Parallels Desktop 4.0 Switch to Mac Edition

If you've been enticed by the world of Mac, but still need to run your PC business applications, Parallels has the answer. We review Parallels Desktop 4.0 Switch to Mac Edition.

Parallels 4
Price
£57

Parallels Desktop is a virtualisation program that enables owners of Macs with Intel processors to run Windows and Windows programs (as well as other operating systems such as Linux) simultaneously alongside their Mac applications. This is more convenient than Apple's free Boot Camp utility where Windows can only be run separately once the computer has been restarted.

Several new extras are included alongside the Parallels Deskop program in the Switch to Mac edition. A series of interactive video tutorials teaches the basics of using the Mac OS, such as deleting files or checking email. To be frank, it's aimed at complete novices, so it'll be of little use to more confident or experienced computer users.

A more useful extra is the USB transfer cable. This connects your Mac and PC together so the included Parallels Transporter utility can copy the contents of your PC's hard disk, including Windows, your applications and documents, to a file on your Mac's hard disk. It can then be run as a virtual computer by Parallels Desktop, without having to reinstall Windows and transfer over all your content separately. It's a more convenient and less complicated alternative to using an external hard disk or network connection to transfer your files. It worked flawlessly with our Windows 7 Samsung netbook, but couldn't transfer the contents of our Vista Lenovo laptop.

tutorials

Windows and most applications, such as Microsoft Outlook and Excel, worked well and felt responsive within Parallels Desktop. Some tasks still feel a little slower than they do on a real PC though, such as launching applications or rendering web pages. Parallels' settings enable you to tweak its performance, such as allocating the virtualised operating system more memory or more processor priority. Parallels can be set to use a MacOS VPN or you can run a Windows VPN, but the instructions provided on Parallels' website for doing either are confusing for novice users.

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