Parallels speeds up Windows on Macs with latest upgrade

Claims Windows runs 50 percent faster in Parallels Desktop for Mac 4.0, adds super 'porn mode'

Parallels Tuesday launched Parallels Desktop for Mac 4.0, the latest version of the virtualization software that lets users of Intel-based Macs run other operating systems, including Windows, on their machines.

The upgrade, the first since June 2007, includes nearly 60 new features and boasts significant performance improvements, said Rawee Kambhiranond, Parallels' senior product marketing manager. "We knew we had to improve on [Parallels'] performance," Kambhiranond said, "and we've pushed it to its limits."

One of the new version's performance enhancements that Kambhiranond touted was something Parallels has dubbed Adaptive Hypervisor, which better balances the processor load between native Mac OS X and any running virtual machines. It also gives the user more control over the number of processors devoted to the virtual machine, as well as the amount of allocated memory. "And if [the VM] doesn't use the memory, Parallels will load balance accordingly," Kambhiranond said, by returning the unused portion back to Mac OS X.

Parallels Desktop for Mac 4.0 can dedicate up to eight processor cores and as much as 8GB of physical memory to a virtual machine.

In all, Kambhiranond claimed that users should see a 50% performance boost by moving to Parallels Desktop for Mac 4.0 from the earlier edition.

Other additions to the upgrade include guest operating system support for Leopard Server and Windows Server 2008, as well as what Kambhiranond called "experimental" support for Snow Leopard Server. The virtualization software now also offers Mac gamers who play Windows titles support for DirectX 9.0, DirectX Pixel Shader 2.0 and OpenGL 2.0.

Interface changes to the program include the new Modality viewing mode that lets users change resolutions of virtual machines on the fly, and modifications to Coherence -- the Parallels feature that makes Windows applications appear to run directly on the Mac desktop -- that put Windows system tray notifications on the Mac OS X menu bar.

A new Safe Mode also lets users restore any virtual machine to its initial state, discarding all changes made during a session. Kambhiranond hinted that it could be used as an uber-privacy mode to, for instance, browse in a virtual machine. "No, I won't call it a 'porn mode, I'll let you do that," said Kambhiranond when asked if the term, which is often used to describe private-browsing features in Apple's Safari and Google's Chrome, fits Safe Mode.

Join the PC World newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags ParallelsApple

Our Back to Business guide highlights the best products for you to boost your productivity at home, on the road, at the office, or in the classroom.

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Gregg Keizer

Show Comments

Most Popular Reviews

Deals on PC World

Deals on PC World

Latest News Articles


GGG Evaluation Team

Kathy Cassidy


First impression on unpacking the Q702 test unit was the solid feel and clean, minimalist styling.

Anthony Grifoni


For work use, Microsoft Word and Excel programs pre-installed on the device are adequate for preparing short documents.

Steph Mundell


The Fujitsu LifeBook UH574 allowed for great mobility without being obnoxiously heavy or clunky. Its twelve hours of battery life did not disappoint.

Andrew Mitsi


The screen was particularly good. It is bright and visible from most angles, however heat is an issue, particularly around the Windows button on the front, and on the back where the battery housing is located.

Simon Harriott


My first impression after unboxing the Q702 is that it is a nice looking unit. Styling is somewhat minimalist but very effective. The tablet part, once detached, has a nice weight, and no buttons or switches are located in awkward or intrusive positions.


Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?