Parallels Workstation 2.1 Beta virtualization software for Intel Macs

by Todd Ogasawara

Parallels Workstation 2.1 Beta is a free download that provides virtualization services for Intel-based Macs. The list of supported OSes includes Windows (3.1, 3.11, 95, 98, Me, 2000, NT, XP, 2003), any Linux distribution, FreeBSD, Solaris, OS/2, eComStation, or MS-DOS. If this thing wokrs reasonably well, it would be a lot better solution for people like me who hate to reboot.


2006-04-07 03:05:51
I downloaded and installed it almost immediately. It is, for me, approaching the perfect solution.

As for its speed, all I can say is its wicked fast! My XP boots in around 5 to 10 seconds from pressing the power button (the virutal one of course :-D ). It has proper network support, none of the ugly TUN/TAP problems of Qemu et al.

There are still some major bugs to be ironed out, for example when closing the lid on my MBP with a virtual machine still running the 'puter sleeps normally but upon re-opening it reboots the computer, ie OS X restarts..not too terrible now I know THAT gotcha.

Still, its a top class product and VERY close to VMware Workstation in terms of quality.

2006-04-07 05:05:09
I have a new MBP on order and was just wondering if Parallels product supports USB devices on the guest OS? I have several "weird" USB devices that are not supported on OSX and is one of the main reasons I still have a Windows box sitting around. I know Boot Camp should work with these devices, but I'd much prefer to run Windows (or Linux) in virtualization land.


2006-04-07 05:47:08

Sadly there is NO USB support at all for the moment. And USB support in Boot Camp is a bit flaky at best.

Sorry :-(

Eric Shepherd
2006-04-07 06:50:14
Boot Camp performs extremely well, although it does have its flaws (for example, while the computer goes to sleep when you close the lid of my MacBook Pro, it never re-activates the keyboard and trackpad when you open it back up, although otherwise the computer is awake). Even the latest 3D games (such as Doom 3) are very playable on it.

Parallels works pretty well also. The UI has some significant problems still -- it's pretty clear they rushed a beta out the door when Apple released Boot Camp. But Windows installs cleanly and runs very fast (although clearly not quite as fast as in Boot Camp, it blows Virtual PC out of the water).

2006-04-07 09:32:36

Thanks for the followup. While this is not great news for me, I'm hopeful things will be get with USB support in the not too distant future with both Boot Camp and Parellels virtualization software. Maybe by the time my MBP arrive everything will just work:-)

2006-04-07 09:36:28
I'd agree with Eric that the beta was possibly a bit rushed. A few things cause kernal panics. I've had three or four. I'm not too worried as I don't do anything critical using it.

I've emailed the feedback link with the details and hope this will help them.

2006-04-07 11:11:31
I bought Virtual PC V 7 with XP Pro a few months ago. When I recently traded my PowerBook G4 for a MacBook I inadvertently lost the opportunity to run Windows on my Mac - until BootCamp.

I tried to mount the VPC disks using all kinds of tricks to install my copy of XP under BootCamp but no dice. - it uses a new virtual hard disk technology not mountable by anything I have access to.

I called Microsoft and asked for a cross-grade to an installable version of XP. The level-one tech said no, it was impossible. From what I understand of the license it says I can run my XP on just one Macintosh, and that is exactly what I want to do. But Microsoft - at least for now - says no - the products can't be separated.

The right thing would be for Microsoft to provide a cross-grade solution to VPC owners like me who paid extra to get XP. I'd be happy to pay for the disks and the shipping.

2006-04-07 14:15:13
I managed to install OpenStep (see URL) simply, but haven't been able to configure the peripheral support yet. It's quite a neat little system, but watch out how much memory you allocate to the VM. If you go above their recommended maximum, it really does grind the OS (the host OS) and even in one case caused my Mac to KP. BTW, OpenStep is mad fast ;-)
Todd Ogasawara
2006-04-07 15:44:10
Hey, leeg: Thanks for putting up screenshots on your blog (click on his name-handle below leeg's comment to get to his blog). Looks very cool, indeed.
2006-04-10 09:23:34
There's a new beta out that fixes some of the KPs of the earlier beta.

First signs are that its pretty stable.