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Most people who use Mac computers are happy with MacOS as a platform and have no need for Windows. If that describes you -- great! However, some of us Mac users benefit from being able to run the Windows operating system and apps alongside our native Mac apps.
And while there are a lot of ways to run Windows on a Mac -- some free, some not -- there's no doubt that the best way to do this is to use Parallels Desktop for Mac.
The first feature is a really welcome one -- support for Touch ID, which means you can log into Windows using your finger. Existing users will need to either create a new account for this to work or convert their existing account to an MSA account.
Another big improvement is printer support.
Where I live -- in the 21st century -- I don't have much of a need for printers. But if you do use a printer, you'll love this change. Previously, if you had a printer configured on your Mac, you'd get basic access to the printer's features through the Parallels Desktop driver. With this new release leveraging Apple's new Internet Printing Protocol (IPP), you get access to all the features of the printer.
There's also a new, modernized look and feel, including a new icon and a streamlined user interface. Initially, I worried that this was a change for change's sake, nothing more than a productivity speedbump. But it isn't. The UI change makes the software better.
Parallels Desktop 19 for Mac has been optimized for MacOS Sonoma, so you're ready for the upcoming update. However, be aware that this update drops support for MacOS Monterey 12.6 and earlier. But, if you try to install Parallels Desktop 19 for Mac on a version of MacOS that isn't supported, you'll get the option to install an older version of Parallels Desktop.
For pros, this release introduces a new option for Linux virtual machines on Apple silicon to use Rosetta for running x86-64 binaries, supports Docker for running x86-64 containers in Arm-based Linux VM, and offers compatibility with the Packer tool for automating CI/CD workflows.
It also includes support for CentOS 9 Stream, and features new Linux distributions, such as Ubuntu 22.04.2, Fedora 38, and Debian 12.
Need to run MacOS virtual machines on Apple silicon? No problem! This release adds support for suspend and resume, dynamic resolution adjustment, syncing keyboard layout with Mac hardware, and multitouch gestures with Trackpad.
Another feature -- aimed at pros who code -- is a Visual Studio Code extension to manage virtual machines, creating, grouping, and operating their snapshots and containers, right from Parallels Desktop 19 for Mac.
"For over 17 years," said Aleksandr Sursiakov, senior director of product management for Parallels Desktop at Alludo, "Parallels Desktop for Mac has been an essential tool for millions of users worldwide, enabling them to run Windows applications and carry out testing and development with Windows, Linux, and macOS virtual machines."
"With the latest release," continued Sursiakov, "our engineering team has once again delivered impressive improvements for all user groups, based on their valuable feedback. Our aim is to ensure that users experience peace of mind when using our software, knowing that it incorporates the latest technologies and reflects the highest industry standards."
I've been using Parallels Desktop for Mac ever since I made the leap to MacBooks, and it's never disappointed nor let me down. Parallels Desktop 19 for Mac is no different.
While there's no shortage of ways to run Windows (and other operating systems) on a Mac, none in my experience comes close to the Parallels Desktop for Mac experience. It's everything I want it to be -- fast and buttery smooth, simple to use but with plenty of pro tools under the hood if I need them, and with rock-solid stability.