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!


  • 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!
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”.
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.

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.


  • 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.


  • 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!

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.

73 WWDC Wrap Up, Part 2: VMware is in, Microsoft is out, Parallels responds

WWDC saw some major activity in the virtualization-on-Mac space. Not only did we release a beta update for Parallels Desktop, but two of the biggest players in the virtualization market announced their plans for the Mac market.

First, VMware stated that they were planning a workstation-class product for Mac OS X. They noted that they’re hoping to be in beta by year’s end, with a “real” version launching sometime next year. I think its interesting to note that when they’re launching beta for version 1, we’ll be ready to go to beta for our second version of Desktop. More on that later.

What I found especially amusing about that announcement was the screenshot that they posted on

Yep, that’s a Parallels Desktop application icon in the dock. What can I say? Our stuff is so good, even the competition runs it.

On the same day, Microsoft announced that it will no longer be pursuing Virtual PC for Intel Macs, ending months of speculation on the subject. A Microsoft rep stated: “[The Microsoft] Mac BU has made the decision not to move forward with a Universal version of Virtual PC at this time.”

So, in light of these major announcements, we felt obligated to respond. First, as I mentioned earlier, we released a great beta update that is FREE to all users (and to non-users who want to take it for a test-drive). Second, we gave a bit of insight into our plans for the next version of Desktop. The next version, due to hit beta by year’s end, will include:

  • A groundbreaking new user interface that will make running Windows on a Mac easier and more productive than ever before
  • Never before seen security and management tools
  • Capability to burn CDs and DVDs inside virtual machines
  • Fast 3D graphics support
    via support for OpenGL and DirectX. You’ll be able to run games at full speed without leaving your OS X desktop!
  • An ACPI BIOS that provides the ability to run Microsoft Windows Vista
    • NOTE: For our Windows customers, Vista will be supported as a primary OS as well as a guest
  • More cool stuff that I can’t tell you about right now. 🙂

Oh, and did I mention that we’re working on Parallels Server for Mac? Look for that around the turn of the year as well.

3 WWDC Wrap Up, Part 1: Parallels Desktop Beta Update

I made it back from WWDC in one piece, and have a lot to tell! In the interest of keeping my posts short, I’m going to break my WWDC wrap-up into a few parts.

First, let’s talk about the big news from Parallels…we dropped a beta update for Parallels Desktop on August 8th!

The update has a number of really cool features, such as:

  • USB improvements – easily use multi interfaced and isochronous USB devices (including Windows Mobile 2005 and webcams)
  • You can now optimize Mac OS X or guest OS performance by switching off the Mac cache function. Click the edit button on your config screen, and then go to “VM flags”. You’ll find the radio buttons there.
  • Faster, smoother video playback.
  • You can now use all of the keys on your Mac keyboard, like the eject CD button, right-left and Shift/Ctrl/Alt (option)/Windows keys, in any virtual machine.
  • With Unicode path support you can name files and paths in national languages
  • Better shared folders performance – open folders and files faster, and transfer data across OSes with almost zero lag.
  • Go to the main beta update page for the complete list of fixes and updates

This update is COMPLETELY FREE for Parallels users, and can be downloaded and used from scratch for new users! A few notes on downloading and intalling the update:

  1. Since this is a beta update, you’ll need to download it manually. Get the update at the Beta Update Download Page.
  2. When the final update is released, you’ll be auto-updated. To turn the auto-update feature on, click “Help” in the Parallels menu bar, then click “Check for updates”. The option is on that tab.
  3. As with all Parallels updates, you will NOT need to reinstall Windows or any applications, and you won’t lose any data!

More on WWDC coming soon…

2 FREE Parallels presentations at the San Francisco Apple Store during WWDC!

If you’re not attending WWDC but are in the San Francisco area and want to learn more about Parallels, I hope that you’ll be able to make it to the San Francisco Apple Store (On Stockton Street, just north of the Moscone Center West) on Monday, August 7th and Tuesday, August 8th from 7-8:30pm for free, open-to-the-public presentations/Q&A I’ll be giving.

I’ll be at the store discussing tips and tricks to help you get the most out of Parallels Desktop, giving a high-level overview of the technology that powers our software, and answering audience questions.

Seating is limited, so get there early!

5 I’ll be at WWDC, will you?

From August 7th-11th, Mac geeks from all over the world will converge on the Moscone Center in San Francisco for the Apple Worldwide Developer Conference. This week long event is one of two major Apple events each year (the other being MacWorld), and this is definitely the more technical of the two. There are dozens of focused technology training sessions, lots of great presentations, and of course, Steve Jobs’ keynote speech where he’ll be previewing OS 10.5 “Leopard” as well as upcoming Apple hardware technologies.

I, and several other guys from Parallels, will be at WWDC in full force. So if you have a technical question, are interested in exploring a partnership with Parallels, or just want to say “hi”, find me or any other Parallels team member. We’ll be in bright orange shirts like the one below:

I’m 6’2″, weigh 230 lbs, shave my head and will be in a bright orange shirt.
There’s no way you can miss me at WWDC.

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