I have used some version of Parallels Desktop for many years. In the old days, it was totally slow and really did not run the Windows OS well at all. However, things have change over the last 2-3 years and Parallels is greatly improved. I upgraded to Parallels 14 today and the new improvements are impressive. Lets take a quick overview of Parallels 14.
Why would anyone use a program that creates a virtual environment for running other operating systems? The reasons for doing so are legion. Here is what I do with Parallels. I have always run the latest version of the Windows OS. Right now that means Windows 10 which is a decent operating system as far as it goes. I use Windows 10 primarily to check how my websites look and work in a Windows environment. Occasionally, I use Windows 10 to download something that I cannot get on my Mac. And, it runs older Windows operating systems as well if you need to run some type of legacy software. The same goes for the Mac.
In recent years, I have used Parallels to run different versions of the macOS. Parallels will run Mac, Windows and Linux OS’s in a virtual environment. I have played around with some Linux Distros from time to time, but I mainly use Parallels for Windows and Mac installs. Sometimes I need to test software in older Mac installs which is handy. Lately, I have been running Beta versions of upcoming Mac operating systems. Currently, I have been running Mojave Beta. Let me tell you, it is a great way to run a Mac Beta and test some of your Apps. It is so much easier and faster than booting up onto another hard drive or partition for testing.
Parallels 14 comes with several improvements. As far as I can tell, the Settings area is very similar to older versions of Parallels. Here is Parallels running Windows 10:
All you have to do is slide your Desktop to the right and you are in the Virtual Windows or Mac Desktop at full screen. Here is Parallels running the latest Mojave Beta in Dark Mode:
The Parallels people list several improvements in this new version of Parallels Desktop on their website. The most important improvements to me are:
I need more speed! Parallels touts impressive speed improvements on their website. My testing in Mojave and Windows proves this out. Parallels virtual machines launch quite a bit faster. Opening, closing and working with Apps in the virtual environment is quite a bit snappier as well. Everything works faster, which is very welcome. It feels more fluid, more like you are using the actual operating system on a computer. One of the main knocks against Apps like Parallels is everything works slower which makes sense, they are creating a complete operating system environment, no easy task. But, the Parallels people have done a great job making the virtual OS, whether Windows or Mac, feel normal.
Free Up Disk Space
This comes in a close second to the speed improvements. When you open your virtual machines in the new Parallels it optimizes them. My old Mojave install was about 42 GB. Parallels 14 has optimized Mojave to about 34 GB which is a very nice space savings. If you are using Parallels on a laptop, this would be very helpful. The actual Parallels App itself is smaller as well.
You can manually recover space as well while Parallels is running. If you go to the File Menu and choose “Free Up Disk Space:”
you get this window:
As you can see, there is no reclaimable space found in Mojave. Here is Windows 10:
There is some space to reclaim in Windows 10. All you have to do is click on the “Reclaim” button and Parallels does it’s optimization. Here is Windows XP:
Yes, I know XP is ancient, but for some reason I still keep it around. Parallels reclaimed about 8 GB out of the XP install, pretty cool.
There are other improvements in Parallels 14. It is Mojave and Touch Bar ready. It improves the handling of video memory. There are graphic improvements as well in addition to a few other odds and ends.
If you are a Parallels user, I highly recommend upgrading to Parallels 14. Yes, the $49 price tag is kind of steep in my opinion, but it is worth it for the various improvements to the program. If you are contemplating buying the full version (not an upgrade price) of a virtual desktop App, you cannot go wrong with Parallels for $79.99. There is a Pro version of Parallels that has additional features, but the regular version is fine for a home user.