Parallels 4.0 Upgrade Or Nightmare?

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.

Comments on this entry are closed.

  • Leto_Parallels Jan 27, 2009 @ 8:08

    Hi Glenn, I’m sorry that you (and some others) had problems with the upgrade path from version 3 to version 4.  Thanks for sticking with us.  I just wanted to let you know that we take all the feedback about Parallels Desktop 4.0 for Mac to heart and will continue our update support (latest release 3810 was in January) with it in mind. 

    With the updates since launch, we believe the majority of issues with upgrading from version 3.0 to 4.0 have been totally solved. They’ve introduced some cool new features as well, like the ability to drag Windows icons to the Mac dock, and experimental Snow Leopard and Windows 7 support. The updates have also provided additional DirectX shader support, so hopefully users have noticed visual improvements when running 3D applications.

    For more information, or to download the latest build, go to or contact me directly at

    Thank you,
    Leto – Parallels blogger

    • Glenn Jan 27, 2009 @ 20:27

      Hello Leto,

      Thanks for stopping by and commenting on this. I should say when I first saw Parallels it was the key factor in my decision to move to the Mac.

      After just a few months, I replaced every computer I owned with a mac of one variety or another, nothing against Windows or the pc world. One of the best benefits that did not show up until I began to track it was my utility bill decreased by approx $50 a month switching to Mac’s 🙂 your mileage may vary.

  • GARY Dec 9, 2009 @ 23:17

    I dont care what they say . All these big companies get to big and con the last penny out of us to pay for there un refined ego . Just make life simple . get it right . And make help easy for us too. Parallels was good when it first came out the web site was easy to use but now they have become to big to fast. My God its cost me £150 or more going from 3,4 now 5 I cant get the help I need on my mac book pro . they are as bad as Microsoft as they have changed their reg number so I cant phone them on Skyp or mobile from here in Borneo.
    As for getting this bloody CODE THING well I am trying to stick with you . but now thinking just to get a small laptop with windows. Parallels is to coplicated and you get sent in circles . Yes I landed up in the Doctors with stress. May be I can sew like you Americans like to do This is all I ask?
    This is crazy
    I cannot find any way to get a code… I have downloaded the 5 trial . but have trouble No Help The VM is OK but none of my programs are there from the main boot camp partition.

    The Bootcamp Partition opens but windows now requires activation I cannot as i cannot get it to link on line.

    So I now have no way to use the program.

    • Glenn Dec 10, 2009 @ 8:38

      Hi Gary,

      Sorry to hear you’re having so much trouble. Since it appeared to me that Version 5 was mainly so you could run Windows 7 I did not upgrade. Version 4 works just fine for me with XP.

      I would copy and paste everything you wrote into their forum, I’m sure that they would then get into contact with you.