Comparing Parallels Desktop to Boot Camp: Opening a web page in IE

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Sometimes you encounter a website that requires Internet Explorer (IE), as in Figure 1. This blog post will compare opening IE for such a website on your Mac using Parallels Desktop 12, and using Boot Camp. Both alternatives here use a 2012 MacBook Pro running macOS Sierra (10.12.1) and Windows 10.

Boot Camp

Figure 1_A website that REQUIRES Internet Explorer

Bottom Line: While the videos and screenshots below document both alternatives in detail, here are the final results of the comparison:

Parallels Desktop 12

(Parallels Desktop already launched and Windows 10 in Coherence view)

Boot Camp
Step Time (seconds) Step Time (seconds)
Click on the “Open in IE” button in the Safari title bar 0 Write down the URL of the site 2
Page displayed in IE 4.5 Reboot Mac into Boot Camp (Windows 10) 91
Launch IE 4
Type in the URL 15
Page displayed in IE 4
Total 4.5 Total 116
25 Times Longer


Using Parallels Desktop 12

For years now, Parallels Desktop has contained a Safari plug-in to make precisely this task easy. You can install this plug-in into Safari from the Web & Email options in the Configurations dialog for your virtual machine (Figure 2).

Boot Camp

Figure 2_Installing the ‘Open in IE’ plug-in for Safari

Then, whenever you encounter a website that requires IE or a page that just doesn’t render well in Safari, just click on this button in the Safari window title bar, as shown in the video (Figure 3).

This button is pretty simple to use, and very quick—4.5 seconds in my test.

Using Boot Camp

If you want to use Windows in Boot Camp to view a website in IE, there are more steps.

Copy the URL. There is no easy way to copy and paste the URL, since to use Boot Camp, you have to shut down macOS and then boot in Windows. So, you are pretty much left with writing down the URL on a scrap of paper. Thank goodness this URL is short!

Shut down Mac and boot Windows. Then you have to reboot your Mac. There are several ways to do this, but I usually set this in the Startup Disk pane in the Mac’s System Preferences window (Figure 4).

Boot Camp

Figure 4_The Startup Disk pane in the System Preferences window

Launch IE and then Type in the URL.

This is all shown in this video:

I hope this comparison assists you in choosing the method that works best for you. Please let us know of your experiences in the comments, or reach out to us on Facebook or Twitter.

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Kurt has been a Mac developer since before the Mac came out. Today he is the Senior Product Manager at Parallels where he works on both Parallels Desktop for Mac and Parallels Access. Prior to Parallels, he was the Senior Mac Evangelist in the Macintosh Business Unit (MacBU) at Microsoft Corp. Kurt is the author of three books and has lectured internationally on object-oriented programming, UI design, and virtualization. Kurt is also a Microsoft Office for Mac and iOS Accredited Support Professional for 2014 and 2015. Outside of work, Kurt has been a fencer for many years, has four times been a member of the US team at the world championships, and has also been the coach of the US team: