Parallels virtualization app upgrade sparks Mac user outcry

Desktop for Mac 4.0 under fire on support forums, company says 'small number' affected

After applying the hotfix, some users ran into the dreaded Windows "Blue Screen of Death;" if those users had not created a backup of the virtual machine, they discovered that they couldn't roll back to an earlier edition of Parallels. "This update has now broken the new VM I had to create after the last version 4 release broke my VMs," reported a user named "ichi" on the same thread that announced the availability of the hotfix. "Thanks for getting us paying customers to test your software for you Parallels. If I had wanted to be a beta tester I would have asked you."

On Tuesday Parallels issued a utility designed to recover blue-screened virtual machines, and posted a link to the download on its Web site.

Some users were so frustrated with the upgrade that they demanded their money back. "I have repeatedly requested a refund from Parallels as a result of this DEFECTIVE upgrade experience that has cost me more money than I'd like to reveal due to time loss, productivity loss," ranted "ScottMA" in a message last Sunday.

Beloussov stood behind Desktop for Mac 4.0, and dismissed the comments as indicative of a very small minority of dissatisfied customers. "The quality of the product is quite good," he said, noting that by its nature, virtualization software is complex.

Desktop for Mac 4.0 introduced thousands of changes from the previous version, he noted. "We try to fix issues as soon as they come along."

While Beloussov acknowledged the problems reported on the company's support forums and via both e-mail and telephone to the company's support desk, he rejected the idea that any issues with Desktop for Mac 4.0 are widespread.

"We have a million happy customers," said Beloussov. "Tens of thousands have updated to 4.0 and 99% of them have been happy with the new release's performance and speed." Twice, Beloussov said that the complaints came from only "a couple of dozen" people, although a look Tuesday at the company's support forum threads revealed many more than that.

He also downplayed the idea that large numbers of customers had sought refunds. "We don't have a lot of people asking for refunds," he said.

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