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Parallels Desktop for Mac is a program I installed in 2008 on my MacBook Pro to allow me to run XP; and so far I've found it fantastic!

Parallels is hardware emulation virtualization software which uses hypervisor technology and works by mapping the host computer's hardware resources directly to the virtual machine's resources; allowing each virtual machine to operate identically to a standalone computer. Each virtual machine effectively has its own processor, RAM, floppy and CD drives, I/O devices, and hard disk, essentially all the resources of a physical computer. Parallels virtualizes all devices within the virtual environment, including the video adapter, network adapter, and hard disk adapters. It also provides pass-through drivers for parallel port and USB devices.


When a Virtual OS is running there are a series of buttons on the right hand side.

  • pause stops the processing..
  • stop copies the whole image to disk - which frees up processor, but takes up lots of disk space.

To maximize a window use [Alt+Enter] - and then [Alt+Enter] to get back to OSX.