Reader Question: Parallels for Mac

This (great) question was submitted to the Geek Girls recently by one of our geeky readers, Vickie in Seattle:

Hello ladies. Well, it’s time for me to install parallels on my beloved Mac. I’m so resistant to this — it’s silly really. But admittedly it’s due to my long-standing distaste for Microsoft and my recent nightmare experiences with Vista and Microsoft Exchange servers. So, I’m wondering if anyone out there has any thoughts as to bugs, install issues, desktop sharing, back-ups, etc. before I head into this. Oh, and am I going to get a stomach ache when I see Microsoft desktop icons on my Mac?

I asked our resident Mac expert, and official member of the Geek Girls Men’s Auxilliary, Michael Koppelman for his expert advice and he had this to say:

I would first take a look at VirtualBox ( It is open source and works very nicely on Macs, PCs and Linux boxes. Parallels is very nice, though, and is probably a bit more mature, especially in terms of devices such as printers and network connections. In both cases you need to own a version of Windows if your goal it to run Windows. You can virtualize Linux and other operating systems, though, as well.

As for the Windoze icon induced stomach ache, well, a little pepto in the desk drawer can’t ever be a bad thing.   For the really specific information around bugs and backups, and every other little Parallels quirk, check out the Parallels Consumer Tech Blog.

Now, there may be some of you sitting there thinking, ‘what the heck is Parallels for Mac and why should I care?  Also a good question.  Simply put, Parallels for Mac is a program that lets you run Windows or Linux on your Macintosh computer (I know!  Why WOULD you?).  This is called ‘desktop virtualization’.  You may not be running a Windows machine, but you can feel like you are with this handy program.  So your desktop, your icons, your programs can all look and act like a Windows-based PC, when in fact you are working on your beloved Mac.  For more information about Parallels visit the website.