Monday, 21 September 2015

Parallels Desktop 11 for Mac: One month on...

In August, we took a look at the launch of Parallels Desktop 11 for Mac and some of the key benefits of using the software. Now, one month on, we take a deeper delve into the software and asked our resident Windows on Mac user Phil Leblond for his thoughts....

My first couple of weeks with Parallels Desktop 11 for Mac, Windows 10 and OS X 10.11 El Capitan Beta (5) has been great. Previously, I was using Parallels Desktop 10 with El Captain and was experiencing the well-documented problems with external devices not appearing in Windows. I can report that it now works perfectly in Parallels Desktop 11.

One of the first tests I give any new Virtual Machine (VM) is to install a legacy piece of software that is difficult to install in a native Windows environment. The program requires .NET functionality in addition to background reporting and updating software, plus the main application needs to run as administrator. Installing on my Mac with Parallels Desktop 11 in coherence mode was painless and the app works as intended; a big tick from me on this one.

The ability to use OS X Quick Look on Windows files is extremely useful as I work extensively with Excel and PowerPoint documents, and it’s a feature I miss when using the Microsoft OS. I also love the ability to snap Windows applications in split screen, just as you can in the native Windows environment. Playing with Cortana at home where it’s quiet was great and worked as expected, however the virtual assistant will be of limited use in a noisy office environment, but that’s not the fault of Parallels Desktop.

From a performance perspective, I’ve noticed a reasonable speed bump. I used to run full screen mode exclusively but since I have been using Parallels Desktop 11, Coherence mode just feels better: I’m not sure if it’s the placebo effect of new software to play with, but it’s certainly noticeable. The addition of travel mode is a big plus as I spend a lot of time in meetings unplugged from a power source, and battery life has always been a challenge.

Features aside, the average experience with Parallels Desktop 11 for Mac for common tasks like Office, web testing, or Windows-only productivity software is very good, and the convenience of not having to reboot into Boot Camp outweighs any performance delta between the VM and native Windows. Still if you require a Boot Camp environment that can also nicely integrate with Parallels Desktop.

About Phil LeBlond, and why he runs Parallels:

“I like to have one laptop for both personal and professional life, because maintaining two devices can be a pain. Since I do a lot of photo and video editing the Mac is perfect for this, but I also love Windows 10 when at work so Parallels Desktop for Mac is a perfect fit. I am a tech professional and have worked in the industry for 15 years.”

By Phil Leblond -  Technical Manager

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