Using Windows 8 in Parallels Desktop Mobile


Knowing some keyboard shortcuts can help in using Windows 8 through the Parallels Mobile app. Too bad there are so many to memorize!

Parallels has a really neat iPad/iPhone app that lets you access virtual machines or your entire Mac from your IOS mobile device. It's really nicely done and mostly intuitive, but there are a few tips I'd like to pass on. Some of these apply to any operating system you are using, but here I'm going to concentrate on Windows 8 because I just recently upgraded my old Vista Parallels VM to that. Some of them are useful for Win 8 whether running in the Mobile app or not.

The Windows Keyboard

Let me first mention that there are times when the Windows 8 on screen keyboard can be easier or more convenient than the IOS keyboard. It's not always the right tool, but keep it in mind for the future. Find it in Utilities; go right to it with (Apple or Windows or Command Key) U:

 Win 8 on-screen keyboard is sometimes convenient

From now on, I'm just going to say "Command". You know which key that is.

Moving a window

You'd definitely want to move that on-screen keyboard around; so how do you move a window?

When working directly on your computer, of course you just click and on the window title and drag it where you want it. It's easy enough to click with the Parallels Mobile app; you just tap the screen. But if you tap and hold, that's a right-click.

Moving a window in Parallels Mobile App

The secret is the little outlined square pointed to by the yellow arrow in the picture above. That's normally colored white, but you can turn it blue (as shown here) by tapping it once. Toggling that controls how one finger swiping works. When the icon is white, a one finger swipe does screen panning, which is very useful to know if you've pinched out your screen to make it easier to read.

When the rectangle is blue (or "lit", as the manual says), a one-finger swipe will perform the mouse select action. Swiping over the title area selects the window and then you will be able to drag it wherever you'd like it.

That's also how you'd select files in a directory view.

Getting to the Classic Desktop

This one is easy to remember:Command D switches to the classic Desktop.

To get back to the "Metro" tiles, just hit Command TWICE. On your normal desktop you'd only tap it once, but in the Mobile App, you have to hit it twice because the first tap waits for a key to follow. If you don't start a Metro app, tapping Command twice again will bring you back to the Desktop you just had open. If you did start a Metro app and used Command-Command to switch back to the tiles, then doing it again will take you back to the app.

All Apps

Speaking of Metro apps, if you want to see all of them, right click (that's tap and hold, remember?) toward the bottom of the screen and that button will pop up:

 The All Apps button

If you aren't sure what you want, remember "I have a Question" and use Command Q to bring up Search:

Command Q for Search

Another useful shortcut is Command X, which I remember as "eXtra":

Bringing up the 'eXtra' menu

Shut down or restart

There are two ways to do this and neither is quick. You can either sign out, which brings you to a screen where you can power off or restart,

Shutting down from signoff

Or you can use Command-C to bring up the "Charms" menu (why they call it that is a mystery). In Charms, select Settings and then Power.

Shutdown or restart from Charms

More Shortcuts

Of course there are many more keyboard shortcuts. Here are a few lists I found:

Got something to add? Send me email.

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