How the rest will be won...
Apple + Parallels_icon or vmware2
After successfully switching my mother to the Mac (Hallelujah! I hear you say), and after I had stopped worrying about the bastard sales guy at Harvey Norman who managed to convince her that she needed both Mac and PC version of office if she was going to run VMWare Fusion (I sent her in with a shopping list with only the PC version...) I have been working through helping her come to terms with the concept of virtualisation.

It is at this point that I believe that neither Parallels or Fusion are ready for the typical Mum/Dad Mac using faithful until they can make the experience of running windows seamless. So it is with this in mind that I have put together the following list of Must Have Features that will turn this into something that will truly "just work" for the average "Mother of an IT guy..."

1- Let me stop her from saving files to the virtual c:\
One of the benefits of my mother having a virtual Windows machine (or "Windows In a Cage" as the analogy I have chosen to explain how it works) is the completely disposable nature of the virtual instance. So long as I can be assured that she has not saved any data in the virtual machine, the snapshot is *always* there to return the PC to a known state. This is priceless for me, being 200 kms away, I don't need to make a weekend trip to their place to rebuild a PC (again...) If the Virtualisation tool could help me keep stuff off the c:\, it would make my job that little bit easier...

2- Make printing work - period:
In this day and age, how hard is it to have a virtual VMWare printer in windows that just rips and prompts you for a real output device on your Mac.. I mean.. come on already...

3- Make application access *SEAMLESS*.
Parallels almost got it right with the feature (SmartSelect) that lets you associate word documents with MS Office on Windows, but internet links with Firefox on the Mac (For example) but it just never quite worked right... Get this working properly so that my mother can use it without me having to use analogies like "Windows in a Cage" just so that she can use it... Also, when I have an MS Outlook icon on my dock and click it, it will resume the Virtual Machine (nice!), but launches a second copy of Outlook if one was already running... (Terrible!)

4- Make Exposé work properly in Unity / Coherence
Seriously, when you are using these modes, make the Exposé stuff work properly. I bought a Mac to use the stuff it comes with... no, really.. I did... I will admit that I have not used parallels since the first release of v3.0, and when Fusion shipped proper and this may work properly now in Parallels, but Fusion still gives me incorrect window views in expose (looks like a layering issue) and the last time I tried Parallels 3.0, it just gave me a single "window" for all the windows apps that were open.

5- Make removable media just work:
Make it so that removable media is available on BOTH the Mac and the Virtual side... There is no reason that a USB disk should not show up on the desktop AND be usable from the windows guest OS at the same time. (with the exception of NTFS for writing from the MAc side of course)

6- Leverage the portability into convenience.
Virtual machines are portable.. Make it easier for my Mum to burn her virtual machine to a DVD and mail it to me to fix (for when she needs something fixed that a roll back to snapshot just can't address (like getting new software working for her...) this was the best thing about her switching to the Mac with VMWare: I shipped her an XP virtual machine that I built with my media (and her software license keys obviously) on a DVD that she just drag/dropped and ran. (she was up and running in 15 minutes). Have a Compress and burn to disk function so she can do this with 3 clicks and a blank disk.

7- Make it backup seamlessly with Time Machine:
I will be switching to Leopard once I hear that the kernel panics have stopped (My friends are still getting them every so often. I live on this Mac for work, so I won't be upgrading it till I am happy that it is as stable as my Tiger system, or I refresh to a new laptop that ships with Leopard). I want to use Time Machine for her backups, but it has to *just work* for the virtual too. With incremental deltas and not just backing up the whole flat vmware disk image ad-nauseam.