A fair warning to anyone considering Parallels

Discussion in 'Mac Apps and Mac App Store' started by valiar, Jul 11, 2012.

  1. valiar, Jul 11, 2012
    Last edited: Jul 12, 2012

    valiar macrumors regular

    Mar 14, 2006
    Washington, DC
    Parallels and VMWare Fusion have been two main applications for virtualizing Windows (and other OSes) on Mac OS X.

    Parallels was the pioneering product here. I was a loyal user since 3.0, which was 4 upgrade cycles ago. Parallels has always been great software that just worked.

    Starting from version 5 or 6, the software shows you ads as you start it up. Yes, you heard me right. A full, paid version displays a glaring, nasty "buy-me-now" ad on startup, complete with Facebook links to "share" it. Yeah, right.
    The ad windows have a "Disable" checkbox, which does nothing. It prevents that specific ad from appearing, but the next ad campaign is going to spam you in the face.

    Issuing a

    defaults write com.parallels.Parallels\ Desktop ProductPromo.ForcePromoOff -bool YES

    command in the terminal will get rid of the ads until the next application patch. Then you will have to go to the terminal again.

    The developers do not publicly supply the defaults key information. The anti-ad threads on their forum are some of the most active ones, and they get strategically deleted and pruned by the moderators. Showing these ads in a hamfisted manner is definitely a business decision that someone made.

    See this, for example http://forum.parallels.com/showthread.php?t=258991
    (if the link gets killed - it means the thread got silently deleted).

    I submitted a bug report regarding this, because this is a bug, and got no response.

    My own business decision is that Parallels 7 is the last update I purchased from that company. I am switching to VMWare Fusion, even if that means I have to readjust my workflow.
  2. CylonGlitch macrumors 68030


    Jul 7, 2009
    Ads in a full paid application, to me, is unacceptable. Thanks for the news, I did not know that they did this. I was considering buying Parallels but I'll stick with Fusion, it has always worked well for me anyway.
  3. Xian Zhu Xuande macrumors 6502a

    Xian Zhu Xuande

    Jul 30, 2008
    I've got an installation of Parallels Desktop 7 which I got with my new RMBP. When I first launched it it not only displayed one promotion/ad, but one or two more at other stages of the process I went through in using it. Each has an option to dismiss/don't ask again, and in each case I chose that option. Parallels no longer displays any kind of promotional content to me, so maybe that's all that is necessary.

    That said, I did find it to be in extremely poor taste. If someone's going to buy a program they should reasonably expect that they won't have advertisements tossed in front of them as part of the process.

    I wouldn't recommend that someone give up Parallels, though. I used Parallels exclusively in the earlier days and it worked reasonably well. At one point I got annoyed with their upgrade cycle and hopped over to VMWare Fusion on a sale, and stuck with them for a few versions. VMWare Fusion has always been infuriating to me regardless of how I configured it (at least on somewhat aged machines like the mid-2009 MacBook Pro I was using). After switching back to Parallels everything started running much more smoothly.
  4. pruppert macrumors 6502


    Jan 30, 2008
    This is a timely discussion for me. I am thinking of purchasing Parallels or VMWare in the future, but this kind of practice by the developers (if it is actually as described) is a serious knock against Parallels. I'll have to look more into it, but I would be very disinclined to buy any software that displayed ads to me, as you have described.
  5. Sedulous macrumors 68020


    Dec 10, 2002
    The only "advertisement" I ever noticed was a warning that my old version of Parallels would not run in OS 10.7 and suggested upgrading to Parallels 7. I think the OP is blowing this out of proportion.
  6. Nightarchaon macrumors 65816


    Sep 1, 2010
    You sure you haven't installed a pirated copy or perhaps have some kind of mac virus/adware ? I have had P7 installed since launch and P6 before it, keep it up-to-date and haven't seen a single ad.
  7. Daysight macrumors regular

    Dec 15, 2011
  8. valiar thread starter macrumors regular

    Mar 14, 2006
    Washington, DC
    Please read the linked forum thread, as well as the reviews for Parallels 7 on Amazon.com (or just google "parallels ads").
    Also, by your own admission, you are not running Parallels 7, which is what this thread is about. They started showing way more ads after the 6->7 update. If you wish, I can even post screenshots.

    If the application had a working preference to disable this behavior, this would have been simply bad taste. As it stands, there is no way to disable the ads, and the developer deletes any post on their forum that mentions the current workaround for the problem. THAT is what got me all worked-up.
  9. zorinlynx macrumors 603


    May 31, 2007
    Florida, USA
    I am a systems administrator by trade, and because of this will no longer install or recommend Parallels.

    They sure are doing a good job of shooting themselves in the foot! With a .50 BMG even.

    VMWare Fusion is, at the very least, just as good, and has never had ads that I can recall. Also, it has a better track record of continuing to work after OS X updates; Parallels tends to break, requiring you to PAY MONEY to upgrade the software, just to keep using it. Sleazy!
  10. CylonGlitch macrumors 68030


    Jul 7, 2009
    Honestly I was a big Parallels supporter from the day they started selling it (I purchased it that day). But when it got to Parallels 3.0 and an update to the OS killed it's functionality I started to get worried. Even worse when I contacted support for help, they couldn't figure out why it wasn't working, they kept telling me, "I should work . . . " but it wasn't. Then they release Parallels 4.0 and said that unless I upgraded to that version they wouldn't support me any more because they said 4.0 would fix the problem. So I downloaded the demo of 4.0 and it did NOT fix my problem. I've never gone back to them; I switched to VMWare Fusion.

    Fusion isn't as fast as Parallels but I don't use it for gaming, and it works very reliably without crashing as often as Parallels did (note, I haven't used Parallels since 4.0). I also love the fact that I can copy the images from Mac to Windows, to Linux and share with my co-workers; we use them all the time for development environments. We create a whole new image for every project so that we have the right tools installed, the right versions, and configured the same way. Works great.

    That being said, I've been considering buying Parallels for home, but it sounds like the company is still playing it's games. I can't support that.
  11. throAU macrumors 603


    Feb 13, 2012
    Perth, Western Australia
    Everyone always forgets Virtualbox.

    I run Fusion as I'm a long time VMware user (workstation on PC since 1998 or so? and vSphere on our cluster), but if you're looking for something pretty damn good and FREE (most of it is open source), virtualbox is available.

    The UI is slightly less slick, but thats it. Virtualbox is cross platform too.
  12. CylonGlitch macrumors 68030


    Jul 7, 2009
    I've been using VirtualBox at home to test it out. It works OK. But I've crashed it quite a few times, and it is MUCH slower than Fusion, about 50% the speed actually.
  13. noteple macrumors 65816


    Aug 30, 2011
    Everybody has their personal favorites.

    I started with Virtualbox because it was free.
    Got a discounted upgrade to VMware because it was faster.
    Competitive Upgrade to Parallels 7 to support Lion.
    Faster still no ads and no regrets.

    Whoever supports Mountain Lion the best gets our business next.
  14. throAU macrumors 603


    Feb 13, 2012
    Perth, Western Australia

    Can't say i've noticed any speed issues? Then again I don't try and run games in it...

    The main reason I don't do parallels is due to the crashing issues, disk corruption, etc I've heard about.

    Also, the reason Fusion is/was slower at graphics is because they emulate it "properly" rather than some short cut hack to make it run fast (at the cost of long term feature support, and potentially security and stability).

    Stability is important to me....
  15. GGJstudios macrumors Westmere


    May 16, 2008
    I have version 7 and I've never seen any ad of any kind. It sounds like something specific to your computer.
  16. jdelgado macrumors regular

    Oct 25, 2009
    Maybe you used a demo before installing/buying the full version?
  17. BornAgainMac macrumors 603


    Feb 4, 2004
    Florida Resident
    I rarely get Parallels 7 ads. And it is ads for related products and not something like a Ford ad or a new Android phone. It is too much work to just switch all my virtual images to VMware so I just deal with it.
  18. NMF macrumors 6502a


    Oct 27, 2011
    I've never had a any ads in Parallels 7 either. I'm not sure if this has anything to do with it, but I purchased the full version upfront and downloaded the install files as instructed in my confirmation email.
  19. jsm4182 macrumors 6502

    Apr 3, 2006
    Beacon, NY
    Thats the point I was going to make. They're not selling ad space in their app, they are promoting their own complimentary products.
  20. Slow Programmer macrumors regular

    Jun 25, 2011
    I use parallels 7 and have never seen an ad. I would be upset if I did though.
  21. whooleytoo macrumors 604


    Aug 2, 2002
    Cork, Ireland.
    Yeah, I've seen these ads occasionally, but I mostly use Parallels 5, so they don't appear too often. I thought there was a "Don't show again" button, but I can't bring the dialog up again to confirm that.

    Likewise, I don't like paying for something and still being pestered with adverts (TV is bad enough). Reminds me of when Apple used to put a "Get Quicktime Pro" icon on the desktop which (IIRC) used to pop up and run every time you started up your Mac. If you deleted the movie, the OS/Quicktime replaced it.

    It isn't nice that they're deleting those posts.
  22. firedept macrumors 603


    Jul 8, 2011
    Been using Parallels since version 3. Am currently running version 7. Have yet to ever see an ad, but as stated earlier, I would have to reconsider their product if I ever did.
  23. gorskiegangsta macrumors 65816


    Mar 13, 2011
    Brooklyn, NY
    Parallels desktop 7 user here. I only saw the "Ad" once, when I first ran it. There's an option to "don't show again", I recommend you select it.
  24. philxor macrumors regular

    Dec 21, 2010
    Yeah I've used Parallels since version 1 and yes there are ads even with a full paid license. You can disable them with the checkbox and they do not show up again.

    Below is an example of a Parallels 7 ad. It's not a computer-specific thing...

    Attached Files:

  25. ipsychedelic macrumors 6502a


    Mar 8, 2012
    I haven't seen ads but then It might be the Little Snitch on me, if you know what I'm saying.

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