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Parallels preps major update to Windows virtualization software

post #1 of 99
Thread Starter 
Parallel, Inc. is preparing to make a quantum leap in the art of Windows virtualization software for the Mac with a new version of its Parallels Desktop software that will introduce a refined user interface and greater support for Apple Computer's Boot Camp software.

A beta of the upcoming release, distributed to testers this week, packs a completely redesigned interface for windows and dialogs, making them even easier to manage and more appealing to the eye.

Another major enhancement in the new version -- labeled Parallels Desktop for Mac Beta Build 3036 -- will allow a pre-installed Apple Boot Camp partition with Windows XP to be used as a virtual hard disk drive. Users of the software will be able to boot from that Boot Camp partition directly from within Parallels Desktop, forgoing a restart.

Build 3036 will also allow the main Parallels Desktop window to be resized like any other Mac application window and the Windows interface will instantaneously auto-adjust its screen resolution to match the new window size.

Another long awaited feature slated to make its debut is "seamless drag-and-drop" of files and folders between Windows and Max OS X. Along the same lines, a feature called "coherency," will display Windows applications as if they were Mac ones.

"Try it and enjoy best of both worlds truly at the same time," Parallels told testers in a set of release notes accompanying the beta build. "No more switching between Windows to Mac OS.*"

Also near completion is a feature that will cater to users having more than one virtual machine (VM), making each of them "available through centralized VM catalogue which appears on each Parallels Desktop for Mac instance start."

Parallels told testers the latest builds of the virtualization software improve graphics performance by up to 50 percent on different applications. Meanwhile, improved USB compatibility will do away with the annoying "wait 5-10 seconds" message that typically appears when connecting a USB device to Parallels Desktop.

The software's networking capabilities are also receiving a significant boost, with on-the-fly switching between network modes while the VM is running and support for up to five virtual network interfaces. Similarly, users will also be able to run Cisco VPN and many other complicated networking applications in conjunction with Connection Sharing Mode.

Other new features included in build 3036 include one-click virtual machine aliases, transparent mapping of command-AZXCV key combinations, shared folder configuration on-the-fly, drag-and-drop of CD/FDD images and folders, and some new eye-catching animations that coincide with Power On/Power Off/Suspend/Resume/Pause functions.

Additionally, Parallels said its adding a "Transporter Beta bundled" in the new version that will help users migrate their Windows PC, VMware or Virtual PC VMs to Parallels virtual machines.

The Renton, Wash.-based company said build 3036 will be a free update to the current version of the software.
post #2 of 99
You can download the build from Parallels here:

http://forums.parallels.com/thread5997.html

Matt
post #3 of 99
Fun fact!

While the phrase can be used to describe "revolutionary" changes (i.e. all-at-once instead of over time), a "quantum leap" is actually a very tiny change (the smallest change in state possible for an electron).
post #4 of 99
Quote:
Originally Posted by akabaka

Fun fact!

While the phrase can be used to describe "revolutionary" changes (i.e. all-at-once instead of over time), a "quantum leap" is actually a very tiny change (the smallest change in state possible for an electron).

Awesome first post, Mr Palindrome.
post #5 of 99
eightball0, is it a demo version? Time or functionality limited?
post #6 of 99
Man, can't wait until the headline reads

"Latest Build of Parallels Desktop now supports direct graphic card acceleration"

That is when things are going to blow up. Not just on these boards but everywhere. My prediction, the new cool thing for PC gamers will actually be a Mac.
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post #7 of 99
Quote:
Originally Posted by akabaka

Fun fact!

While the phrase can be used to describe "revolutionary" changes (i.e. all-at-once instead of over time), a "quantum leap" is actually a very tiny change (the smallest change in state possible for an electron).

It refers to a non continuous jump from one state to another as opposed to the gradual shift or development. Just happens to be small for electrons and their energy states in nature.
post #8 of 99
Quote:
Originally Posted by blue2kdave

Man, can't wait until the headline reads

"Latest Build of Parallels Desktop now supports direct graphic card acceleration"

That is when things are going to blow up. Not just on these boards but everywhere. My prediction, the new cool thing for PC gamers will actually be a Mac.

Im watiting for that one as well.
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post #9 of 99
Quote:
"Latest Build of Parallels Desktop now supports direct graphic card acceleration"

Tehnically it shouldn't be really hard to implement, right?
post #10 of 99
Quote:
Originally Posted by akabaka

Fun fact!

While the phrase can be used to describe "revolutionary" changes (i.e. all-at-once instead of over time), a "quantum leap" is actually a very tiny change (the smallest change in state possible for an electron).

Hah! Good point.
post #11 of 99
Quote:
Originally Posted by Buck

Tehnically it shouldn't be really hard to implement, right?

Supposedly, it is. Only one OS can have control of it at once. Makes sense when you think about it. OS X still controls the machine. The virtual machine is really just riding piggyback. Which OS should control the GPU?

If that turns out to by the piggyback OS, then none of OS X's graphics functions will work. Uh oh!
post #12 of 99
What I was wondering, is what exactly does it mean that the Boot Camp volume can be used as a virtual volume?

Does that mean that you are now in Boot Camp, and Parallels is no longer available? Does that mean that now it works exactly as though you booted from Boot Camp, or are there still restrictions, such as the one from the last post, with the GPU?
post #13 of 99
I stopped using PCs 11 years ago, and never looked back since.

Nowerdays I don't need them for work or play. Basically never had need but now that I got a new MBP and the prospects of running Parallels makes it appealing just for the fun of it and to see what we can do with it.

How affected does windows get by viruses through Parallels? Is it as bad as on normal PS systems?
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post #14 of 99
I understand it means that you can access your Windows partition either through a reboot thanks to Bootcamp (max performances, gaming as on a PC, OS X unavailable) or through Parallels (OS X system still in use, lesser performance of Windows). You doesn't need anymore a Parallels VM with a closed Windows environement AND a Windows partition at the same time…

No more need to double the settings, double Win software installation, or double the space occupied by Windows… Nice, really.
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post #15 of 99
Quote:
Originally Posted by melgross

What I was wondering, is what exactly does it mean that the Boot Camp volume can be used as a virtual volume?

Does that mean that you are now in Boot Camp, and Parallels is no longer available? Does that mean that now it works exactly as though you booted from Boot Camp, or are there still restrictions, such as the one from the last post, with the GPU?

It means the same Windows installation in Boot Camp can be booted up and used in Parallels, so you don't have to have two seperate installations! This is SOOO COOOL! I've been waiting for this! Thank you Parallels!!!!
post #16 of 99
Two notes:

1. Migrating from VPC? Does that mean I can use my old VPC install and not have to buy a fresh copy of XP? That would be great!

2. Sharing one install between Parallels and Boot Camp: note that when Vista comes, only the more expensive flavors will allow that dual-use. Others will allow you to run either way, but NOT switch between the two methods.
post #17 of 99
OK, since Boot Camp is running Windows directly on the Intel chip...not through virtualization/emulation...and since Parallels will now allow you to run Boot Camp in its window, wouldn't you be running Windows without virtualization/emulation? Therefore, wouldn't this avoid the licensing issue Microsoft has raised with running some versions of Vista on virtual machines?!

I see that this announcement refers to XP specifically. So I wonder if Parallels will not provide this feature with Vista unless it's one of the versions that are approved for virtual machines.
post #18 of 99
Quote:
Originally Posted by Steiner

How affected does windows get by viruses through Parallels? Is it as bad as on normal PS systems?

Getting viruses are just as easy regardless of which method you use to run windows. Thats because obtaining viruses are 100% user error.

As both a windows and mac user then I have to say that viruses are NOT the problem that mac fanatics like to play them up to be. Yes, its better to not have to worry about them, but if you've got any common sense then its easy to avoid. The last virus Ive ever had on ANY of my systems is almost a decade ago when a friend used his virus-laden floppy drive. Other than that our entire family knows what to open and what not to.
post #19 of 99
Quote:
Originally Posted by Macvault

It means the same Windows installation in Boot Camp can be booted up and used in Parallels, so you don't have to have two seperate installations! This is SOOO COOOL! I've been waiting for this! Thank you Parallels!!!!

Yeah, I got that part. What I was wondering about was whether it acted like a Boot Camp partition, or just as a Parallels one, though I suspect it is the latter.
post #20 of 99
Quote:
Originally Posted by Rich2

OK, since Boot Camp is running Windows directly on the Intel chip...not through virtualization/emulation...and since Parallels will now allow you to run Boot Camp in its window, wouldn't you be running Windows without virtualization/emulation? Therefore, wouldn't this avoid the licensing issue Microsoft has raised with running some versions of Vista on virtual machines?!

I see that this announcement refers to XP specifically. So I wonder if Parallels will not provide this feature with Vista unless it's one of the versions that are approved for virtual machines.

Whoa, that's a good question.

Will the OS know that it's in a virtual partition, or will it continue to "think" it's running from Boot Camp? How will it report that?

If so, will MS try to prevent this feature, as is, from working, perhaps legally?
post #21 of 99
"We are continuing our efforts for bringing you even more feature-full product and we are making our latest Parallels Desktop for Mac Beta Build 3036 early available to you. It will be one more FREE update of the currently available version."

Does this mean we'll be paying for updates later?
post #22 of 99
Quote:
Originally Posted by mini.boss

Getting viruses are just as easy regardless of which method you use to run windows. Thats because obtaining viruses are 100% user error.

As both a windows and mac user then I have to say that viruses are NOT the problem that mac fanatics like to play them up to be. Yes, its better to not have to worry about them, but if you've got any common sense then its easy to avoid. The last virus Ive ever had on ANY of my systems is almost a decade ago when a friend used his virus-laden floppy drive. Other than that our entire family knows what to open and what not to.

If you mean that people haven't done everything they can do prevent transmission of a virus to their computer, I would agree. However, how realistic is that? How realisitc is it to say that a car accident is your fault no matter what because you didn't do what you needed to do to prevent it?
post #23 of 99
Quote:
Originally Posted by mini.boss

"We are continuing our efforts for bringing you even more feature-full product and we are making our latest Parallels Desktop for Mac Beta Build 3036 early available to you. It will be one more FREE update of the currently available version."

Does this mean we'll be paying for updates later?

Parallels has always stated that major upgrades (i.e., from version 2.x which is the current version of Parallels Desktop for Mac to version 3.0) will be paid upgrades. They've implied that there will be some form of upgrade pricing.

According to Parallels, the next major version is due out early next year (1st quarter?) and is supposed to include USB 2.0 support, 64-bit virtualization, and 3D accelerated graphics.
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post #24 of 99
Quote:
Originally Posted by melgross

Supposedly, it is. Only one OS can have control of it at once. Makes sense when you think about it. OS X still controls the machine. The virtual machine is really just riding piggyback. Which OS should control the GPU?

If that turns out to by the piggyback OS, then none of OS X's graphics functions will work. Uh oh!

SOLUTION: Dual core GPUs!
Each OS can have it's own GPU.
or in a Mac Pro it could have its own graphics card in another slot.
post #25 of 99
Quote:
Originally Posted by Macvault

It means the same Windows installation in Boot Camp can be booted up and used in Parallels, so you don't have to have two seperate installations! This is SOOO COOOL! I've been waiting for this! Thank you Parallels!!!!

This is the killer feature many have been waiting for.
I have a 120GB HD in my MBP but did not want to have two seperate installations of XP taking up precious space on my drive.
So I opted to use just Parallels and get rid of the bootcamp partition.
Under the old scheme many were forced to pick one or the other.
Now I can enjoy the best of both worlds without having to sacrifice twice the hard drive space!
WooHoo!
post #26 of 99
Quote:
Originally Posted by blue2kdave

Man, can't wait until the headline reads

"Latest Build of Parallels Desktop now supports direct graphic card acceleration"

That is when things are going to blow up. Not just on these boards but everywhere. My prediction, the new cool thing for PC gamers will actually be a Mac.

I think that will only be the case when virtual machines don't have a Ram limitation. Otherwise you will still see some slowdown compared to Bootcamp. I'm waiting for it too but I also don't have high hopes for it. I fail to see how the Parallels team can pull it off when virtualization companies tried for years and didn't succeed. Having said that, I'm sure Connectix managed to get the Voodoo gfx cards working with Virtual PC so we'll have to wait and see. It was supposed to happen this side of the new year though and time is drawing tight.

One thing that worries me about the Bootcamp support is that it will likely encourage users to use Bootcamp and I think they will eventually see there's not much difference between rebooting into Windows and booting up Parallels. They may then just forget Parallels altogether.
post #27 of 99
Quote:
Originally Posted by AppleInsider

Another major enhancement in the new version -- labeled Parallels Desktop for Mac Beta Build 3036 -- will allow a pre-installed Apple Boot Camp partition with Windows XP to be used as a virtual hard disk drive. Users of the software will be able to boot from that Boot Camp partition directly from within Parallels Desktop, forgoing a restart.

Parallels is more worth it to me now!
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post #28 of 99
Quote:
Originally Posted by Rich2

OK, since Boot Camp is running Windows directly on the Intel chip...not through virtualization/emulation...and since Parallels will now allow you to run Boot Camp in its window, wouldn't you be running Windows without virtualization/emulation?

It's not "running bootcamp in a window" - bootcamp is just a partitioning application plus a set of drivers that you can install in Windows. All this new parallels will do is save hard drive space by allowing you to use the copy of Windows you already have installed on the separate partition, rather than installing two copies of Windows. That is a Very Good Thing (right now I have two copies of windows on my Mac), it's just not what you're talking about.
post #29 of 99
Quote:
Originally Posted by Marvin

I fail to see how the Parallels team can pull it off when virtualization companies tried for years and didn't succeed. Having said that, I'm sure Connectix managed to get the Voodoo gfx cards working with Virtual PC so we'll have to wait and see. It was supposed to happen this side of the new year though and time is drawing tight.

Intel's upcoming Virtualization for Directed I/O (Intel VT-d) technology is supposed to provide better performance by allowing you to assign physical devices to virtual machines.
post #30 of 99
I have a quick review of the new beta with a few screen shots (the most interesting of which is at the end of the article, showing Windows XP apps and Mac apps side by side using the new Coherence feature of Parallels): http://www.gigoblog.com/
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post #31 of 99
Quote:
Originally Posted by BRussell

It's not "running bootcamp in a window" - bootcamp is just a partitioning application plus a set of drivers that you can install in Windows. All this new parallels will do is save hard drive space by allowing you to use the copy of Windows you already have installed on the separate partition, rather than installing two copies of Windows. That is a Very Good Thing, it's just not what you're talking about.

I don't run either so pardon my ignorance on how it all works. I still come to the same question, however. It would seem that Boot Camp alone would not be an issue with Vista's licensing issues...assuming, of course, that Microsoft doesn't specify anything more than they have already. If you REBOOT, you are running Windows on a real PC. Therefore, it would seem that any version of Vista would be allowed under Boot Camp.

Now, if you're accessing Boot Camp through Parallels while under OS X, would this change anything? Is the fact that you're able to switch between OSs ON THE FLY using Parallels the feature that makes this a true virtual machine and therefore subject to MS's licensing issues? Again, I'm basing this on MS's current wording in their license.
post #32 of 99
Quote:
Getting viruses are just as easy regardless of which method you use to run windows. Thats because obtaining viruses are 100% user error.

What about when it installs itself without your knowledge, as is the case with adware and spyware.
post #33 of 99
post #34 of 99
Quote:
Originally Posted by TenoBell

What about when it installs itself without your knowledge, as is the case with adware and spyware.

That means the user is running unsafe software such as IE, Outlook, Windows Messenger or some other malware carrier...
post #35 of 99
Quote:
Originally Posted by Rich2

Is the fact that you're able to switch between OSs ON THE FLY using Parallels the feature that makes this a true virtual machine and therefore subject to MS's licensing issues?

Yes. If the license prevents running Vista in a virtual machine, and you're running Vista under Parallels, then you're running it in a virtual machine and thus violating the license. It doesn't matter whether Vista was installed on a separate partition or as an image on the Mac partition. It's still running virtually.

All the more reason to stay away from Vista.
post #36 of 99
Quote:
Originally Posted by vocaro

Yes. If the license prevents running Vista in a virtual machine, and you're running Vista under Parallels, then you're running it in a virtual machine and thus violating the license. It doesn't matter whether Vista was installed on a separate partition or as an image on the Mac partition. It's still running virtually.

All the more reason to stay away from Vista.

Makes sense. Thanks. So I would infer then that running Vista with Boot Camp would not be a virtual machine issue; you should be able to run any version. Do you agree?

Of course, there is the whole other issue of the insane hardware requirements of Vista. This alone may make people just stick with XP.
post #37 of 99
Quote:
Originally Posted by Rich2

So I would infer then that running Vista with Boot Camp would not be a virtual machine issue; you should be able to run any version. Do you agree?

I would agree. As far as I know, the Vista restrictions only apply to virtualization, and under Boot Camp, there is no virtualization.
post #38 of 99
Quote:
Originally Posted by vocaro

I would agree. As far as I know, the Vista restrictions only apply to virtualization, and under Boot Camp, there is no virtualization.

Thanks, vocaro.
post #39 of 99
Quote:
Originally Posted by blue2kdave

My prediction, the new cool thing for PC gamers will actually be a Mac.

That just isn't going to happen any time soon. The world of PC gaming is dominated by people who build their own PC and live to squeeze small but measurable performance increases out of their systems.

Apple has only one box you can configure for gaming and it's way too expensive as a base box. Gamers and other PC enthusiasts want to be able to customize everything whereas Apple doesn't let you fiddle with anything. It makes for a great out-of-box experience, but it's never going to satisfy the hard core, trend setting PC users who experiment with voltages and bus speeds to drive every component just below the point of failure. They demand choice in every component and Apple just doesn't offer much of anything.

Here's a quick comparison:

Apple: logic board offers zero configuration, no optimization
PC: 20 different brands, fine tune to your heart's content, overclock anything

Apple: Xeon processors (designed and priced for servers)
PC: Core2 Duo Conroe and Athlon64 X2 (designed and priced for home PCs)

Apple: dual channel, high latency FB-DIMMs
PC: dual channel PC2-6400 - faster and cheaper than Mac Pro

Apple: AMD x1900 video card with lower specs than PC version
PC: Full catalog of AMD and nVidia cards including bleeding edge performance and SLI

If Apple put out a mid-range box utilizing the most optimized price/performance ratios for CPU and RAM, offer SLI support and work with AMD and nVidia to get support for a wider range of video cards, maybe then the gamers would realize that the hours spent building and modding their boxes with neon tubes and color changing LEDs, and the further hours wasted squeezing out a 4% performance improvement could be spent actually playing their games.
post #40 of 99
Quote:
Originally Posted by blue2kdave

My prediction, the new cool thing for PC gamers will actually be a Mac.

That just isn't going to happen any time soon. The world of PC gaming is dominated by people who build their own PC and live to squeeze small but measurable performance increases out of their systems.

Apple has only one box you can configure for gaming and it's way too expensive as a base box. Gamers and other PC enthusiasts want to be able to customize everything whereas Apple doesn't let you fiddle with anything. It makes for a great out-of-box experience, but it's never going to satisfy the hard core, trend setting PC users who experiment with voltages and bus speeds to drive every component just below the point of failure. They demand choice in every component and Apple just doesn't offer much of anything.

Here's a quick comparison:

Apple: logic board offers zero configuration, no optimization
PC: 20 different brands, fine tune to your heart's content, overclock anything

Apple: Xeon processors (designed and priced for servers)
PC: Core2 Duo Conroe and Athlon64 X2 (designed and priced for home PCs)

Apple: dual channel, high latency FB-DIMMs
PC: dual channel PC2-6400 - faster and cheaper than Mac Pro

Apple: AMD x1900 video card with lower specs than PC version
PC: Full catalog of AMD and nVidia cards including bleeding edge performance and SLI

If Apple put out a mid-range box utilizing the most optimized price/performance ratios for CPU and RAM, offer SLI support and work with AMD and nVidia to get support for a wider range of video cards, maybe then the gamers would realize that the hours spent building and modding their boxes with neon tubes and color changing LEDs, and the further hours wasted squeezing out a 4% performance improvement could be spent actually playing their games.
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