Parallels 4 Breaks Your Keyboard - WARNING: DO NOT UPGRADE!

Discussion in 'Installation and Configuration' started by ultimante, Nov 13, 2008.

  1. ultimante


    Parallels 4 Breaks Your Windows Keyboard - WARNING: DO NOT UPGRADE UNTIL THEY FIX IT!

    Parallels 4 completely changes the way the keyboard works with Windows, and now Parallels has ownership over CMD+W, which, as everyone knows, Windows uses to close windows in both the OS and in applications.

    There is no way to override or fix this. It's belongs to Parallels now under the File menu. When you hit CMD+W, Parallels asks you if you want to quit the virtual machine. I can't believe it. Nobody would use the "Close Window" keyboard shortcut anyway since it's a bad idea to quit your virtual machines from Parallels and not using the virtual machine's OS to shut itself down. Why would you make a keyboard shortcut to do this in the first place, and why would you use one of the most common keyboard shortcuts to do it?

    It doesn't end there, you can't just simple set CMD to equate to CTRL in Windows. You have to manually set every single keyboard combination you want it to convert. CMD+A = CTRL+A, CMD+X = CTRL+X. Parallels comes with some of these, but not all.

    The way the keyboard conversion works in Parallels 4 is entirely different than Parallels 3, and the fact that it blocks one of the most common keyboard shortcuts in Windows (CTRL+W) with absolutely no way to reassign it, means that Parallels 4 BREAKS your keyboard.

    Parallels, take your useless CMD+W command out of the File menu, and go back to the simple, straightforward keyboard management of Parallels 3. It wasn't broke, so why did you try to "fix" it? At the very least, make it so I can just assign the CMD key as CTRL and not have to map every single keyboard combination.

    I have to revert to Parallels 3 because I give presentations on this machine going back and forth between OSX and WIndows and I use CMD+W constantly during these presentations.

    If you're trying to get me to download VMWare and transfer my virtual machine to it, you're doing a great job convincing me with Parallels 4.
    Last edited: Nov 13, 2008
  2. summitscout


    These new shortcuts were added as a convenience from having to use two difference shortcuts to accomplish the same thing in Mac or Windows. Not sure what view mode you are using, ut if Cmd-W is closing your VM windows, it did not capture your keyboard in the VM so the shortcuts are executing Mac commands. Click in the VM window to capture the keyboard there so Windows commands are executed.

    If you do not like this feature, simply go to PD Preferences and the Keyboard and Mouse section. There, de-select the checkbox next to the Virtual Machine Shortcuts heading.

    I did this myself, but because I use an external Windows keyboard on which it is easier to use the standard Windows shortcuts than the Mac shortcuts (Mac command is not in usual place on Windows keyboard).

    Hope this helps you.
  3. ultimante


    OSX commands cannot be overridden by Windows no matter who has focus without some hacking in OSX Keyboard settings. For example, CMD+H is an OSX level keyboard command that is used to HIDE an application. Even in Parallels 3, hitting CMD+H in Windows would hide Parallels in OSX. The only way around that was to remap CMD+H to a dead Parallels menu item, like "Smart Select".

    BUT! This trick does NOT work with CMD+W in Parallels 4 because it's not an OSX level command, it's a Parallels level command, and Parallels captures its own keyboard commands and does not pass them to Windows. If you hit CMD+W when in Windows, Parallels tries to close the virtual machine window and asks you if you want to Cancel, Stop or Suspend the virtual machine.

    Going to the Parallels keyboard preferences and turning off the keyboard shortcuts HAS NO EFFECT ON THIS ISSUE! In fact, it makes it worse because keyboard shortcuts don't work at all in Windows after that.

    Again, CMD+W is now a Parallels Desktop application keyboard shortcut, which means it trumps the OSX shortcut of closing Windows. And, since Parallels trumps its internal keyboard commands over its virtual machine, that means Parallels Desktop 4 now owns CMD+W. You can set CMD+W in your PD Keyboard preferences, and Parallels ignores it. CMD+W belongs to Parallels and there's nothing you can do.

    There is no convenience gained from using CMD+W to shut down a virtual machine because that can corrupt the OS over time or cause other issues. There's no need to make this a keyboard shortcut, and certainly no need to make Parallels own it and not pass it through. It was a very bad decision and it needs to be fixed.

    I didn't just have a knee-jerk reaction here. I'm a developer. I tried everything under the sun before posting here.
    Last edited: Nov 13, 2008
  4. ultimante


    It's important to note that you can use CTRL+W as CTRL+W in Windows. But, this takes away the ability to use CMD as my modifier key, which means I have to use CMD in OSX and CTRL in Windows. This inconsistency in UI is bad. It's why Parallels 3 intelligently allowed you to set the CMD key as your CTRL key.

    This new keyboard management in Parallels 4 would be tolerable if they didn't give Parallels dominion over CMD+W.
  5. alargent


    Just FYI, I mentioned this during the beta, and they pointed out there's a new checkbox in the Parallels 4 Keyboard prefs called "Enable Mac OS X System Shortcuts". If you UNCHECK this box, Parallels will no longer capture the CMD-W key and try to close your VM.

    Unfortunately it also means you can't use CMD-TAB within Paralles and see your Mac apps. You now get a Windows app switcher, which is less than useful.

    While I appreciate the thought of the finer grain control, I also lobbied for an optional return to the old Parallels 3 style "Swap CTRL/CMD buttons". Hopefully a incremental release will break this feature back.
  6. ultimante


    Yes, I tried that and when you uncheck that, you can no longer use Spaces keyboard shortcuts (like alt left/right, etc), which is absolutely awful when working on a laptop.

    The EASY solution is for them to set the keyboard shortcut for File > Close Window to Control+SHIFT+W or some other unlikely combination. Or, just take out the keyboard shortcut altogether. This is a command that should not be used except in rare cases where the VM stops responding.

    Parallels should have known better that CMD+W was a commonly used keyboard shortcut in Windows and should not have hijacked it. The fact that they ignored warnings about this during beta only shows a level of arrogance that is only more reason to switch to VMWare.

    Ignore your customers at your own peril, Parallels. I'm blogging about this. Nobody should buy Parallels 4 until they fix this issue. When you fix this issue, let me know. Until then, I'm telling everyone to buy VMWare.
    Last edited: Nov 13, 2008
  7. brkirch

    brkirch Kilo Poster

    If you really hate the command-W shortcut closing the VM that much, just override it at the OSX level. If you go to System Preferences, select "Keyboard & Mouse", select the "Keyboard Shortcuts" tab, and click the "+" button, you will be shown a dialog that can be used to override ANY Mac OS X menu item shortcut. Just select "Parallels Desktop" as the application, set "Menu Title" to "Close Window", and set "Keyboard Shortcut" by clicking on the textbox and pressing command-shift-W.
    Last edited: Nov 13, 2008
  8. ultimante


    Thank you brkirch, that fixed it. For some reason, just trying to remap CMD+W in the OSX Keyboard preferences did not work, but assigning CMD+OPT+SHIFT+W to "Close Window" did the trick. I seem to recall that not working for CMD+H in Parallels 3, however.

    This is a bad decision on Parallels' part to assign a common keyboard shortcut to a Parallels command. They should still change it to something unique. The fact is, not everyone knows how to do the trick you just shared, and you shouldn't have to resort to tricks to make sure a common keyboard shortcut is not hijacked by Parallels.
  9. abey


    Thanks brkirch, this is helpful.

    I was able to replicate the Parallels 3 experience as follows:
    - in PD preferences, I disabled all Virtual Machine shortcuts
    - in WinXP, I installed KeyTweak ( to remap Ctrl <-> Cmd (it does so by modifying the registry -- not by launching some background process -- so it doesn't bloat your virtual machine)
    - in System Preferences: map Cmd-H to "Unexisting Command" and unlikely shortcuts to "Close Window" and "Virtual Machines Directory", as brkirch suggests.

    In any case, I do hope that the simplicity of Parallels 3 will be restored in future upgrades.

  10. sparker

    sparker Bit Poster

    You might consider editing the title of this thread from:

    Parallels 4 Breaks Your Windows Keyboard - WARNING: DO NOT UPGRADE UNTIL THEY FIX IT!
    Parallels 4 keyboard remapping can cause problems for people used to windows shortcut keys

    You're "shouting" the "Do Not Upgrade..." message, but most of us can live with the issue as is. And it doesn't "break they windows keyboard", it merely modifys our ability to use a shortcut that we may have grown used to.

    Granted, you may not like the lose of CMD-W (nor do I), but there's no reason not to upgrade. There are many, many advantages and features in the new version that overcome this trivial ability to close a window/app, and there's a perfectly acceptable workaround. In my mind, simple key-mapping issues don't qualify as a show-stopping, fatal error. An inconvenience? Yes. Fatal? No

    And no, I do not work for Parallels. I'm a Software Engineering Consultant (25+ years), and live on VM's in today's world (both in Parallels and Fusion, depending on the clients architecture). I typically use Parallels for all my windows VM's and Fusion for most of the *nix VMs that I set up.

    Just my $0.02 (actually in today's ecomomy, more like $0.01)

  11. John@Parallels


    I submitted feature request about CMD-CTRL + case with CMD-W to development team
  12. fnerg


    CMD/CTRL swap

    Just another vote for bringing back the old swap CMD/CTRL option. It was much, much simpler. This new way of handling it is a solution in search of a problem.
  13. Olivier

    Olivier Kilo Poster

    Wow. Have you ever considered that while you were asking for this to work one way, other customers may have been asking for this to work another way?

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