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Parallels Desktop 4.0 ruins Boot Camp installations and Parallel’s customer support is non-existent

After reading all the rave reviews of how much faster Parallels 4.0 is than its predecessor, I dropped $50 to upgrade about two weeks ago. I went from having a Parallels installation that could boot nicely from my nicely working Boot Camp partition to a version that simply went into an endless cycle of reboots. I’ve reported the problem multiple times to Parallel’s customer support with no response whatsoever. I have not tried to go the paid phone call route with them since that is entirely ridiculous. I searched through their forums and the only advice they provided was to uninstall and reinstall, or it was advice for their last version of the software which actually had an advanced feature in the hard drive setup controls where you could remove the files that Parallels installs on your Boot Camp partition. They neglected to add this feature to the newer version of the software. After following one of the pieces of bad advice on their forums, which I must add was left by one of their support staff, I was left not only with a non-functioning Parallels installation, but also with a Boot Camp installation that would not boot properly.

So, I began the horribly time consuming process of uninstalling Boot Camp to do a full reinstall. The only problem? All Boot Camp installations now fail with a “Disk error” after the first stage of Windows installation reboot. I never had this problem before. I’ve tried erasing the Boot Camp partition and starting from scratch with two different Windows XP disks that I own, one Windows XP Professional and the other Windows XP Home, and nothing works. Even though both of these disks have worked flawlessly in the past (so I really don’t think it’s the same problem outlined here; even though I’m going to give it another shot after this post is up).

There is 200MBs of unexplained partitioned space on the hard drive that I haven’t noticed before. I think that space was most likely created by Parallels and is the root of all these problems, but I have no idea if that’s a correct hunch or if I risk rendering my MacBook inoperable by fiddling with this. I am beyond frustrated and no one from Parallels has replied to any of my questions through the appropriate, provided channels for complaining about problems, so I’m left with no choice but to complain publicly here.

I need a solution and I’m hoping someone from Parallels sees this post and reacts appropriately. If your incompetent support staff cannot provide me with a solution, then I want a full refund for not only the upgrade that I just purchased, but also for the previous copy of the software that I owned, since the new version ruined the working solution I had in place.

If anyone from VMware wants to offer me a deal on an alternative solution that will allow me to fix my Boot Camp installation and run a virtual machine off of that partition and it works, I will gladly publicize on this blog that your product works, that your support staff is helpful in cleaning up Parallel’s bungled messes, and I will recommend that everyone using or considering using Parallels use your products instead.

UPDATE: After multiple attempts, I finally got Boot Camp to reinstall, and then I was finally able to get Parallels to work. This doesn’t change the fact that Parallels destroyed the previous Boot Camp installation, I now have to spend hours reinstalling programs, and Parallels support still hasn’t contacted me about either of my two open tickets that I submitted over two weeks ago.

Comments on this entry are closed.

  • julianfstr 11/22/2008, 4:51 pm

    All I can say ie.. Title of the post is 100% accurate. Not only that, it ruined my non Boot Camp VM’s as well… I got it to run after spending 88 + 40 minutes (two calls) getting through their horrible outsourced barely English speaking script reading I’m-gonna-say-I-have-some-generic-American-white-person-name-god-awful-frontline telephone support to finally reach some guy in one of their offices who got me far enough to get the non BC VM to run, but he hung up before i finished the process. VM did run but PTools wouldn’t install and a lot of my data was gone.

    This is an atrocious release with even more atrocious support.


  • Jesper Wøldiche 11/23/2008, 8:59 am

    I seem to have the same problem as the rest of the web (at least, thats how it feels right now). When ever I try to upgrade my Boot Camp virtual machine or install a new one i get the same error message:

    “Failed to configure the Boot Camp partition’s hard disk.

    A disk configuration error has occurred. Make sure that you have read/write permissions for the disk.”

    I have left a ticket and a forum post with Parallels but have gotten no reply.

    Can you describe how you got your install working with boot camp? Would really appreciate it.

  • DC Dan 11/24/2008, 9:12 am

    I think VMWare is running a deal where you get a $30 rebate if you show proof of purchase of Parallels.

  • BMaBoBo 11/26/2008, 5:20 pm

    Almost 50 bucks! HUGE MISTAKE upgrading to 4.0. I just got off the phone with Parallels Support – had to slow my diction down to the same pace their crappy new program loads. Made the mistake of doing the Compression routine – which takes FOREVER and left me TOTALLY SCREWED. Looks like I’m going to lose all my programs and go through more Microsoft re-install/reboot hell.

    I’m so PISSSED OFF at these guys – documentation is from which planet?? Website – WAY unhelpful. Well I did get a “ticket number,” but I’m sure the money is gone.

    Anyone know if Fusion works better?

  • Hugh 12/5/2008, 4:28 am

    I had the same problem. After 2 days of fruitless attempts and asking Parallels support, I gave up and went back to V3. Fortunately I had a WinClone backup of the original Boot Camp.

    Never had any response from Parallels.

    When I get to it, I guess that I will try and migrate Boot Camp to a Parallels VM and then see how it performs. Or maybe they will fix the Boot Camp problem, if and when they acknowledge that there is a problem.

  • parallels4sucks 12/15/2008, 11:04 pm

    same thing here nothing but problems yet no answer from support

  • Jen 1/7/2009, 2:35 pm

    I agree entirely, although not for the same specific reasons. I lost buckets of time “upgrading” to Parallels 4.0, only to find that the statistical program I use in Windows either (a) didn't run, or (b) ran like a dog (taking minutes just to open a file). After multiple work around attempts, I just uninstalled 4.0 and limped back to the earlier version. The process – and utter lack of support – angered me enough that I'm switching to VMWare's Fusion and never looking back. At least you can talk with human beings there.

  • Herk 1/15/2009, 1:57 am

    Same problem. Parallels 4.0 upgrade trashed my perfectly working Boot Camp partition. TWICE! I haven't even tried contacting Parallels customer support since they still haven't replied to emailed questions for a previous issue I had in the very first version. There is no doubt, in my humble opinion, that they have the poorest customer support of any software vendor….ever.
    Fortunately, I had been running VMWare Fusion with the same Boot Camp partition, and it was rock solid, so I'll reinstall WinXP in a new partition and demand a refund from Parallels. Just pathetic.

  • Marty Abrahamson 4/19/2009, 1:42 pm

    I just had the same problem. I went to great lengths to install bootcamp because my drive was too fragmented. Finally got everything setup and all my software and files reloaded and as a last step upgraded to parallels 4 and attempted to run my bootcamp partition in a vm… Eventually got it to work but now I can't boot from the partition using bootcamp!!!!!! It behaves exactly as described above and I'm stuck in an endless rebooting cycle. I'm so pissed. Tech support actually hung up on me when I told them it was their problem. They asked me to call apple or microsoft.

    Can anybody tell me where to go from here? I don't want to mess things up further so I can't run the partition using parallels either.

    -Marty Abrahamson

  • Totophe 12/2/2009, 7:19 am

    Exactly the same problem !

    And now, I have reinstalled W7, and no way to recreate a Bootcamp VM from parallels…