Who Likes Parallels’ Coherence Feature?

Who Likes Parallels’ Coherence Feature?

  • Compatibility
  • Usability

Reviewed by:
On July 10, 2012
Last modified:August 29, 2012


Coherence is a feature that allows Windows apps to run on the Mac OS X desktop - without the Windows desktop visible.

There is a philosophy difference between VMware and Parallels for Mac. This is not to imply that one is right or one is wrong. To be completely honest, I do not like Parallels coherence mode, which has been available since version 5. However I must give full credit for the unique feature and the genius behind it.

The basic concept is to give the OS X user the look and feel they are familiar with, while integrating applications that are only available on the Microsoft Windows side of things.

Maybe it’s my own brain (and its associated weirdness). When I’m on a Mac side, I want to be in OS X. When I am living in the land of Redmond Washington, my brain wants to be all that is Windows NT. Everything from how the context-sensitive nature of the title bar in OS X versus how Windows NT behaves does not lend well to me to use the Coherence mode. However, just as our different tastes in music it does not mean just because I don’t like certain types of music equates to that music is bad.

And so it is with Parallels Coherence.

Coherence has been around since version 5 of Parallels. It works really well even with multiple monitors, with the exception of an issue from Zone Alarm. The knowledge base reports that this application causes an issue with Coherence mode.

Parallels Coherence Demo

However, to speak honestly I am willing to give Parallels Coherence mode another shot, real soon now. After living with Windows 8 inside Parallels for a year and watching where is all going, my brain may be better able to handle the magical mixing of the two OSes. The only thing stopping me at the moment is I am waiting for Apple to release Mountain Lion. The Cupertino-based firm said July, and we are running out of days. Apple, I have my 20 bucks ready to upgrade from Lion. Parallels has done a fantastic job of pushing its own envelope in version 7 with regular updates.

My only issue is somewhere along the way when I did a Windows 8 upgrade, the ability to see both the OS X drives and the NTFS drives got lost. I did not realize what a great time saving feature that was for me to be able to use best-of-breed programs on both operating systems, while accessing the data with a single click.

I think I am ready to blow off Parallels and reinstall it just to get that feature back. Parallels in conjunction with Time Machine means I won’t lose all the customization I have done in Windows 8 Release Preview.

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