Late in 2008, I finally upgraded to Parallels 4.0. Anyone with common sense, will do a little research in the forums to see what challenges have cropped up before updating any software.
I updated a Mac Pro and a early 2007 Macbook Pro, while you would think that both computers would have the same upgrade issues crop up in reality they did not. Both computers had similar problems, yet the MacBook Pro actually gave more indication of what the problem was in converting the 3.x version to 4.0.
Before we get into the issues with the upgrade, the question is was it worth it? In running it for awhile now I would have to say it definitely is if you need to run a version of Windows. With each update I’ve done it just gets better.
With Parallels 4.0, I found the graphics display to be a great improvement. I don’t use Parallels and Windows for gaming, just business applications that I’ve not found a replacement for on the Mac side. The upgrade really gave me the appearance that I was running the applications on a pure Windows Xp machine, not a virtual one.
This is important when using a program like ACT a contact manager. When you’re trying to read a Tahoma size 8 font, you really need it to be sharp and crisp. This was one of my major complaints with the earlier versions of Parallels.
The almost seamless integration between Mac and Windows makes it well worth it. Since I do a lot of tech support for individuals having a working copy of Windows Xp and Vista makes life a lot easier. Running Yugma on the Mac side gives me the ability to teach both Mac and Windows applications, this is extremely important!
One perception at least to me is that Vista seems to operate better via Parallels then it did on a PC, now that maybe just my perception of it. Windows Xp runs great as well. There is a huge difference in performance between the Mac Pro and the MacBook Pro, this is to be expected though. With 4.0 bringing multiple processors to the table it is an improvement over 3.x.
The Upgrade Nightmare
I have to admit, I experienced all of the same problems that everyone else did during the conversion from 3.X to 4.0. It was not until I was already about halfway through the process on both machines that the conversion problem was probably more my fault then Parallels.
I say this because, I had learned a few things during earlier upgrades. One of the major complaints everyone had was during the conversion the system would just hang, as if it were waiting for some action to take place. It was the MacBook Pro that actually brought this out into view. I should have remembered just two things, that I’m sure would have made this go much smoother.
1.) Un-install Parallels Tools.
2.) Un-install the Virus Software.
The Macbook Pro, was the machine that actually got back to Windows and sure enough that was what was hanging the conversion process up, the virus software! Sure I was pissed off but not at Parallels but at myself, I knew better. It may have even been in the upgrade instructions some place, yet we all know we don’t read the instructions right.
The second issues cropped up after the installations where complete, their where now two instances of Parallels Tools installed. The 3.x version and the new 4.0 version. Trying to uninstall the 3.x version failed with a message about not running in a virtual machine.
There are ways to get the earlier version of the tools removed, yet I’ll not cover them here. I don’t want to be responsible for trashing your Windows Installation. Since the initial release there have been a few updates, each one correcting bugs. With each update things only get better.
Overall I’m quite pleased with the latest version, it works just fine. There are still a few items I would like to see work better, on the integration side with Apples USB Modem which I use as a dialer for contact management programs
So if you’ve not upgraded yet, keep in mind about what I said about removing the old version of Parallels Tools and removing not just disabling your windows virus software during the upgrade.