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on January 24, 2014
I have one program that is only for windows that I need all the time. This kept me buying Sony laptops for 20 years. I have to say, Sony has gone so far down hill it's become a travesty. Really bad quality machine, but worse is trying to get support and things fixed if you have to send it back.
When i heard about Parallels, i made the leapt to a MacAir. I bought this software to install, instead of using the way you can designate part of your hard drive to windows that comes with the laptop. For that, you have to turn one off in order to use the other.
But with Parallels you can keep both Mac and Windows open at the same time, and move fluidly from one to the other -(you just opt to "enter coherence" after turning on the machine). Not being familiar with Mac, it was tricky for me to instal it, but calling Parallels 1-800 number will give you all the support you need until its running perfectly. They are great, and they stay with you. PS - You do have to put your own Windows program on- along with the Parallels - but you can buy it, or just download it for free
Goodbye Sony. You don't get to have me anymore!
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on November 30, 2012
I got this along with Windows 8 Professional System Builder DVD 64-Bit, for a class that I will be taking next term. It was easy to install, and at the end of installing it, it gave me the choice of installing Windows or waiting. There are instruction if you choose to wait on installing Windows. You can stand an earlier OS, but Windows 8 was the one I got at. It is fairly easy to go between the Mac and Windows. The only difficulty so far is getting use to dealing with Windows again, it has been a while for me plus getting use to Windows 8 which is different than Vista.

There is a couple of ways you can have it set up, but they are all easily switch able between Windows and Mac. I have it set up so everything stayed together. You can for the most part keep Windows in a window of it's own or you can have it in something called "Coherence", which has the windows version of the dock on the bottom. But it is easy to go between the windows and mac.

If you have a Mac, but need something that runs Windows, but don't want to buy a new computer or don't need a whole new computer, this is a nice substitute.
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on September 11, 2012
Pretty happy with the software so far! i just installed it and was able to play a couple PC games in a virtual window.
Installation was smooth - Follow the on-screen prompts and be sure to verify your e-mail address.

My happiness stems from having the right expectation I think. I understand I am running a virtual machine and not going to get the same performance I would get running a Windows application in Boot Camp. (e.g. games)

I'm using a late 2011 iMac 27"
i7 Processor
Using a Turtle Beach USB Sound Device as well.
Running Windows 7 64 Bit from a Boot Camp Partition

Here was the sweet spot for me:

Set up parallels to use 512 Video Ram (Note, this really has little to do with your card) - More than this caused games to hang...768, 1024...
Allocated 4096 RAM for use in the virtual space. (I may experiment using more)

I was able to run Guild Wars 2 and the Secret World without issues...
Quicken 2010 ran fine as well (Although it takes a long time to load...Does in Windows too for that matter)

I played around with opening Windows documents within the MAc space.. It worked seamlessly.

All in All pretty happy.. I've been a "Mac Guy" for about 18 months after being a lifelong PC Geek
Will I never boot into Boot Camp again? Nope.. I see myself doing that for a dedicated gaming session but Parallels has more than met my expectation.
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on January 12, 2013
I wanted to leave the PC platform for Mac, I didn't want to learn another half-baked operating system (Windows 8). So I purchased a Mac Mini (the cheapest Mac). I wanted to continue to run Windows programs, so purchased Parallels 8.

I can't say enough positive things about this program! It took all the info from my PC over our router (I did not have to purchase any sort of computer-to-computer cord; Parallels 8 presented me with the opportunity to transfer wirelessly, which I did). I can now either run my Windows programs separately on my Mac Mini, or view the entire Windows desktop EXACTLY as it formerly appeared!

The screen which comes up on my Mac Mini looks EXACTLY like my old Windows desktop! I was able to print without problem just by plugging in my old Windows printer to my Mac Mini; I did NOT have to purchase a Mac printer!!!

The only issue I had is while it was downloading from my old PC, the amount of time left for the transfer kept changing from an hour and six minutes to 36 minutes, for example, but have patience, Parallels 8 was indeed working to transfer my system and files, and the complete transfer did eventually happen (give yourself a couple hours for the transfer)! My guess is the router may have had some speed issues, and Parallels 8 duly reported that to me.

Interestingly, my Windows programs seem to take a second or two longer to open, but once the program is opened it works FASTER than in Windows! So don't make the assumption that this program will result in a slower pace.

You also do NOT have to repurchase Windows if you have it on your PC. I actually separately purchased a new version of Windows 7 (I don't want to go to Windows 8), thinking that it was required, but it is not required if Windows is on your computer, and you directly migrate from your computer. Also, the old Windows computer was left intact and useable.

One other thing for people migrating from Windows to Mac to keep in mind is that many of the programs you may be familiar with, such as Mozilla Firefox, have Mac versions that look and function almost the same on the Mac. So the "learning curve" really isn't as difficult as one might imagine. For example, one isn't locked into using the Safari browser, even if one doesn't choose to run Parallels 8. Just download the Mac version of Firefox!

Other than the very, very minor "time it will take to complete migration" issue mentioned above, the program works absolutely great; highly recommended. The discounted $55 or so price is also very fair in my opinion -- go for it! ---
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on February 8, 2013
Based on the reviews I thought I have just found what I needed - having switched from a windows platform to Apple's Mac OS, I quickly realized that the productivity apps available for Mac are dismal, and no match to Office and finance management products such as Quicken. In Parallel I saw the solution to enjoy both worlds. Unfortunately my experience was very different from the multiple positive ones described above, so I thought I would share it to save some others from following the painful path I took.

If you don't want to read the long version here is my short recomendation: I just bought Office 365 license (1 year, 5 installations MAC AND/OR PC !). I kept Parallel (because it is there) to run Quicken and TaxAct, nothing more. I now run all my office stuff smoothly, on dual monitors set up, home network, and when needed I use parallel for the financial apps, and close Parallel as soon as I'm done.

Here is the long version of my experience:

I was pretty excited to learn about the virtual machine that will allow me to run Windows on my Mac, however having installed it (with Windows 8 and office on it) I was very disappointed. My machine is a MArch 2012 MacBook Pro, 2.2 GHz intel Core i7 processor, with 4 GB 1333 MHz DDR3 memory , OS X 10.8.2 (12C60) operating system, and a 500 GB HD.

I also use an additional monitor in dual monitor settings. It insalled smoothly, and I initially tried loading my win system with the supplied interface on my network drive. Since there is no option to select the desired files and programs from the source machine, I was forced to transfer the whole disk, 130 GB. This was a very messy process, that took more than a day, with numerous freezes and errors, and when it finished the programs never ran smooth and caused my machine to hang often, with no recourse.

Calling Parallel support provided no real help - uninstall and repeat the installation. Clearly the online help person had no techinical qualification, could not analyze my case and (try to) diagnose the issue. Rather they just read from a script.

With no other option I did uninstall, but this time I did not transfer any files from Windows. Instead I installed win 8 directly, and an office 2007 licensed copy I had. The installation was smoother, but the office update process took a very long time, numerous restarts, and endless repeats of already installed updates (might be an MS office issue).

Finally I copied a few worksheets and documents to the Parallel windows vm and started running them. I also installed and ran Quicken. While at first I was glad to see it worked smoothly in a very nice interface, it soon became apparent that if left running (or idle) it will cause the Mac to become unstable, and eventually casue the machine to hang. I tried both coherence and windows mode - had the same issues regardless.

I tried to configure the VM it based on the knowledge base on Parallel's website, but it is not updated with the current verion, and many of the article were not applicable to my system (number of processors, virtual memory size etc. - were not open for changes in my system).

Luckily, MS just came out with the new Office 365, which I purchased and installed on my Mac, and now I can finally run office in a reasonable manner as I do any other app on the Mac. I kept Parallel but use it only to run Quicken, TaxAct, and make certain to close it when not running.

In summation: this was a major disappointment that cost me greatly in time and frustration, much more than the nominal fee I paid for this product. Don't doubt that many people got it to work properly but it shouldn't be so complicated and full of dead end bugs for a shelve product of this type.
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on May 10, 2013
I've been in IT now for 14 years supporting Windows and some Linux boxes. I recently took the plunge and got a MacBook Pro 17" (2011 factory reconditioned model). I've had a great deal of experience virtualizing in Windows and Linux, using VMware Workstation and Server, and Sun's VirtualBox. Parallels had a version for Linux a couple years ago but it wasn't good in my opinion. Even when I ran Linux boxes I'd have to virtualize a copy of Windows for certain apps.

I love the coherence mode of Parallels, yes there is a Seamless Mode in Virtual Box but it's not as nice as coherence mode. I like being able to add my most common Windows apps to the dock so I can launch them (and start the windows vm) easily. Go to the Parallels site and you'll still spend $80, save $20 and buy here on Amazon. It's definitely worth the price if you still have apps that run in Windows. I play around with WINE but there are still too many Windows apps it can't run and even CrossOver doesn't do much better.

Parallels works great and makes you forget you are running Windows in the background. Don't forget to still install AV protection in the Windows virtual machine.
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on January 20, 2013
Pros: It mostly works in Virtualization
Cons: Windows activation nightmare, breaks boot camp drivers, doesn't live up to marketing claims, poor tech support that just tries to blame Apple

I recently purchased a MacBook Pro, my first MacIntosh computer. Realizing that there are still some applications that are only available on Windows, and really disliking the Windows 8 UI (part of why I ended up buying a Mac), I thought running Windows running the actual Windows applications in virtualization within the Mac OS-X user interface, with the Mac OS acting as the window manager would be the perfect solution. If I needed more Windows performance I could run Windows natively in boot camp. I chose Parallels over the competing VM Ware Fusion product for 2 main reasons:

1. Parallels claimed Windows 8 support
2. Parallels claimed support for using the boot camp partition within the virtual environment.

Neither of the marketing claims is completely true. I had thought that the ability to use the same physical disk partition and installation of Windows both natively and in virtualization was a great feature. I expected that I would only need one license and that it would work, pretty much as advertised. Wrong!!

First I installed Windows 8 using the boot camp assistant. While Apple doesn't officially support Windows 8, the install was extremely easy. I installed Windows 8 which included activation as part of the install. I then installed the Apple boot camp support, which is primarily Windows drivers for the Apple hardware. That was easy and painless as well, and the special functions such as the 2 finger right mouse click and scroll, and keyboard control of display brightness, keyboard brightness, volume, etc. all worked fine. Windows install into boot camp was easy and painless. The only problem with Apple support was the boot camp tool to select which OS to boot into next time didn't work. That was rather trivial, just hold the option key during boot. So far so good, Windows 8 up and running.

Then I installed Parallels desktop 8 in the Mac environment. I told it to use the existing boot camp install for Windows. It went ahead and installed and installed the Parallels tools into Windows. Windows now worked in Parallels - except IT WASN'T ACTIVATED!! Parallels leaves these details out of the marketing. I was able to use the phone activation procedure from Microsoft and activate from within Parallels. It then showed as activated in Parallels. Great! Windows app icons were integrated in the Mac OS, all seemed well.

I then went back and booted natively into Windows. It was still activated, and things seemed good. Except now the trackpad worked like a standard HID device without Apple support. Without that support there is no right mouse button support and no scrolling. It's pretty tough to drive Windows without a right mouse button - not good. The special keyboard functions to control the Apple hardware also stopped working.

I then received my free Windows 8 Pro Media center upgrade key from Microsoft. I followed the instructions from Microsoft while booted natively in Windows to upgrade to Media center. This broke activation in BOTH the native and Parallels environment. It seems that you don't just install media center, you actually change your version of Windows to Windows 8 Pro with Media Center. To make a long story short, this started a total of about 7 hours with Microsoft technical support over the course of multiple days using remote access from the tech. The first tech would get it activated in one environment only to break activation in the other. We spent hours activating in native boot camp to break virtualization, and vice versa. Finally I got another tech and he had me completely reinstall Windows 8 Pro, then upgrade to Windows 8 Pro with Media center, then he provided another key to activate in virtualization. I finally got Windows 8 with Media Center working and activated in both environments.

I then installed the Apple boot camp support in Windows, and again the Mac trackpad and keyboard worked and all was well with native Windows. In virtualization though the Parallels support was gone and things like display resolution weren't correct. I then reinstalled the Parallels support in Windows. It then worked in virtualization properly. BUT - it again broke the Apple drivers.

I called Parallels technical support to solve the problem. The first excuse was that they don't support Windows 8. When I said that wasn't and acceptable answer, and it shows Windows 8 support right on the product box, I was bumped to the next level of tech support. He then tried to claim it was an Apple problem, that the Apple drivers aren't Windows 8 drivers. I repeatedly explained that the Apple drivers worked just fine until the Parallels support was installed, and it was a Parallels problem. He then said they don't support Windows 8 boot camp. Again I said no, that the marketing claimed support for using a single partition, and that was explicitly why I bought the product. This went nowhere, and I requested a higher level tech. That eventually happened a few days later. However that tech again simply wanted to pass the buck that Apple doesn't officially support Windows 8, and that Parallels doesn't support it. Again I stated that if he has a problem he should take it up with their own marketing, but I bought the product based on claimed features (Windows 8 and a shared partition), and I expect them to work. That went nowhere and I just received a survey asking if I was satisfied!!

So, the summary is that the product in virtualization does sort of work. Parallels doesn't mention the activation horror stories though (search the web and their own forums). They also don't support Windows 8 regardless of claims that they do. The Parallels support breaks perfectly working Apple drivers. I went through the process twice, and twice Parallels support broke Apple drivers in Windows. Rather than fess up to their own software problems though they instead attempt to pass blame onto Apple. I re-iterate, the Apple Windows 7 drivers (as do most Windows 7 drivers) worked just fine in Windows 8. It was the Parallels software that breaks it.

I thought the single shared install of Windows would make things, including Windows activation easier. It absolutely didn't. If I had to do it all over again I would probably go with VM Ware fusion. Now that I have Windows installed and activated with that cost, and the cost of wonky Parallels I'm rather locked in unless I want to buy more Windows licenses.

I haven't tried other operating systems in Parallels yet. The main reason for the purchase was Windows. I will try some flavor of Linux, and I expect it will likely work much better. With just a virtual image of the OS and no shared native install it will probably work just fine. At least there won't be any activation nonsense. Yes, that was part of why I went with a Mac too. However if you are planning on buying Parallels primarily for Windows as I did, and you are thinking of using Windows 8 (horrible user interface until 3rd party start button software is installed, but amazingly fast boot and shut down and other enhancements) think twice and at least consider VM ware.

After hours of frustration with Parallels Indian tech support I still don't have it working properly in native Windows. The only was I can use Windows is with an external mouse or Magic trackpad, and really an external monitor. I can't adjust the Mac display brightness, keyboard brightness, or volume. Parallels really made native Windows unusable as a stand alone laptop. Parallels doesn't take ownership of their software doing this either. They only provide 30 days of "tech support" and the clock starts ticking when you install the software. By the time I got the activation problems sorted out I only had about 10 days remaining, and most of them are now gone, not that their tech support was of any help what so ever. Actually they were totally and completely useless and a total waste of time.

I probably should have only given a single star rating. However since it does sort of work in virtualization, and I expect other operating systems will work better I gave a rating of 2. Expect to be on your own though with the product if you have problems.
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on February 27, 2013
I bought a new mac and wanted to use Windows 8 with a new install of Parallels. I had been using XP with Fusion on an older Mac, and it was extremely slow to boot, close down and run programs. My son is a software engineer who uses parallels and recommended it. I'm glad I switched. It boots fairly quickly and runs everything I use, including Quicken 2013, without a hitch. I did have a problem with activating windows when running it under Parallels. I had installed and activated it first in in Bootcamp and then used Parallels to create a bootcamp virtual machine. When I installed Parallels, Windows required a second activation and said the activation code was already in use. I contacted Parallels and they immediately emailed me a solution which works like a charm. Technically Apple doesn't suport Windows 8. But so far it's working fine. I did have some problems with printing, but solved that by installing the printer driver in Windows instead of using the Apple drivers through Parallels Tools. A lot of people are having problems with quicken 2013 on windows. But it runs perfectly for me, so if there were going to be problems, that program would probably highlight them. In a word, it's a perfect solution.
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on May 30, 2013
I switched to a Mac years ago but am still required to use Windows for my job. I also have been having difficulty finding some software for the Mac which operates some custom equipment I have. With that said, I have gone the route in the past doing a dual boot with a partition for Windows and OSX, but rebooting between the two is a pain in the but when you need to switch back and forth often. I decided to take the plunge and buy Parallels and a new copy of Windows 7 SP1, I can tell you that I was quite surprised with the performance and quick installation which so far seems to be seamless with OSX. The windows performance index was fantastic, and the Parallels software was so easy to understand and tweak. My machine is an iMac Core I7 3.4 GHz processor with 16GB of memory and an 2TB installed hard drive with 5.5TB of external hard drive space, WOW, does this thing perform well, much better than expected. I would have to say that a Mac running Parallels with Windows 7 is quite possibly the perfect machine! I would recommend this software to anyone needing to quickly and efficiently move from OSX to Windows simultaneously.
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on May 22, 2014
Works well once installed so you can use Windows on your Mac computer with little effort. I consider myself fairly knowledgable with computers however the installation was very confusing and not very well documented. I suppose if everything went as they would expect it to you should be able to just stick the disk in and let it do its thing..unfortunately this did not work for me. It screwed up my FAT table and thus not only could I not get Windows to work but it also screwed up my MAC OS so I could not even boot up my computer at all. I ultimately had to take my computer to a computer repair consultant who was able to get it all working but not without my freaking out first. This experience has scared me from attempting to install Parallels on my other iMac. Had used VMWare on a previous computer and never had any issues with installation so don't know why this was so confusing.
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