Archive for VMWare Fusion

#Fail: VMware Fusion For M1 Macs Beta Announced With No Windows Support

Posted in Commentary with tags on September 10, 2021 by itnerd

I’m a big fan of VMware Fusion as that’s my go to for running virtual machines on my Mac. As you can see, my review of it was very positive. But as I prepare to migrate from my Intel based MacBook Pro to a presumably M1X based MacBook Pro when those appear later this year, it appears that I will likely not be running VMware Fusion. VMware announced yesterday that VMWare Fusion will be coming to M1 Macs with the first beta release compatible with Apple Silicon. But it’s a closed beta that you need to apply for via an online form. A public beta release will be available in about two weeks, which could mean that the official release might come by the end of this year. This news was announced by Michael Roy who manages the VMware Fusion and Workstation product lines via Twitter:

But there is one significant catch. VMware Fusion will not provide support for running Windows virtual machines on Apple Silicon Macs. This is because Microsoft does not sell official licenses to allow you to run Windows 10 ARM on Mac. And to make matters worse, VMware isn’t making drivers and VMware tools software available to allow users to “roll their own” Windows VMs. This was confirmed via another Tweet:

Here’s the problem with this. Parallels has M1 support and allows you to run Windows, and Parallels uses the beta ARM version of Windows to do this. While going this route may bring some legal issues, it is supported. And clearly Parallels isn’t afraid of Microsoft smacking them silly the way that VMware appears to be:

If VMware decides not to bring support for Windows to Fusion and work out something with Microsoft, you can expect a massive defection to Parallels who either have worked out a deal with Microsoft, or simply don’t care. And I will be among them as I need the ability to run Windows 10 and occasionally Windows 7 virtual machines to troubleshoot customer issues and test things like malware in ways that are risk free.

Now maybe VMware has some grand plan to bring Windows support to a future beta. They haven’t said that. But I hope so. Because even though VMware is the gold standard for virtual machines, they don’t currently have a solution for myself and others. And it will end up costing VMware.

Your move VMware.

Migrating From Parallels Desktop 13 To VMware Fusion 10 Was Mostly Painless

Posted in Commentary with tags on February 23, 2018 by itnerd

Last night I got around to migrating my virtual machines from Parallels Desktop 13 to VMware Fusion 10. It was something that I was dreading because of the time involved to do this. Plus I was expecting to have some problems along the way. But I knew that I had to get it done as I use these virtual machines frequently in my job. Now before I get to the part where I tell you how I did it, let me tell you why I made the move to VMware Fusion 10. There’s three reasons:

  1. VMware Fusion 10 provides mitigations from the Spectre CPU vulnerability. That’s important to me as I take security seriously. Parallels Desktop 13 doesn’t appear to provide that mitigation which was a concern to me and was the main driver for me to make the switch.
  2. The secondary reason for me to make the switch was the fact that Parallels Desktop 13 displays ads when you start the program. That’s a total #EpicFail in my mind because if you pay for a product, you should not ever expect to see ads. EVER.
  3. I did note that in the process of reviewing VMware Fusion 10, it came out as simply the better product as it supports features such as NVMe devices, UEFI Secure Boot, UEFI boot, and TPM chips which means that I can accurately replicate customer environments so that I can understand why they are having an issue, and come up with a fix for it.

So with that out of the way. Migrating from Parallels Desktop 13 to VMware Fusion 10 was mostly easy. The process to migrate is detailed in this VMware document. It’s pretty straightforward for the most part. The only problems that I came across were:

  • My Windows 10 and 7 virtual machines had no sound after they came up in VMware Fusion 10. To try and fix that, I tried this VMware knowledgebase document with no success. But thanks to my friend Google I found this discussion page from VMware which worked. Oddly, even though what each documents wanted me to do was largely the same, a couple of things that the VMware discussion page contradicted what the VMware knowledgebase document said. But still worked. VMware needs fix that to make life easier for their customers.
  • My Windows 7 VM would not scale the video to match my MacBook Pro’s retina display until I reinstalled VMware Tools. Then it worked fine. I am guessing that something went sideways during the transition which required me to reinstall VMware Tools.
  • My Windows XP virtual machine blue screened when it came up after I pulled it into VMware Fusion. Nothing that I did would fix that. Thus I decided to do without it as I haven’t used it in ages.

After that was all done, I deleted Parallels Desktop to reclaim some disk space and the migration was complete. Thus far, I am happy with the results. I should have made this switch long ago as VMware Fusion 10 will make a significant difference for me when it comes to my usage of virtual machines.



It Seems VMWare Can’t Do Any Better The Parallels…. Why Is It So Hard To Order By PayPal? [UPDATED x4]

Posted in Commentary with tags , , on September 18, 2010 by itnerd

You’ll recall that I tried to order the latest version of Parallels Desktop using PayPal and couldn’t. Then they canceled my order because I didn’t pay them. Not that they gave me the opportunity to. So last night I tried to order VMWare Fusion via PayPal. Guess what? Just like with Parallels they promised that I would get an e-mail confirming my order. But I didn’t.

I really don’t get why it is so hard to order something via PayPal with either VMWare or Parallels. In either case I go through the process to order and in both cases I get a message saying that I will get an e-mail confirming my order. The e-mail in either case never arrives. Given that I can order something from vendors like ThinkGeek and Skype, and the fact that I control the e-mail server that these e-mails would be going to (and there are zero issues there), that says to me that these VMWare and Parallels have issues with taking PayPal as payment. That’s very disappointing as PayPal is quite simply a safer way to pay for purchases on line. Given that the process to order from either company looks almost exactly the same, I suspect that they have the same company handling their respective online presences. I know for a fact that in the case of Parallels that’s Digital River. VMWare doesn’t make it clear who handles their online store, but I suspect they use them as well.

So here’s my challenge to both VMWare and Parallels. If you want my business, you need to explain to to me why something as simple as ordering using PayPal as my method of payment seems to be such a challenge. You also need to fix your processes so that customers can choose to pay you guys using whatever method of payment they choose. And finally, I’d actually like to be able to order and receive my product in a timely manner. The first one to the table, gets my business and a lot of praise in this blog for stepping up to the plate. By the way, in case you’re wondering why I’m making such a big deal about this, it’s simple. If you offer a payment method, it has to work or don’t bother offering it as an option.

The clock starts now.

UPDATE: A comment was left that seems to indicate that this is a PayPal problem. Assuming that is true, it would be helpful if either of these companies mans up to it rather than stay silent.

UPDATE #2: VMWare seems to want my business. They’ve jumped in and are trying to sort out why I can’t order via PayPal. Another note, they also confirmed that they too use Digital River for their online store. Bravo to VMWare for stepping up to the plate. Now we’ll see if it actually gets resolved.

UPDATE #3: VMWare e-mailed me at 7:30 AM this morning to try and sort this out. Parallels e-mailed at 3:36 PM and offered me a free copy. Draw your own conclusions. Keep in mind I’m not looking for a freebie. I simply wanted to be able to order Parallels Desktop 6 using the payment method of my choice. So Parallels I’ll take your copy and say thank you, and I will note that in your e-mail to me that you’re going to fix things so that this doesn’t happen again. Great. I’ll be watching.

UPDATE #4: VMWare surprisingly really managed to bungle this. This is what they VMWare forwarded to me from Digital River:

At this time if the payment has not been completed, we would suggest to
have this order cancelled and a new one set up for the order.

Thank you for contacting Digital River.

So they then canceled my order. I then tried to order it again using PayPal as they suggested, and guess what? It didn’t work AGAIN. At this point, VMWare is out of chances. Parallels despite all the negative press associated with their support came through. VMWare didn’t come through. Take a guess who I am going to be singing the praises of?

Oh, for those who want to know what I think of Parallels Desktop 6, watch for a review in the next few days.

Parallels Cancels My Order…. Let’s See If VMWare Can Do Any Better

Posted in Commentary with tags , on September 17, 2010 by itnerd

You know, Parallels Desktop has been a really good virtualization application, and I’ve had positive things to say about it in this blog. But ordering the latest version was a pain as I’ve documented previously. Basically I want to give them my money via PayPal, but they won’t take it via PayPal. The last straw with Parallels has been the fact that I got an e-mail tonight that said the following:

Thank you for your order from Parallels, Inc. (para) on September 14, 2010. We have not yet received payment during the past 3 days and your order has been canceled.

If you have already sent payment, please disregard this notice as your order will be processed when your payment is received.  If you have not yet sent payment, your order will not be processed. If you still want to complete your purchase you must place a new order.

If you have questions about your order, please visit:

Excuse me. I’d love to pay you guys via PayPal, but that seems to be a non-starter with you guys. Sure I could pay by credit card, but I want to pay via PayPal as that is an option that is offered. Too bad it doesn’t work. So I decided to take VMWare up on their $9.95 cross-grade offer to VMWare Fusion. I should point out something else. This offer is open to more than just those with Parallels 5 or 6. According to the promotion conditions, anyone who owns one of the following licences can avail themselves of the special pricing:

  • VMware Fusion 1
  • VMware Fusion 2
  • Parallels Desktop 1 for Mac
  • Parallels Desktop 2 for Mac
  • Parallels Desktop 3 for Mac
  • Parallels Desktop 4 for Mac
  • Parallels Desktop Switch to Mac Edition

Basically if you’re running any version of Parallels or an earlier version of VMWare Fusion, you can get the latest and greatest from VMWare Fusion for $9.95. So I decided to take the plunge and ordered it via PayPal. As I type this I’m promised an e-mail “shortly” to confirm my order. If I do, that alone will make them better than Parallels.

I’ll keep you posted.

VMWare Releases Fusion 3.1…. Parallels May Want To Watch Out [UPDATED]

Posted in Commentary with tags on May 28, 2010 by itnerd

If you’re a Mac user and you use VMWare Fusion, you might want to go to the “Check For Updates” menu. VMWare has kicked out version 3.1 to the world and the update is a major one according to the company:

With more than 20 new features, key highlights of VMware Fusion 3.1 include:

Faster: With faster application launching, more seamless scrolling, quicker resume from suspend, and better overall disk performance, VMware Fusion 3.1 delivers 35% better end-to-end performance compared to its predecessor, VMware Fusion 3.0.

Better 3D Graphics Performance: Greatly improved Windows Aero performance and OpenGL 2.1 support for Windows Vista and Windows 7 delivers up to 5X better 3D graphics performance. VMware Fusion 3.1 is also supported and recommended by Autodesk for AutoCAD 2011.

Switch to Mac with Ease: The fastest and least expensive way to bring a customer’s entire PC to a Mac, VMware Fusion 3.1 includes all of the software tools needed to migrate over a standard Ethernet cable, FireWire cable or even wireless network — saving customers from purchasing special cables that will only be used once.

USB EasyConnect: Makes it easier than ever to assign a USB device to a virtual machine or a Mac and remembers preferred choice.

Unity: Exclusive support for Mac OS X Snow Leopard’s Dock Expose makes it even more seamless to use Windows apps like Mac apps.

Support for Larger Virtual Machines: With added support for 8-way SMP and an increased virtual hard disk size from 950 GB to 2TB, advanced users get more power and punch out of the Mac Pro and Xserve from Apple.

This sounds like VMWare is going to make a serious attempt to go after Parallels Desktop who has been the king of the virtual machine market on the Mac since they came out with version 5. I’ll see if I can get some time to test this latest version this weekend and see how it stacks up to Parallels Desktop. But if you’ve tested it, drop me a comment and let me know what you think of it.

UPDATE: I finally tried Fusion 3.1. A bunch of things jump out at me. First, it’s FAST. My Windows experience score in my Vista virtual machine went up to 4.5 from 4.2 and my seat of the pants test drive of it suggests to me that it was faster than Parallels Desktop 5. Plus for the first time my MobiKEY works with VMWare Fusion. Clearly they’ve made an effort to make their USB support a lot better.

Parallels, you were ahead but now your chief rival has caught up. What are you going to do to get back out in front?

VMWare Fusion Thrashed By Parallels Desktop In Terms Of Graphics Performance…. But Does It Matter?

Posted in Commentary with tags , on March 15, 2010 by itnerd

Frequent readers will recall that I did a head to head comparison of VMWare Fusion 3 and Parallels Desktop 5 a while ago and I didn’t really name a winner as it depended on your needs and I didn’t have an objective way of measuring the two products. Good thing that MacTech did that for me when it comes to the graphics performance of the two products, and they’ve posted a video with their results:

The above video has 2 MacBook Pros running Windows XP in virtual machines on Mac OS 10.6.2 via VMWare Fusion 3 and Parallels Desktop 5. The winner? Parallels Desktop 5. But before you run out and get Parallels Desktop 5 to play Crysis, you should note this. I still wouldn’t use a virtual machine to play video games as you’re going to get better performance from using Boot Camp which runs XP, Vista, or Windows 7 without the overhead of a virtual machine. But if you need to run some sort of a PC based application on your Mac that requires 3D support, it might be worth giving Parallels Desktop 5 a try. Oh yeah, I should note that they recently kicked out a update that increases the speed of virtual machines as well as adding Google Chrome support, not to mention a ton of other improvements.

Parallels Desktop And VMware Fusion Unleash Updates…. Users Win

Posted in Commentary with tags , on December 21, 2009 by itnerd

The Macintosh virtual machine market is heating up as the two leading contenders, Parallels Desktop and VMware Fusion release updates of their products. First VMware Fusion has added a number of improvements in version 3.0.1. You can see the entire list here. All of them are meant to increase speed. A Vista VM that I tested went from 2.9 to 4.4 simply by doing that update. A significant increase. Parallels Desktop 5 hasn’t rested on their laurels having kicked up an update to their product. You can see the list of changes here. I use the latter product and my Windows experience score in my Vista VM has gone up from 2.9 to 4.2. That’s not a minor performance difference either. But oddly, my Windows 7 score dropped from 4.2 to 3.9 because my gaming performance dropped to 3.9 (Your Windows Vista or Windows 7 score is based on your lowest score). What’s up with that?

In any case, the battle continues. The winners will users of these products. That’s a good thing.

Parallels Desktop 5 Vs. VMware Fusion 3: Fight!

Posted in Commentary with tags , on November 6, 2009 by itnerd

The two titans in the Macintosh virtual machine software market have both kicked up significant updates in the last little while. Parallels Desktop 5 and VMware Fusion 3 both want your hard earned dollars, but is one better than the other? I had a look at both and here’s what I think about them:

Installing Windows: It’s a wizard driven install that makes the process dead easy. This is a tie from where I sit.

Overall Speed: Both products claim that they’re faster than ever, but for me Parallels Desktop “feels” somewhat faster than VMware Fusion in my “seat of the pants testing.” For what it’s worth, both products were on the same computer and the virtual computers had the same configuration. I’m not going to assign a winner to this category as clearly, your mileage may vary when it comes to subjective items such as speed.

Graphics: Both products have significant upgrades to their graphics abilities as they now support DirectX 9 and Open GL. That means that you can do Aero and Flip 3D in Windows Vista and Windows 7, not to mention run your favorite game as well (although IMHO, that’s better done in Boot Camp). I tried a few video games in both products and had no problems running them well in either product. This category is a tie.

USB Support: My usual test of the USB support is to plug my MobiKEY into each product and see how it handles it as the MobiKEY is a rather complex device that sometimes makes USB problems in a computer show up. Parallels Desktop 5 had no issue with the MobiKEY. I plugged it in and it worked. VMware Fusion didn’t see it at first. So I did some Googling and found this VMware Communities discussion thread that explains how to enable support for the MobiKEY. Even though it was referencing an older version of VMware Fusion, it worked. But the solution was not end user friendly at all. Advantage: Parallels Desktop

Eye Candy: If you’re an eye candy sort of person, Parallels has way more eye candy than VMware Fusion. You can make Windows apps look very Mac like and there’s a feature called Crystal View which hides all your icons in the Dock and the OS X Parallels menu bar, moving access to menu items and a newly created folder icon in the Dock which has all your windows shortcuts. I personally hate eye candy so I tend to turn this stuff off. Besides, it likely frees up memory if you do that as well. VMware has made some significant changes to their user interface that are subtle but useful. For example, one interesting new feature is the Applications Menu which lives on the OS X menu bar. You can do everything you’d do within the Windows Start menu so I can see it being handy for some users. Bottom line, I find the eye candy that VMware has more useful than the stuff that Parallels Desktop has. Advantage: VMware Fusion

Technical Support: The last time I wrote about support for both VMware Fusion and Parallels Desktop, I basically said that technical  support for both sucked. Now with their new versions, here’s what they offer. First here’s what VMware offers for  VMware Fusion:

For Fusion 3.x, installation assistance is offered for 18 months after product registration or until product end of life. Submit support requests either online or via phone; responses are targeted within one business day.

Now here’s what Parallels Desktop offers :

Customers upgrading to Parallels Desktop 5 to Mac or purchasing a new version of Parallels Desktop 5 for Mac are eligible for the following complimentary support options:

  • 18 months free installation support by Email, starting with November 4th 2009
  • 30 day complimentary Chat and Telephone support

Clearly they’re finally starting to get the message that software sold to end users requires support that easy to access. Bravo! I’m declaring this a tie.

So who comes out on top? In my mind there isn’t a clear winner as it depends on what you need virtual machine software for. If you need USB support, go with Parallels. Hands down it has better USB support. If you simply need to run Windows or some other OS on your Mac, you can’t go wrong with either product. One thing that helps is that trials for both products are available, so you can try each out and see which one suits your needs better.

MacTech Benchmarks Parallels Desktop And VMWare Fusion…. The Results Might Surprise You [UPDATED]

Posted in Commentary with tags , , on March 4, 2009 by itnerd

I’ve been looking for something like this for some time to settle the the “Who is faster? Parallels Desktop or VMWare Fusion” argument (or to stir it up some more). MacTech decided to do some benchmarking on these visualization products for the Mac, and their very extensive document on the subject is truly worth reading if you run one of these applications (or you’ve been on the fence deciding which one to run). What’s the bottom line?

In the majority of overall averages of our tests, Parallels Desktop is the clear winner running 14-20% faster than VMware Fusion. The one exception is for those that need to run Windows XP, 32-bit on 2 virtual processors, VMware Fusion runs about 10% faster than Parallels Desktop.

That kind of surprises me. I’ve felt that with the latest version, Parallels Desktop has closed the gap in terms of speed, but VMWare Fusion has always “felt” faster to me. But feelings and hard numbers are two different things. While I have little reason to doubt their results (as the methodology appears to be sound), I’d love to see someone else validate these numbers.

Any takers?

UPDATE: Just to add to the fun,  Ben Gertzfield of VMWare has posted something on the ARS Technica discussion boards that says that Fusion will run faster on the Mac Pro computers that were released on Tuesday:

I’m particularly excited about the new Mac Pro’s support for Extended Page Tables in its Nehalem processor.

This is a huge benefit to virtualization software: without EPT, a big chunk of the heavy lifting that a virtual machine has to do is emulating the “map virtual memory address X to physical memory address Y” work that a traditional MMU does.

With EPT, the hardware adds a second level of mapping, so now in hardware, the hard work of doing “map virtual memory address X to a virtual machine’s physical address Y, which is backed by physical memory address Z” no longer needs to be emulated in software.

Not to toot my own horn (okay, I’m tooting my own horn), but VMware Fusion 2.0.2 comes with support for EPT baked right in. Assuming all goes well with the final Mac Pro hardware (we haven’t gotten our hands on it yet), you should see a pretty significant performance boost on the new Nehalem CPUs when running Fusion virtual machines.

So does Parallels Desktop have a similar feature? I can’t give you a straight answer on that. I tried looking around for any indication either way and couldn’t find it. Perhaps someone out there can point me towards the right resources to answer this question (or perhaps someone from Parallels can chime in with an answer).

VMWare Fusion Updated…. Now Includes “Protection” For Free

Posted in Commentary with tags on February 12, 2009 by itnerd

VMware has released Fusion v2.0.2 to Mac users who need to run a craptastic operating system Windows on their Macs. You can check the release notes for changes and new features. There’s also a list of Resolved Issues and remaining known issues. The big news with this release is that Fusion now includes a 12-month complimentary subscription to McAfee VirusScan Plus 2009 antivirus software. I guess that’s a response to Parallels Desktop including Kaspersky anti-virus and firewall protection (not to mention Acronis True Image Home for backing up the VM) with their latest version (not that I use it as AVG is much less resource intensive IMHO).

If you’ve tried this version of Fusion, please leave a comment and share your experience.