Parallels Desktop 9 for Mac adds Start menu and windowed apps to Windows 8

The software company Parallels has offered up its Parallels Desktop software for Mac owners for some time, allowing those users to run full versions of Windows on Mac OS X. Today, Parallels announced their newest version, Parallels Desktop 9 for Mac, and it has some interesting features made especially for Windows 8 and the upcoming Windows 8.1.

Parallels' press release states that Parallels Desktop 9 for Mac adds their own version of a Start menu to the desktop interface of Windows 8/8.1, something which has proven to be a pretty popular utility from other third party software makers.

Parallels Desktop 9 also allows Modern apps for Windows 8 to be run in a window on a Mac, which again has been offered by at least one third party company, Stardock, in their ModernMix application that runs natively on Windows 8 PCs.

Other new features in Parallels Desktop 9 include support for syncing up to cloud services like iCloud, Dropbox, Google Drive, and SkyDrive, along with improvements to the Virtual Machine Wizard and more.

People who currently own Parallels Desktop 8 can upgrade to the new version right now for $49.99. The stand alone version of Parallels Desktop 9 will go on sale on September 5th for $79.99, with the Student Edition priced at $39.99. In addition, buyers will get a free six month subscription to Parallels Access for the iPad, the remote desktop program that was launched earlier this week.

Source: Parallels on Business Wire | Image via Parallels

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45 Comments

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naap51stang said,
LOL, a MAC software developer has to "fix" the stupidity of MS with their dumb interface.
(and I'm a dos/win user)

Fix? Have you seen the state of what they've done? There's no fix, it's a bad bastardization of the Win 8 environment which Parallels has no business messing with in the first place.

naap51stang said,
LOL, a MAC software developer has to "fix" the stupidity of MS with their dumb interface.
(and I'm a dos/win user)

You still use DOS?

naap51stang said,
LOL, a MAC software developer has to "fix" the stupidity of MS with their dumb interface.
(and I'm a dos/win user)

You are a DOS user? Does that make you feel better posting comments like this? Like you're so cool that I'm shaking over here. And does it occur to you that the additions they are making are for compatibility reasons (being able to run apps in seamless mode rather than them trying to fix anything). Anyways, not sure why I even waste 30 seconds of my life to reply to your ingenious comments. I guess I'm *that* bored...

so now you have to go to a parallel win-egg vm on the mac for the start menu. lmfao. the irony just keep on flowing.

IMO this is a bad move and ruining the experience of using Windows 8. Just look at the 2nd screen capture in the article, only part of the UI of Bing Weather/ Windows Store is shown, and the scroll bar isn't shown at the border of window. Windows Store Apps is meant to be running in full screen AND (this is why) it has minimum requirements on the screen resolution.

Spicoli said,
Why not just download VirtualBox for free? And a free start menu if that's really a big deal for you.
Because its crap compared to Parallels thats why. Virtualbox is way too slow unless your just checking email or running office.

Gotenks98 said,
Because its crap compared to Parallels thats why. Virtualbox is way too slow unless your just checking email or running office.

And you have benchmarks to prove this?

Plenty of benchmarks on Google. I use Paralells everyday and VirtualBox several times a week (Paralells for my own, VirtualBox VM's when I need to share VM's with other people in the office) and the performance difference very noticeable. And if you need to do anything 3D related then VirutalBox barely even counts.

MikeChipshop said,

Benchmarks mean sod all when so many people already know this as fact.


Oh? What's the number for that? Like, how many people does it take to turn a claim into a fact that nobody is allowed to ask for proof of anymore?

Joshie said,

Oh? What's the number for that? Like, how many people does it take to turn a claim into a fact that nobody is allowed to ask for proof of anymore?
That's not it, there is just too many reviews on the web on this right now for anyone to not know this. Virtualbox is just crap compared to Parallels and VMware. Parallels has come a long way in a short period of time.

Joshie said,

Oh? What's the number for that? Like, how many people does it take to turn a claim into a fact that nobody is allowed to ask for proof of anymore?

So you'd eat at a restaurant that had overwhelming bad reviews and claims of food poisoning then? If all your friends had written it off would you still go there? No, i thought not. Do you have some sort of affiliation to VirtualBox? If not, why try so hard to protect it?

Is this a "right move"? I mean, it's meant to be an emulation environment, should it be adding features to the client OS? Not against the start menu being added by 3rd party apps at all, I just don't see this as something that Parallels should be doing?

You probably get the choice when installing the VM Additions package. I can imagine that running Windows 8 in a VM gets a bit annoying since all the corner gestures are nearly impossible. It's better in 8 but still not ideal.

With Metro Apps in Windowed mode you can use seamless mode too, so they sort of look like native OSX apps and the VM container gets hidden.

I should think it's fairly essential to Unity mode, or whatever Parallels calls it, to which full-screen Modern apps are hardly suited.

The impossible-dream of course is getting OSX virtualized on non-Apple hardware. Shame.

Mugwump00 said,
The impossible-dream of course is getting OSX virtualized on non-Apple hardware. Shame.

It's totally possible. Just not permitted.

Parallels has never been about emulation, per se. It's just a way to run Windows programs / the entire OS on a Mac. VMWare and Virtual Box (more so the latter) focus on emulation.

Mugwump00 said,
I should think it's fairly essential to Unity mode, or whatever Parallels calls it, to which full-screen Modern apps are hardly suited.

The impossible-dream of course is getting OSX virtualized on non-Apple hardware. Shame.


With a little hackeroo to adjust some values it's perfectly possible to virtualize OSX in VMWare. You just don't get GPU acceleration.

Ambroos said,

With a little hackeroo to adjust some values it's perfectly possible to virtualize OSX in VMWare. You just don't get GPU acceleration.

The problems aren't technical. It's Apple backwards policies making it illegal.

Nik Louch said,
Is this a "right move"? I mean, it's meant to be an emulation environment, should it be adding features to the client OS? Not against the start menu being added by 3rd party apps at all, I just don't see this as something that Parallels should be doing?

My feelings exactly. The idea is to emulate an environment that can be used for the Windows OS, not to screw around with the actual install.

I've seen nothing on the Insanelymac forums to suggest that Quartz Extreme/Composer works to the level that iPhoto, Quick Launch and those fancy screensavers are able to work in a VMW-VM (which I believe is more evolved that the tools for Virtualbox).

I'd love to be wrong (?), but Mac-VMs are a dairy-free cheeseburger without these features.

virtorio said,
From my experience, you're wrong on both counts.

I've tested all three on my mac air i5, Parallels had the worst performance.

Maybe an older version of parallels was slower but Version 8 is rock solid. Anyone who has had problems with Version 8 being slow is definitely doing it wrong. EIther not giving it enough cores or ram is the only way this would be slow.

Deviate_X said,

VMware is faster than Parallels

VirtualBox is faster than VMware


Not in the least, again this has to be an older version or its configured wrong. I too was against parallels until I tested and bought version 8. I am able to run games just fine at full speed. Games like Rift, Aion, Terra and SWTOR.

Deviate_X said,

VMware is faster than Parallels

VirtualBox is faster than VMware


This is completely the opposite to most of what I've heard -- Parallels > VMware > VirtualBox.