Parallels is the one of the biggest competitor to VMware in Mac OS X. In fact there are still more people use Parallels to run virtualized Windows on their Mac than VMware’s Fusion. Parallels released their new version Parallels Desktop 8 for Mac, that supports the latest Windows 8. Let’s take a crack at it see how it stack against VMware Fusion when running Windows 8.
It was just month ago, I wrote, if you were want to install Windows 8 on your Mac, the best way is to run it in a virtual machine rather than simply boot natively via Boot Camp. Obviously there are few reasons you don’t want to do that, one of the many reason is to have better support out of your Mac hardware. Back then, it seems VMware has nailed it, and yet with Parallels 8 there is almost no difference between the two in terms of hardware support. Both allows you to use your existing Mac hardware extensively, the trackpad works great with multi gesture, keyboard mapping works as well. One thing is different in terms of keyboard shortcuts is that, in VMware it lets you to keep us Mac’s common keyboard shortcut in Windows, that means you can keep pressing keys like “command + c” to do a copy and past in Windows environment. However, in Parallels, depends on the some of the app you are running, you might not have the option but to use “command+ c” to copy, instead you have to press “control + c”.
Both allows you to install new Windows, migrate existing Windows and boot Windows from Boot Camp. The test I’ve done is on a MacBook Air 13’’ 2011 version, installed via Boot Camp and use Parallels to boot the Boot Camp partition. It takes relative much longer time for the first boot compare to VMware Fusion 5, but after the initial configuration it was relatively similar booting time, although VMware Fusion 5 still come on top in my test.
In my opinion there are few key features in Parallels that’s lacking in VMware Fusion.
Two things Parallels Desktop 8 does better than VMware Fusion
- Windows 8 Metro app support in Mac Full screen mode. When you launch a Windows 8 app (or metro app) Parallels knows it and allocate it as a full screen app in Mac. As you can see, each metro app is running as a separate process in full screen mode, and you can actually right click to close the app. It’s something you can’t even do in Windows 8.
- Drag and drop file seamlessly between Windows app and Mac OS. You can drag an image or document from your Mac desktop to a Windows app, and it just works. (in Coherence mode) VMware Fusion 5 doesn’t let you do that.
There you have it, the two superior feature over VMware Fusion 5. If you wish to try out Windows 8, and especially some of the new Windows 8 apps, then Parallels Desktop 8 is the way to go on a Mac.