Why do you use Parallels Desktop for Mac?

Discussion in 'General Questions' started by slegge, Dec 24, 2006.

  1. robsoft

    robsoft Junior Member

    I'm a Windows software developer, and I use Parallels pretty-much all day long as an enabler for my 'day job'.

    Before Parallels, I had a Mac at home and spent my day working on a PC. While it was a great PC (it was very stable, very reliable and responsive), I really wished I could have my day job and my home life (pictures, music, projects etc) all on one portable computer. I had used Virtual PC on my home Mac and found that useful for running my developer tools in Windows, but it wasn't really all that hot in the performance stakes, even on a dual-processor 2GHz G5 with 3 gigs of ram. As an aside, we used the Windows version of Virtual PC in the office to aid with testing our software products on different versions of Windows.

    When I heard about bootcamp I was interested, but then someone mentioned I should look at Parallels. I bought it shortly after I downloaded it, and I've never looked back. It's a great product, although recently I've started to be concerned that they're trying to make it do too many things at once.

    So that's background - now, what do I run on it? Well I use it to write Windows software, and I use Delphi 7 Enterprise (a software development IDE), Interbase, Microsoft SQL Server, IBM DB2 (desktop edition), Visual Studio 2005, Ameol (an offline messaging program for an online community) and bits of Microsoft Office. Recently I've installed the new version of Delphi (2007) onto the machine too. Sometimes I'll download a video file from the web that the Mac doesn't like, and so I'll run it in Windows instead. I've never yet used it for playing games, and I've learned to burn CDs with the Mac so I've never bothered trying to get Nero to run with it, so that's probably it on the software front. Oh, sometimes I'll use Paint Shop Pro on it, because I don't have Photoshop and haven't had the time/inclination to learn a graphics package on the mac yet - it's more productive to just do it in Windows.

    The virtual machine is a Windows XP Pro SP 2, running Sophos virus checker. I've no software firewall as I'm behind my home NATted router or I'm behind the office NATted router. The virtual drive is about 30Gb, and I give the machine 768Mb of ram to work in (my MacBook Pro has 2Gb, I've not really experimented with giving Parallels more ram yet, I don't want to make the PC scream at the expense of having the Mac stutter whenever I switch between tasks etc).

    I have Windows running at a custom resolution of something like 1600x980, which just leaves enough room for a small dock at one edge of the screen when I'm running single-monitor (in the office I have a second widescreen monitor, where I usually put the Parallels desktop window).

    I don't use Coherence, (I actually like having a whole machine contained within a single window), and I think that one of the neatest features that they've added to Desktop is the integration of command-c/x/v behaving the same as control-c/x/v - I was forever having to remember to switch control/command around when cutting and pasting between the two platforms, and now I can just use the apple shortcuts without thinking too much about which OS I'm in.

    As has been mentioned, the battery life in the Mac is good (my old laptop was a pretty good spec Vaio, and it would struggle to manage 2 hours on a train). Even with a bluetooth mouse, I can usually get 2.5 to 3 hours of battery life out of the Mac. And the screen is fantastic! I always get envious glances on the train.

    That's enough waffle. Was any of that useful?

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