back to article Parallels 4 users want their money back

Parallels v4.0, billed as speeding Windows virtualisation on Macs, has been slated by some users for slowing their systems to a crawl instead. Some are demanding their money back. Parallels software enables Macs to run Windows concurrently with Mac OS X as an application alongside other Mac OS X applications. Files can be …


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  1. Anonymous Coward

    Oh Well

    Guess they'll just have to buy a PC then.

  2. Brad


    Smart VMers switched to VMware Fusion a long time ago.

  3. Gordon Ross Silver badge
    Dead Vulture

    Did this take much effort to write ?

    Let's see: A "feature" two-page story on how some new software is slow. You read it, and what do you find: It's just a load of copy 'n' pastes from the Parallels forums.

    Did this take much effort to write ? You being paid by the word ?

  4. Joel
    Thumb Up

    Works fine for me.....

    There will be a million and one different configurations that people will be trying to run in their virtual machines. Many of them might well have underlying issues in the virtual machine they are trying to upgrade, which only become apparent when you try and do something different (as in upgrade to the new version).

    Beta testing will only reveal so much. There might well be unforeseen issues when the release is rolled out to the myriad of configurations out there.

    But then we know that. There is a reason why people suggest avoiding the .0 releases of anything.

    Of course, the forums will be filled with the people who have had a problem. They log on to the forum because they have a problem. Sometimes the issue is from not reading the instructions - I ran into an issue regarding the conversion process, as my Windows image doesn't auto log in - the process requires 4 reboots of windows, so the automated install had to wait until I had logged in each time. No biggie - it was in the documentation. OK, I only read it when there was a problem, but it was easy enough to fix.

    Overall, I am impressed and pleased with it. Works well for me....

  5. Thomas

    I have decided not to upgrade beyond Version 3...

    ... and did so a long time ago. My Mac got noticeably slower at booting up immediately upon the Parallels installation (presumably they're chucking some ungodly kernel extension in somewhere?), the guys seem so impressed that they can route requests to open documents into and out of Windows that it's pretty much impossible to disable the feature (well, you can disable it, but that seems to just stop Parallels from maintaining the links; the old ones remain present and inevitably become unusable) and there are some terrible user interface mistakes. Most notably, if you launch the software and don't launch a virtual machine from the first menu that appears then the program automatically exits. If you pick a virtual machine with "start machine immediately" (or whatever) ticked then it does just that upon opening the state file. Most virtual machine settings cannot be edited while it is running. So if you want to edit the settings for a machine like that you have to load Parallels, select the virtual machine, switch it off again and then go into edit settings. This is especially annoying when you know that Parallels is about to do something dumb like mess with file associations in Windows or add extra associations to the Mac; either kill the machine quickly and sit through a patronising Windows message and lengthy scandisk or let it do a boot cycle and spend ages cleaning up after Parallels.

  6. vincent himpe

    look, it's simple..

    if you want a mac, buy a mac, if you want a pc , buy a pc. period. besides, it's good for the economy.

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    @vincent himpe

    But I run OS X but need one internal Windows app. What do I do? Did you read the article? Do you have the faintest idea what you're talking about?

  8. Richard Cartledge

    Virtual Sunshine Box

    The Sun Virtual Box is free, why would you want to pay for this?

  9. Frank Bough


    I had so many problems with version 3 that I never bothered to upgrade to 4. Glad I didn't. Don't bother asking for your money back, either, they just ignore you.

  10. Andy Fraser
    Thumb Up

    I fixed my slowdown

    I had terrible slowdown when I upgraded to v4. I upgraded my VM while doing a dozen other things and didn't notice it had installed the 'Parallels Internet Security' (I think it was called) software. On booting my XP image it tried to update and scan my virtual HDD causing the VM to crawl. I uninstalled the security software (I already AVG installed) and everything's fine now. I'm not saying that that will work for everyone but it worked for me.

  11. Marcus
    Dead Vulture

    @ Gordon

    By page ;)

  12. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I Like VMWare Fusion

    Just Sayin'...

  13. Eric
    Thumb Up

    Glad I chose VMWare then...

    It was a coin flip, but I went with VMWare over Parellels, seems like that was a good call. Actually, it wasn't that much a coin flip, VMWare was cheaper at the time. Go figure.

  14. N

    I hope they fix it

    Cos it actually looks like quite a decent product if it did what it said on the tin, at a reasonable speed

    but then you can say that for a lot of things!

  15. Grant

    Cut'n paste job but usefull

    @Gordon Ross I agree it is just a cut'n paste job but I found it usefull anyways.

    I am running parrels 4 trail and it is good to know more memory woud not speed things up.

  16. Rob Uttley

    I jumped a while back

    I jumped ship a little while agro from Parallels - the upgrade from 2 to 3 was particularly painful for me and for a while they seemed to be rapid-firing patches out, none of which really helped. The networking was broken in one patch, and I couldn't help but feel that we (the customers) were doing the integration testing for them.

    Having said that, when it worked it worked very well and if they could just sort out some of their QA issues it'd be a great product.

    I switched to VMware's Fusion, which might not be quite so 'bleeding edge' with features but I don't care (I'm a software developer, not a gamer) and it's a hell of a lot more stable.

    Still, I'm a bit surprised that the Reg managed to scrape 2 pages out of this - particularly, as was noted above, as you've really scraped comments from the support forum... by definition the support forum is full of unhappy bunnies so it's a bit disingenuous!

  17. yeah, right.


    When someone can sell me a desktop PC system with equivalent specs to my iMac for a lower price, I'll possibly consider it. I have no love for Apple, only well designed products. That spec includes the LACK OF NOISE, something I find missing from every price comparison I've seen so far. Until then, since I occasionally need to run a Windows/Linux/Unix/etc. instance, I'll use some sort of virtualization software.

    Until now that was Parallels. Tried VMWare, didn't find it to be as mature a product. Since Parallels 3 does what I need it to do, I doubt I'll be upgrading soon anyway, so the point is moot for me. When the time comes, then we'll see which is better, or if I would be better off putting a couple of cheap, noisy non-Apple PCs in a soundproofed room (that I would have to build) and using VNC to access them remotely.

    Oddly, other reviews I've seen have pipped Parallels 4 over VMWare at moment. But complaints forums are always good source material for a slagging.

  18. Gulfie

    VMWare Fusion is the way to go...

    ... slick, free updates, excellent performance... what more can I say. Very happy user. Looked at Parallels and bought Fusion 1.x at Easter, now running V2 and even happier!

  19. Chris Gibson

    The luxury!

    One day I hope to have enough time to read every single article on The Register, then post snde comments about the ones that I think may not have taken long enough to write.

    Instead, like a sucker, I have a job that takes up a lot of my time, so instead I just flick to articles that I think will be of interest to me, like this one. Lo, it was. What a time saver!

    Anyway, I've got no flag to fly for Parallels, but I would say that the upgrade to v4 has gone smoothly for me, and my virtual machines run well. Then again, I only use them to run IE6/IE7 for browser testing, so if I tried something more heavy-duty perhaps they'd slow to a crawl.

  20. Cameron Colley

    RE: Virtual Sunshine Box

    Indeed -- the functionality most people are talking about makes it sound like VirtualBox is pretty comparable.

  21. Jeff Held

    It's the "security" add-on!

    The article is right about the solution - remove the parallels security software and it runs fine. I had the problem and tinkered with the security settings several times before removing the security software in disgust. My parallels now runs like a champ, but the guy who wrote the security software should be made to listen to Steve Ballmer speeches for a straight week!

  22. Henry Blackman

    Running Great Here

    I'm running Parallels 4 and have been since release day, and I can't find fault. It's significantly faster with Vista, and whilst I didn't install Internet Security, I can't see any slowdowns at all. Vista speeded up significantly for me with SP1 - so it might be SP1 or it might be better compatibility with Parallels.

    All in all, no complaints here.

  23. Eddie Edwards
    Dead Vulture


    Next time any chance of a three-paragraph article containing a LINK to the forums for anyone who wants to know what a dozen idiots think?

    Gordon Ross, another disgruntled reader, said "Let's see: A "feature" two-page story on how some new software is slow. You read it, and what do you find: It's just a load of copy 'n' pastes from the Parallels forums. Did this take much effort to write ? You being paid by the word ?"

  24. DR

    anyone else see irony?

    that the logo is a sign usually indicating a pause function?

  25. Anomalous Cowherd Silver badge


    Haven't played too much with Fusion but have done a fair bit with VirtualBox on OS X. The main issue is that VirtualBox can't do bridged networking, which means you can't host any sort of server.

    This restriction isn't there on Linux incidentally, and as a result VirtualBox is shit-hot, very light weight and stable as anything. Few quirks but it's mostly with the way VMs are managed rather than how well they run.

  26. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Up

    No problems here

    Running Parallels 4.0 and no problems encountered. Windows XP also boots faster under Parallels than any of my Windows XP and Vista computers. Not to mention that it easily and reliably runs a Windows software package that requires 3 virtual serial ports, and streams audio and data in real time. All via Wireless N.

  27. Kenny Swan

    Now I get it...

    So this is where game deveopers cut their teeth on the release and patch model...

  28. Pierre

    Ha, people...

    I always find it a bit funny when I hear of people using this kind of VMs for the desktop. In graphic mode. For work. Sounds like an awful lot of memory and CPU cycles wasted. You could probably buy two slightly lower-spec machines for the overall same price, and have more work done in less time. Bah.

  29. Mike Kamermans

    where's the actual article?

    User "Pomax" said: "where the hell is actual article? all I see here is a write up composed of quoted forum messages - where's the analysis of the actual product with perhaps even some numbers to marginally show people who don't use macs what this is all about?"

    Or were we out of journalists for this one?

  30. Anonymous Coward

    I always recommend Fusion over Parallels

    Nice to know my advice is correct

  31. Jack

    What's all the fuss?

    How one-sided is this article? Judging by Parallel's response, I must be one of the lucky 1.5 million. I use Parallels 4 now every day without problems. The main apps I use it for are 3ds max and microsoft office, and I never have any problems.

    For me all the v4 improvements were just that, and it disheartens me to see some people calling for the interface changes to be wound back. Every time there's a new release of vmware's fusion I take a look at it, and I'm always convinced within an hour that it's inferior. Sure v4 is not without problems, but it's a vast improvement over 3, which was itself really good in the first place.

  32. KK
    Thumb Down

    Don't waste your money

    No point wasting money on parallels. Just switch to Virtual Box. Works fast and better and is free! I got fed up with the support i got from parallels and switched a few months back and never looked back.

  33. DBS

    Fusion is better...

    Although I purchased Parallels first, I switched to Fusion over a year ago. Fusion works much, much better, with no drama.

  34. Anonymous Coward

    Re: Parallels Spokesgoblin Response

    (Don't laugh -You guys are the ones what coined the term "spokesgoblin," when referring to Miscrosoft)

    Tech Support 101. Repeat after me:

    "You are the first person to report this issue."

    "We've hardly had any complaints about this."

    "It must be your setup/machine/software/viral infection from Andromeda."

    "Have you changed the batteries on your watch lately?"

    "Works fine on our extensive array of test machines."

  35. Glenn Gilbert

    Golliath's better than David

    I dumped Parallels for Fusion a year ago after upgrading to 3. Parallels seem to be more interested in milking the cow than doing decent upgrades. Bug fixes were slow to implement; becoming Microsoft-style features when they didn't bother fixing a regression bug.

    Fusion's fine and a damn sight cheaper in the long run.

    I so wanted the David of Parallels to be better than the Goliath of VMWare. Unfortunately Parallels is too greedy and makes a poor David.

  36. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Up

    Plus One

    for Sun Virtualbox :)

  37. Anonymous Coward
    IT Angle

    Ah good

    I went for Fusion soon after P4 was announced and it sorta warms the cockles of my heart :)

    Now only if I'd bought it from Apple rather than direct from VMW I might have saved a bob or two.


  38. Andrew Field
    Thumb Up

    No issues for us

    Just a quick comment to say that we've not tried Fusion or other solutions, but the latest Parallels upgrade has worked without any problems. Was a bit annoying to have to pay to upgrade (plus it seems we could switch to Fusion by paying a similar amount). However, the Parallels 4 upgrade worked without crippling our Mac and it seems to be playing ball thus far.

  39. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I am not a PC

    I thought, PC, when it is being used by MS is short for Piece of Crap.

    Genius advertising, really cutting edge, all these people claiming they are a Piece of Crap.

    It is like Ratners all over again.

  40. Stan Smith
    Thumb Up

    I haven't had any trouble with Parallels...

    Maybe I don't have a lot of room to speak, since I'm relatively new to the whole virtualization thing. But I tried Parallels first, then Fusion. Both were with my existing Bootcamp partition. For some reason Fusion was just INCREDIBLY slow, while Parallels has been a really nice experience. I don't use Coherence mode, but Windowed and Fullscreen have been excellent. But all I ever do is play with Visual Studio 2008 and use a VPN connection.

    This is the perfect combination for the road - I can use my crappy browser-based VPN for work and do VS development, and still have MacOS for everything else.

  41. Will Tisdale

    Why bother with VM's at all...

    I have a Mac Pro, I tried Parallels, which I thought was poor, VMWare Fusion, which I though was better but still wasn't that quick when running certain Windows programs so after about 6 or 8 months of slow VM's and timewasting and not being able to play games etc I ditched OS X and installed Vista x64 on it. Much better than a VM. No crashes, no kernel panics or BSOD's, no slow speed issues and a much more useful operating system than OS X which is just a badly designed hack of an operating system.

    Why bother struggling with VM's when native Windows is much better than OS X anyway? Macs do look good, but the operating system which comes with them isn't good.

    By the way, Virtualbox is the best Virtual Machine software around, nice and light, fast, supports x64 guests on Windows x64...etc.

  42. Scott Mckenzie


    I too jumped ship to Fusion, it's perfect for my needs - though likewise the latest version seems a little slower... however the most significant difference for me was that VMWare don't charge for version upgrades... v1.x to v2.x was free, Parallels charge each time you jump a version number!

    Plus, lets be honest it's not as if VMWare are exactly donkeys in the Virtualisation horse race now is it...

  43. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Up

    Works fine for me

    I read the installation information rather than blindly clicking yes to everything. I didn't install the security options. I guess all you people out there haven't used a PC with 'security' software installed for a while. Yes thats right, they are very slooooow.

    I am running on the minimum spec that is recommended (A MacBook Air) and V4 is significantly faster than V3.

    A great upgrade as far as i am concerned.

  44. Matt Bryant Silver badge

    RE: look, it's simple..

    I have an hp-ux terminal (VERY old, but it was free!), several Windoze PCs, two Linux PCs and... oh, hold on a sec - I have no need for an expensive, over-engineered Mac!

    Oh, and for the Sunshiners, isn't the Sun virtualisation product free because it's just Xen in drag?

  45. Anonymous Coward

    I was a dumb schmuck

    Sent to Chris Mellor for anonymous posing: I am one of the poor dumb schmucks who dove into the Parallels Version 4 upgrade. I have been using it since V1. The latest build is not a fix. I suspect they rushed the product out to coincide with MacWorld in SF, in January '09. Their spokesperson, Ben Rudolph is likely responsible for this decision to release too soon. Imagine, a $40 upgrade that is causing users hours of time spent with workarounds. VMware will have a field day with this blunder. Too bad. It is a great product. They just monkeyed around with it too much...

  46. Anonymous Coward



    Fusion 2 for less than 40 quid


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