Parallels 4 – Works for me

Posted: November 25, 2008 in Mac OSX, software, Windows
Tags: , ,

I’ve been using Parallels for some time, and as i explained in a previous blog ( the previous version, Version 3, broke and wouldn’t let me use the same virtual machine in BootCamp and Parallels as it had been doing prior to the WinXP SP3 update.  It was rather annoying, so i settled for just getting the BootCamp partition working again and stopped using Parallels.  That was before Parallels updated to version 4.0.  I downloaded the trial version and did the install, and let my Mac just run with the upgrade, as usual i made sure i had a complete working backup of my system first.  It’s a lengthy upgrade procedure, so find something else to do that doesn’t involve you using your Mac while its working away at it.  I did this strange thing called “using a pen and paper to write” that a friend had told me about.  its okay, but i find the lack of a spell checker a bit frustrating…. anyways, you will see a screen similar to this one below…

…and if all goes well, you will be prompted to start up your virutal machine after the upgrade process is complete.  The interface, the GUI if you will, has changed quite a bit and i find it to look more Mac-like which in my opinion is always a good thing.  Its very clean and simplistic which always gives me that warm fuzzy mac feeling of home, even when i see that windows logo on my MacBook’s screen.

I had no trouble starting up the virtual machine, my BootCamp Partition, and using it under Parallels 4, and after a couple of restarts and reboots directly into BootCamp and back again, i have had no troubles as of yet.  Make sure you re-install the Parallels Tools, this seems to be a standard thing with any of the updates to Parallels, but i mention it here just as a reminder.  Without them installed properly, many of the usb devices and networking etc may not work properly.

This version of Parallels seems noticeably peppier and more responsive, although slightly longer to startup.  Once it has, it is running at almost native speed and i find Autocad quite usable, which really is the only program i use Parallels or BootCamp for, other than testing out windows software that i might not want to install on a real windows pc in case it screws it up.  It is also useful to install programs on that are trial versions for the same reason, which brings me to a feature that i really liked in VPC and also in earlier versions of Parallels – the ability to save or discard the changes.  This is the Snapshots feature of Parallels, sadly though you cannot take Snapshots when using a BootCamp partition.  The Snapshot feature is basically a save of the current configuration that you can revert to if you screw something up accidentally, or as i used to use it, on purpose, just to try out software that wasn’t actually supported by your OS for instance, or software you were not sure you really wanted to install.  This ability alone is almost enough to make me go back to using a different virtual machine instead of my BootCamp partition, but i like to be able to just update one copy of windows and keep all that nasty stuff in one place.

One thing i like is the addition of the Shut Down button on the toolbar at the top, instead of just closing the program it does an actual Windows Shutdown which is necessary for you to use your BootCamp partition when you reboot.  As with many programs, its the little fixes and additions that make or break an application or determine its worthiness/usefullness.  I think Parallels 4 is a good update to an already good program, and as for me, they fixed the biggest issue, the ability to use the my BootCamp partition as the virtual machine, so its worth the price of admission for that alone.



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