Best desktop virtualization software

VMware Workstation wins on the Windows side; Parallels is the king of Mac hypervisors


VMware, Microsoft, Parallels and Oracle/Sun offer products that allow end users to run multiple operating systems on a single client machine.

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Parallels for the Mac

Parallels 4.0 wins on performance and offers topnotch guest/host integration.

Parallels for Windows

This product is a shadow of Parallels for the Mac, although the company did release an upgraded version after our testing was completed.

VMware Fusion for Mac

VMware's Fusion for Mac has excellent performance, well integrated with host operating system, full-screen multiple-monitor capabilities.

VMware Workstation for Windows

VMware Workstation for Windows' has great performance, strong integration, most sophisticated features.

Virtual Box for Mac

Virtual Box for Mac's showed reasonable performance, but integration with host OS and hardware could be better.

Virtual Box for Windows

Virtual Box for Windows ' performance is fine, but this product isn't as polished as its competitors.

VirtualPC 7.0

VirtualPC 7.0 is destined to be the hypervisor that allows Window 7 users to also run Windows XP; Microsoft makes little effort to integrate with Mac or Linux-based operating systems.

Meet the tester

Tom Henderson and Brendan Allen are researchers for ExtremeLabs. They can be reached at

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Copyright © 2009 IDG Communications, Inc.