These days, running Windows on your Mac is pretty straightforward thanks to virtualisation software. You can even manage it without paying a single penny thanks to VirtualBox, but the truth is, if you're serious about running Windows apps on your Mac, then Parallels Desktop is the tool to choose.
Parallels allows you to emulate just about any flavour of Windows as well as older builds of OS X and even Linux too. You can set up as many virtual machines as you want - your only limit is available disk space, the system requirements of your chosen VM and whether or not you have valid install media (and product key).
Over the years Parallels has evolved its feature set to make running Windows apps on your Mac as seamless as possible - you can set up your VM in Coherence mode for example where the Windows desktop is hidden away and your applications run directly from your Mac desktop in their own window, with key Windows tools such as the Start menu accessible from the menu bar. It works well for those who aren't interested in anything than getting certain apps to run on their Mac.
Setting up your VM has always been straightforward too, but from version 10 it gets a whole lot easier, with redesigned wizards and intelligent presets (such as your regional settings coming from your Mac) speeding things up further.
VMs have always been a drain on system resources, and while you can't expect to enjoy the same level of performance from one, Parallels Desktop 10 takes steps to close the performance gap further, promising faster loading times for documents (up to 48%), reduced memory usage (up to 10%) and even better power usage (save up to 30% on battery life).
Version 10 promised to make use of Yosemite's new features to improve integration between your Windows VM and the Mac desktop too. Other integrated improvements include Windows apps being automatically added to the dock when installed, for example, while users can now drag and drop files to the VM’s dock icon to open them in Windows.
Although a little pricey - the cost of Parallels is more than a copy of Windows - if you're serious about emulating Windows or Windows apps on your Mac, or want access to older versions of OS X for compatibility purposes, it's the go-to virtualisation app you need.
What's new in v11.1.1?
- Resolves an issue with Boot Camp virtual machines not booting, and instead showing Windows recovery options.
- Resolves an issue with a mouse cursor looking corrupted when Retina settings are applied to an external display.
- Resolves an issue with not being able to mount an NTFS drive in Mac OS X when Parallels Desktop is running.
- Resolves an issue with Ubuntu 15.10 not working in Coherence.
- Resolves an issue with Microsoft Outlook crashing in Windows after opening an Outlook file from OS X.
- Resolves an issue with incorrect display arrangement when switching to a virtual machine working in Full Screen on multiple displays.
- Resolves an issue with Parallels Desktop crashing after quitting a virtual machine in Full Screen while another virtual machine is running.
- Resolves an issue with virtual machines hanging when removing a snapshot.
- Resolves an issue with the screen blinking after Parallels Tools are installed in Fedora 23