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Parallels Desktop

Parallels Desktop

Overview

What is Parallels Desktop?

Parallels Desktop is a virtual user session solution built to run Windows on Macintosh computers without rebooting. It is designed for OS X Yosemite with one-click tuning.

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Recent Reviews
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Awards

Products that are considered exceptional by their customers based on a variety of criteria win TrustRadius awards. Learn more about the types of TrustRadius awards to make the best purchase decision. More about TrustRadius Awards

Popular Features

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  • File transfer (21)
    9.8
    98%
  • Screen sharing (7)
    9.0
    90%
  • Access to sleeping/powered-off computers (8)
    8.6
    86%
  • Centralized management dashboard (9)
    8.5
    85%

Reviewer Pros & Cons

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Pricing

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Parallels Desktop 16

$49.99

On Premise
per license

Parallels Desktop Pro Edition

$49.99

On Premise
per license/per year

Parallels Desktop

$79.99

On Premise
per license

Entry-level set up fee?

  • No setup fee

Offerings

  • Free Trial
  • Free/Freemium Version
  • Premium Consulting/Integration Services
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Product Demos

Parallels Desktop 3.0 for Mac - VM Explorer Demo

YouTube
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Features

Remote Administration

Remote administration software is used to control a computer from a remote location.

8.9
Avg 8.3
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Product Details

What is Parallels Desktop?

Parallels Desktop Video

How to Run Windows on Mac : Parallels Desktop for Mac

Parallels Desktop Technical Details

Deployment TypesOn-premise
Operating SystemsWindows, Linux, Mac
Mobile ApplicationNo

Frequently Asked Questions

Parallels Desktop is a virtual user session solution built to run Windows on Macintosh computers without rebooting. It is designed for OS X Yosemite with one-click tuning.

Reviewers rate File transfer highest, with a score of 9.8.

The most common users of Parallels Desktop are from Mid-sized Companies (51-1,000 employees).
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Comparisons

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Reviews and Ratings

(79)

Attribute Ratings

Reviews

(1-25 of 27)
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Score 10 out of 10
Vetted Review
Verified User
Incentivized
We are an all Apple environment, but still, we have plenty of applications that require us to run Windows. In some cases, we have entire departments that have this need, and in other instances, it’s a single user. Prior to implementing Parallels Desktop, we had some people who were lugging around an old Dell laptop in addition to a MacBook Pro for a single application. The IT department also uses to easily spin up virtual machines for testing and training on our machines.
  • Quickly share resources between the host machine and guest. Great for when we process data in MacOS and then need it in a virtual machine.
  • Coherence mode is great for a lot of users. They don’t even realize the app isn’t running natively on the host operating system.
  • The user interface for managing virtual machines isn’t my favorite.
Parallels Desktop is great for when you need to run resource-hungry applications in a guest's operating system. If you’re simply looking to test drive other operating systems, there are certainly free ways to do that. However, I have found that once it came time to actually put the guest operating system to use Parallels Desktop offered a much better, more seamless solution.
Score 9 out of 10
Vetted Review
Verified User
Incentivized
In our team, we prefer using MacBooks for the vast majority of our work. However, there are a few things here and there that require us to work within a Windows environment. In these specific cases, we use Parallels Desktop to access a virtual Windows installation and use the software we need to get our work done efficiently all on one machine.
  • Runs Windows in a virtual environment
  • Does not take up a lot of additional overhead
  • Runs fast and seamless
  • Easy to setup and use
  • There are a lot of configuration options that can seem overwhelming.
  • Some features are not clearly explained.
  • Frequent updates sometimes interrupt workflow.
From my perspective, Parallels Desktop is particularly well suited for users who need the flexibility of working within MacOS and Windows all on the same machine without relying on a remote desktop connection. Having the virtual environment fully contained on the machine frees you from relying on a stable internet connection or the availability of a remote machine. For those people who do depend on Windows primarily, then this will not offer as much of a benefit.
Score 8 out of 10
Vetted Review
Verified User
Incentivized
Parallels Desktop is used in our organization to allow Mac users to run Windows-only applications.

To support Internet Explorer 11 websites, we need to take into consideration the development and testing/validation of how our websites behave to customers when they have an Internet Explorer browser. This is the main use case that we use.

The other use case is to support some old Asp.net applications that needs certain versions of Windows, and with a majority of developers being Mac users, is the only option to do that.

  • Easy to use: even on first interaction, users feel that is really intuitive how can be used
  • Good support
  • Fast and reliable comparing to other tools
  • For our company use case, the only thing that can suggest to improve on Parallels is to improve a little bit more memory consumption - when lots of processes are running on the host machine, it can be noticed that memory consumption is a little bit higher than what is desired, which is understandable, since is virtualization
Scenarios where Parallels is great:
- test software across multiple platforms for Mac users, with a major focus on Windows
- have the possibility of running Windows-only applications when the user is a Mac user
- support old Windows applications in Windows legacy frameworks

Scenarios that are not the best scenario
- not suitable for most recent games
- do tasks that demand hardware performance, specially GPU
Score 10 out of 10
Vetted Review
Verified User
Incentivized
Parallels are used to run VMs locally on MacBook developer machines - most commonly to run Windows applications or to check bugs and code pertaining to Windows from the standard-issued MacBooks. This is important as, while development productivity is highest using MacBooks, our customers are more often using the UI tools on Windows for authoring tasks.
  • Installs new VMs including OS configuration.
  • Integrates mac and windows seamlessly.
  • It can be configured to run a VM "the old-fashioned way" or simply let you run applications no matter the OS.
  • Having to buy a new upgrade whenever Apple updates the OS with its yearly releases seems a bit excessive.
  • The integration features between Windows and Mac are enabled by default, which can clutter both sides; I would rather it was not default.
I often get asked, why not the "free" stuff (VirtualBox), and/or why not VMWare. VirtualBox, etc. are not as performant for interactive usage. I think they are fine for small applications, perhaps some enterprise app usage, but for developers, it's not good enough. VMWare has become too enterprisey and lacks some of the user-friendly stuff that Parallels focuses on. Ultimately, for developer types running OSes for deep tasks, Parallels is unrivaled.
Score 10 out of 10
Vetted Review
Verified User
Incentivized
I love my Mac, but there are a few programs where a PC is a must. A friend told me about Parallels Desktop and I am so thankful that he did! For mere pocket change I have a PC on my Mac and WAY BETTER than the old Boot Camp. It requires next to no setup or configuration. A few clicks and I have a PC to use when I need it and it is not even high overhead.
  • Toad for SQL
  • Microsoft Access
  • Generally playing nice with my iMac.
  • Windows 10 is awesome but 11 seems a bit off.
  • It really is awesome all the way around!
iMac beats PC so use it only where you must. Access and Toad are the big ones for me and they absolutely make it all worthwhile.
Jose Almiñana | TrustRadius Reviewer
Score 10 out of 10
Vetted Review
Verified User
Incentivized
Parallels desktop is installed for selected individuals using Mac computers and who also need to have access to software that is only developed for Windows OS (or in some instances that the Windows version is much more powerful than the Mac OS version).

Primarily these users are running SAP software in the Parallels partition, using the rest of their software in the Mac OS.

  • Installation process is clean and simple
  • The "Coherence" option allows for seamless user interface integration with Mac OS
  • Sharing files across the different partitions is transparent for the user
  • Windows partition requires often reboot, as some user interface features have issues
  • Updates to newer version require additional licensing
  • No additional suggestions
Parellels is a very easy solution to run non mac software on Mac computers with seamless integration. Easy to install and run, any user with basic skills can take care of the whole process.

Multiple screens are supported, sharing files across OS, rebooting, opening windows apps directly from the macOS, very good software. You forget about it once is running.
Score 9 out of 10
Vetted Review
Verified User
Incentivized
I use Parallels to run various operating systems on my MacBook Pro. This includes Windows, Windows Server, Linux, and more. There are many programs only written for Windows such as MS Project which works well as I recently had a project plan with over 12,000 lines in it for a major construction effort and MS Project worked as well on my Parallels enabled MacBook Pro M3 as on other native Windows systems. You can also use applications written for Linux that can help with DevOps use cases and helped with some MLOps use cases.
  • Fast Windows Emulation
  • Multiple OS Support
  • Parallels Tools with many useful apps
  • Ability to unify MacOS and Windows
  • The ability to do snapshots, backups, and other types of branching for VMs is a little confusing and takes a bit to get used to
  • The Parallels tools frequently pop up windows advertising functionality, while this is helpful at times it can also happen when you are doing a presentation or typing in a password.
  • Careful using the VMs on a shared cloud drive such as Dropbox or OneDrive, there are hundreds and sometimes thousands of files which are updated when running a VM and this can clog up your Dropbox or OneDrive sync for minutes to hours even on a 2gb connection.
Parallels works well for everyday Windows or alternative OS usage on a Mac. Most applications run flawlessly, multi-monitor works, audio/video, games, etc. When in full screen mode, many people cannot tell my MacBook Pro M3 is a Mac as Windows 11 runs so fast and in full screen you can't tell a difference unless you know what to look for. I use Outlook, Word, Excel, etc. and these apps run faster on my MacBook than on the latest Windows laptops provisioned by work!

Parallels does not work well for some legacy and older applications which may require specific hardware or software drivers. There are only a handful of these apps I have found, dating back 10-15 years old. Newer versions are available of most software which run flawlessly.
Dave Cowell | TrustRadius Reviewer
Score 10 out of 10
Vetted Review
Verified User
Incentivized
Most of my work is on Apple only software but I have some software that is only available on Windows. Parallels allows me to have the best of both worlds.

I also love the fact I can sandbox an Apple OS and have multiple Windows installations including XP for some very dated serial software that doesn’t work after that.
  • Windows integration
  • Multiple operating systems
  • Sandboxing
  • Size of update installers
Running windows only software on a Mac.

Running test environments

allowing side by side comparisons of software versions across different running virtual machines
Will Goad | TrustRadius Reviewer
Score 10 out of 10
Vetted Review
Verified User
Incentivized
Parallels Desktop is used in my organization and with our customers to support Windows Apps when there is no Mac Application or the Mac Application is not fully featured.
We have a legacy application where only administrative functions can be performed in a Windows App. For some of our customers, all users are Mac users. Parallels and their Coherence Mode provide a near-seamless virtual machine/desktop experience for these users. Coherence Mode means they don't have to deal with a windows environment and can work side by side with our app and their other Mac apps (Adobe Creative Cloud apps, for example).
  • Windows (or other OS) virtualization on machines running MacOS
  • Using Windows apps side by side your Mac apps
  • Coherence Mode allows you to hide the Windows Virtual Machine and only interact with the Windows Apps (no Windows desktop in browser window)
  • I think that over time it slows down, but this is really linked to Windows bloating.
  • I think Coherence Mode could improve slightly...how the windows search window populates and moves around sometimes is weird. (this could be changed in settings, but I'm not sure)
  • Memory Usage optimization (again, they do a great job, so I'm nitpicking here)
Do you have to use Windows Apps, but don't want to leave your Mac Environment? If so, you need to use Parallels. I love Windows, but I'm so embedded in the Mac ecosystem that I don't want to go back to Windows. Parallels make that possible. Do you need to copy/paste/share files and information between your Mac and Windows environments? Parallels make that seamless and better than Bootcamp or other virtualization options.
Cameron Michael Rhoads | TrustRadius Reviewer
Score 7 out of 10
Vetted Review
Verified User
Incentivized
We use Parallels [Desktop] strictly because we are an Apple company, but the technical writing software we use is only available on Windows.
  • It allows easy back and forth between operating systems. Can access all my Mac documents within my Parallels [Desktop] instance.
  • [It] is a fully functioning Windows operating system on my MacBook.
  • My MacBook gets incredibly hot when I run Parallels [Desktop]. Like scorching hot.
  • My MacBook's battery only lasts 1 hour when running Parallels [Desktop}. Normally will last over 4 hours.
In my mind, it's [Parallels Desktop is] only really suited when you have no choice but to run some Windows-exclusive software on your Mac. I don't enjoy using PCs, so being able to keep my Mac while running this Windows software is nice. Just make sure you keep your laptop plugged in and not on your lap. Because it'll die quickly and scorch your shorts [from my experience].
Score 10 out of 10
Vetted Review
Verified User
Incentivized
I'm using Parallels Desktop for to have multiple operating systems all in one device. I can set the CPU, RAM, and Harddisk according to how many sources I need. Also, this app works really stable and supports almost all operating systems. Also possible to sync files between the local device and virtual machine.
  • Virtualization
  • Customisable
  • Safe place for external files
  • Security
  • Expensive
  • Need an stable version for Windows
I am using it mostly for another OS and opening suspicious files on it. That's why it a safe place for me. Also I am using it for test of my applications and programs. It is a great place that we can make platform crossed check accessibility and supportiveness on all platforms.
Score 9 out of 10
Vetted Review
Verified User
Incentivized
Parallels Desktop allows our organization to virtualize Windows and Linux as well as MacOS on the company Mac computers. While not all departments use it, the Systems Department and Schooling Management teams do make use of it every day. We are able to test software and capabilities as well as run Windows programs that are not compatible natively with the Mac. State school system still use legacy software for accessing student data and Windows is sadly still a requirement. The Systems team uses a lot of Linux VM's to experiment with security testing and to create secure labs and Parallels Desktop becomes critical.
  • Takes good advantage of hardware
  • Virtualizes very efficiently
  • Is fast and responsive
  • Allows virtually seamless integration of overlapping OS'
  • It could launch faster
  • the licensing model forces upgrades often
  • Has a relatively high resource footprint
The product has evolved over the years and has become a lot easier to use than before. Deploying Virtual Machines is quick and easy and multiple methods from ISO files to direct selection of products is possible with minimal effort. Any organization needing to test or simply do business on multiple platforms without having separate computers for each OS, will love Parallels Desktop. It is doing the same revolution for desktop computers as VMWare did for servers.
Score 10 out of 10
Vetted Review
Verified User
Incentivized
Parallels are primarily used by Apple/Mac users who need to access PC-only software or need to troubleshoot PC-based issues. It is often helpful in creating Windows-based screencast/tech tutorials
  • Emulated a Window environment
  • Reflecting the MAC finder/file structure
  • Runs fast and stable (doesn't crash)
  • Occasionally have restart issues and get stuck on a black screen
  • Windows passwords don't sync with OSX passwords
  • Exhaust Fan always runs heavier when using Parallels
  • has issues handling multiple monitors (3 or more)
I highly recommend it to Instruction Designers who need to access programs like Articulate Storyline which is somehow in the year 2021 still windows only. Also very helpful when lending IT support to a student or staff member who is PC-based.
Score 1 out of 10
Vetted Review
Verified User
We run our business using Mac computers. However, the design department (3 staff) use occasionally CAD software that only runs on Windows. Parallels was the preferred solution to make allow MacOS and Windows operation from the same computer.
  • Allows seamless work in both Mac environments and Windows environments
  • Saves having to reboot into "Boot Camp"
  • Saves having to purchase separate machines for Mac and Windows
  • Support
  • Stability
  • Ease of set-up and installation
Parallels seem to "cough and splutter" whenever there are updates to Windows or the Mac OS. We have had numerous times in recent months where Window's simply will not boot. We have attempted to contact support via Chat, email and phone. Not once has support been able to solve the problem (we ended up paying our IT contractor to correct the issue). In fact, 90% of the time we do not receive any contact at all from Parallels support. We have raised 7 support tickets in 2021 with Parallels and none have them have been solved by Parallels support.
Jonah Dempcy | TrustRadius Reviewer
Score 10 out of 10
Vetted Review
Verified User
Incentivized
I use Parallels to run older versions of Mac OS X on my MacBook Pro for the purposes of testing apps on older versions of Mac OS. Parallels does this job perfectly, by allowing me to easily boot up older versions of the OS at leisure. I also run Windows 10 in Parallels so I can use PC-only apps that are not available on OS X.
  • File Transfer - You can easily transfer files between Parallels virtualized desktops and the host desktop either through Copy and Paste functionality, or Drag and Drop. You can also configure shared folders.
  • Switch Between Virtual and Host Desktop - You can configure swipe gestures on a MacBook Pro to be able to switch between the virtualized and host desktop. You can also launch apps from the OS X Taskbar.
  • Performance - Apps in Parallels run quite smoothly on my 2015 MacBook Pro, as of 2020. Considering they are running on a 5-year-old computer, I give Parallels top marks for performance.
  • Support for more versions of OS X. For instance, I would like to install Snow Leopard, but it is not supported. Parallels supports Snow Leopard Server but it is prohibitively expensive now, having gone up in price due to rarity and also likely because of people needing it due to the lack of support for normal Snow Leopard.
  • Compatibility issues with certain versions of OS X, meaning you have to continually upgrade Parallels for it to work with the current version of OS X. It would be better if older versions of Parallels continued to work bug-free with updated versions of OS X.
  • Lack of support for gaming and multimedia - The newest version of DirectX is not supported at the time of this writing, and some games that run at 90-110 FPS on host architecture or BootCamp run at only 20 FPS in Parallels.
Parallels is excellent for QA teams who need to test on a variety of operating systems, or from Mac users who need to run Windows apps in an integrated way simultaneously with their Mac apps, without a lot of performance overhead. Parallels is especially well-suited for power users who have state-of-the-art hardware running the latest version of both Parallels and Mac OS X. It is less-suited for those who cannot upgrade to the newest version of OS X or Parallels, as certain combinations of host operating system with Parallels will not work at all. It is also less-suited for those without high end hardware, and for game developers, VR developers, and others who are hoping to run PC games on a Mac at a decent frame rate. Finally, Parallels is also not suited for those who wish to run very old versions of Mac OS X like Snow Leopard (released in June 2009) which is only supported in its hard-to-find Server edition, or older than Snow Leopard, which are not supported at all.
January 24, 2020

Life Saver

Score 10 out of 10
Vetted Review
Verified User
Incentivized
I am the only user as our company is very small. I use Parallels in order to access Windows because my accounting program (QuickBooks Desktop Pro) is only available in Windows and not in Mac.
  • I like how it is a separate entity from the workings of my Mac. I can access the programs on Windows in a separate section on my desktop.
  • Parallels allows Windows to run seamlessly.
  • Parallels uses a lot of RAM, so unless your machine has 16 GB of RAM, it will probably run slowly.
Parallels is very well suited when your preferred type of computer is a Mac and the software you need is only available in Windows. I was introduced to Parallels when I decided to switch from QuickBooks Online to QuickBooks Desktop. I was dismayed to find that there wasn't an updated Mac version and almost gave up until I found out about Parallels.
Score 8 out of 10
Vetted Review
Verified User
Incentivized
Parallels Desktop is primarily used for testing Microsoft Windows browsers within macOS. Running Microsoft Windows 10 within Parallels allows us to test both the Internet Explorer 11 and Microsoft Edge browsers for front-end development. It can also be used to run Windows-specific software that will not work in macOS, as well as add support for writing to NTFS drive partitions.
  • Easy to use
  • Easy to setup
  • Support for all major guest operating systems
  • Good integration within macOS
  • Good performance
  • Expensive
  • Pricing and release model forces yearly upgrades
  • Some default settings can be undesirable if wanting to reduce integration with macOS
Parallels Desktop is great if you want to get good performance when running Microsoft Windows within macOS, and it will work much better than something like VirtualBox for this.

Although Parallels Desktop could be used for running local Vagrant virtual machines, VirtualBox works just fine and will save a lot of money.

For easiest possible setup and use with Windows, I would choose Parallels, but if you only need command-line only virtual machines, I would go with VirtualBox.
Jason White | TrustRadius Reviewer
Score 9 out of 10
Vetted Review
Verified User
Incentivized
About half of our Mac users have Parallels installed on their systems, both for the purposes of coding for two different systems, as well as for testing purposes. There are many different departments that use Parallels, for software development, support and QA testing purposes. It allows them to use a single machine for all their needs, instead of having to connect to a remote VM or use two machines.
  • Ease of setup
  • Responsive
  • Easily configurable
  • Needs better error messages
  • Better handling of network loss
  • Better handling of USB
Parallels is best suited for users that need to operate in more than one environment at the same time, or when they need to test in multiple environments at once. It has a cost savings, by reducing the number of machines that are needed per user, reducing the need for lab environments, or network VMs that are not as responsive.
Score 8 out of 10
Vetted Review
Verified User
Incentivized
As my department continues to have designers and developers migrate off of Windows operating systems and onto Macs, we needed a solution for those users to access legacy business applications that work only with Macs. As a result, Parallels was our solution of choice, as it offered simple Windows virtualization on the Mac without a need for centralized VM management (though we have that too).
  • Simple, intuitive Windows virtualization: Parallels makes it easy to create a guest operating system on your Mac. From there, users can easily access legacy business applications that work only on Windows.
  • Coherence Mode: Allows Windows applications to run side by side with Mac applications in MacOS—this gives users a more cohesive environment to work in, enabling them to be productive and not requiring them to switch contexts constantly.
  • Performance: Parallels continues to focus on enhanced performance with every new release.
  • Price: While Parallels offers great functionality and support for their price, there are free options available that satisfy my needs, namely, VirtualBox.
  • 3D Performance: This is less of a knock against Parallels, and rather a shortcoming of virtualization in general - it's hard to get "bare metal" performance from a virtual machine when using 3D applications.
  • Upgrade Justification: For some time, Parallels has struggled to justify an upgrade to its users, other than "compatibility" with the latest MacOS. This continues to be the case.
Parallels is ideal for power users who need access to Windows-only applications. Those users who require more than basic legacy business application support will be very happy with Parallels as it's performance and support justifies its price point. However, if you need simple and basic access to legacy business applications, you'll likely be satisfied with free options (such as Virtual Box).
Score 8 out of 10
Vetted Review
Verified User
Incentivized
We use Parallels Desktop in our organization for users who use Mac platform. Many products for which we provide consulting services such as Oracle EBS and some integration software for Oracle Cloud do not work on Mac. Parallels Desktop allows us to use these software with ease and efficiency without having dedicated separate machines.
  • You don't need to switch between host and guest system like other virtual systems.
  • Apps from the guest system shows in menu which makes them seamless to use.
  • Even the most resource intensive software run smoothly such as visual studio.
  • The overall requirement to run this on older laptops is bit too high. If you are running with less than 8 GB ram, it slows down the system quite badly.
  • Installation is quite tricky.
If your organisation relies on multiple platforms where your users are frequently switching between multiple platforms, Parallels Desktop is a life saver. Especially when your user base is not as technical as developers. Having parallels desktop instead of more traditional VM solutions makes it user friendly for the end users and reduces the load of IT teams.
Damien Dolan | TrustRadius Reviewer
Score 10 out of 10
Vetted Review
Verified User
Incentivized
Parallels is being used right now by users who want/requested Macs and also need a Windows machine to do certain business functions. It is being used across the whole organization in various departments. A business problem Parallels helps solve is that some users have needs that are better met with Macs, but want Windows as well due to the fact of us being a Windows shop.
  • Snapshots, being able to create images of your Windows VM daily
  • Share folders across machines
  • Disk IO, never seems to be a hog
  • Size, it seems bloated
  • We have had issues with users trying to reclaim disk space. Not sure if it is just us or a known hassle
  • Updates seem few and far between
Suited to any scenario where a user needs two separate Operating Systems. Our marketing department is pretty hard-set on using Macs for Adobe applications, but when it comes to business functions, it seems they prefer Windows. We can accommodate them and Parallels runs very well in the background. Also, using the Coherence mode makes it even more seamless.
Score 10 out of 10
Vetted Review
Verified User
Incentivized
As a person whose job it is to test and troubleshoot audio video equipment with a variety of equipment attached, and as a Mac user that relies on a variety of Windows software tools to accomplish my job, I spend most of my work day in virtual operating environments. When I first started using Parallels, I tested it against other options such as VirtualBox and VMWare. I have tested those options since then and every time, Parallels stands out as the most stable and most efficient option.

When it comes to the virtual environment configuration customization and USB compatibility with non-standard devices, Parallels consistently stands at the top of the list.
  • USB device compatibility. This is ESSENTIAL when using some of the USB-connected testing hardware I often have to work with.
  • Parallels also makes it seamless to share data between the host OS and the virtual environment.
  • I spend most of my time in Parallels running Windows, but at times I do load up a Linux or Android VM for testing. I am able to switch back and forth between them or run multiples with little to no effort.
  • I honestly cannot think of anything I would want Parallels to add or do differently. After 10 years of use, since Parallels 4, I have stuck with Parallels because they just do it right from the beginning.
Obviously, Parallels Desktop is ideal for any instances where you need to run an operating system other than what you are currently running. For this, it is very well suited. The ease of installation and setup of those operating systems within Parallels has gotten easier and easier over the years and it is now at the point that it is perhaps the easiest VM software to use.
Score 7 out of 10
Vetted Review
Verified User
Incentivized
We use Parallels as a catalyst to being able to use Mac computers while still being able to use Windows OS. 90% or more of our product team (developers and QA) use Windows for their development needs with running code locally. Visual Studio and Visual Studio Code have systems in place that allow us to run our distinct code locally in a browser to test our specific changes. Parallels allows us to have both OSX and Windows on the same machine and without having to own two computers. Parallels also allows OS specific files to be shared between the two operating systems.
  • Being able to use two OSs at the same time allows me to use OS-specific applications at the same time on the same machine.
  • Parallels works like a browser window or any other "program" window on your native machine, you can minimize parallels like any other program which means you're essentially able to minimize and hide an entire computer screen.
  • File sharing. Being able to access, say, a Microsoft Office document on windows and then can save it and open it on my native Mac system means that it's immensely more efficient than having to use to computers.
  • You can use virtual desktops as your OS rather than having to share hard drive space between two OSs and having to partition the processor locally to run both OSs at the same time.
  • Adjusting settings in Parallels is difficult and confusing. There are a few different menus that only open depending on whether Parallels is running or not.
  • Setting up an "are you sure you want to close" modal when closing out of the program via the mac side. It can get confusing switching between Mac and PC windows and clicking the correct "exit" button since Mac and PC are on opposite sides.
  • Parallels uses a ton of local processor data. Making Parallels more CPU friendly for users that aren't running i7 processors would greatly improve their attraction to non-commercial developer users.
  • Local development is made extremely simple
  • Accessing OS specific files and programs at the same time makes development much more efficient
  • You can run virtual machines via Parallels which uses less CPU power
  • Parallels uses a lot of CPU and battery
  • Parallels isn't always the most user-friendly from the standpoint of adjusting settings
Score 8 out of 10
Vetted Review
Verified User
Incentivized
Parallels desktop was used by Apple OS users who needed Windows specific applications. It was also used by executives who wanted a Macintosh computer but wanted to solely use Windows OS. The issue was unsupported applications for Mac OS or aesthetic preferences by executives.
  • Emulates the entire Windows OS on a Macintosh computer. You can launch the entire Windows OS from your Mac desktop and work entirely in a Windows desktop environment.
  • Emulates specific programs if you want to run in Windows mode. With this option you don't have to be in a separate OS but launch single applications with Parallels.
  • There were occasions where the system would crash. Typically there would be no reason and a reboot would resolve the issue.
When you have a Windows user who insists on using a Macintosh computer this works wonderfully well. This gets around the hassle of using Boot Camp and offers a better experience. It allows the user to start getting used to the MacOS while still using Windows. The other benefit is the function like SQL or .Net programming. You can run individual programs in Windowed mode and still be in the MacOS.
Stefan Boeykens | TrustRadius Reviewer
Score 9 out of 10
Vetted Review
Verified User
Incentivized
I'm the only Mac-user at my company. We provide BIM Consultancy services for clients and work a lot with BIM-software tools, which are often Windows-only. I have used Parallels for several years. It allows me to use software such as Autodesk Revit and Navisworks and a few others, although I prefer Mac-versions for software where they are available (ARCHICAD, Rhinoceros).

I've used BootCamp to have a separate Windows partition. Parallels allows me to access this also in a running macOS session, which is my primary use (even though performance does suffer a bit).
  • Run the Bootcamp partition in a running macOS session.
  • Integrate in both directions: copy/paste text, open files in both directions, integrate the file system, to read and write files in either direction.
  • Using the same hardware and network connection.
  • Run Clickshare in a Windows session, when the Mac-version fails due to non-updated system firmware updates.
  • No update for OpenGL 3, which prevents some 3D applications from launching. The Windows-version of SketchUp is but one example.
  • Frequent (yearly) updates which don't always bring benefits (I always skip at least one version).
  • If you don't be careful, it generates 100s of useless Windows-application wrappers in macOS which sometimes take precedence in spotlight over the Mac apps I usually need to use (e.g. SketchUp, Excel, Word, Evernote...). More than once I launched Parallels instead of opening the native Mac app.
My main use is running my Bootcamp partition in Parallels to use Windows-only BIM and 3D applications, while at the same time continuing to work in macOS (Office, Evernote, native-Mac BIM & 3D software). I takes a bit away from the native speed, so at times I reboot into Bootcamp to run them at full speed.

If the models and documents are not too heavy, the ease of integration outweighs the performance loss. However, booting and loading heavy applications takes time, so I avoid running if at all possible.
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