Thursday, May 29, 2008

How to uninstall Parallels Desktop for OS X

Uninstall is not an OS X strength.

It's not quite as bad as OS/2, where nothing could be uninstalled, but it's not good. (Note to self: this was a bad sign about how finished OS/2 was. Don't forget this.) Perfectly behaved apps can be simply deleted, but those are less common that one would imagine. Even Apple apps aren't all that well behaved.

Applications like Parallels Desktop and VMWare Fusion are particularly worrisome. You know these things are messing with the deep OS.

The good news is that there is an uninstaller -- it's in the DMG file. The bad news is that it's surprisingly hard to find out about this. Google failed completely, and it took several searches through the Parallels kb to find this article (VMWare Fusion was marginally better at providing the same info):
KB #5027 - What is the recommended policy of updating to Mac OS X Leopard with Parallels Desktop installed?

... Please uninstall Parallels Desktop from Mac OS Tiger using the program's Uninstaller script located in the distribution package (.dmg or CD) before running Leopard update. Keep in mind that you should use Uninstaller of the same program version you have installed or newer, using Uninstaller from the outdated package may cause unexpected issues with removing the program. The uninstall procedure doesn't affect your existing Virtual Machines.
BTW, this is the first place I read that you should uninstall Parallels before upgrading to 10.5. I'm battered enough to routinely clean out complex things before an OS update, but I suspect that most Parallels users, geeky as they are, missed this.

Yes, I am now moving to 10.5. It's not just that 10.5.3 finally came out, it's also that I really want the parental time-limited access controls.

With 10.5.3 I'm switching to VMWare Fusion -- mostly because the people I read like it better. I've already noticed, however, that Fusion is much pickier about Windows OSs than Parallels. It won't work with older versions of Windows 2000, for example. A point for Parallels I've not seen mentioned elsewhere, but since I've already bought Fusion I'm going to give it a try.


FlashIntoFlex said...

I am new to Mac OSX and installed Parallels and was completely disappointed - crashes galore, won't show newly created folders, froze Mac OS, etc.

I've used VMWare and prefer it over Parallels. But I heard some buzz about Sun's VirtualBox and decided to give it a try.

WOW!! I have to say there's finally a VM that is easy to use, well documented install/usage guide, and portable images across Windows, Mac, and Linux. WOW!!

I was up and running with 2 VBox images in less than an hour.

Unknown said...


I've just taken Virtual Box for a test spin and I have to say I completely disagree. I think Parallels runs much smoother and is integrated much better into the host OS (in my case OSX 10.5).

I can see why you would be frustrated with Parallels if it were crashing constantly, but I don't have any problems with it crashing or freezing the host OS at all.

Unknown said...

I just bought VM Fusion 2.01 in preference to Parallels 4 (the 0.01 patch is definately worth installing, btw, as it substantially decreases boot times), and I love it.

What they don't do though is suggest any recommended configurations, which you can only get a sense of through trawling through forums.

e.g. If you have 2 processors (I have an older Xeon MacPro), then it doesn't really like it if you assign both to work with a guest machine. Just one is preferable.

e.g. Turn of system restore in XP

[Anything else, please tell me!]

Can't comment that much on Parallels as I gave up on it when I saw Fusion was half the price and way nicer to install XP, supported DirectX9, etc..
I just looked at the Parallels site and I noticed they are pretty much matching the Fusion 2 price now. I guess that speaks for itself.

Also, I should add that the reason I looked at actually forking out cash on the VM product is all the MSoft Windows server guys I know all rave about the company and how great they are for corporate-level systems. One gets 30 day free support and its very good support. (thereafter, support is expensive)

Lastly, I would add though, that if you want to use Fusion for gaming, don't. (As already mentioned, part of the reason I bought it was for DirectX.) It works for some games, but what they don't tell you upfront is that frame rates are pretty pathetic. E.g. You'll get normal speeds if you just run XP from bootcamp, but using Fusion, if the game works, they usually barely get going even with a good graphics card and plenty of memory.

JGF said...

Great tips on Fusion. I do very little with my VMs in practice. I'll end up doing more if my old XP machine every dies.

Macauley said...

How do I remove the "open with" contextual menu items AFTER having already removed Parallels Desktop?