Parallels Releases Latest Virtualization Software for Macs

The new release, which had been only available in a beta version, offers new virtualization capabilities that will run Windows on Intel-based Macs.

Parallels is officially launching the latest version of its Desktop for Mac software, which will feature new virtualization and migration tools for users who want to run Windows and Linux operating system on their Macintosh.

The latest version of the software, which had been only available in beta, is available to the public as of Feb. 27, the Renton, Wash., company said in a statement.

This new version comes with two significant new features. The first, called Coherence, allows Microsoft Windows applications to run like Mac OS X applications.

For example, applications such as Outlook and Internet Explorer are now allowed to run directly from the Mac desktop or on the Mac application dock.

The second feature, a migration tool dubbed Transporter, allows users to move their PC settings, applications and files, directly onto a virtualized Mac machine without reinstalling Windows.

Parallels software relies on a hypervisor-powered virtualization engine, and supports Intel Virtualization Technology, which is included in Intel-powered Macs.

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Parallels, which is owned by SWsoft, is also offering several other new features, including "plug and play," USB 2.0 support for external hard drives, printers and scanners, virtual CD/DVD drives and support for Apples Boot Camp partitions.

Boot Camp is Apples own software—still only being offered in beta—that allows Intel-based Macs to run the Windows OS.

This last feature will allow users to run their entire Boot Camp installation directly into a Parallels virtual machine without an additional reconfiguration. Mac users can then switch between loading Windows in Parallels Desktop or Boot Camp.

In addition, the new Desktop for Mac software will also support the Vista OS, as well as Linux operating systems.

In addition to competing against Apples own virtualization software, Parallels is facing competition from virtualization giant VMware, which released a beta version of its software from Macs, called Fusion, in December.

The full version of Parallels Desktop for Mac is available as a free download for users of previous versions of the software, or it can be purchased for $79.99, the company said.

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