Head to Head: Parallels Desktop 6 vs VMware Fusion 3

We pit the two leading Mac virtualisation programs against each other to see which is best for running Windows on your shiny Apple computer.

VMWare

We experienced dj vu when installing Windows in VMWare Fusion since it's very similar to installation under Parallels Desktop. Like its rival, Fusion's installation wizard lets you install Windows unattended. Like the Parallels Transporter Agent, Fusion's Windows Migration Assistant lets you move over a Windows installation from a physical PC on your local network but it's no better than its Parallels counterpart at successfully migrating a partitioned disk.

VMWare has been making virtualisation software long before it released Fusion, so it has an extensive online catalogue of ready made VMs that can be downloaded and used instantly. A link to this Virtual Appliance Marketplace is provided from within Fusion itself.

The installation wizard automatically configured our VM with one processor core and 1GB of RAM, with no option to change this until the wizard had finished configuration. The settings window for each VM is tidier and easier to navigate than the ones in Parallels, although this due mostly to the fact that there are fewer options.

Winner: Tie. There's little to separate Parallels Desktop and VMWare Fusion when it comes to installing and configuring a Windows VM.

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