7 “Ask Ben Anything” – All about OSes

If I want the option of running Windows XP under both Parallels or Boot
Camp. What are the Windows license implications? Must I purchase two
copies of Windows XP? (It seems that since it is on the same hardware
and not running concurrently, that a single license for Windows should
be sufficient, at least in the legal sense). Will Microsoft allow the
same copy of Windows to be registered for both Parallels and Boot Camp?

– Clinton W.

The best answer I can give is “maybe”. There are a lot of versions of Windows out there, and the EULA (End User License Agreement) can be slightly different in each. In most cases, the EULA states that Windows XP can be installed on one machine, which can be interpreted in two ways:

  1. You need need two licensed copies of Windows to use both Parallels and Boot Camp at the same time.
  2. Since Parallels and Boot Camp reside on the same machine, you’re good to go.

I have heard that many of our users have had success with interpretation #2 by calling Microsoft and explaining that they’re planning on using the same copy twice on one machine, and that Microsoft has said OK. Your results may vary.

This issue with multi-machine licensig becomes much more concrete when it comes to Vista. Microsoft just announced that VistaVista Home Basic and Vista Home Premium in a virtual machine, via the rather direct statement “You may not use the software installed on the licensed device within a virtual (or otherwise emulated) hardware system,”. You can, however, install Vista Ultimate and Vista Business, in any virtual machine. For the entire Vista license agreement, check out the EULA section of Greg Kezier of TechWeb also wrote a good article on the new EULA changes, which you can read here.

The bottom line when installing XP or any Windows OS is make sure that you’ve ready your copy’s EULA, and that you abide by it, or else its entirely possible you get a nastygram from Microsoft Legal telling you that you’re operating your machine illegally, and that you owe them some money.

Hi Ben-

The FAQ suggests downloading a trial version and trying it out, when my favorite OS is not listed in the supported Guest OS’s list. But I’m too busy and lazy to try that, so I’ll ask you instead: what about various versions of Mac OS X itself as a Guest OS for ‘Parallels Desktop for Mac’? Can you do that?

Hmmm, would this allow you to test the Mac OS X-compatibility of new development versions of ‘Parallels Desktop for Mac’ itself, using a stable version of Parallels running different Mac OS X versions each running the new version inside, each runnning various other OSes? The mind reels….

Chris K.

While this is technically possible, running OS X in a virtual machine is a clear violation of Apple’s OS X EULA, which states in Section 2, subsection A: “This License allows you to install and use one copy of the Apple Software on a single Apple-labeled computer at a time. This License does not allow the Apple Software to exist on more than one computer at a time,and you may not make the Apple Software available over a network where it could be used by multiple computers at the same time. ”

So, in order for us to make this happen, we need Apple to give us the green light, which they have so far been reluctant to do. If you want to see this happen (I know I do), let Apple know by filling out their feedback form on

As for running a virtual machine via Parallels Workstation in a Windows virtual machine running in Parallels on a Mac (wrap your head around that one), this IS possible…just don’t expect amazing performance, since you’re effectively working in a virtual machine running in a virtual machine running on real hardware.

Thanks for the question…I feel dizzy now…

Hi Ben,

Any idea when Parallels for Win/Linux is going to support a 64-bit host OS? The FAQ says you need a 32-bit host OS in 2.1 but it says 64-bit host support is in the plans. The 2.2 release notes mention support for AMD virtualization technologies but no mention of 64-bit host support. I currently dual-boot between Windows XP-Pro 64 and SuSE-64 on an AMD FX-2 chip. I’d like to move to virtualization and run Vista-64, RedHat, etc. as well.

Ramin F.

Full 64-bit support for both primary and guest operating systems is planned for the next version of both Parallels Workstation and Parallels Desktop. These new, improved versions should drop in beta sometime around the turn of the year. We know that there are a lot of people running 64-bit chips in PCs, and that Macs will be moving to all 64-bit soon, so we’re working as hard as we can to make our stuff able to take full advantage of the new chips!

5 Important new releases: Official Update for Desktop for Mac, AND Workstation 2.2 for Windows & Linux!

After a really successful beta program (thanks again to everyone who helped out!), we’re ready to release the final, official versions of both the Desktop for Mac Update, and version 2.2 of Workstation for Windows and Linux. I think you’ll be really impressed with what both products have to offer.

More information on each product, and links to get them, are below. But before I get to that, a few important notes that apply to BOTH products:

  • Both of these releases are FREE for registered customers, and will AUTOMATICALLY UPDATE if you have that feature enabled. If you have auto-update turned off, you’ll need to download and install the new versions manually.
  • Upgrading will not require a re-install of any guest OSes or applications. You’re just updating the Parlalels application package.
  • Remember to re-install Parallels Tools after upgrading
  • New users can download and evaluate either Desktop for Mac or Workstation for Windows or Linux free for 15-days. Download the product you’d like to try and get a trial key from the Parallels Download Center.

On to the good stuff. Here’s what’s new in each product:


  • Works on ANY Intel-Mac with ANY memory configuration with no system modification. This includes Mac Pros with up to 16GB of RAM, and the full line of Core 2 Duo iMacs
  • Support for Windows Vista as a guest OS
  • Support for Mac OS X 10.5 “Leopard” as a Primary OS
  • Better USB support, including support for isynchronous devices and Windows Mobile 5 devices


  • Full support for AMD Secure Virtual Machine Technology, and stronger support for Intel Virtualization Technology. For more information on why this is important, see my recent blog post on the subject.
  • Support for Windows Vista as a Guest OS
  • A new shared folder utility lets users share files and folders between OSes
  • Smoother sound and video support
  • Better networking; use WiFi connections in Linux primary OSes, and switch bridge connections between a LAN cable and WiFi connection on the fly in any guest OS.
  • Stronger support for USB devices, including support for webcams and Windows Mobile 5 devices
13 Ask Ben Anything – dual displays, copy protected CDs, multiple VMs, wireless broadband cards, and personal problems

Good questions this week! Remember, if you have a question, email it to me at with “Ask Ben Anything” in the subject line, or just post it in a comment anywhere on the blog.

1) One of the nicest things about Virtual PC is being able to have a dual-display Mac and being able to run Windows in full-screen mode in the monitor of your choice…and being able to move from one system to the other just by moving the mouse from one screen to the other. Is this possible with Parallels Desktop for Mac?

Tiago (via email)

It sure is. Parallels Desktop supports full screen mode for all of our guest OSes (be sure to install Parallels Tools for best results), and any VM can be dragged to a second display. Just drag it over to your second monitor, hit the fullscreen button or hotkey combination, and have two full-screen OSes side by side, with one keyboard and mouse.

For those of you who want similar functionality but don’t have a second display, I recommend Virtue Desktop. It’s Australian-made freeware and is really great stuff…I know I couldn’t live without it. Check it out at

2) What’s the status of getting copy-protected CDs to work under Windows XP? I want to get my Age of Empires II freak on, but can’t under Parallels as it won’t start the game.

Adam A.

You’ve run into an issue that we know about and for which we’re already working on a fix. In the next version of desktop we’re planning on including an upgraded virtual CD/DVD drive that will work seamlessly with copy-protected media, and will also enable you to burn CDs and DVDs (assuming you have the appropriate real hardware) directly in virtual machines. The good news is that the new version should be available in beta around the turn of the year, so this fix is pretty close to being ready to go.

3) I’m researching buying a macbookpro and fortunately just found some info on Parallels. I’m pretty psyched. Ideally I’d like to be able to run KDE, Windows at the same time on OSX. Is this possible with Parallels?

Thanks much,

It’s easy to run multiple VMs at the same time on one OS X Mac (or, via Parallels Workstation, one Windows or Linux PC). Open up as many Virtual Machines as you’d like, and get to work…you’re only limited by real RAM and processing power. I’ve run 4 VMs comfortably at one time, so 2 should be no problem. I would, however, recommend that you get a MacBook Pro with 2GB of RAM if you’re going to run more than 1 VM at a time.

To open a second instance of Parallels Desktop, just hit Apple+N.

4) I just got a new EVDO Verizon Wireless high-speed broadband card. It works in OS X, but I can’t get the connection to bridge to Windows. What am I doing wrong?

– Truckr010 (via AIM)

Nothing, actually. Parallels doesn’t support the new broadband cards as a bridged internet option (we will in the next version). Fortunately, there is an easy workaround to get Windows working with your card:

  1. Launch Parallels Desktop and select your VM. Click on the “network adapter” item and select “host-only networking”. Hit OK.
  2. Connect to the Internet in OS X using your broadband card.
  3. In the System Preferences menu, click “Sharing”, then “Internet”. Select your wireless card from the menu and check “Ethernet Adapter (en2)” in the “To Computers Using” list. Be sure to uncheck any other interface. Hit start to confirm the changes and activate Internet Sharing.
  4. Click on the “Firewall” tab in the “Sharing” menu and turn the Firewall off to make sure that its not interfering with the Mac-VM connection.
  5. Boot your VM

Steps 1-4 take about 1 minute to complete, and after that, you’re good to go.

5) “Ask Ben Anything?” Ok then, what the hell is wrong with me?

– K. O.

No idea. I am sure, however, that the joy of working with Parallels Workstation or Parallels Desktop will fix what ails you.

1 Awards and Accolades

It’s been a pretty impressive few weeks for Parallels. Below you’ll find a few of our recent reviews and the awards that we’ve earned:

October 2006: Parallels Workstation 2.1 is named a “Must Have” application & Editor’s Choice by, one of the leading review/download sites on the net.

Read the full TUCOWS review.

October 2006: Parallels Desktop for Mac gets a 90/100 and a “Superior” ranking from PC World. This was the highest score of the issue and one of highest of the year.

Read the PC World review. (Note: this review was originally published online in August 06).

September 2006: MacWorld gives Parallels Desktop for Mac 4.5/5 mice and the coveted “mouse award”. We also were named an Editor’s Choice with a 5/5 star ranking from MacWorld UK.

Read MacWorld’s review. (Note: this review was originally published online in June 06).

4 “Ask Ben Anything” — better late than never!

Between being in San Fransico at the Intel Developer Forum for a week, and Monday being Yom Kippur, I managed to miss Friday’s column. So, here’s a brief “Ask Ben Anything” to make up for that…I’ll do a full column as usual this Friday.

Also, for those of you writing questions to me via email, please include “Ask Ben Anything” in your subject line so I don’t misplace your message.

1) I’ve been reading about the SlingBox, the gadget that lets you watch TV from anywhere. But I see that this its a Windows-only app/appliance. Does it work in Parallels Desktop for Mac?


Yes, it sure does! Check out this interview with the SlingBox execs on, in which they talk about running the SlingPlayer in Parallels on a Mac. For a real world taste of Sling on Mac (and some great screenshots), check out this eval by James McMurry.

SlingBox/SlingPlayer works especially well on the update builds of Parallels Desktop, since those offer better video support. Linux users will be happy to know that you can also run SlingPlayer in a Windows VM via Parallels Workstation for Linux.

2) You’ve been issuing updates pretty frequently. How do I know if I have the most recent build? I tried checking for updates and my copy of Parallels says I’m up to date, even though I don’t think I am.

– Rojer

Parallels products only auto-update when we have a final, stable build. Since the recent update builds for Parallels Desktop for Mac are beta/RC builds, we haven’t set the server to auto-update everyone.

To check your build, open Parallels Desktop, click “Parallels Desktop” in the menu bar, and then click “About Parallels Desktop”. Your build information will be right at the top.

You can get the most recent build of Desktop at the Desktop Update Download Page. 1922 is the most recet build.

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