Hands-on with Parallels VM for OS X

As seen in my previous post, it's now possible to run Mac OS X and Windows XP (or any other PC OS) simultaneously on Macs that use Intel processors. I've downloaded the beta of Parallels Workstation 2.1. I've installed XP. I've taken screenshots. We have a winner on our hands here.

I'll start with the shots. Here we have the VM booting of the XP install CD.
Setup starts copying files.

Then the Windows GUI loads.

Unlike emulations products, the CPU rarely pegs.

Like Ars, I thought this was funny.

Welcome to OS XP.

Safari and IE, together again at last.

Now, you may be thinking this looks an awful lot like Virtual PC on PowerPC Macs, or Wintel, Q or other emulators on Intel Macs. You'd be right. It does look a lot like that. The difference is this product is fast. Like as fast as a real PC. Everything happens quickly. XP and OS X both run at full speed. I can't state how amazing it is to have these two OSes running at the same time and having both be responsive.

Now, there are a couple of problems. First, I can't get sound to work. I haven't tried much, but I wanted to mention it. I've run the software installer that ties the VM to the host (including copy/paste support), but still no sound.

Also, you can only boot from an image. That means you can not boot from your Boot Camp partition.

Lastly, the video redraw isn't all that fast. It's not terrible, but it is not as quick as rebooting via Boot Camp. I suspect optimizations can be made, after all this is a beta release.

I'll post more about the experience as I use the product.


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