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Parallels Desktop – Run Visual Studio On Your Mac

Parallels Desktop

Parallels Desktop 10 – Do you love your Windows Applications and wish you could run them on your Mac? Well as some of you might or might not know, Parallels Desktop is the perfect solution for you. I write software for a living, so I am what I guess you would call a power user? Nevertheless, I wanted to see how well Parallels Desktop would perform. How would it perform if I wanted to write software using Visual Studio 2013 on my Mac.

Parallels Desktop To The Rescue

Parallels Desktop creates a virtualized environment from where you can run Windows applications right on your Mac. This in itself is truly astonishing, but Parallels Desktop goes one step further. It also allows you to use a feature called Coherence. This creates a seamless experience between your Windows applications and your Mac operating system. You have to experience it to understand how incredible it is for user functionality and usability.

I created the following video on YouTube to illustrate this concept. I decided that I would use Visual Studio 2013 to write a simple web page and publish that directly from my Mac. The ease of use was incredible, and the speed of Parallels Desktop actually made me forget that Visual Studio was running in a virtualized environment. Start with a valid copy of Windows (Parallels Desktop even allows you to download and install Windows 10 as well as other OS’s), a copy of Visual Studio and a few hours set aside to play.

Installing Parallels Desktop and Setting Up Visual Studio

I am surprised at how easy the installation is on my Mac. It made me feel like I was running the installer from a regular msi. The process was extremely easy and user friendly. After the installation had completed, it started the wizard that would guide me through creating a new Virtual Machine. This process was just as easy. It even allowed me to copy the files and settings from my current Windows PC as an option to create a VM.

I used an ISO image for Windows 8.1 and after the installation completed, I had a blank slate on which I could install Visual Studio. For those that want to download Visual Studio 2013, check out the Visual Studio Community Edition. It’s free. One thing I did have to do though before running Visual Studio was to allow it to always run as Administrator. I show you how in the video above.

Final Thoughts

To be honest, I expected Parallels Desktop to work pretty much as most other VM solutions out there do. What I didn’t expect was how the experience would affect me. It felt seamless and natural. It felt like I was using a Windows Applications on Windows, not my Mac. I am blown away by the speed of Parallels Desktop and how my Windows experience flowed in sync with my Mac OS X experience. I will be the first to admit that while I really love my Mac, I can’t live without my PC.

If you want to give Parallels Desktop a try, head on over to their site and sign up for a free 14 day trial. I guarantee that you’ll be impressed at the power of Parallels Desktop. As usual, feel free to leave comments of your experience with Parallels Desktop below or on the YouTube channel.

Dirk Strauss
Dirk is a Software Developer and Microsoft MVP from South Africa. He loves all things Technology and is slightly addicted to Twitter and Jimi Hendrix. Apart from writing code, he also enjoys writing human readable articles. "I love sharing knowledge and connecting with people from around the world. It's the diversity that makes life so beautiful." Dirk feels very strongly that pizza is simply not complete without Tabasco, that you can never have too much garlic, and that cooking the perfect steak is an art he has yet to master.

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  • tekism

    Dirk,

    Great article. I have one small issue I was wondering if you may have solved. I actually have a support ticket open with Parallels. When I run Visual Studio in elevated administrative mode (which is needed for a lot of things) I no longer have access to the shared folders or network drives for that matter. I was wondering if you came across this problem?

    • Hi. No I have not as yet had such an issue. This is however something I will check out. Please provide some feedback here when Parallels support provide an explanation/solution. It would really add value. If I find anything out in the meantime, I’ll post it here too. Thanks very much for the feedback!

      • tekism

        @dirk_strauss:disqus

        Will do!

    • Same problem here… restarted VS without Admin privileges and now I’m able to read and debug files in Shared folders. 🙂 This should be addressed by Parallels Desktop team.

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