Today, Parallels announced the latest version of its leading virtualization solution, offering deeper integration with Windows 10. Now, you can purchase Windows 10 directly from the Parallels Desktop 12 for Mac setup wizard and schedule Windows Updates so they don’t disrupt your Mac.
“Parallels Desktop 12 for Mac joins our long history of innovations in ease of use and personalization,” Parallels president Jack Zubarev says in a prepared statement. “In addition to delivering our best Windows-on-Mac performance and experience, Parallels Desktop 12 for Mac simplifies a number of everyday tasks for millions of our customers in all walks of life.”
You may recall that as part of my “Windows 10 + Mac” series of articles from last year—check out Windows 10 + Mac: Introductionand Windows 10 + Mac: Boot Camp for the others—I determined that Parallels Desktop was in fact the best way to run Windows on a Mac.
“I find that the performance and integration functionality of Parallels puts it over the top, and makes it a better solution for running Windows apps than Boot Camp,” I wrote at the time. “Yes, Apple’s dual-boot solution will always fill needs: gamers, for example, will be better served by running right on the hardware, of course, and developers with 8 GB systems like mine would likely find Boot Camp more accommodating as well. But for day-to-day access to the occasional Windows app, Parallels gets the job done. And it minimizes the weird context shifts of moving between Windows and OS X, each of which has its own quirks.”
Given this, I’m naturally interested in the new version and will be reviewing it soon. I was pre-briefed on Parallels Desktop 12, but I didn’t get the code until today, so I’ll still getting it up and running with Windows 10 version 1607 on my MacBook Air as I write this.
In the meantime, here’s a peek at what’s new.
Buy Windows 10 directly from the New Virtual Machine Wizard. I haven’t seen a change from how this worked in Parallels 11—that is, you’re still directed to a digital purchase at the Microsoft Store Online—but Parallels notes that you can now buy Windows 10 Home or Pro directly from within the New Virtual Machine Wizard.
Acronis True Image is included. Customers who buy Parallels Desktop 12 for Mac also get one year of Acronis True Image, which offers incremental VM backup capabilities. “No more backing up a 100 GB VM because of 50 MB of changes,” Parallels notes.
Schedule Windows Updates. One of the challenges of Windows 10, especially in an integrated/virtualized environment like Parallels, is that the OS is constantly being updated, and some of those updates require rebooting the VM. So Parallels 12 now lets you schedule Windows Updates so they aren’t disruptive.
Parallels Toolbox. Normally $9.99 per year, this set of 20 tools, designed to simplify common tasks, is free with Parallels 12. Some of the tools include Record Screen, Take Screenshots, Convert Video, Do Not Sleep, Mute Microphone, and so on.
Game optimizations. During an online demo last week, Parallels explained that it is working with game makers to optimize the product for Windows games like Overwatch.
Performance improvements. While I’ve always been surprised by the performance of Parallels, this version is even better: VMs suspend 60 percent more quickly, snapshots happen 90 percent faster, Visual Studio compilation is up 25 percent, and VMs are more responsive when your Mac is low on memory, Parallels says.
Supports the latest OS versions. Parallels Desktop 12 for Mac fully supports Windows 10 version 1607 and is ready for macOS “Sierra,” including that latter system’s new Storage Optimization functionality.
Parallels Desktop 12 for Mac is available now for $79.99. Or, you can go for Parallels Desktop 12 for Mac Pro Edition or Business Edition at $99.99 per year. (I’ll be testing Pro.) The upgrade from Parallels 11 is $49.99, or you can upgrade to Pro Edition for $49.99 for the first year.