0 Parallels in NYC on Wednesday

For those of you in New York, I’ll be presenting at the SoHo Apple Store on Wednesday, September 20th from 6:30 – 7:30pm. This is a good opportunity for new and experienced Parallels users to ask questions about the product and learn more about the technology that powers it.

If you’re an Apple Store employee or business consultant, I’ll be at the SoHo store for about 2 hours prior to the presentation for employee training. Call the SoHo store to reserve a spot…they’re going fast.

3 “Ask Ben Anything” starts next week

Starting next Friday, I’ll be writing a weekly post called “Ask Ben Anything”, in which I’ll select a few (i.e., 3-5) of the dozens of weekly questions and comments I get about about Parallels products, virtualization, OSes, hardware, and technology in general. I’ll post the questions and my answers, along with any reference materials or media features I can find that help explain the technology or concept in question.

Of course, I will continue to write back as often as I can in the comments sections of each post, so keep those questions and comments coming!

I borrowed this concept from my friend Walt Mossberg at the Wall Street Journal, who writes a weekly Q&A column called “Mossberg’s Mailbox”. The column is published every Thursday in the print edition of the Journal, and is also available online at Walt’s Personal Technology website. As with all of Walt’s stuff, its good reading if you’re looking for practical, real-world tech advice. Check it out.

Me and Walt. Two guys who dig technology and have weekly Q&A columns.

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

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, the forum, and the online support form; I’ll have more updates for you soon.

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
  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.

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