Parallels Desktop for Mac adds USB 2.0, virtual CD/DVD drive support, more
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Parallels Desktop for Mac adds USB 2.0, virtual CD/DVD drive support, more

It has full USB 2.0 support and full virtual CD/DVD drive support. You can now burn CDs and DVDs directly in virtual machines, and play any copy-protected CD or DVD just like you would on a real PC. The Parallels Desktop beta also has an improved Coherence mode, a feature that lets you run Windows applications without seeing Windows.

You can now place Windows applications on your Mac desktop or in your application dock. With the new beta, you can use Command+tab to cycle through Windows and Mac applications simultaneously, and "hide and show" Windows applications just like you would with Mac applications. There' better support for using Boot Camp partitions in Parallels Desktop and full support for both FAT32 and NTFS partitions. Offline configuration is now possible; just tell Parallels Desktop that you want to create a virtual machine from a Boot Camp partition and click "start." Also, there's no longer any need to re-activate Windows each time you switch between Boot Camp and Parallels. Activate Windows only once, and you can work in both environments.
Finally, you can use Parallels Transporter to make VMWare Workstation and Microsoft Virtual PC images work Parallels Desktop. Use Parallels Transporter, a free tool that helps users move an entire real PC to a virtual machine, to make an existing VMWare Workstation or Microsoft Virtual PC virtual machine compatible with Parallels Desktop for Mac.

Parallels Desktop lets Mactel users run Windows XP – or just about any other operating system – simultaneously in isolated "virtual machines" directly on a Mac OS X desktop, offering the ability to use Windows programs at the same time as their favorite Mac applications. This is different from Apple's Boot Camp dual boot solution, in which users can boot a Mactel to run in either Windows XP or Mac OS X, and must completely shut down one to access the other.

Parallels Desktop for Mac includes Parallels Compressor, a disk management tool that can purportedly compress virtual hard drives by 50 percent or more.  This is a very useful tool, especially if you're working on a laptop with a relatively small hard drive, Rudolph says. Compressor Server -- which has a retail price of US$179.99 and is compatible with Windows 2000, XP and 2003 -- is the specific version included with Desktop.

Parallels Desktop's "near native" performance and stability is driven by its "hypervisor-powered virtualization engine" and support for Intel Virtualization Technology, which is included in all new Mac Mini, iMac, and MacBook Pro computers, said Parallels CEO Nick Dobrovolskiy. You can share files and "cut and paste" data between Mac OS X and Window apps.

 

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