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4.4 out of 5 stars103
4.4 out of 5 stars
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on 3 November 2013
Parallels is an excellent Windows Virtual Machine for the Mac and it's a five star product in terms of how well the software does what it's designed to do.

There is one thing that potential buyers should be aware of though. Parallels is sold as a stand-alone product. This implies that you can buy the product and it is a choice whether you decide to upgrade to the latest version or not.

However this is not the case with Parallels. If you do buy this product you should treat it as an initial upfront cost and then a yearly subscription of £34.99 - for reasons given below.

Parallels 7 was released in September 2011. It was the current version until September 2012 when it was superseded by Parallels 8. Parallels 9 was released a year later, continuing the yearly update pattern. There is nothing wrong with this model because people can still choose whether to upgrade right? Wrong!

In October 2013, Parallels sent a rather terse email to users of Parallels 7 users stating that they had to upgrade to Parallels 9 if they wanted to upgrade to Apple's latest Mavericks OS because Parallels 7 would not work in Mavericks. Users left with this choice were not offered a discount on Parallels nor any guidance... just hung out to dry, presumably with the expectation that people would be forced to pay up. Parallels have refused to respond to feedback on their forums over this.

If you are happy with a yearly payment for Parallels then it is an excellent piece of software. If you aren't happy with that, or you are wary of a company who treats existing users so poorly you will need to look elsewhere. Many people have already jumped ship to Oracle's FREE VirtualBox solution.
88 comments84 of 87 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on 27 February 2014
I've been a happy Parallels user since V 5.

I'm on a macbook pro 8 GB ram. 1TB hybrid hard drive. Mavericks. Windows 7 virtual machine and Windows 8 bootcamp.

Parallels V8 worked flawlessly for me. Coherence mode. or any mode. The only slight bug bear was that it seemed to "remember" USB device choice (Mac or PC), but i don't want it to remember this. Minor niggle.

Upgraded to Parallels V9 - disaster.

1. The Windows Taskbar now is below / underneath the Mac doc or notifications bar at the top of the screen. A work around is to have the Windows taskbar on the left or right of the screen. However, a fundamental problem remains: When windows apps operate in full screen (coherence), these are also underneath Mac doc and notifications bar. ...making it very difficult to control the windows apps. Why oh why did Parallels introduce this useless change?!!?

2. Boot up and shut down seems to take longer now. Clunkier. It's almost as if Parallels V9 is loading up more settings in the background, and using up more resources.

Get rid of this "full screen" function, or at least add a choice of being able to turn this off.

I do not recommend the upgrade to V9 if you were on V8.
0Comment8 of 8 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
If you have recently converted to a Macbook from a Windows machine you might have a fair number of programs that you'd like to keep using. There are two ways to go about this.
First create a dual boot hard drive, partition the hard drive and install Windows on the second partition. The downside to this is that each time you want to go from OSX to Windows you will have to reboot your Macbook.

Parallels allows you to access the Windows partition as a virtual drive within OSX, no more rebooting but still leaves you with the option of booting into Windows for more memory intensive programs.

There are some minor disadvantages to this, some programs will run a little slower because there is more memory usage, so I wouldn't recommend playing games through Parallels.
It is also easy to transfer files between both operating systems.

Parallels is renown as the best program for this, but is version 9 really that much better than version 7 and 8? If you are on version 7 then yes I would probably recommend the upgrade, but it isn't significantly faster or better than version 8 in normal usage using Win7. I know version 8 also claimed to work with Windows 8 but I'd assume that this new version is a little better optimised for it, but it's not something I can really comment on.

Personally, I have steered clear of Win8.

I'm one of those people who likes to use the most up to date software, I'm a sucker for it really, but that's me. However, there is really no real killer feature that makes this product a must buy over the previous version. I don't think that you'd see any obvious speed increases that you would notice.

It is a little more refined, but if you have version 8 and Win7 I'd wait until the next update.
Still it doesn't detract from the fact that this is a great product.
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on 24 October 2013
Beware this product - it will probably only be supported for 2 years and then they will force you to pay £40 to upgrade to a new version to get it to work with the latest OS version. e.g. Parallels 7 doesn't work on OS 10.9...kerching £35 to buy an upgrade you only need because Parallels want to rip you off.

Chose something else....
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on 14 January 2014
After much prevarication I finally switched from PC to a Mac. The deal clincher was Parallels Desktop v9. I installed Windows 7 and it just works and has enabled me to transfer my Microsoft Office suite and other non Mac software such as Proshow Producer on to my iMac. I have the programmes working as a window in Mac OS v10.9 rather than the separate boot option. The programmes work just as well if not a bit better on the iMac. I have however adopted a policy of not going on the internet though Windows 7. Finally the Parallels Access app is great as it enables you to run your Mac and PC programmes on your iPad. In summary I wish I had "converted" sooner!
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TOP 50 REVIEWERon 17 September 2014
I've always had a PC before and recently got this with my new Apple Macbook Pro to load my old Windows 7 programs. It's easy to get started but more difficult to work out quite what happens with hardware which seems to be shared between Windows and the Mac.

The documentation is generally helpful but it doesn't address some of the issues I've already had on things like printers, external CD/DVD writers, etc.

Customer service has been good so far (first month): when I had to call their support with a a printing problem, was very impressed with the speed and effectiveness of their solution. Subequently problem recurred but by then I knew how to deal with it.

10 days after I bought this, version 10 was launched. Check to see if you qualify for a free upgrade on the parallels website.
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on 3 April 2014
Want all those lovely windows programs you've collected over the years on your shiny new Mac? This program delivers. You don't have to buy the Mac version of Microsoft office, or adobe collection as you can run your windows version on your mac! Once more you can open windows programs actually on the mac desk top!

This is fantastic at what it does, and is fast and reliable for what programs I wanted to use it for. It has saved me a fortune of having to fork out for Word and PaintShop pro again, as i can run them just as successfully on my imac.

You have to know a little about what you're doing to get windows on your computer, especially since new macs seldom come with disc drives now, so you have to work from a windows 7/8 ISO file instead! There is plenty of information to tell you how to do this.

I've found running windows and windows programs on my imac has been virtually problem free, but there has been a crash or two at times, but isn't that just windows? I tend to run both the mac OS and windows together so i can use programs from each OS together which seems to work seamlessly. You can just run windows on it's own if you prefer.

Why would you want this?

Well I tend to find more PC programs than mac programs, and they seem to be richer in content that Macs. I use my new mac for video editing using FCPX, and having word and Paint shop has proved invaluable. I don't like Apples Pages and haven't really looked for another program that is anything like as versatile as Paint shop for the Mac. I don't use parallels as a rule when I am editing, but really I haven't really noticed a speed difference even when I have.

I gave this program 4 stars because of the complexity of setting up windows, though really this isn't a parallels issue as such, but just couldn't bring myself to give 5 stars....
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on 16 October 2014
I've always been hesitant when it comes to Macs. OS X is different, and different is scary. But I was so in love with my iPhone and iPad that I figured what the hell, rather than a new laptop I'll go a bit nuts and get an MacBook. Great decision!! That's a different issue. My one major problem however was that I'd paid money for all kinds of things I wanted to use on Windows, including Office along with some rather expensive web development software who's vendor I'll leave out of this. I have licences, would they let me use them on Mac? Probably not. So what do I do? Buy them again? I'm already spending out a lot of money on the MacBook, do I want to buy everything again? And what if I encounter more software I need from my PC? Hmm, maybe a MacBook isn't such a good idea...

But then wait... there's Parallels!

This software is UNBELIVABLY cool. I am typing this in Word in Windows, and running it fully integrated in to OS X as though it's an OS X app. Honestly the only reason I know it's not is because it still has the Windows minimise/maximise/close rather than the OS X one. And I can copy and paste out of it like it was just another app, I've yet to find ANYTHING that I can't do with Parallels actually and I've been using it for MONTHS! I'm a PC software developer who can now use OS X and Windows side by side, getting the best out of both. Parallels let me do that. I cannot rate it highly enough.
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on 8 April 2014
Great product - very simple to install and good value for money. Gives you the option of transferring your OS, programs and files across from your old machine - however you must have your product codes, especially for Windows. Sadly, I had an OEM version of Windows XP so couldn't use the product code more than once. I subsequently bought Windows 7 (parallels does NOT come with Windows or Office). It was very quick and easy to install Windows 7. I have also been using SolidWorks CAD software (industry standard) in my Windows Parallel with no issues so far.

I have found it very easy to flit back and forth between Windows (acts like another desktop) and Mac. For other's info: I selected the option of running 'like Windows' - so when you're in it, it looks and feels just like Windows but, as mentioned, I can still flit back to Mac very easily. There is also the option to 'run like Mac' - it gives you the differences when you're choosing... or you can Google it.

Parallels even lets you set the amount of disk space you allocate to Windows - it was almost 50GB at first which was wasted space as I mainly use OSX so I shrunk it to around 25GB.

Great piece of software.
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on 27 February 2014
I'd been a PC user all my life and have found that certain software is only available on a Windows machine. For the last few years I'd been using Mac's with Bootcamp so I could utilize the Windows software, but that meant rebooting the machine constantly.

I also tried using VMWare Fusion as a demo and it managed to absolutely ruin my machine and I had to rebuild it from scratch.

When I did so I used Parallels Desktop 9 and it's been phenomenal ever since. I simply cannot fault this software. It's simple to install, simple to configure and simple to use. The only thing that isn't simple is what it actually does. The interface is seamless in one mode with Mac applications running next to Windows applications, and in the other mode you can immerse yourself in the Windows environment and forget that it's actually running on a Mac.

Simply put, this software is amazing.

My only criticism is that I purchased mine directly from Parallels website for £64.99 and I was ripped off because you can buy it from Amazon for only £47.99. Come on Parallels you're ripping your customers off!
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