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Parallels 6 full version now available; small build update released.

by John Rizzo

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Parallels has made available the full version of Parallels Desktop 6, the latest version of the virtualization software for Mac . Last Friday, the company released an upgrade version in advance of the full version. The company also updated the build, which is now Build 6.0.11822, which fixes some bugs in the original Build 6.0.11820 released in the upgrade version. (Parallels also issued a fix for a problem that readers reported with networking, described here.)

Parallels said that Parallels 6 runs 3D graphics 40 percent faster than version 5, and that boot time for Windows is 41 percent quicker. The new version now sports a fully 64-bit virtualization engine, which the company says can better take advantage of 64-bit Macs. It also provides faster access to USB drives and shared network folders or servers. Spotlight integration I improved, with faster searches of Windows virtual machines from Mac OS X's Spotlight. Boot Camp virtual machines can now be suspended.

Parallels Desktop 6 also supports 5.1 surround sound -- the first virtualization product for Mac OS X to do so. You can now use Mac OS X keyboard shortcuts within Windows applications. The new version also applies Mac OS X parental controls to Windows. And, version 6 now enables you to encrypt virtual machines.

There are now four editions available:

  • Parallels Desktop 6, standard edition, US $80
  • Parallels Desktop 6 Upgrade, US $50
  • Parallels Desktop 6 Student Edition, US $40
  • Parallels Desktop 6 Switch to Mac edition, US $100. This version includes “smart” USB data transfer cable that contains flash ROM with Enhanced Parallels Transporter software. The software launches in Windows when the cable is plugged in. A wizard guides the user through migrating the entire PC environment into Parallels Desktop running on the Mac, and the software does the work. The cable can move the Windows operating system itself, as well as Windows applications, files, bookmarks, and other data. New on-demand interactive video tutorials are also included.

If you've tried any of the Parallels 6 editions or post a not in our Parallels Discussion Forum.

Change list for Parallels 6

Here is the company's complete change list for Parallels Desktop 6:

STABILITY AND PERFORMANCE ENHANCEMENTS

Performance

  • - Improved overall performance.
  • - Reduced CPU usage and improved battery life.
  • - 64-bit virtual machine process for improved performance of virtual machines, especially of those with more than 1 GB of memory.
  • - Improved 3D performance - up to 80% faster than in Parallels Desktop 5.
  • - Improved disk I/O performance - up to 35% faster Windows 7, Windows Vista, and Windows XP virtual machines than in Parallels Desktop 5.
  • - Shared Folders perform two times faster.
  • - Faster Windows startup and shutdown.
  • - Reduced time for resuming paused and suspended virtual machines on Macs with powerful configurations.
  • - Extended support for new Macs with Intel i5 and i7 CPUs.
  • - Better performance of Linux in virtual machines.
  • - Faster Parallels Tools installation.

Virtual Devices

  • - Support for IPv6, the next-generation version of the Internet Protocol, in shared, bridged and host-only networking.
  • - Support for the Intel Pro/1000 (e1000) network interface for faster network performance and compatibility.
  • - Intel AES-NI support for virtual machines running on Macs with Intel Core i5 and i7 processors.
  • - Virtual SATA interface support for hard disk drives of newly created virtual machines.
  • - Virtual SATA interface support for CD/DVD drives of virtual machines.
  • - Using SATA emulation for hard drive connectivity in Boot Camp virtual machines instead of changing a SATA drive to an IDE drive.
  • - Virtual USB mouse for smooth transition between Mac and the virtual machine even when Parallels Tools are not installed.
  • - Better handling of keyboard indicator lights when working in Mac OS and the virtual machine.
  • - Improved handling of keyboard modifiers and system shortcuts when working in Mac OS and the virtual machine.

Security

  • - Dual antivirus protection included: complimentary antivirus software subscription is now available for both Windows and Mac.
  • - Virtual machine encryption using the AES algorithm for better security of your data (empowered by Intel AES-NI hardware support on i5 and i7 CPUs).
  • - Virtual CPU now supports NX bit (No eXecute), which allows enabling Data Execution Prevention (DEP) in Windows.
  • - Mac OS Parental Controls are automatically applied to the virtual machine for managing children's computer usage. Any restrictions set for Mac OS will be also enforced in the virtual machine as well.

New Guest Operating Systems

  • - Ubuntu 10.04
  • - Fedora 13
  • - Open SUSE 11.3
  • - Windows Server 2008 R2 Core
  • - Windows Server 2008 Core

IMMERSIVE GAMING AND GRAPHICS

Video

  • - 80% faster 3D graphics in the Coherence, Full Screen, and Window modes.
  • - Enhanced DirectX 9 support for better gaming experience.
  • - Support for OpenGL extensions available in Mac OS X v10.6.4 Snow Leopard.
  • - Support for Xorg 1.8 in Linux virtual machines, including Fedora 13 and Open SUSE 11.3.
  • - Fixed OpenGL support in Ubuntu 10.04 virtual machines.

Sound

  • - Immerse yourself in games, movies, and music with surround sound 5.1 support for Windows 7, Windows XP, and Windows Vista: use any external surround sound 5.1 USB or FireWire devices simultaneously in your Mac and the virtual machine.

SIMPLE, SMART, AND SEAMLESS EXPERIENCE

Enhanced Appearance

  • - Improved user interface and new look and feel.
  • - Preferences dialog has been simplified and now fully conforms to the Mac OS style: no OK or Cancel buttons - all changes are applied on the fly.
  • - Virtual machine configuration dialog has been simplified and redesigned according to the Mac OS Preferences style.
  • - New Virtual Machine assistant is now easier to use.
  • - Redesigned USB connection dialog makes connecting USB devices simpler than ever.
  • - Improved animation when switching between the Coherence, Full Screen, and Window modes.
  • - Refined user interface with Quartz animation disabled.
  • - Enhanced Activation and Registration dialogs.

Enhanced Logic

  • - Boot Camp virtual machines can now be suspended and then resumed.
  • - SmartGuard now has a backup mode that optimizes the virtual machine for Time Machine backups.
  • - Import of third-party virtual machines has been integrated into the main application: now it's available through the File > Open menu.
  • - Parallels Image Tool has been integrated into the main application: now all its functions are available in the Virtual Machine Configuration dialog.
  • - Parallels Transporter is now accessible through the "Import Virtual Machines" option on the Welcome Screen or the File > Import menu.
  • - Choose the level of integration between Windows and Mac by choosing the "Like a Mac" or "Like a PC" option when creating a new Windows virtual machine.
  • - Open your Windows applications without seeing Parallels Desktop interface elements even when your virtual machine is powered off.
  • - Shut down Windows and its applications in Coherence without seeing Parallels Desktop interface elements.
  • - Automatic generation of support code for easier access to Parallels Support.
  • - Keyboard shortcut (F6 or Fn + F6) for hiding/showing Parallels Desktop and all its windows.
  • - Improved support for Boot Camp partitions using multiple disks.
  • - Automatic SmartGuard snapshots taken after a timeout if the user does not respond to the prompts.
  • - Improved active screen corners behavior in Full Screen mode.
  • - Scaling of the virtual machine screen when its window is resized, if Parallels Tools are not installed or inactive.
  • - Windows applications can be set as the default applications for handling CDs and DVDs inserted into the Mac.
  • - The Num Lock key was added to the Send Keys menu.

Enhanced Windows Applications Handling

  • - Access to Windows applications from anywhere in the world with the help of Parallels Mobile for iPad, iPhone, and iPod touch.
  • - Windows Applications folders in the Dock now contain ?My computer?, ?Control Panel? and other useful shortcuts that are usually present in the Windows Start menu.
  • - Applications icons in the Windows Applications folders are no longer marked with black arrows.
  • - Windows Applications folders don't reappear in the Dock after you remove them manually.
  • - Spotlight search support for Windows applications.
  • - Progress for downloads and other operations is now displayed on the Windows 7 applications icons in the Dock.
  • - Windows 7 Jump Lists are supported for Windows applications in the Dock: view your recent documents by right-clicking the application icon in the Dock.
  • - Grouping of all windows of a single Windows application under the same application icon in the Dock.
  • - Windows applications icons can be configured not to appear in the Dock using the "Show icons in Dock" option in the virtual machine configuration.

Enhanced Coherence

  • - Improved graphics performance in Coherence and enhanced compatibility with 3D applications.
  • - Improved logic of Crystal and Coherence view modes. Now Crystal mode is an extension for Coherence.
  • - Arrow icon in the Mac menu bar for customizing Windows tray icons in Coherence.
  • - Mac OS shortcuts (Cmd+W, Cmd+Q, Cmd+~, Cmd+M, Cmd+H, Cmd +Alt+H) can be used to manage Windows applications when using Coherence with enabled Crystal mode.
  • - "Formatted text" and "Shared Clipboard" options can now be disabled via the Virtual Machine Configuration dialog.

SWITCHER FOCUSED FEATURES

  • - Simplified and improved Parallels Transporter user interface.
  • - "Like a Mac" migration option that allows you to transfer your documents, photos, and music from PC to the corresponding folders on your Mac.
  • - Migration of the Internet bookmarks and settings from Internet Explorer, Firefox, or Chrome on PC to the default browser on the Mac.
  • - Supports import of Boot Camp partition into a Parallels virtual machine.
  • - Windows automatic login support for enhanced switcher experience.
  • - Automatic firewall detection during the migration from PC to Mac.
  • - Supports import of Virtual Box 3.1.2 and 3.1.4 virtual machines.
  • - Faster and smoother import of VMware, Virtual PC, and VirtualBox virtual machines.

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