Good integration with macOS, but updates are pricy and OpenGL update is needed
November 10, 2017

Good integration with macOS, but updates are pricy and OpenGL update is needed

Stefan Boeykens | TrustRadius Reviewer
Score 9 out of 10
Vetted Review
Verified User
Review Source

Overall Satisfaction with Parallels Desktop

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.
  • While the main desktop has a fair price, upgrade pricing is about 50% of a new license. As the yearly updates don't often justify this, I tend to skip the even releases.
  • Ease-of-use and convenience are the main reasons to use it.
  • OpenGL support has not evolved for recent 3D applications, which is starting to become a problem.
  • Too many automatic integrations and impact on macOS, so I have to disable quiet a few in the configurations. Especially inadvertantly launching parallels and Windows applications when double-clicking a file or doing a spotlight search can be annoying.
I have used VirtualBox on Windows as a free alternative, as I only used it to access an old scanner without recent drivers. So far, I stick with Parallels, but the OpenGL limitations are said to be resolved better with VMware Fusion. But I currently don't want to migrate to another VM solution. The main ease-of-use and integration in macOS is still good for me.
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.

Parallels Desktop Feature Ratings

Using Parallels Desktop

It has a good integration, including the connection of peripherals. Taking files back and forth works well and I can attach my Home drive as a network drive in Windows. There is even integration with iCloud and other macOS services. There are also a few different display modes which are useful and fleixible (coherence, windowed, full-screen with multiple screens)
Relatively simple
Easy to use
Technical support not required
Well integrated
Quick to learn
Feel confident using
  • Running a Windows application in its own Window alongside macOS applications
  • Dragging files from Finder to Windows Explorer
  • Copy/pasting text (even using the command-C and command-V shortcut)
  • Launching Windows from the bootcamp partition
  • Takes a while to boot and launch the first application
  • Some applications can not run at all, due to higher OpenGL requirements (e.g. SketchUp Pro for Windows)