Parallels & Custom Screen Resolutions

Custom screen resolutions ( CSRs ) in Parallels Desktop for Mac are something that I haven’t really played around with too much. When editing the preferences for a individual virtual machine, you have the option of setting up custom screen resolutions:

Picture 1-4

I couldn’t really come up with a reason which I would need one. When running Parallels on my MacBook Pro, the default 1280×800 worked fine. When using my 17-inch ViewSonic as a second screen, the stock 1280×960 resolution worked great.

Today, I am running on my MacBook Pro, which runs at a native 1440×900 resolution. It would be nice if Parallels would take advantage of more real estate than the 1280×800, but I didn’t want to run it in full screen mode, since I still use a lot of other Mac OS X apps….

Here’s where CSRs come into play. I setup a new CSR for 1440×900, my LCD’s max resolution. When you boot up your VM, the new resolution is now available from the Display Properties->Settings tab:

Picture 2

While this seems like a good idea initially, i quickly realized that I couldn’t have my vm the exact same size as my MacBook Pro LCD because I wouldn’t be able to see anything else. So i adjusted the CSR to be small enough to fit onto the screen, but big enough so that I get some extra real estate for my VM.

The sweet spot CSR? 1400×820.

This allows me to still see my mac menu bar, the right hand bar of parallels as well as the bottom status bar of parallels. I should also note that I use QuickSilver exclusively, so I have no use for the Mac Dock. I have hidden it, so the above CSR will have to be narrowed if you still use the dock ( I weep for you if that’s the case )