Neil Turner's Blog

Blogging about technology and randomness since 2002

Not recommending Parallels 4

I’ve previously recommended Parallels Desktop for Mac as a good way to run Windows on a Mac. But I’m not going to upgrade to version 4.
Essentially there’s no big stand-out feature that I see as important, bar some speed improvements. Though better performance is always nice, I don’t want to pay £33 for it (that’s $39.99 plus 19% sales tax). The rest of the new features, such as the bundled Acronis software, just don’t interest me.
There’s also the new kid in town – VirtualBox. It may not pack as many features as Parallels but it certainly beats it on price as it’s absolutely free (and open source too). In my opinion VirtualBox is better for running Linux as a guest OS than Parallels 3 (in terms of my experience of Ubuntu). Once I can get my Windows VM converted to VirtualBox I may not even need to use Parallels anymore.
I may consider Parallels 4 again if there’s an upgrade at a more reasonable price – say $19.99 – which has the performance improvements but doesn’t have all the bells and whistles that I’m never going to use. I don’t own an iPhone so I don’t need the remote control, I can’t imagine I’ll ever need to use PXE booting, and I never use speech recognition.


  1. Why not just stop using Macs if you want to run windows?

  2. I’m totally pissed off at parallels. I had no idea when I originally bought it that there was going to be a $40 per year subscription.
    Which it is because they quickly abandon the previous versions so as soon as a new version of an OS or a windows service pack is released parallels 3 is going to no longer work.

  3. Amen. Same here.
    I need working USB support in Linux – Mac OS Guest – and USB is flatly too broken in Parallels 3 or 4 to be of any use.
    They had these bugs in “quality assurance” over half a year and still doesnt work. I guess they just dont care about Linux support.
    I also found their upgrade policy atrocious.
    So – gone it is, and Virtualbox works like a charm for me.