Virtualization Technology News and Information
Having problems with Parallels and can't find an answer? Ask Ben!

Ben Rudolph attempts to answer many of the questions asked by Parallels users on his blog site.  Here is a list of Q&A's from that site that just might help you out.  Going from the latest questions to the oldest, here they are:

1) One of the nicest things about Virtual PC is being able to have a dual-display Mac and being able to run Windows in full-screen mode in the monitor of your choice...and being able to move from one system to the other just by moving the mouse from one screen to the other. Is this possible with Parallels Desktop for Mac?


Tiago (via email)

It sure is. Parallels Desktop supports full screen mode for all of our guest OSes (be sure to install Parallels Tools for best results), and any VM can be dragged to a second display. Just drag it over to your second monitor, hit the fullscreen button or hotkey combination, and have two full-screen OSes side by side, with one keyboard and mouse.

For those of you who want similar functionality but don't have a second display, I recommend Virtue Desktop. It's Australian-made freeware and is really great stuff...I know I couldn't live without it. Check it out at

2) What's the status of getting copy-protected CDs to work under Windows XP? I want to get my Age of Empires II freak on, but can't under Parallels as it won't start the game.

Adam A.

You've run into an issue that we know about and for which we're already working on a fix. In the next version of desktop we're planning on including an upgraded virtual CD/DVD drive that will work seamlessly with copy-protected media, and will also enable you to burn CDs and DVDs (assuming you have the appropriate real hardware) directly in virtual machines. The good news is that the new version should be available in beta around the turn of the year, so this fix is pretty close to being ready to go.

3) I'm researching buying a macbookpro and fortunately just found some info on Parallels. I'm pretty psyched. Ideally I'd like to be able to run KDE, Windows at the same time on OSX. Is this possible with Parallels?

Thanks much,

It's easy to run multiple VMs at the same time on one OS X Mac (or, via Parallels Workstation, one Windows or Linux PC). Open up as many Virtual Machines as you'd like, and get to're only limited by real RAM and processing power. I've run 4 VMs comfortably at one time, so 2 should be no problem. I would, however, recommend that you get a MacBook Pro with 2GB of RAM if you're going to run more than 1 VM at a time.

To open a second instance of Parallels Desktop, just hit Apple+N.

4) I just got a new EVDO Verizon Wireless high-speed broadband card. It works in OS X, but I can't get the connection to bridge to Windows. What am I doing wrong?

- Truckr010 (via AIM)

Nothing, actually. Parallels doesn't support the new broadband cards as a bridged internet option (we will in the next version). Fortunately, there is an easy workaround to get Windows working with your card:

  1. Launch Parallels Desktop and select your VM. Click on the "network adapter" item and select "host-only networking". Hit OK.
  2. Connect to the Internet in OS X using your broadband card.
  3. In the System Preferences menu, click "Sharing", then "Internet". Select your wireless card from the menu and check "Ethernet Adapter (en2)" in the "To Computers Using" list. Be sure to uncheck any other interface. Hit start to confirm the changes and activate Internet Sharing.
  4. Click on the "Firewall" tab in the "Sharing" menu and turn the Firewall off to make sure that its not interfering with the Mac-VM connection.
  5. Boot your VM

Steps 1-4 take about 1 minute to complete, and after that, you're good to go.

5) I've been reading about the SlingBox, the gadget that lets you watch TV from anywhere. But I see that this its a Windows-only app/appliance. Does it work in Parallels Desktop for Mac?


Yes, it sure does! Check out this interview with the SlingBox execs on, in which they talk about running the SlingPlayer in Parallels on a Mac. For a real world taste of Sling on Mac (and some great screenshots), check out this eval by James McMurry.

SlingBox/SlingPlayer works especially well on the update builds of Parallels Desktop, since those offer better video support. Linux users will be happy to know that you can also run SlingPlayer in a Windows VM via Parallels Workstation for Linux.

6) You've been issuing updates pretty frequently. How do I know if I have the most recent build? I tried checking for updates and my copy of Parallels says I'm up to date, even though I don't think I am.

- Rojer

Parallels products only auto-update when we have a final, stable build. Since the recent update builds for Parallels Desktop for Mac are beta/RC builds, we haven't set the server to auto-update everyone.

To check your build, open Parallels Desktop, click "Parallels Desktop" in the menu bar, and then click "About Parallels Desktop". Your build information will be right at the top.

You can get the most recent build of Desktop at the Desktop Update Download Page. 1922 is the most recet build.

7) Ben, VMWare seems to be talking smack about the Intel/AMD virtualization technologies not amounting to squat as far as performance is concerned (

What does Parallels have to say about the topic?

Part of the reason that they're talking smack about VT and AMD Virtualization is that they don't support suppor them across the board, and back engineering that support can be a bit tricky. Our solutions were built from the ground up to support these virtualization technologies (via our lightweight hypervisor), and we, and our users, notice pretty substantial performance gains when running our solutions with them - sometimes as much as 150%!

VT support is one of the key reasons that Windows performance via Parallels Desktop for Mac is so strong. VT is included in every new Mac, and Parallels automatically takes advantage of it. When Intel releases then next generation of VT, Intel Virtualization Technology for Directed I/O, performance will get even better.

Want to see for yourself? Try loading Windows in Desktop with VT disabled, then again with VT enabled. I think you'll see that it does indeed mak a difference!

8) Hullo there, I have two simple questions for thee. If I buy parallels for mac, for how long will I be able to receive updates? Can I use the same copy of Parallels on two seperate machines that I own?

Thanks heaps,
Yak Sox

Minor updates, patches and point updates are always free for every user for the life of the product. Major upgrades do require a new purchase, but as a registered Parallels customer, you'll get a very significant discount.

Also, the Parallels License Agreement registers your copy for one machine. So, if you have multiple computers, you'll need a clean copy of Parallels for each.

9) I have XP installed, can I upgrade to Vista?

When this feature is supported by Vista (I believe you need to do a clean install with the betas and RC's), yes, you will be able to upgrade just as you would on a "real" PC. Just pop the disc in and follow the instructions!

As with any upgrade - be it for a "real" machine or a virtual one, its always a good idea to back up your files first, in case you run into a problem during the upgrade.


If you have a question for Ben, ask him!  He's waiting to help if he can.  Check out Ben's site, here.

Published Sunday, October 08, 2006 7:41 PM by David Marshall
Having problems with Parallels and can't find an answer? Ask Ben … - (Author's Link) - June 30, 2009 5:34 PM
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