Parallels - Very satisfied customer here

Discussion in 'General Questions' started by jkwuc89, Jun 19, 2007.

  1. jkwuc89

    jkwuc89 Bit Poster

    On my MacBook Pro Core2Duo 17" with 2 GB of RAM, I have used Parallels since it first came out and I am very satisfied with its performance, functionality and stability. Here is how my VM is configured. This VM was created using the initial version of Parallels and it is the same VM I am now using with Parallels 3.0.

    • 512 MB of memory
    • 20 GB (partitioned as two drives inside Windows XP)
    • Sound is on
    • CD set to not auto connect
    • USB set to not auto connect
    • Coherence mode is turned on

    Here is what I run inside my VM. My usage philosophy is to use the VM only for apps that I don't have equivalents for in OS X.
    • Windows XP Professional with all updates installed
    • ESET NOD32 Antivirus
    • Cisco VPN Client 4.8
    • Microsoft Money 2006 Deluxe using data from share Mac home directory
    • Microsoft OneNote 2007
    • Paint Shop Pro
    • Remote Desktop Connection client
    • Microsoft VisualStudio 2005 Professional
    • Windows Media Player to play DRM protected videos

    My Parallels VM runs all the time. I don't suspend it and the only time I reboot it is to install Windows updates or to back up my MacBook Pro to my external hard drive. It is also very rare for me to reboot my MacBook Pro. With Parallels and my VM running, I put my MacBook Pro to sleep by closing its lid when I am not using it.

    Not once have I experienced any performance degradation on my MacBook Pro while running Parallels. OS X appears to be just as snappy with my VM running as it is when my VM is not running. I have also experienced no issue with regards to putting my MacBook Pro to sleep with my VM running. It goes to sleep normally and wakes up without any issues.

    I don't run any games in my VM (I have an Xbox 360 for that) and I don't attempt to connect USB devices to it (all my devices are supported quite nicely under OS X).

    I did install the latest beta of VMWare Fusion to see how it compares to Parallels 3.0 and at this time, I see no reason to switch. Parallel's implementation of the Start menu in my OS X task bar is one of the clear advantages Parallel's currently enjoys.

    I will fully acknowledge that your mileage may vary. This is certainly dependent upon how you use your VM.
  2. John Purins

    John Purins

    I use Parallels in the same way that you do, i.e. only for applications where there is no Mac OS X equivalent and also have experienced no problems whatsoever. I'm running Parallels Desktop for Mac 2.5.3188 with a Windows 2000 SP4 VM and all current Microsoft critical maintenance has been applied to Windows 2000.

    I basically use Windows on my sailboat to update Garmin GPS firmware, update SCS Pactor modem firmware, configure an Icom SSB radio and to run Sailmail which is a radio modem based email application. I don't run the Parallels VM continually... only when I need it.

    I do use USB to connect a Garmin Data Card Programmer but have had no issues with USB.

    In Parallels Preferences, Memory is set to adjust automatically and in Appearance, all checkboxes are cleared. I do not use Coherence nor full screen modes. I have one folder that is shared between Mac OS X and Windows and that folder is mapped to a drive letter under Windows for easy access. No data files are kept in the VM but are in the shared folder which is backed up regularly. I also backup the Windows 2000 VM before any changes are made to Windows such as installing a new application or applying maintenance.

    Parallels Desktop for Mac works well for me.
  3. Ungenious


    To OP & all,

    if you don't use any games & you've been using Parallels since it first came out, would you say the cost of upgrade is worth it (in your personal experience)?

    I see John Purins is still using 2.5 so I assume his answer would be no.

    I personally do not use 3D acceleration in Parallels, but was curious if I could fiddle w/ SolidWorks etc. Doesnt seem worth it

  4. John Purins

    John Purins

    You assume correctly :)

    I guess that it depends upon the definition of 'cost'. Monetarily, I think that for an $80.00 software package, $50.00 for an upgrade is a little on the high side but then again, when we upgrade Mac OS X, Apple gives no concession to existing users. And those are users who not only bought the OS but also hardware from them. I'm not complaining... that's Apple's policy and I accept it because the benefits of using Macs outweigh the dollar expense.

    The real cost to me in an upgrade is what is given up in stability in order to obtain new features. In my case, Parallels version 3 has no new features that are useful to me and so, since version 2.5 does what I need it to do, why fix something that doesn't need fixing?

    That's also the reason that I use Windows 2000 Professional... it has no ongoing development and so is stable. It's been around long enough where we know what it's limitations and problems are. If it does what I need it to do, and it does, then there is no reason for me to use XP or Vista. XP or Vista would just result in a larger, slower, probably less stable vm that I would have to pay another license fee for and then deal with Microsoft's activation policies. None of that exists in Windows 2000.

    I've worked in the software profession for a long time and one thing that I know for sure is that if your existing system works then why upgrade just for the sake of upgrading? If there is a technical reason to upgrade then, of course, upgrade but if not, stay with what is already working for you.

    Personally, I'd be much more inclined to pay Parallels, or any software company for that matter, for an upgrade that has no new features but does address existing issues and bugs thoroughly.

    The problem is that this is not how the software business works. Most people would object to paying for an upgrade that contains just bug fixes because they would say that this is a product defect and so should be fixed at no charge. Therefore, in order to sell another version, the software company is forced to add features and hopefully fix some of the previous bugs at the same time. Usually the new features also come with a new set of bugs... and so round and around we go.
    Last edited: Jun 19, 2007
  5. Purplish

    Purplish Kilo Poster

    I have found 3.0 to be more stable. I have had only one kernel panic since installing 3.0. In 2.5 I had probably 4-5 kernel panics a week.

    Interestingly, Entourage used to be very stable, but since Apple has updated OSX, Entourage has been haveing kernel panics at least once a day. I can't blame the Entourage situation on Parallels because it happens whether Parallels is running or not.
  6. Leonard


    I am a relatively new Parallels user, was on 2.5 for all of a few weeks before I upgraded to 3.0. I have been completely thrilled with Parallels and it was only after looking into Parallels and seeing it in action on a few friends boxes that I was able to dump my PC and switch to the MBP.

    Like the above, I only use the Windows VM for apps that don't exist, or exist with the same feature set, in OSX. I did, however, install a 3D gane today just to make sure it would work in 3.0 - and it did.

    I've had some problems, spent a lot of time playing, reading and learning, but I really could not be any happier with Parallels.
  7. moseph



    I have experienced kernel panics myself more than usual just doing normal things in Parallels. Doing the same tasks with VMware I have had zero kernel panics. My solution to the kernel panic issues have been to stop using parallels and use VMware's Fusion beta 4.0 and get ready to test drive the new full release of VMware before paying for the full product.
  8. dkp


    I've had no problems at all with Parallels, ever, except for a USB issue with my Treo phone and that was fixed in a 2.x beta. But I don't run it now because of the security issues associated with Windows being able to launch OS X applications from within Windows. That is a non-starter for something I'm going to leave running unattended on my laptop. It's a bit annoying as I've purchased 3 upgrades and none of them are running now.

    But it was running fine right up to the point where I ripped it out. I also do not run games, have no use for BootCamp, don't care about 3D or need it, and have not used coherence more than 5 minutes. I also installed from CD, not by importing/migrating another installation.

    This seems to be a common scenario for folks who have no problems with Parallels and on the other side of that coin, the more of these things people use the more likely they are to have incredibly frustrating problems. So maybe it's time for Parallels to arrest the feature bloom and concentrate on making what they have reliable.

    There's another trend I've seen and it is that there are few institutional posters here. That would be corporate IT/Help Desk types who have to install and support this product at the cubical level in the workplace. It would be interesting to learn why that is. It is widely used where I work but I never hear any complaints.
  9. Pat_Murr


    We have a whole group where I work that are running Parallels with no trouble. I just happend to get the bad activation key and the weird install error (had to make a disk image of the xp disk and install from that. A solution I got off the forum as tech support never answered the phone btw).

    I really like the program it does everything I need it to do. No gaming or 3d or anything too taxing. Just basic computer stuff. My issue, other than I can't use it anymore because my temp key expired and they never got back to me with a new key, is the support yo get from Parallels if you do have a problem.

    Seems like if I were running a company I wouldn't want my main source of support to come from a user forum. Although it's cheaper than paying for staff. Maybe they're being smart and this will be the new business model for tech companies:)

    I'm glad for all of you that don't have any trouble. That's the way it should be. Try sending some good vibes my way.
  10. dkp


    This forum is not tightly associated with their call center support function. That is handled through or the call-in number (kaching) only. This is a community support area with the drop in of an engineer from time to time. It has, to quote Rachel the next Ann Coulter, been "co-opted", end quote, by the users and transformed into an informal help desk wannabe but that has led to additional frustration. The more inclined you are to think this forum is not an official extension of the call center the less likely you are to be surprised to find you're right.

    Now having gone on and on about that, none of us has any idea how the requests for support are distributed between this forum and the official channels. We see only this place where complaints are registered and where there is no organized effort to track, solve, and close issues. So we can't say this is the main source of support with any kind of intellectual honesty.
  11. Pat_Murr


    Yes I realize that this forum is not tightly associated with Parallels' support systems. I was merely making an observation based on my experience with the forum and the tech support system that they have in place.

    As to the new business model where you don't actually have tech support people on staff and use a user forum to be your companies tech support, I was making a joke.
  12. Purplish

    Purplish Kilo Poster

    DKP, I think that perhaps one side-effect of creating a separate forum for the Beta Testers is that some of the most knowledgeable forum members have not returned to these forums. I hope I am wrong.
  13. Cheezr


    i am curious if you had to do anything special to get windows media player to support drm.

    I have pretty much the same setup and cant plan drm'd files via wmp11

    the error msg is not of any help :(

  14. dkp


    Hey - we're still here!
  15. kastorff


    I'm a very happy "up to 2.5" user. :) I use Parallels every day on my MacBook for my work (Windows XP Professional SP2 and Vista Business VMs). I've had Parallels (non-3.x versions) crash twice since October 2006, and both of those were after repeated suspend/resumes without a reboot of the VM. I have an issue with the Vista VM resetting it's screen resolution at boot, but other than that, my experience has been quite positive. I'm a VMware Workstation (Linux and Windows hosts) user for years now, so I'm not a casual virtualization user. ;) I have high (and reasonable) expectations and up until last week, Parallels has met them.

    I upgraded to 3 the day it came out, and it didn't last 24 hours before I reverted. I could never get Parallels Tools to install without crashing the Tools installer, or crashing either Parallels or the MacBook (kernel panic). As with all mistakes (and releasing 3 in the state it was released was definitely a mistake), it's not whether one makes them (we all do, individuals and companies), but how one responds to them. Unfortunately issues with the new software have hi-lighted customer service and support issues, and there's some fixing to be done. I'm hoping the lesson is learned, and they'll come about. I'm giving them some time, and happily using 2.5 in the meanwhile. :)
    Last edited: Jun 23, 2007
  16. Pat_Murr


    The Parallels tech team, David and Tom, got me hooked up and going. They were very nice and seemed genuinely concerned that'd I'd had a bad experience. They got my key working and my upgrade and refunded my phone support money.

    As I've been saying all along I love the program. I have no issues with it. Works like a champ.
  17. sparcdr


    Okay, regarding DRM, Microsoft does not support using DRM in virtualization. It's a limit they imposed. 3.0 is worth it aside from stability issues which are making it pretty much useless as a doorstop half the time to me. If it was stable, the rollback, multiple snapshots, extensions integration, improved coherence, disk splitting, and partial DirectX 8.1 support would definitely make it my most used "killer app". Love it when it works, but they need to focus on the core bugs rather than features now that there's tons of cool things that it has, which Fusion currently doesn't. Fusion was more stable for me and never brings down my machine, but it lacks multiple snapshots, has less 3D support, and isn't a retail solution until August, so I still prefer Parallels. I do wish they'd put more effort on making Parallels more stable, especially on the new MacBook Pros, which I have one of. Mostly just USB problems related to the Santa Rosa units, which Fusion Beta 4.1 fixed, but Parallels hasn't released any updates for a month, so we'll see what they're up to soon.

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