New Parallels desktop brings Windows and Mac closer

Parallels and Avanquest UK announced an update to its Paralleks Desktop for Mac software, which enables users running Intel-powered Apple Macs to run Windows, Linux or any other operating system at the same time as Mac OS X, without re-booting.

The new version of Parallels Desktop is anchored by Coherence, a groundbreaking new feature that runs Windows applications on the Mac like they are native applications. When users switch to Coherence mode, the Windows desktop disappears, leaving Windows applications, such as Outlook and Internet Explorer, running directly on the Mac desktop and from the Mac application dock. It is completely customizable, providing numerous options for loading and running applications and viewing the Windows task bar and Start menu.

“When we introduced Parallels Desktop in April, we blurred the lines between the Mac and Windows worlds. With the introduction of Coherence, we completely blow that line away,” said Benjamin Rudolph, Director of Communications, Parallels. “This is a game-changing technology that gives users the ability to choose the best application for the job at hand. We intend to expand the Coherence function to help computer users move to a truly operating system-agnostic desktop.”

"Given the plethora of applications available for the Windows environment, making it practical for Mac OS X users to leverage Windows applications without a reboot is a powerful benefit for users," said Al Gillen, Research VP, System Software at IDC. "Hardware virtualization and the ability to support multiple operating systems simultaneously can offer significant value to clients as well as to servers."

More information on Coherence, and screenshots of the feature in action, is available at:

Parallels Desktop also includes a powerful new migration tool called Transporter that gives users the ability to move their entire existing PCs -- including all of its settings, applications, files and profiles -- directly to a Parallels virtual machine running on their new Macs, without re-installing Windows. Transporter is particularly important for users switching from Windows to OS X because it allows them to keep the “security blanket” of their familiar Windows PC while they learn how to leverage the power of their new Macs. It also eliminates the hassle of having to “start from scratch” with a new Windows installation, which for many non-technical users can be a daunting experience.

Finally, Transporter instantly converts VMware Workstation and Microsoft Virtual PC images to Parallels-ready images. This means that Virtual PC users working on PowerPC Macs can upgrade to Intel-Macs running Parallels without losing any information or applications, and that VMware Workstation and VMware Player users can easily upgrade their virtual machines, or any VMware Virtual Appliance, to Parallels virtual machines.

Powerful New Features

In addition to Coherence and Transporter, the new version of Parallels Desktop includes a number of important features that dramatically improve the way computer users work with multiple operating systems:

• “Plug and Play” USB 2.0 support: By upgrading USB support from 1.1 to 2.0, users can now access popular USB devices like external hard drives, printers, and scanners, and use them at full native speed, simply by plugging the device into their Macs. iSight cameras built-in to MacBooks, MacBook Pros and iMacs are also fully supported in virtual machines. There is no complicated setup required to make USB devices work.

• Full-feature virtual CD/DVD drive: Users can burn CDs and DVDs directly in virtual machines, and play any copy-protected CD or DVD just like on a real PC.

• Support for Boot Camp partitions: The update gives Boot Camp users the ability to easily run their entire Boot Camp installation, directly in a Parallels virtual machine, without any complex setup or manual reconfiguration. Users can switch between loading Windows in Parallels Desktop or Boot Camp as often as they’d like.

• True “Drag and Drop”: Easily share files between Windows and OS X by dragging documents and folders from one desktop to another. Drag and Drop is completely customizable to ensure maximum file and system security.

• Compatible with Windows Vista: Users can create a new virtual machine that runs Windows Vista, or upgrade a Windows XP virtual machine to a Windows Vista virtual machine, without losing any information or starting from scratch.