Shaun Prescott’ writes on the things that matter in tech
“Parallels Desktop tackles the VM storage dilemma with automatic disk monitoring. ”
The ability to run Windows, Linux, and other operating systems from a Mac with virtualisation software is pretty cool. And it’s an essential productivity boost if you juggle multiple platforms for college or work. But virtual machines (VMs) are known to eat up precious resources like storage; a basic Windows installation requires at least 15GB of space, with our own Windows 10 virtual machine weighing in at upwards of 50GB.
Parallels Desktop 14 for Mac tackles this storage dilemma in several ways, saving as much as 20GB by providing automatic disk monitoring with ongoing advice to keep things running smoothly.
Don’t expect massive decreases from a single virtual machine, though – instead, savings add up by chipping away at the size of each installed virtual machine. With a total of nine VMs on our review iMac, we didn’t come close to saving 20GB, but reclaimed at least a few gigabytes.
While previous versions were capable of manually reclaiming disk space, the option was buried in the settings for each individual virtual machine. This process is now streamlined by Free Up Disk Space in the File menu, which displays all available virtual machines in one place and allows you to quickly manage snapshots (now 15% smaller), resume and shut down, reclaim disk space, or archive those that are used infrequently for greater storage reduction.
SLIMMER AND FASTER
The application itself is also slimmer by about 150MB (mostly thanks to the comprehensive support documentation moving online), and noticeably faster at starting up – Parallels claims as much as 80%, and we can confirm this is a very real improvement you’ll benefit from every time you use it.
Booting Windows and launching apps installed in those virtual machines is also faster by up to 35%, and there’s a slick option to automatically optimise video memory usage. A resource monitor panel can be summoned from the Window menu to keep tabs on virtual machine processor and memory usage in real time.
Finally, now that macOS Mojave is available, Parallels offers full support for Apple’s latest, including Dark Mode and running the system inside a virtual machine.
You could potentially save up to 20GB by using the new Free Up Disk Space option in the File menu.