Parallels Runs Windows, Linux On MacIntel Platform

New virtualization software from Parrallels runs Windows and Linux operating systems on MacIntel systems, Apple Computer's Macintosh systems with the Intel Core Duo chip.

April 6, 2006

2 Min Read
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For those looking to leverage the new Macintosh and Intel marriage, there is some very good news that can fuel the adoption of the Macintosh platform.

That good news comes from a company named Parallels, which Thursday made available a public beta of the Parallels WorkStation 2.1 software for the MacIntel platform, which can be downloaded from

The product takes advantage of Apple’s inclusion of the Intel Core Duo found in all new Macintosh computer models. Intel’s Core Duo chipset is x86-compatible, which allows the Parallels virtualization engine to easily create a virtual environment. Workstation 2.1 allows Macintosh users to build virtual machines running nearly any x86-compatible OS, including Windows 3.1-XP/2003, Linux, FreeBSD, Solaris, OS/2, eComStation, and MS-DOS.

Parallels fully supports Intel virtualization technology, which is included in most new Core Duo chipsets. That support greatly increases virtual machine speeds and delivers the performance expected from a dedicated system. That speed advantage is complemented by stability; each machine is completely isolated from other virtual machines and the host physical machine.

One of the biggest complaints about Apple’s Macintosh is the lack of applications compared to the number offered for Microsoft’s Windows. Parallels solves that problem by bringing Windows to the Mac world. What’s more, virtual hard drives can be copied from one system to another, which makes the virtual Windows (or Linux, Solaris, or OS/2) environment completely portable.Apple users should be aware that the Parallels Workstation for Mac OS X works with any Intel-powered Apple computer running Mac OS 10.4.4 or higher. The product is not compatible with PowerPC models.

Workstation 2.1 offers an easy to use interface, which can create virtual machines with relative ease. Wizards can step even a neophyte user through the virtual machine setup process. The interface also offers tabs for advanced settings, where users can define processor priority levels, RAM dedicated to a virtual machine and network connections. The product readily supports Bluetooth devices, such as keyboards and mice found on the latest generation of Macintosh systems.

One unique feature offered by the product is the ability to condense (or shrink) virtual hard drives, which frees up space for the host operating system and makes the virtual machine’s footprint smaller, easing backup chores.

Before Workstation 2.1 for Mac OS X became available, those looking to run Windows on the Mactel platform had to rely on muliboot solutions. Those products forced users to reboot their Mac systems and could only run a single OS at a time. Virtualization proves to be much more usable, allowing users to access their OS of choice at any time, without reboots, restarts or other cumbersome tasks.

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