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Dear "Parallels": Thank-you

by Nitesh Dhanjani
Apr. 6, 2006


Apple's Bootcamp and latest Firmware update allow you to dual-boot intel Macs. This is welcome news for many who must use Windows software for work (or play games.) I haven't bothered dual-booting my Macbook Pro because I prefer OS-X, and I didn't pay premium for Apple hardware only to run Windows XP on it. I don't want to have to close all my OS-X applications and reboot to Windows when I need to test applications for work. I've tried Q, but unfortunately, it's still quite buggy and only does emulation (virtualization is in the works.) This situation has caused me have to travel with 2 laptops which isn't a whole lot of fun to do.

Yesterday, Parallels released a Beta version of their virtual machine workstation software for the Mac. I just installed Windows XP on it, and it is FAST (it takes advantage of Intel Virtualization Technology found on the dual core processors.) If you own an intel Mac and are looking to run Windows (or any other OS) in a virtual environment, do consider trying Parallel's Workstation for the Mac. Remember, its still beta, and currently has the following shortcomings:

- Network: Bridged mode only
- No audio support
- No USB support
- Still buggy (crashed OS-X for me. I have since set "Acceleration" to "Normal" and turned off en0 after reading suggestions on their forums, and things have been quite stable for me so far)
- No file sharing support
- Host cannot connect to guest
- Parallels Image Tool has not been ported to OS-X

Note that the above problems are currently being worked on, and Parallels is promising to fix most of them by their next beta release. In spite of the above shortcomings, this is an impressive piece of software. Not having to travel with 2 laptops has certainly made life easier for me.

Nitesh Dhanjani is a well known security researcher, author, and speaker. Dhanjani has been invited to talk at various information security events such as the Black Hat Briefings, RSA, Hack in the Box, Microsoft Blue Hat, and OSCON.

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