Overall Satisfaction with Parallels Desktop
Right now, we only use Parallels in a single user environment. I do software development on an iMac, but the development platform only works under Windows. I use Parallels to run Windows 10 side-by-side with Mac OS X. There are so many things I love about the iMac that I can't get with a Windows PC; Parallels give me a great compromise. I can use all the features I love about the Mac alongside my Windows environment. The Parallels Coherence mode allows me to run my Windows applications and OS X applications as though they were running under one OS. I love it!
- Range of application support. When I first started using Parallels, one of the applications I run for development seemed to have issues running in the VM. I discovered that I had actually failed to install a needed Windows component during the installation process. To date, I haven't found any applications that don't play nice in the Parallels environment.
- Ease of Use. This one deserves honorable mention. The setup was a snap; their setup wizard is excellent and asked me difficult technical questions in plain English so I was able to set up Parallels in just a few minutes. The user interface is pretty much what you see is what you get, with a caveat I'll explain later.
- Coherence Mode. I've mentioned this already in the review, but the Coherence mode is just cool. Parallels runs in a sort of full-screen mode but sits behind the Mac OS. Programs appear in the dock with two vertical bars so you know they're actually running under Parallels. Otherwise, the transition between Mac and Windows under Parallels is almost transparent.
- Keyboard shortcuts. This is the only thing I've really struggled with in using Parallels. When moving from Mac to Windows and back, the keyboard shortcut keys change. For example, to copy+paste under Windows is Ctrl + C and Ctrl + V. Under the Mac it is Command + C and Command + V. Small thing, but when you're hurrying, it can cause trouble. Some of the keyboard shortcuts for moving to the beginning or end of a line also don't work quite right in Parallels. Now, this could all be user error. I've still got some searching to do.
- Parallels isn't that expensive to implement. For what I'm doing, I have to have a Windows environment. That makes Parallels mission critical for me. The Parallels investment is much smaller than buying another computer that can do the work of the iMac.
Prior to using Parallels, I ran under Boot Camp. Of course, the OS runs just fine that way, but having to power down and back up each time I wanted to switch environments just wasn't working for me. That's what sent me looking for another solution. I tried Oracle VM VirtualBox, but the configuration was difficult and the OS never installed correctly. (Likely user error.) The setup process for Oracle VM VirtualBox was definitely geared to very tech savvy people who understand virtual machine lingo, which I do not. Parallels is loaded with all the features and functionality that I need to do my work, with a very simple user interface.
I do business application development under Parallels. So far, I haven't found a scenario where Parallels hasn't been a good fit for me. I know running a VM can be resource intensive, so I suppose if you were running an extremely "hungry" Mac OS application, that could make using Parallels more difficult. Otherwise, I really can't think of a good scenario where Parallels isn't a fit.