Parallels Desktop 7 for Mac has been upgraded to work with the latest version of Apple Mac OS X Lion, but also adds performance enhancements and the ability to individually provision graphics-hungry applications with video memory.
Parallels Desktop 7 for Mac (PD7FM) is a software package allowing Mac users to virtualise operating systems (OS) which can then run on top of Mac OS X.
Users can also migrate any installed Windows desktop onto Mac OS X and run it as a virtual machine (VM).
Launched in August, and costing £65 inc VAT, Parallels also claims better VM boot times, faster networking throughput, and the ability to migrate Windows systems quicker, as well as being able to improve battery life when PD7FM is installed on laptops such as the MacBook Air and MacBook Pro.
To review the new version of PD7FM, we upgraded our Mac Mini running Snow Leopard to Lion, and found it easy to install the software, which took under five minutes.
PD7FM gives several ways of setting up a virtualised OS: migrating a current Windows OS, installing an OS from a DVD or an image file, or downloading specific ones that Parallels has tagged into its VM Wizard [see picture].
We tried all three methods, migrating several Windows desktops, installing some Linux distributions, and downloading the Windows 8 Developer Preview and Chrome OS.
Migrating Windows desktops
We migrated a Windows 7 Ultimate install from our Dell OptiPlex 980 labs test system, using several methods. PD7FM offers three methods, a dedicated USB cable, transfer through a storage intermediate, or over an IP network [see picture].
We used the Parallels USB cable and an external storage device to migrate a Windows 7 Ultimate and an XP Professional operating system.
Whilst the Windows 7 Ultimate migration proceeded normally using the dedicated USB cable provided by Parallels, and using an external storage device, the Windows XP Professional migration failed using both methods.
On both times we were encouraged to export log files to Parallels support team for their perusal.
We could also install other operating systems by downloading them straight from Parallels' install panel; for example, like Fedora 15, Ubuntu 10.10 and the latest Developer Preview of Windows 8. Users can even choose to install Mac OS X Lion as a VM as well.