels virtual machine. Migrate your entire PC system, including operating system, applications, files, and personal settings--without losing data or reinstalling any software.

NEW! Now you can convert VMware Workstation/Server and Virtual PC virtual hard disks to a Parallels virtual machine AND migrate directly to your Mac using FireWire!


Transporter enables you to migrate your entire PC system to a Parallels virtual machine. View the demo.

Supported OSes
Transporter--the application that creates Parallels virtual machines:

* Windows 2000
* Windows XP
* Windows 2003
* Windows Vista
* Mac OS X
* Linux

Transporter Agent--the provider which enables online migration of Windows PC:

* Windows 2000
* Windows XP
* Windows 2003


Installation Assistant built-in tool
Thanks to Parallels Desktop 3.0 for Mac's Installation Assistant, installing Windows on your Mac is now even easier than installing it on a PC! This new built-in tool is already included in Parallels Desktop 3.0 for Mac.

How does it work?
With a powerful, easy to use "Express Windows OS Installation Mode" for Windows Vista and Windows XP, the Installation Assistant completely automates the virtual machine setup and installation of Windows--with almost no user interaction.

Start taking advantage of running Windows on your Mac in just three easy steps:

  • Select which Windows operating system you want to install,
  • Enter your name, company and Windows activation key,
  • Click finish--and let the Installation Assistant do the rest!
You do not need to enter any additional information, select settings, or answer any potentially confusing technical questions. This built-in tool automatically completes the full installation in a pre-designed virtual machine.

After Windows is installed, the Installation Assistant automatically installs Parallels Tools, a free set of useful add-ons that improve networking, video, and sound support, syncs mouse activity and OS system clocks, and enables you to cut, copy, and paste of data, as well as file sharing, between Windows and OS X.

Need to run other operation systems on your Mac?
The Installation Assistant provides improved and user-friendly setup for other versions of Windows, plus any Linux distribution, FreeBSD, Solaris, OS/2, eComStation, and MS-DOS.

NOTE! If you are already using Parallels Desktop for Mac, updating Parallels Desktop 3.0 does not require a reinstall of any guest operating systems or applications. After updating, you should only reinstall Parallels Tools.

SmartSelect enables Mac users to open any Windows or Mac file with whichever software they choose.

View the SmartSelect demo!

SmartSelect
Parallels Desktop 3.0 for Mac's new SmartSelect enables Mac users to open any Windows or Mac file with whichever software they choose--regardless of its original OS! Now you can open Windows files with any Mac software and Mac files with any Windows software.

With support in both Windows and Mac OS X and deep document, email, and web-browser integration between the two operating systems, Parallels Desktop 3.0's SmartSelect frees you to choose the best software for the job, without interrupting your workflow.

Previously, Parallels Desktop users had to copy a file into either Windows or Mac OS X to open the file with the application they wanted. Now, in Parallels Desktop 3.0, you can open any file from either OS and view it with the software of your choice.

With SmartSelect, you can:

  • View and edit a file with any compatible PC or Mac software available on your Intel Mac
  • Set file-associations to open a file-type with specific Mac or PC software
  • Set SmartSelect software settings "on the fly" or as the default

Imagine being able to double-click on a text document in Mac Finder and immediately launch Microsoft Word in Windows. Or synchronizing your digital life by playing all the MP3s in your music library with Mac iTunes--even if the files are located in Windows.

Parallels Desktop 3.0's SmartSelect goes beyond document integration. It also supports email and web browsing. Immediately view a PPT file a colleague sent you in Apple Mail using Windows PowerPoint. Click on any hyperlink in an email or document and have your default web-browser--such as Apple's Safari or Microsoft's Internet Explorer--launch. With SmartSelect, the possibilities are endless.


 

 

Snapshots enables you to erase mistakes and recover your virtual machine from system crashes and viruses with the click of a button.

View the Snapshot demo.

Snapshots
Parallels Desktop 3.0 for Mac's new Snapshots enables you to erase mistakes and recover your virtual machine from system crashes and viruses with the click of a button. Enjoy peace of mind with Parallels Desktop 3.0's Snapshots.

A complete record of your virtual machine at the state it was created--OS, data, software, and settings--Parallels Desktop 3.0's Snapshots enables you to quickly and easily create and save multiple snapshots, even while your virtual machine is running.

In the event a virus or a Windows system crash, you can conveniently rollback your virtual machine to any previously saved state with all of your data and software intact. (As opposed to losing all of your data and reinstalling Windows and all your PC software.) Additionally, periodically creating a set of backups facilitates faster recovery time to get back on your feet, if disaster strikes.

With Parallels Desktop 3.0's Snapshot Manager, you can manage and view all of your snapshots in a tree pane that includes screen shots for each snapshot. Snapshot Manager enables you to revert back to previous snapshots, delete snapshots, and edit description information for each snapshot.

Snapshots are excellent for:

  • Bulletproofing your Windows virtual machine from viruses and spyware
  • Creating a regularly scheduled backup to revert your virtual machine to any previous stable state
  • Rolling back your virtual machine after a software update, system crash, or software testing
In an unpredictable world, Parallels Desktop 3.0's Snapshots safeguards your data and creates a more reliable virtual machine so you can focus on more important things.

Access your Windows files and folders directly from your Mac desktop without even launching Windows using Parallels Explorer.

View the Explorer demo.

Parallels Explorer
Just need that one document? Where did that pdf go? Thanks to Parallels Desktop 3.0 for Mac's new Parallels Explorer, now you can access your Windows files and folders directly from your Mac desktop, without even launching Windows. With a deeper integration between Mac OS X and Windows, Parallels Desktop 3.0 makes it even easier to run Windows on your Mac.

Using Parallels Desktop 3.0's Explorer, you can:

  • Access your Windows files and documents directly from your Mac Desktop
  • Browse your Windows system directly on your Mac Dock
  • Maintain access to your important Windows documents, even if the virtual machine crashes
  • Drag-and-drop files and folders between Windows and OS X
  • Save time with direct access to all of your critical files, without having to wait for your virtual machine to start and Windows to boot
  • Create and delete files in your Windows system "on the fly"
  • Troubleshoot your Windows system for tricky file errors and deleted folders
  • ...all without even launching Windows.

Enjoy two operating systems while managing only one desktop. Parallels Explorer eliminates your having to wait for your virtual machine to start and Windows to boot just to access your key Windows files, folders, and documents. Running Windows and Mac has never been easier!

3D Graphics
NEW! Parallels Desktop 3.0 for Mac now supports DirectX 9 and OpenGL 1.5! No need to dedicate a separate Windows machine to running favorite 3D games and key graphics applications. Parallels Desktop 3.0 now brings the world of Windows 3D straight to your Mac like never before!

With Parallels Desktop 3.0, you can:

  • Play Windows-only 3D games, such as Half-Life, World of Warcraft, and Unreal Tournament
  • Render in complex 3D CAD programs such as AutoCAD 2008
  • Work with CPU-intensive video and sound editing software such as Sony Vegas
  • Run mission-critical 3D applications on your Mac
  • Enjoy your favorite Windows-only games and graphics applications directly in your Windows virtual machine at full native speed--without rebooting

By including deep support for both DirectX and OpenGL, Parallels Desktop 3.0 for Mac brings a world of Windows-only key productivity and entertainment software to Mac users for the first time. Now you can truly experience the best of both worlds on one machine!


Customer Questions & Answers

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Most helpful customer reviews

14 of 14 people found the following review helpful By Andre Lawrence TOP 50 REVIEWER on July 21 2007
The reviewer after me suggests that I'm using an older version and so the problem is a non-issue for Parallels 4.0. Think again. Parallels 4.0-- still many, many problems. Just go to Amazon.com (US) and look at the reviews of people who've actually bought Parallels 4.0. The return rate is very high. Complaints about customer service (or the lack of it) is very high.

Let me offer a suggestion, since there is some confusion.

1. There is no need to buy Parallels (or any Virtual software) if you're only going to use Apple's proprietary system Bootcamp. All you have to do is install Windows on Bootcamp. Now, there's the hassle of coming in and out of Bootcamp to access your Mac side.

2. I've now been using VMWare Fusion for almost one (1) full year. I have never, never once had to reset it. Or, lost any work because of the glitches that were (and, apparently) still are a problem with Parallels. I bought VMWare, just like I bought Parallels with my own money: not a promotional gift, so I have no reason to slander any company for any reason. VMWare FUSION--JUST WORKS! Period. 12 months--NO Problems whatsoever! If you need more verification, just go to Amazon.com (US) read some of the testimonials from VMWare Fusion owners. It's just that simple. Great product. (When you go to see the reviews by current owners of Parallels for Mac 4.0, keep in mind what I wrote here.) Nothing's changed. Unfortunately.

1.0 out of 5 stars Parallels--A revised, Critical Review- Jan. 16, 2008,

I wrote an early review of Parallels Desktop, roughly about 7 months ago.
Read more ›
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Stu on Nov. 4 2009
I have now been using this software, on a daily basis, for over a year (I have some favourite "personal productivity" applications that I am reluctant to abandon as their equivalents do not exist in the Mac world - I also continue to use my accounting software in Windows).

I have 4Gb on my MacBook - 2 Gb allocated to Max OS and 2 Gb allocated to Parallels and Windows. The software, for me, is very stable. I usually have 4 to 6 applications running on my Mac and 3 to 4 applications running also on my VM. Occasionally, the entire system will slow down, this seems to be related to the Kapersky security software running under XP. Once Kapersky has finished its business (usually after a couple of minutes) everything is back to normal.

Improvements that I would like to see - videos are jerky when running PPT and showing a video during a presentation under the VM (I now just open under the XP partition with Bootcamp instead of using Parallels). Version 5 claims to have improved performance in this area. When a USB flash drive or a DVD is inserted, XP aggressively captures the media and it cannot be "seen" under the Mac OS unless you shut down Parallels.

I will wait a couple of weeks before doing the upgrade to v5 - the cost for a boxed set, with shipping and taxes is almost 60 dollars US, so I will probably buy the upgrade through Apple Canada or Amazon.ca instead of from Parallels itself.

One last thing, when I ordered Parallels 4 from Amazon.ca, they sent me version 3 instead. I returned the item but did not receive the credit for almost 6 months. I also had to wait about 8 weeks before version 4 become available on Amazon.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Stewart Midwinter on Jan. 10 2009
The previous reviewer that rated this product 1 Star probably was using an older version. I have had no problems with Parallels v.3 using a Boot Camp partition with Windows XP on it.

The benefit of this arrangement is that I can either boot my iMac directly into Windows using Boot Camp, or else boot into Mac OS X, and then start Parallels to access that same Windows partition to run Windows inside Mac OS X. I can also transfer files back and forth between the two partitions using Parallels.

In addition to using Parallels as described above, I also have a second Windows XP installation in a Parallels Virtual Machine (VM). This works well also, but I just don't trust entirely the idea of having a single file acting as a Windows partition.

Lastly, I also have an installation of Ubuntu Linux in a Parallels VM. Its only hitch is that it gets stuck when shutting down. My workaround is to ask it to reboot, then shut off the VM just when it does reboot.

With 4 GB of RAM in my iMac, I am able to run Mac OS X, Windows XP and Ubuntu Linux all at the same time.

Some early adopters of the newer Parallels v.4.0 have reported problems, but as of early January 2009 there is now an updated version that resolves many of the problems.

If you have recently switched from PC to Mac but hesitate to get rid of your old PC just in case you have to run a Windows app, Parallels will enable you to reclaim some desk space.
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For a while this product functioned well enough on my Mac Mini ... but then problems began. I suddenly could no longer open the Virtiual Machine due to some error message about "Virtual blah blah not activated on my Mac ... try restarting, if that doesn't fix it, contact Parallels..."

I soon discovered that there is NO WAY to contact this company. They are hidden behind a huge shield of useless FAQs and forms to fill out and they want me to pay to find out how to fix a problem with their software? WTF?

I highly recommend NOT wasting time on this product. It could be a good program, but the company behind it is STRANGE STRANGE STRANGE if ever you need help.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 278 reviews
279 of 286 people found the following review helpful
Very Fast Windows Emulation, Some Games Don't Work July 6 2006
By Jeffrey Heaton - Published on Amazon.com
This is a very good PC emulator. It runs very fast. It uses Intel virtualization so it is able to run at near native speeds. I have run many of the Microsoft Office products as well as Developer Studio on it, it works great. A few things you should keep in mind:

** You Need a Copy of Windows

You will have to have your own copy of Windows to make use of this program. I thought I was going to use an upgrade CD that came with one of my computers that I no longer use. But Windows Genuine Advantage flagged it as an illegal copy of Windows, I guess it was licensed only for my old computer. Anyway, I bought a new copy of XP(an upgrade) and it worked just fine.

** Special Drivers

Parallels comes with some special drivers that they recommend that you install on whatever operating system you are using. This is not required. You can run the operating systems just as you would install them on any other computer. However installing the Parallels drivers increases performance. One really nice feature is the mouse driver. When the mouse driver is installed it allows you to simply drag the mouse over Parallels and click on things. Otherwise, you must click on the window first and switch your focus to the virtual machine.

** Games

I have run into some problems where the game will install just fine, but it will refuse to run saying that you must put the game's CD-ROM in. I assume this is because the virtual CD-ROM driver used by Parallels is not supporting the CD-ROM down to a low enough level to support the game's copy protection. One game that has this issue is the Sim's 2.

Also the 3d graphics are NOT virtualized. So any sort of 3d game will run as if you have no 3d acceleration hardware. Which is slow. Overall, the best way to run a game is "boot camp".

** Versions of Windows

I have used several versions of Windows on Parallels and it works great. I have tested both Windows 2000 and Windows XP.

** Other Operating Systems

I have also used several flavors of Linux. It works very well. It really simulates a virtual computer, and you can install anything on it you like.

** You need RAM

Running this with less than 1gig of RAM can be painful. If you want to run several virtual machines I would suggest up to 2 gigs. However, one gig ran very well.

All in all this is a very good PC emulation and is quite fast. I have uses other emulators, that are just deadly slow. This one is quite usable. If you don't plan to use this for games, you will be very happy with this product. If you do want games its a little more hit and miss. Better to use Boot Camp.
200 of 205 people found the following review helpful
Bye bye Virtual PC, and good riddance! Aug. 14 2006
By M. Simerson - Published on Amazon.com
I have used Parallels on my 20" iMac since well before it was released. I used most of the beta versions as well as each released version. When they offered it for sale, I bought it without hesitation. In short, the software is much better than one would expect for the price. On that basis alone, it should get 5 stars.

One thing I must note about Parallels. Do not expect much if your system is RAM starved (ie, you have less than 768MB). Your poor mac will be paging to disk almost constantly and you'll wonder why your blazing fast computer is so slow. That is because you are beating the tar out of your hard drive. Do yourself a favor, spend $160 for 2GB of RAM and avoid the problem altogether. I did this on my 20" iMac and my MacBook and both scream.

I use Parallels for running three different operating systems, FreeBSD, Linux, and Windows XP. Since I develop software that runs on the first two, I regularly need access to them both so I am often running one of them in the background. I can code, rsync to the virtual server, test, and continue coding. I open SSH sessions to the virtual server just as if it were a real one. For nearly all intents and purposes, running these operating systems under Parallels is every bit as good as running them on a real server.

In fact, since Parallels has come out, the dual 3.0GHz Xeon system that I have tucked away in a rack in our guest bedroom (because the fans are so loud) has not been powered up. In many ways, Parallels is much better than that having a real server.

1. It uses far less power and generates almost no noise pollution (important in home offices) when running on my iMac.

2. More convenient. My dual Xeon is a server, so switching operating systems meant going into the other room, unplugging the hotswap hard drive with FreeBSD and plugging in the one with Windows (or vice versa). With Parallels, simply shut down the one running, select the one you want, and click "Start".

3. Portable. The dual Xeon is anchored to the rack in the closet. My virtual machines can be dropped onto my MacBook drive for portable access. I spent two months away from home this year and that feature was more wonderful than you can imagine.

4. Easy snapshots. I like to test my software on "virgin" boxes. This means reinstalling the OS quite frequently on a "real" server, or as I do on the Xeon, building a FreeBSD jail to test in. While the SATA disks in the iMac cannot keep pace with the Ultra320 SCSI disks in the server, I can generate a new system with a clean install simply by copying a Parallels disk image.

5. Leverages existing computing resources. I already have a really fast desktop, more than fast enough for development work and software testing.

6. Because my virtual machines are so much faster (than Virtual PC on a dual G5) now, I use them much more frequently. Things I would have never have taken the time for such as, "I wonder what this looks like in IE for Windows", I check now. There is value in that for developers. I can save the state of the OS I am running, switch to another, and then switch back.

7. Stability. My systems never crash. Anything that changes that makes me particularly grumpy. I have had only one crash while running a very early beta of Parallels. I stopped using it until the next beta came out and it's been steady as a rock every since.

There are a couple downsides to using Parallels. For example, I could not run Virtual PC 2004 for Windows under XP when XP was running under Parallels (google "simerson vpc 2004 xp" for details).

You need enough RAM for Mac OS X (1GB min on Intel systems) and the operating system you will run. For most people, that will be XP which should have 512MB set aside for it.

I set it up on my grandmothers computer (I switched her from a Sony to an iMac) so she could run her old programs in XP. For those who aren't technically savvy, comprehending the concept of two environments on one computer can be a challenge. Getting data back and forth between the environments can be a challenge.

Parallels is highly recommended.
35 of 36 people found the following review helpful
Works reasonably well; non-existent company tech support Jan. 20 2007
By Torrey Pines - Published on Amazon.com
The software sets up a virtual operating system (OS) environment (Windows XP, in my case) where it almost always (I'll get to that) seems that you are on a PC. The problems I've been having is that the virtual environment does not do well with hardware recognition.

For example, Win XP does not recognize that there is a bluetooth card installed on the MacBook. A bluetooth device will work but when I try to load the software for that device so that I can tweak the way the device operates, the software will say that no bluetooth card is on the computer and will abort its setup. The bluetooth device software is checking the device file of XP and the bluetooth card is not found.

When attaching a flash drive into a USB port, XP does not recognize that the device has been attached. OS X recognizes the device first which may prevent XP in the virtual system from seeing the drive. However, even after I "eject" the flash drive in OS X, XP still cannot recognize the drive.

Last, the console window has increased in size by a factor of three and I see no way to make it the smaller size it used to be. The console window is a window that is about 1/4 the size of the screen; you can see the XP environment well enough to work in that window and in OS X at the same time (usually one will expand the console so that the XP window is the entire screen, but other times you may want to make the window smaller). It's a nice feature, potentially.

I'm sure all these issues are resolvable (maybe). However, if you want to call the makers of this software and speak to tech support, it will cost you $29.99! If you send an e-mail asking the question you will not get a timely response. I sent an e-mail 1.5 weeks ago and have yet to hear back. If you go to their website to try to get your question answered, the site has a list of FAQs but no online technical support, such as a knowledge base where one can look for known issues and how to resolve them.

My sense of this company is that it's a group of folks either working in a small rented space or in someone's basement. One of their requisites for being hired into their company (you can find this on their website) is enjoying drinking beer and shooting pool at the end of the day. Nice work culture, but it would be even nicer if they had some sort of customer service above the level of none.

Three stars for the software, zero stars for the lack of user support.

*** Follow-up: 1/27/07 - Another week has gone by with no response after sending yet another e-mail with my questions.
34 of 35 people found the following review helpful
An invaluable work-in-progress Dec 6 2006
By J. M. White - Published on Amazon.com
Parallels has great potential -- and it almost lives up to the hype. When I first bought it, the install from the CD didn't work on my new core 2 duo iMac. But after I downloaded the updated version, it installed fine. Since then, the only problem I've had is I can't print to my HP USB printer. A new update was just released which supposedly fixes the problem, but I haven't installed it yet.

If you're not worried about running video-intensive games, Parallels can handle just about anything you throw at it. I've installed Word, ZoneAlarm, and Time Matters (legal billing software) without a single hiccup.

I noticed some complaints in other reviews about tech support for Parallels. Their staff has always answered my e-mails, though it usually takes a few days. The user forums at the Parallels website, though, are tremendously helpful. A patient and moderately-experienced user can find a solution to just about any problem by searching the forum archives or posting a question.

I have no doubt that in a few months Parallels really will live up to its hype. In the meantime, it's still a tremendously useful tool for Mac users.
21 of 21 people found the following review helpful
I was astonished that my Mac actually looked like a PC Dec 25 2006
By M and K - Published on Amazon.com
(Updated 4-11-2007 and 4-29-2007 to reflect new information on my Parallels crash, as well as the new version that fixes some of the cons I originally posted.)

I just got Parallels today and this review offers you a first impression of what it is like to install and use. First you launch Parallels. The Parallels screen opens, and displays some key preferences that you'll probably want to edit (see tips below). Clicking the play button (like a movie) you launch Windows (XP in my case) which boots on my iMac in about 10 seconds. In the Parallels window, Windows looks just like you are "booting" it yet the Mac is running the whole time! I switch between the Mac and Windows using "command+tab" (that's the "open apple" for you hardcore Mac'ers). Here are some pros and cons as well as some tips.

Pro:
-Install of Parallels went smoothly... the set up was automated, and went quickly with little or no decision-making
-Scary how much my Mac acts like a Windows PC
-Windows install included immediate access to the internet through my Mac account, a huge surprise
-So far SUPERIOR to VirtualPC, which after hours and hours, I never got working... Parallels was so easy.
-All my peripherals seem to work, even my Sony mouse which has a memory stick slot in it (in other words, it's multi-functional/fancy and was supported nicely)
-I use my Mac to safely browse the internet and download programs... I even downloaded office for Windows on my Mac and then used Parallels to retrieve it (I could have used Parallels to get it directly, but then I'd have to browse using Windows and risk viruses)
-Share files very easily between the OSX (Mac) and Windows using a shared folder (I've shared photos and a free yet massive Microsoft Office trial program this way, to test it).
-Automatically maps PC Control key functions over to Mac Command key... handy!

Con:
-Technical support is worse than any other tech group I have had to use... my Parallels was down 3 weeks and they didn't even call or email me once to let me know what the status of my problem is (or that the problem was even received). I finally called them and waited 90 minutes although the system said it would be only 10. Each time I moved ahead in the queue, the quoted wait time got longer! When I got through, they were able to resolve the "black screen" problem quickly (launching XP produced a completely empty black window), apparently it was common. My other problem was the "install tools" wasn't working, which means you can't share a folder between the Mac and XP. In the short term I emailed files to myself as a poor man's method to share files, fortunately I was working with small ones. Turns out that while the cause is still undetermined, I found a Parallels disk image on my drive which when manually clicked, manually launched the installer I needed. Weird.
-To me, the instructions are weak, the manual is not very good and instructions that come with upgrades are terrible... you've been warned
-Seems a little slow at times. I've bumped up the "RAM" allocation to 604 MB (max recommended), but think it may need even more.
-People report slow or incompatible gaming.

Tips (Neutral Commentary):
-I recycled an old copy of XP that was registered once, but no longer in use. When registering, call Microsoft as your option. I left them know that I was "reinstalling the software." I didn't bother to tell them that I was installing to a Mac... I figured that this would generate a pointless and a lengthy discussion to a confused person in India.
-After installing XP, immediately seek out the updates. This might require many "reboots" which in this case aren't reboots at all. The program cycles yet your Mac OS is running the whole time!
-If it's not already obvious, you need a copy of Windows.
-Give it RAM! The default of 256 KB is laughable and will produce frustratingly slow performance.
-This will work alongside Apple's free "Boot Camp" beta so you can have the convenience of Parallels with the computing speed/compatibility offered by Boot Camp (with Boot Camp you must reboot your computer to switch between . Windows and your Mac OS). Just remember that when you call Microsoft to register Windows, your copy of Windows is being "reinstalled on the same computer."
-Have your Windows Virus protection handy to install immediately
-Set aside time to install of Microsoft's updates to maximize security and compatibility. In the first 3 days I installed 124 XP updates (yes, I counted them, all 124 of them) from the Microsoft web site... you'll need to reboot XP many times to do this.
-My extended keys (i.e. the number pad area to the right) is activated using the "clear" key which is in the same position as the "num lock" would be... many functions behave like this automatically as described in the "pro" section above

Bottom line: Excellent, wonderfully handy! Amazing to see Windows XP coexisting with my Mac OS. Pray that you do not need their tech support as I think that it is terribly slow and not very effective except for the more basic issues.

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