Parallels Desktop 17 & 16 not for primetime for Graphics apps!

Sorry to report that Parallels Desktop 17 has the same major deficiencies as were present in version 16. You cannot run Corel Painter 2022/2021 or Luminar 4 in Windows 10 with either Parallels 16 or 17. Neither version of Parallels will allow or enable access to the GPU or to OpenGL 3.3+ which both apps and many others like them require. Luminar will show you your library but will not make any alteration in any graphic because as it complains OpenGL 3.3+ is required and it is not installed. I even installed Microsoft’s supplemental OpenGL package and it still was not accessible. I have pursued a solution for months with Parallels staff and got nowhere. The general response was that it was under investigation… never anything beyond that.

What is stranger Corel is currently selling Parallels on their site and they are aware of the issues.

Parallels is very good for most applications I have tried except for critical graphics apps where it is completely deficient. I was forced to delete and return Parallels. Finally I have decided Windows is not for me in any format!!!

For decades, Corel has had a terrible reputation for customer service, badly designed and implemented upgrades, buggy stuff that runs too slow, etc. I don’t know if this is a consideration for you, but a big % of printers will not accept files from Corel, even if they have been exported to PDF or AI. A big % of digital design companies do not not to deal with Corel either; too many glitches disrupts the workflow.

My guess is that they are selling Parallels because they want, and probably need, the commission. If you aren’t interested in any of Adobe’s services, so many TidBITS Talkers have raved about Affinity’s line of products. I’m going to check them out when I finally spring for a new MacBook Pro, which I hope will be soon.


That’s not a total surprise, as Parallels Desktop virtualises all of your machine’s hardware and controls what is made available to VMs and apps, and I suspect running an app that makes heavy use of OpenGL would be a big ask anyone within such a virtual environment. However, I’m surprised that Parallels haven’t got at least some OpenGL support in there. Perhaps not enough users have demanded it, and DirectX support is a higher priority?

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For the rare times I need Windoze, I use VMware Fusion. Seems to do the job, but I am not doing anything heavy duty like graphics or gaming using that OS.

GPU virtualization seems to be a difficult challenge. I haven’t investigated too closely, but from what I’ve been able to find, those VM platforms that support it require you to assign an entire GPU chip to a VM. It seems that a single GPU can’t be shared by multiple VMs (or between a VM and the host OS).

I’m not sure what the technical reasons are, but this probably explains what people have been observing.

This probably also means that Mac users aren’t going to be doing any GPU virtualization at all (except, maybe, on a Mac Pro with multiple GPU cards installed).

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