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making the miraculous routine – Jan. 11, 2014

One of our expert enterprise system engineers shares his thoughts on the evolution of Parallels Desktop for Mac...

I always get my best ideas on the evening commute on my motorcycle. A warm night not too long ago, I started thinking how far the technology and development of Parallels Desktop for Mac has come in the last seven years. The big ‘aha’ was how quickly the miraculous has become routine.

Here’s what I mean.

When I first installed Parallels Desktop (years ago, in the days of Windows XP), I wasn’t familiar with virtualization technology, and it wasn’t until I installed Windows on my Mac that it really started to click. I was on a MacBook then with only 1 GB of memory, and it really was amazing how fast XP clipped along -- from boot up, to launching Microsoft Office, to surfing the web. Windows literally ran better on my Mac than it did on my Windows laptop at home. In fact, when I first used Parallels Desktop on one of the original MacBook Air machines, a clean install of XP booted in 9 seconds!

With the addition of 3D support to Parallels Desktop, I could play a few favorite Windows-only games when I was traveling – cool! Then, with the introduction of Coherence View Mode, I was really blown away! Coherence lets me put my favorite Windows apps in the Mac Dock, right next to my regular Mac apps. Even better, it completely masks the Windows Desktop so my entire display is now OS X. I can launch a Windows app like any other Mac app.

Each new release of Parallels Desktop continually just gets better and better, and I’m not just talking about features: it keeps getting faster, a lot faster. As I’ve upgraded my Mac, added memory and a faster CPU, Parallels Desktop has leveraged every opportunity to make Windows just sail along.

It really is quite amazing how Parallels Desktop blends two separate operating systems into a single experience that makes it feel like you’re in one cohesive environment. Opening a file from either operating system is blended to the point that any document saved in Windows is automatically accessible in the Documents folder on the Mac. It’s the same with Pictures, Movies, and Videos, too. I can create special keyboard mappings so common keystrokes on the Mac (like command +c, or command +v) are duplicated in Windows apps. One of my favorite new features is Power Nap support, since I can simply close the lid of my MacBook Pro and Windows goes to sleep just like Mountain Lion. When I wake the Mac, all Windows apps are right there just where I left them, and Outlook is up-to-date.

Back to my commute ‘aha’ – I realized that all of these capabilities and miraculous technologies are things I take for granted now. Like turning on a light switch and not even having to think about the light coming on -- it just happens. It doesn’t matter whether something is Windows or Mac – I have all the tools I need, on the Mac right in front of me: Safari to browse, Keynote for slides, accessing server shares on Windows and a whole lot more. There may come a time when Mac apps or software as a service (SaaS) solutions will eliminate the need for Windows apps, but I don’t see it happening any time soon. Simply put, Parallels Desktop for Mac makes me more efficient and more productive … and keeps making the unbelievable part of the everyday.

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