Archive
2 “Superior” has a nice ring to it

Be sure to check out the October edition of PC World Magazine for an excellent, objective review of Parallels Desktop for Mac. Narasu Rebbapragada, PC World’s Senior Review Editor, took a whack at Desktop and gave us an almost unheard of score of 90/100, earning us a “Superior” ranking.

Desktop received the highest score of the issue and one of the highest scores given to any software or hardware product reviewed by PC World this year. This is doubly impressive considering that this is from the leading PC magazine (with more than 5 million readers monthly), and NOT from a Mac-focused magazine!

Pick up your copy at any news stand (I got mine at Barnes & Noble), or read the full review online at PCWorld.com:

Archive
1 A quick fix from the QA team

If you updated your build and tried to launch Parallels Desktop from the original shortcut icon your placed in your dock or on the desktop, you will not be able to load Parallels Desktop properly.

You MUST either run this beta build of Parallels Desktop directly from your Applications folder, or delete the original shortcut on your desktop/dock and replace it with the newer one that appeared in the Parallels Application Folder. Parallels Desktop is located at Macintosh HD -> Applications -> Parallels -> Parallels Desktop.

Keep that feedback coming to macbeta@parallels.com, the forum, and the online support form; I’ll have more updates for you soon.

Archive
7 Q&A about the Update RC build

Lots of readers have emailed me questions about the Desktop Update RC, (mainly about RAM and Mac Pro support), so I decided to answer them here, rather than do so in the comments sections. I hope this helps clear things up about Mac Pro support!

  • Why did you announce that Parallels Desktop is compatible with Mac Pros outfitted with only up to 4GB of RAM?

This is an issue related to Physical Address Extension mode, which, as defined by Wikipedia, “allows for up to 64 gigabytes of memory to be used in 32-bit systems, given appropriate operating system support.”

Right now, Parallels offers partial support for PAE mode, which is why RAM is limited to 4GB (3.5 to be safe). Our next version, due in beta around the turn of the year, will offer full PAE support.

  • My Mac Pro has more than 4GB of RAM. Does that mean I can’t use Parallels at all?

No, it doesn’t! There’s actually an easy workaround that will let you use Parallels on any Mac Pro, regardless of how much RAM you have.

This is accomplished by limiting your memory size with a boot-loader oprtion. Directions are as follows:

  1. Load your Terminal window. You can find this application in Macintosh HD -> Applications -> Utilities
  2. Enter the following command: sudo nvram boot-args=”maxmem=3500″.
  3. Hit enter.

  4. Enter your administrator password. Hit enter.
  5. Reboot your Mac Pro
  6. Get to work with Parallels!

To refresh your Mac Pro so it can use full amount of memory you have installed, just repeat steps 1-4, substituting the amount of memory you have (in MB) in the command line sudo nvram boot-args=”maxmem=YOURMEMORYTOTAL”.

  • Does this new build work on the just-released 64-bit Core 2 Duo iMacs?

Yes. We’ve had positive responses so far from the lucky few who have 64-bit Core 2 Duo users.

  • I see you’re running Windows Vista Beta 2. What about RC?

Vista RC has been out for less than a week and we haven’t had a chance to fully test it. Beta 1 and Beta 2 do work right now, and we should have support for the RC builds shortly. I’ll circle back with QA on that one and see what the timeline looks like.

  • When I load Parallels Desktop on my Mac Pro, I see that VT mode is disabled. Why?

This is actually an Apple bug, not a Parallels bug. You may remember that when we first launched Desktop in Beta back in April, some Mac Minis had VT inside, but it was disabled due to a firmware glitch. The same thing is happening here. We’ve already contacted Apple about this, and they’re working on the problem.

  • I’ve seen in the comments and on the forum that some users are having some complications with this build. What’s the deal?

Short version: its beta software! Betas are there to be tested and evaluated, so we can work out all of the issues before we go “live” with the final release. Its completely normal to find bugs and other glitches in beta software. Also pkese remember that Apple does not provide anyone – not even some of their own teams – early access to hardware. We got our Mac Pros (and this week, our 64-bit iMacs) the same time as the rest of the world. That doesn’t give us a ton of lead time on fixes.

  • What do I do if I find a bug or other technical issue?

You’ve all been a huge help in making Parallels Desktop what it is today, and I hope that you’ll continue to offer your advice, point out bugs, and give us your suggestions on how to make things better and more usable.

If you do want to let us know what you think about the beta, you’ve got three ways to get your comments to us:

  1. Submit your comments via our online support form.
  2. Email them to macbeta@parallels.com.
  3. Discuss them on our online support forum.

A note on the forum: While our QA and Engineering teams may not be able to respond to every post, they’re always monitoring the forums and will definitely see your comments.

Archive
25 Desktop Update RC: Compatible with Mac Pro, Leopard, and Vista!

About a week ago I let you know that our Mac Pro compatible version was coming in a few days. Well, its here…and its got some really great new features!

First and foremost, this build offers full compatibility with Mac Pro towers running with up to 3.5GB of RAM (NOTE: You can run Parallels on Mac Pros with 4GB of RAM, but we recommend 3.5…more on that later). Thank you to all of the Mac Pro users out there who waited patiently (some more patiently than others) while we got this working.

Second, we’ve added support for the developer builds of OS X Leopard, which as most of you know is the next generation of OS X, due to launch sometime next year. This means that you can run Parallels on any Intel Mac running OS X Tiger or OS X Leopard…it does NOT mean that you can run OS X in a virtual machine (sorry guys!).

Third, you can now run Windows Vista Beta as a guest OS! I originally promised this to you around the end of the year, but our developers came through big time and we’re giving it to you ahead of schedule. Support for Vista is experimental, so you may run into some device and driver issues, but you can get Vista running and start tinkering with it in a safe virtual environment. If you do run into an issue with Vista, let us know by filling out our support web form.

There’s a bunch of other stuff in the Update RC, but those are the big three. You can get the full list of features, fixes and upgrades at the Update RC main page.

Ready to give it a try? Get the Update RC at the Parallels Desktop download page!

NOTES ON INSTALLING THE UPDATE RC:

  • If you’re new to Parallels Desktop for Mac: you can start using improved Parallels Desktop for Mac by downloading and installing the RC on a «clean» machine. Click here to get a free 15-days trial!
  • If you already have your copy of Parallels Desktop for Mac: Updating your build is easy. Just download the Update RC file and install it over your existing version.
    • You will NOT need to reinstall any guest OS or any applications when you update your Parallels Desktop for Mac.
    • Don’t forget to update Parallels Tools after installing Update RC!
Archive
0 Intel Virtualization Technology and AMD Secure Virtual Machine Technology

Thanks to the lightweight hypervisor that powers our virtualization products, we’re able to fully support hardware virtualization technologies like Intel Virtualization Technology (VT) and AMD Secure Virtual Machine Technology (SVM). If you’re looking to run fast, stable, secure virtual machines (and you probably are, or you wouldn’t be reading this), that’s a very good thing.

VT and SVM are specially optimized processor architectures and firmware sets that serve as a kind of turbo booster for our virtualization engine. They offload some of the “heavy lifting” from our virtualization engine to the processor level, which means that virtual machines are substantially faster and more stable. We’ve seen performance increases of up to 150% on a VT/SVM powered box!

Working in conjunction with the hypervisor, VT and SVM help the Primary and Guest OSes happily coexist on a single machine.

The great part about this stuff is that if you’re working on a box that’s VT or SVM powered, Parallels immediately – and automatically – takes advantage of it. No techie magic required!

Intel and AMD are rolling out their respective hardware virtualization technologies now, so chances are that if you’re buying a new computer, it’ll have VT or SVM inside it.

If you’re using Parallels Desktop on an Intel Mac, you’re already working on a machine that’s VT-powered. This is one of the key reasons why Windows runs so damn fast in Parallels Desktop!

  • For more information on Intel VT, click here.
  • For more information about AMD SVM, click here.
  • For a third-party look on why these technologies are important, check out Loyd Case’s recent ABC News article, titled “Let’s Get Virtual”.
Archive
12 Mac Pro Compatibility

There have been a number of questions both here and on the forum about Mac Pro compatibility, so I wanted to be sure to address all of them ASAP.

1) Is Parallels Desktop compatible with the new Mac Pro tower?
Not yet. The new Mac Pros have a different CPU model, and work with a specifically optimized OS X kernel. It is not difficult to make Parallels compatible with either of these, but it does take a bit of time. We should have a compatible build very soon.

2) “Very soon” sounds like marketing-ese for “we’ll have something someday.”
When I say very soon, I mean very soon. Like within the next few days.

3) How will we find out when the build is ready?
If you’re signed up to receive Parallels news, you’ll get an email from us with instructions on how and where to get the build. Not signed up? Just enter your email address on the main Parallels home page and you’ll be good to go.

Alternatively, you can check the Parallels Technical Forum, or just keep an eye on my blog. I’ll be posting notices to both places within minutes of the build being ready.

All in all, please keep in mind that the Mac Pro was only announced earlier this month! We started work on them within 24 hours of the announcement, and we’re continuing to work around the clock (really…our developers are working in shifts and our Mac Pros are always on) to get this ready for you.

Just hang tight. I’ll have good news for you really soon.

Archive
3 Workstation for Windows & Linux 2.2 Beta!

After a few months of me talking your ear off about our Desktop for Mac product, I’m proud to say that we have new news on the Windows and Linux front, with the launch of beta testing for Parallels Workstation 2.2, a more powerful version of our virtualization software for Windows and Linux!

Workstation 2.2 beta includes many of the great features that our Desktop for Mac users love, including:

  • Shared Folders that allow users to share files and folders between OSes
  • Better sound recording and playback
  • Smoother video playback
  • Smoother fullscreen transitions and support for native screen resolutions
  • Better USB support, including support for isynchronous devices and Windows Mobile 5

As well as several new features, like:

  • Full support for AMD Secure Virtual Machine technology. This technology, which is similar to Intel Virtualization Technology (which we’ve supported for months), dramatically improves the speed, performance, stability and isolation of virtual machines by offloading some of the “heavy lifting” from our engine directly to the processor
  • Support for NetBSD as a guest OS, and better support for Solaris guest VMs
  • Support for machines with up to 32 CPUs

All in all, its really solid. Check out all of the upgrades and new features at the Workstation 2.2 main page.

IF YOU’RE A REGISTERED USER:

  • As part of our committment to reasonable pricing, the update to 2.2 is COMPLETELY FREE for all Workstation 2.1 users!
  • When we release the final update in just a few weeks, Parallels Workstation will auto-update. If you have auto update disabled, you’ll be able to manually update Parallels Workstation by downloading the update package from our site.
  • You will NOT need to reinstall any guest OS, nor will you lose any data when you upgrade to Workstation 2.2 Beta.
  • Don’t forget to update Parallels Tools after upgrading to 2.2 Beta! Click the “VM” tab in the Parallels menu bar, then click “Install Tools”. You’ll need to be logged into your VM to do this.

IF YOU’RE A NEW USER:

  • You can start using Parallels Workstation 2.2 Beta by downloading and installing the beta on a “bare” machine.
  • Follow the Quick Start Guide to get started.
    • Note to all users: updated documentation is coming soon…stay tuned.
  • Be sure to visit the Technical Support Forum for handy tricks, answers to FAQs and to hear what other users are saying

Hopefully you’re as excited about the new version as I am. Get it now! Oh, and don’t forget to tell us what you think!

Archive
0 Photos from WWDC

Just a few of the many photos I snapped at WWDC:

The huge, wall-to-wall banner on the first floor of Moscone West. The ones on the upper floors were funnier, but I’m not allowed to share, per the WWDC attendee agreement.

Me with Om Malik, Senior Writer for Business 2.0, at the Starbucks by his office. Outside of Business 2.0, Om runs GigaOM, a great technology blog/portal, on which he just wrote up a very positive article on Parallels. He also throws one hell of a party.

Dinner at Roy’s with the MacWorld Staff. From left: me, Peter Cohen (Senior Editor and resident gaming guru), Phil Michaels (Executive Editor), Rob Griffiths (Senior Editor).

Rob wrote one of the most thorough reviews of Desktop I’ve seen so far. And, he gave us 4.5 stars out of 5! Check his review out here.

In the main cafeteria with Tony Arnold, the creator of Virtue Desktop, a multi-desktop solution for OS X. If you aren’t using Virtue Desktop with Parallels, you should be. Read more about it and get the download here.
Neal Emerald, Apple Federal Systems Engineer, and J. Dolak, US Army. Neal’s in the Reston office right around the corner from our Herndon headquarters. I’m over there so much working on various projects that Neal’s suggested that I set up permanent residence.
To my right, Tamotsu Ito, Senior Editor of Weekly ASCII Magazine, the leading weekly Japanese IT magazine. On my left is Akemi Miyamoto, one of ASCII’s best writers. Akemi also served as a very accopmlished translator.
Parallels Engineers working with Shawn Geddis, one of the world’s foremost experts on Mac security, and the OS X USB team.

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