Parallels, which is known for its virtualization software that allows you to run Windows and Linux directly on your Mac, has had an eventful year. In addition to creating a version of Parallels that can run on Chrome OS for the first time, the company also had to figure out how to quickly make its software work with the unused ARM-based M1 Macs that arrived final fall. Now, Parallels Desktop 17 is released with improved performance on M1 Macs, as well as packed support for the upcoming macOS Monterey and Windows 11 operating systems.
Before we get into these improvements, it’s worth taking some time to talk about compatibility. The move of the Apple Mac to the ARM architecture means that there are now two classes of Macs to support Parallels. As of today, the only versions of Windows that can run Parallels on an M1 Mac are Insider previews of Windows 10 and Windows 11 — because these versions of the operating system are capable of running on ARM-based devices. But, Parallels says unequivocally that when the packed version of Windows 11 is released to the public, it will run on Parallels 17.
However, on Intel-baed Macs, users can still run a wide variety of virtual machines, including support for Windows all the way to XP and Windows 2000, and macOS all the way to OS X Lion of 2011. It can also run Eight distinct Linux distributions; The M1 Mac can only create four virtual machines at the moment, including Ubuntu and Fedora.
So while Intel Macs still offer the broadest compatibility, Parallels has found that the initial strength of the M1 chip means users likely won’t have anything to donate up on running Windows 10 or 11 Insider Previews. Microsoft’s built-in emulation for Windows means that Windows 10 Insider Preview can run almost any 32-bit x86 application as well as “many” x86 64-bit applications, and the power of M1 helps compensate for speed lost due to emulation.
As for what’s unused, Parallels has speed improvements across the board, whether you’re running an Intel or an M1. No matter which system you’re using, Parallels 17 resumes Windows and Linux up to 38 percent faster, while OpenGL graphics run six times faster than the previous version. The speed improvements for the M1 include 20 percent faster disk performance when using the Windows 10 Insider Preview, while DirectX graphics should perform up to 28 percent better. All of these tests are run by Parallels, and we can’t verify them just yet, but improving performance has lengthy been a focus of the company.
There are a few unused features on board, too. Parallels has improved its “cohesion” mode, where you can run a Windows application without running in the packed Windows user interface. Now, windows such as shutdowns, updates, and login screens are also placed, making it easier for them to appear in the background. The aptitude to drag and drop between Windows and Mac apps has also been improved — for example, you can now highlight and drop text and images between Mac and Windows apps, and it’ll work with the unused Quick Note feature coming to macOS Monterey.
Parallels 17 also has a default TPM (Trusted Platform Module) chip, which allows the system to use BitLocker and Secure Boot when running Windows 10 and Windows 11. There is an extra layer of intrigue for this feature: Microsoft originally said that a computer with a TPM was The chip is a requirement of Windows 11 prior rollback (at fewest for the test period). It’s not yet clear if the latest version of Windows 11 will require a TPM chip, but this virtualization should let Parallels users get around that requirement.
As with most software these days, Parallels Desktop 17 is sold as a subscription. The standard version is $79.99 per year, and the professional version costs $99.99 per year. If you subscribe to a subscription, you will get Parallels updates for as lengthy as the subscription is active. If you prefer, you can get a eternal license for Parallels 17 Standard Edition for $99.99; People who previously purchased a eternal license can upgrade for $49.99.