A more versatile Mac with Parallels 7

[Editor’s note: This is a sponsored review for Parallels 7]

One of the long-standing complaints about Macs is that there are more limited software options than for Windows-based PCs.

While the gap has closed in recent years as Macs become more popular (and let’s face it: there are some awesome Mac-only programs that PC owners are rightfully jealous of), there are still programs you can only run on a PC.

And even if the programs you want are available for the Mac, what if you already have Windows licenses for them? Do you really want to spend hundreds of dollars on buying the exact same version of your software, just for a different platform? Can you even afford to do that? Probably not.

Sure, you could use Bootcamp, but that means every time you want to run a Windows program, you’ll need to reboot your Mac. Not the most ideal solution if you’re in the middle of a project. Especially if you use a mix of Mac and PC programs for your work. This is where Parallels comes in…

Parallels lets you run Windows programs on your Mac, as if they were native programs, without a reboot. Instead, it creates a virtual machine within your Mac where you can install a (separately-purchased) copy of Windows. From there, you have the option to view your Windows desktop and programs within a single window on your Mac, or you can set it up to show your Windows programs natively within your Mac environment.

Developers and designers should be especially interested in this, because it means that they don’t need to keep two systems up and running for testing (or rely on third-party testing services). Just run whatever version of Windows you want with Parallels and test in Internet Explorer or Windows versions of other browsers without any hassle.

Parallels 7 has just been released, and adds a number of new features. First on the list for many is likely integration with Mac OS 10.7 Lion, which includes full-screen support, use of the Launchpad for Windows applications, Mission Control support, and more. Parallels also has a new, more Mac-like appearance and functionality, including setting preferences immediately without having to click OK.

The Parallels Wizard makes it easy to set up your virtual machines, and even includes the ability to download Chromium OS, Fedora Linux, and Ubuntu Linux for free, or purchase and download Windows 7 (you can also install Windows 7 from a DVD or image file, or migrate from a Windows PC).

Another big feature that’s been added is the ability to share your iSight or FaceTime HD camera with Windows applications, including Windows Live Messenger, while also being available to OS X programs at the same time. Printing has been streamlined, too, so that it’s possible to print from your Mac OS printers from within a Windows program.

Other improvements include faster boot times, faster pause and resume within Windows, and faster migration of your PC data. Overall, Parallels 7 is about 60% faster than Parallels 6 was.

You can also now choose up to 1GB of video memory to make graphically intensive Windows programs run smoother. There are enhanced 3D graphics for gaming (up to 45% faster than with Parallels 6), plus 7.1 surround sound and support for high-quality audio formats (up to 192KHz). And there are plenty of reports from gamers online that Parallels 7 makes it possible to play games that Parallels 6 couldn’t handle.

Another advantage to Parallels is that you can also run multiple versions of OS X within the virtual machines on your Mac. For example, you could run OS X Lion along with Snow Leopard Server if you needed to, without having to reboot your computer to switch between the two. This is another huge potential advantage for developers.

The new Parallels mobile apps for iPhone, iPad, and iPod Touch are also a great addition. Currently $4.99 (the regular price is $19.99, so get it while it’s on sale), the mobile app will effectively let you run Windows (or whatever OS you’re virtualizing) on your phone or iPad, even including Flash content. You can even copy and paste text directly from your mobile to your virtualized machine with the app!

The full version of Parallels 7 is $79.99, though the student version is only $39.99. An upgrade from Parallels 5 or 6 will set you back $49.99. You’ll need to buy a copy of Windows if you don’t already have one, though Parallels 7 makes it easy to purchase and install the newest version of Windows directly from within the program.

 

[Disclaimer: This post is a sponsored post for Parallels. The opinions expressed in the article are the author’s only.]

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  • http://x-sit.tumblr.com x-sit.com

    nnb

  • Lucian

    any feedback on how many resources will be used if you run both OS in the same time? That’s one of the  reasons why I have the bootcamp.

  • Matthias

    Oh I have a question – ok I’m kind of a mac newby. is it possible to migrate a whole windows 7 partition to parallels? I was wondering if i could use my old windows just in case…

    thanks!

  • http://newsdex.net/taylor/ Chuck Taylor

    Advertising masquerading as content is a pretty good indicator of a site’s overall credibility.

  • Sarah

    Haters gonna hate, I knew this post was an ad bu I read it anyways and found the information pretty useful.

    It says at the top AND the bottom, “[Disclaimer: This post is a sponsored post for Parallels. The opinions expressed in the article are the author’s only.]” Don’t get your knickers in a bunch.

  • http://twitter.com/stetestilz stetestilz

    Macintosh

    Most applications crash if not the OS haults
    If you didn’t have a overpriced piece of aluminum you wouldn’t have this problem to begin with.

    and I’ll agree with Chuck.

    Advertising masquerading as content is a pretty good indicator of a site’s overall credibility.

    • http://www.webdesignerdepot.com Walter

      @Chuck +  @Stetestilz: I’d agree with both of you if this wasn’t clearly disclosed, but that’s not the case. 

      The product in question is relevant to our audience and liked by many including here at our own office and that’s why I chose to run this with a clear disclaimer that you cannot miss both at the top and bottom of the article. Believe it or not, we reject a lot of requests for sponsorships if we don’t see value or quality in the product/service.

      Also, please bear in mind that it takes a lot of resources to run quality articles like we do here on WDD and it’s thanks to sponsors like these that we’re are actually able to do this.

  • http://twitter.com/FabriceTdC Fabrice de Chambrier

    Running a site is not free. They have all rights to display adds and post sponsored articles. There is no mystery, no hidden facts. Disclaimer, sponsored article. More than once.

    Keep going Depot team, your site is appreciated and more than good. Thanks!

  • http://twitter.com/FabriceTdC Fabrice de Chambrier

    Running a site is not free. They have all rights to display adds and post sponsored articles. There is no mystery, no hidden facts. Disclaimer, sponsored article. More than once.

    Keep going Depot team, your site is appreciated and more than good. Thanks!

  • Anonymous

    For those folks who can’t afford to buy the needed software, there is a program that they can enlist into to get the software for free, it works similarly to government’s welfare system; if you don’t have the money, you are taken care of.  It’s called Bittorent system.