Applications Product reviews Virtualization

Parallels 8 First Impressions

Parallels Desktop 8 offers many enhancements over version 7. Most of the improvements have been covered by the various media outlets already, so this post won’t be a typical review. What I’d like to cover are some of the more esoteric issues that I discovered with Parallels 8.

The first issue was particularly aggravating, but the solution was simple. If you are running an OS X guest VM, configuring it to use multiple virtual CPUs results in a nasty problem, at least on my Mac Pro. When the VM is suspended and resumed, the VM will hang. The solution is to configure the VM to use only one virtual CPU.

Another annoyance is that the Virtual Machines List window drifts down the screen every time I open Parallels. I’m sure Parallels will address this problem shortly, since it’s an obvious user interface bug. [Update: I fixed this by deleting the placeholder VMware Fusion VMs that Parallels adds to its list.]

A third issue is not likely to be encountered by home users. My home directory is on a different volume than my startup drive. The Parallels 8 installer assumes that the home directory is on the same volume as the startup drive, so the Safari extension for IE is installed on the startup drive. Until Parallels gets around to fixing this, the solution is simple. Double-click the OpenIE.safariextz extension installed on the startup drive: users->username->Library->Safari->Extensions. It will then get installed in the proper location.

On a positive note, Windows performance is fantastic under Parallels 8. It is quite satisfying to see a game like Crysis 2 running with reasonable frame rates in a virtual machine. Lastly, I’m happy to report that the wake-from-sleep crashing problem that plagued OS X VMs running in Parallels 7 has been resolved.

Update 1/26/13: My OS X Server guest VM regularly freezes under Parallels 8. Fusion does not have this problem.

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