View Full Version : Windows on an iMac using Parallels

Keith Outten
07-03-2016, 11:54 AM
My design computer, in my office, which runs Windows XP Pro has become unstable and needs to be replaced. Recently a tech from Parallels logged into my older iMac and installed Parallels and Windows 7 Pro. My intention is to be able to install a new drive on my old PC and donate it to a worthy cause. Before I remove this machine from service I need to log some hours on the iMac that has Windows installed.

So far I have installed a few Windows utility programs that I have been using on my PC for many years. I have also installed Aspire 8 which went perfectly and seems to be running fine. I have decided today to install Corel Draw X3 on this machine, this is a legal copy that I had been running on my old PC so its basically a transfer of the software from one machine to another. I run Corel Draw X4 on my shop computer that runs my Laser Engraver and my CNC Router using Aspire. I hope to purchase the Corel Draw X8 upgrade in the near future for the old iMac once I have confidence in this setup.

My inexperienced opinion so far is that Windows looks great on the 27" iMac screen and it runs at least twice as fast as it did on my older PC. At this point I see plenty of benefits to running both operating systems concurrently and I haven't found any problems or drawbacks yet.

I know that there is a small group of people here who run parallels on a variety of Apple computers. Anyone who has information or experience with this program willing to share your comments please do...hopefully before I dump my old PC :)

David Somers
07-03-2016, 1:22 PM
Morning Keith!

I wasnt using Parallels, but I did use VMWare on my old Macbook Pro until things started to get too slow on the Virtual Machine side. I had pushed the Macbook Pro about as far as I could with upgrades. To get around the slowness I switched from a virtual machine to run windows to using Bootcamp so Windows ran natively on the machine rather than in a virtual machine. That boosted the performance considerably and kept the machine running for a few more years until the system board finally went. The replacement cost was amazingly high and although I loved my Mac, the cost of a new one was so high I just didnt want to do it. I ended up getting a Dell laptop with a ton of capacity and power and it is working fine. I hate it, but it is working fine. I think I worked on Windows systems for too many years of my career. Familiarity breeds contempt. I would not use Windows at this point if the software for my laser and CNC didnt require it.

The main point of all that, other than a bit of windows ranting, was just to mention bootcamp as an eventual fix if a virtual machine starts to bog down. As long as it is running at a fair rate of speed for you though the virtual machine environment is terrific.


Bill George
07-03-2016, 1:29 PM
I forgot what I used on my MacBook Pro, I posted it here but its been a while. What I used was a free download, and it runs Coral Draw X6 wonderfully.

Kev Williams
07-03-2016, 1:30 PM
My BIL who works with me has a Mac laptop with Parallels. He loves the thing, and from playing with it myself, the Win7 side acted exactly as the Win7 computer I have, which is impressive to me. Problem is, I have zero experience with or use for a Mac. But watching him use it, it seemed very workable and seamless...

Which begs the question: Why don't these two mules give up the feud already and build ONE computer OS that actually works? ;)

Mike Jaureguy
07-03-2016, 1:34 PM
Hi Keith and all. I've used Macs for many years along with PCs when I had to. A few years ago, I would commonly use Parallels, for running PC programs that, at the time, were just not available for the Mac OS. However, in recent years, I now just run Windows on the "back(dark)side" of the Mac. That way, if the program is resource intensive, it has the whole guts of the computer working for it, rather than- in the Parallels case- a Mac running its own OS, running the [shell] Parallels, running a Windows OS, and finally, running the [Corel Draw] program in question. You mention a future Corel upgrade; It of course will be much more resource intensive than the older one, plus the fact that you are using an older (how old is that) iMac. This gives me pause for the performance of such a program in the situation you describe, considering the 'path' that has to be followed by the program to work successfully. You might have better luck trying the back-side installation for Windows, directly onto the Intel "chip".
I'm using now a mid 2011 large screen iMac, with 27", 2.7Ghz, 16 Gb of 1333Ram, along with the latest Mac OS, and the built-in AMD Radeon HD6770M 512 Mb Graphics. It does just fine on all my photo, music, drawing, astronomy, etc, programs. I'm using Windows 7 on the dark side, and it runs fine, considering it has all those resources available to it. I'll probably upgrade to Windows 10 this month, as that is when the "freebie" upgrade runs out. I would, at this point, consider that I can run any of the PC programs I need to, successfully on this machine, using the back side, without all the [by definition] complications of Parallels/translations, etc. Having said that, I never had a problem with Parallels when I was using it for the few programs (GPS), other than the seemingly almost constant "upgrades", and the fact that the performance was noticeably slower than the regular Mac. YMMV. Good luck, Kind Regards

Keith Outten
07-03-2016, 2:36 PM
Dave, I was told that I might have problems finding drivers for Windows if I ran it via Bootcamp and the convenience of having access to both operating systems at the same time is why I decided to try Parallels.

Bill, I have a MacBook Pro as well but no need to run Windows on it as I can't see myself doing design work on a notebook.

Kev, Apple has taken a long time to get their stuff together and I like the way all of their computers and phones work together. I think that a merger between Apple and Microsoft would be a disaster for Apple :)

Mike, your iMac is probably the same model as mine, about 5 years old with 16 gig of ram. Last Winter I bought the new iMac which has taken over all of my business chores and internet activity so I didn't want to install Parallels on this machine. My old iMac was not being used so I decided that it would be worth the cost of Parallels to get a few more years from the machine. I would also like to try my hand at video editing but don't want to do it on the new iMac if editing is going to take a serious amount of time processing files.

Its good to know that when the old iMac starts slowing down I might be able to use Bootcamp and get even more mileage out of it. For the record I never use Windows for Internet access anymore and I don't do Windows upgrades either.


Rich Harman
07-03-2016, 3:33 PM
I also used to use VMware Fusion - and Parallels too for a short time. Eventually I gave up on them and just switched to dual boot. Just too many little quirks that I would run into.

Now, I still have dual boot on my MacBook Pro but rarely ever boot into windows. Instead I have a dedicated Win 7 computer for the laser, a dedicated windows 7 workstation for Solidworks and other windows-only programs and the other computers are Macs. Oh, except two or three old windows laptops, the ancient XP machine for the CNC and and old iMac running Linux which is relegated to Netflix - and about a dozen real old windows machines in storage.

My point is that windows computers are so cheap that I have found it more economical and less stressful to just use separate computers. Computers that are several years old are still good enough to run most everything I need. Only the main windows workstation is a "modern" computer.

Bill George
07-03-2016, 4:58 PM
Ok I used Virtual Box from Oracle https://www.virtualbox.org/ and it worked fine, price was Zero. The reason, when I go on vacation I can use the MacBook Pro to design for both my 3D printer and either one of my lasers. I have used Inkscape on the MAc and PC and for the life of me I can't figure out what is the issue with just a straight forward BMP export. I am sure there is a work around, but why? I just use it for the vector to gcode extension.

The Oracle program as you would expect is very professionally done and allows me to run Windows 7 and Mac programs, both on the same laptop.

Brian Lamb
07-03-2016, 8:23 PM
I run a 27" iMac with Parallels and windows 7 64 bit. I have been Apple for maybe 15 years now and really would prefer to stay that way. That said, the laser and the CNC mill have software that only runs on Windows, so I have a couple of pc's in the shop and one in the house that we do most of the Corel work on. Any photo editing or other work gets done on the mac.

I will say that the Mac tends to slow down running parallels after a while. Best to shut the virtual machine down on a regular basis and start it back up, I suspect this comes from Microsoft doing almost daily updates to windows and it tends to scramble the brains of the computer. So when the whole machine starts dragging ass, I just reboot the parallels portion and all tends to get faster.

David Somers
07-03-2016, 11:57 PM
Heh! I see the same thing on a native Windows 10 machine Brian. 7 was actually pretty well behaved that way. 8 was misery. 10 has at least been better behaved but is still misery. I miss my Mac mightily but it will be a while before I am back into one someday.

If the Windows 10 machine weren't my only machine right now I would cut it off from the internet since it just needs to run Corel and the laser and CNC software. But since it is my only machine I need it for the internet which means putting up with the constant updates and attendant lockups. I feel like I am building up a vast number of karma points through OS suffering. <grin>

Keith Outten
07-04-2016, 10:26 AM
The drive on my five year old iMac has never had to be formatted or software reinstalled. It just works!

Even though the cost of Apple hardware is much higher than a PC equivalent once I factor in the cost of my time to maintain a Windows operating system Apple soon becomes the less expensive alternative.

Can you imagine the email I receive from over 100,000 Members here every year plus an unbelievable number of emails I receive from visitors annually. Add to that my sign customers, architectural firms, graphics companies and our advertisers who send me file attachments in numbers that I can't possibly count. When I was using Windows I never had that operating system last more than twelve months before I had to format the drive and reinstall all of my software. Sometimes it was just a fraction of a year before I had to spend time rebuilding my machine.

People are very strange, Jackie and I receive email messages every week with tons of file attachments. Many are from people who want us to list their stuff to sell in our classifieds forum. They think that's what we do...some get mad at us because we don't sell woodworking machines, sandpaper and a long list of other products.

The back side of SawMill Creek gets insanely busy most days :)

Bill George
07-04-2016, 10:45 AM
A local artist said to me one time be careful of what you wish for, sometimes success is not all there is. His paintings are very nice and very much in demand.

On the Apple note, I paid more for my 4 year old MacBook Pro with 8 Gb of memory than you could have purchased a new Windows 10 laptop for at the local big box store. Its worth it not to put up with all the Microsoft updates and its just a better computer.

Brian Lamb
07-04-2016, 11:02 AM

I have stayed away from Windows 10 and will continue to try to do so, although at some point I'm sure Windows 7 will no longer be supported just like XP went away.


I agree, the Mac's just work, never a format, no messing about, any updates are maybe once a month or once a quarter and the computers never seem to lock up.... which used to be a daily occurrence for me on the PC's.

I just wish the software world would add more Mac compatible software so we didn't have to use work arounds to run certain things.

Keith Outten
07-04-2016, 11:39 PM
There seems to be thousands of programs for Apple computers these days, everything I need except software for laser engravers and CNC Routers. I hope one day this will change.

John Bion
07-07-2016, 11:27 AM

I have run Parallels on my iMac for several years now, using Win 7 64 bit Pro. I have one niggle and that is that since I upgraded to CD X8, CD never shuts down properly and wants to send error reports, secondly CD forgets my recent work history, thirdly, when re-starting CD, it always opens half a dozen or more files as auto-backups from ages ago (which I just click close each time). Each CD update I get, I think may resolve the issue but to na avail. I am not sure if this would happen on a windows based machine, I have not tried. I have had no other problems and the system runs seamlessly.

I have dedicated Windows computers for each machine (running Win 7 and XP), but far prefer my iMac, it just works and plods on without any issues. I do almost all the design work on the iMac and I transfer to the “donkeys”.

Keith Outten
07-07-2016, 2:37 PM

I now have Corel Draw X3 installed and Aspire which are the two main programs I need for the iMac to be used for my shop office design work. Both programs are working perfectly as far as I can tell. I intend to do the first round of design jobs late this afternoon using both programs for some plaques that I need to get done.

I had decided to upgrade to Corel Draw X8 but I think I will wait awhile...at least until I am sure that everything is reliable.

David Somers
07-07-2016, 2:40 PM

It may be that you have Parallels set so that although you have shut Windows down normally Parallels is not set to retain that windows state at the time it is powered off. So when you come back up you go back to the original virtual machine you had yesterday, and the day before, etc. On the one hand, this is nice because you have a clean disk image in that virtual machine and if things go all pear shaped on you you can bomb out of Windows and know it will revert to a clean setup on restarting the Virtual Machine. The bad part of course is changes you make in today's session get wiped and you go back to your starting point. A bit like watching the movie ground hog day. The best way to approach this is to make your virtual machine and get it the way you want it. Then shut it down and back that file up to a separate disk. Now you have the pristine VM tucked away if the pear shaped thing happens to you. At that point you could have Parallels retain the state of Windows at shutdown and you should find yourself moving forward in time like you expect.

I am afraid I dont have parallels to look up the keystrokes/menus for this. But I know parallels and VMWare Fusion both had the same function in this regard so I know the feature is there.


John Bion
07-07-2016, 3:42 PM
Hi Keith,

I do not really think there is any particularly great advantage to X8. I do not have Aspire but I do have V Carve Pro 8 and Photo V Carve, both of which work we’ll on this platform. It is only with X8 that I have experienced this problem.

Dave, thanks for your advice, I will go take a look at the settings again, however, until X8 I have had no problems, and I do not have problems with other Windows programs. I appreciate your advice though as I have often benefited form your input :)

David Somers
07-07-2016, 4:05 PM
Thanks for the clarification John! I missed the part where X7 was working but the same VM but after you installed X8 on that VM you started having problems. I am reading correctly right? X8 is on the same Virtual Machine as X7 was(is?).

If that is the case....is X7 still there and functional? If yes, can you run it, make changes and it still retains its settings after you shut down and come up again?
Am just trying to narrow this down to a VM issue, or a Corel issue.

Dave Stevens-Vegas
07-07-2016, 8:41 PM
There seems to be thousands of programs for Apple computers these days, everything I need except software for laser engravers and CNC Routers. I hope one day this will change.

That's changing. Laserweb3/CNCWeb is working on lasers and 2.5D CNC. It can run on a local machine, embedded controller on the device (RaspPi, BBB, etc) or on a host from over the network for those that wish to do so. It deploys pretty much anywhere you may want. In the desktop machine space we're seeing more modern technologies incorporated in machine control with tools and languages that make developing such apps quicker with fewer resources. It works well but you'll need a Smoothieware enabled control board and the install at this point isn't for an end user.

I will go take a look at the settings again, however, until X8 I have had no problems, and I do not have problems with other Windows programs.

X8 runs well on the latest El Capitan and Parallels with both Win 7 and Win 10 (both 64 bit) here. Settings in the VM remain and reappear the next time I restart the VM.