Eric Stewart: Running Off At The Mouth

Quickie – VMWare Fusion vs Parallels Desktop

by Eric Stewart on Mar.19, 2008, under Computers, Technology

Both are packages that allow you to run Windows (or other x86 operating systems) on top of Mac OS (assuming you’re using a newer Intel based Mac).

I’m a long time user of Parallels Desktop, but I’ve recently switched to VMWare Fusion (and am hoping that work will pony up the $40 to get me a full VMWare Fusion license.

Parallels Desktop got to the game first I think, but VMWare makes their money with virtualization, so they had more experience and apparently it’s served them well when they stepped into the market.

Here’s a quick rundown of my experiences and what I recall seeing from the doco:


* Allow for using BootCamp partitions virtualized (without rebooting).
* Behave “Spaces” designations and control keys (for switching) and can use a full screen.

VMWare Fusion:

* Has keystrokes on multiple platforms that mimic CTL-ALT-DEL (it is different between workstations and laptops)
* USB support – FULL as far as I know; works with my Blackberry 8830 seamlessly.
* IIRC from the doco I saw, supports 64 bit versions of guest operating systems.
* Allows mouse movement to top of screen to trigger Mac OS menu after short delay. Has only caused me issues once or twice when I’ve gone to close a Windows window and gotten the Mac menu instead.

Parallels Desktop:

* Remembers “full screen” selection on OS startup.
* USB support – could never get my Blackberry 8830 to sync.
* Requires menu operation to simulate CTL-ALT-DEL.
* Requires keystroke to go from full screen to Mac menu bar.

In short, I’m happier with VMWare Fusion, especially it’s USB support. Parallels has taken too long to get USB working better in their product, and it’s been out longer.

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