In addition to running newly-released Windows 10 natively on your Mac in dual-boot mode through Boot Camp 6, you can now enjoy Microsoft’s latest and greatest operating system alongside OS X using the popular virtualization solution, Parallels Desktop.
In its latest incarnation that was released earlier today, Parallels Desktop 11 brings full support for Windows 10 features like Cortana and experimental support for Macs running OS X El Capitan.
Parallels Desktop 11 is noticeably speedier in common tasks, like booting and shutting down which can be as much as 50 percent faster for Windows 8.1 and Windows 10.
Running Windows through Parallels Desktop 11 also yields a 25 percent longer battery life on Mac notebooks via a feature called Travel Mode which disables select resources that drain power while you’re on the go.
Moreover, common tasks in Windows now run up to twenty percent faster, moving files between Mac and Windows is up to five percent faster and your virtual machines suspend up to twenty percent faster, said the firm.
“Seamless experience has been the hallmark of Parallels Desktop since its inception. Today we further our commitment to innovation with Parallels Desktop 11—from Windows 10 and El Capitan integration to making Microsoft’s Cortana available on Mac,” said Jack Zubarev, Parallels president.
“We’ve made it easier than ever for our customers to run Windows on a Mac.”
In addition to accessing Microsoft’s impressive personal digital assistant in both Windows and OS X, this release of Parallels Desktop also brings out experimental support for OS X El Capitan prior to its launch.
The virtualization software will fully support El Capitan shortly after its release in the fall.
A dedicated Coherence button is another notable new feature. Sitting at the top of every open window, the Coherence button provides quick access to Windows 10 features.
Next, no longer do you need to use OS X’s “Open With” feature to open files created by Windows applications as Parallels just does the right thing.
Other highlights include the ability to preview Windows documents with OS X’s Quick Look feature, support for Location Services, volume control synchronization, native Windows print page setup from OS X and new “Open in Windows” and “Open in IE” right-click menu options, to name just a few.
Here’s a full list of changes and additions in Parallels Desktop 11.
Parallels Desktop 11 features
Parallels Desktop 11 for Mac:
- Always on Cortana enables customers to use Microsoft’s virtual assistant with Mac applications, even when Windows 10 is not the forefront application.
- Travel Mode extends the battery life by up to 25 percent by temporarily shutting off select resources that drain power.
- Quick Look for Windows extends this cool Mac convenience to Windows documents and files.
- New Force Touch gesture support enables a quick preview of files with Quick Look or the ability to look up the definition of an unknown word.
- Improved Mac Window Controls include a new Coherence mode button.
- Most recently used files list now can be viewed on the Mac regardless of where those files are stored: on the Mac, in a virtual machine, in the cloud or on a file server.
- New easy printing with all Mac printer options support saves time with an intuitive solution for OS X users.
- “New Item” support for creation of new files in Windows apps including Microsoft Outlook, Excel and Word.
- Now users can easily cancel time-consuming virtual machine actions.
- Mac location services are now available to Windows applications.
- Automatic synchronization of the volume setting of a virtual machine with that of the Mac.
- Enhanced file associations with smart notification messaging helps change file association in OS X.
- Improvements in the setup and use of a virtual machine to directly access a Boot Camp Windows partition—without rebooting.
- One-time opportunity to upgrade to Parallels Desktop 11 for Mac Pro Edition from Parallels Desktop 9 or 10 for $49.99 per year.
- Improved Japanese keyboard—specific to the Japanese language edition only.
Parallels Desktop 11 for Mac Pro Edition:
All of the features of Parallels Desktop 11 for Mac, as well as the following new and key features:
- Integration with key developer tools, such as Docker, Visual Studio (plug-in), Chef and Jenkins.
- Support for Vagrant and other developer tools.
- Additional user profiles for developers, power users and testers for optimal configuration for their particular scenarios.
- Advanced networking tools and configuration for virtual networks to test complex networking scenarios, including the ability to simulate some network instabilities.
- Cloud storage access through Box.net, Dropbox for Business and OneDrive Business, for sharing from Windows to Mac.
- Headless mode for running virtual machines in the background without user interface.
- Ability to create linked clones to conserve disk space and optimize installations.
- Enhanced memory (64 GB RAM) and processing power (16 vCPU) for improved performance
Nested virtualization for Linux guests.
- Modern.IE test environments in the Parallels New Virtual Machine Wizard provide access to free trials of browsers for testing.
- 24/7 phone and email support.
Parallels Desktop 11 for Mac Business Edition:
All of the features of the Parallels Desktop 11 for Mac Pro Edition, as well as the following key additions:
- Centralized administration and management capabilities to keep IT in control of virtual machines.
- Web-based Parallels License Management Portal with a single activation key to eliminate manual management of individual license keys.
- Business-level support, including prioritized 24/7 phone and email support options.
- USB devices policy enforcement for additional security.
Pricing and availability information follows below.
In order to run Windows on your Mac, you must have a copy of Windows 7, 8 or 8.1 to upgrade to Windows 10 at no cost, or an authentic copy of Windows 10 which is available for $119 from the Microsoft Store as an ISO file download or a USB stick.
Keep in mind that the personal $79.99 Parallels Desktop edition is a one-time purchase whereas the Pro Edition is offered on a subscription basis for $99.99 per year. A time-limited offer lets existing users upgrade to a Parallels Desktop for Mac Pro Edition subscription for $49.99 per year.
Consult the official feature matrix to determine which edition is best suited for your needs. If you already use Parallels Desktop 9 or 10, you can upgrade to the new Parallels Desktop 11 today for $49.99 through the company’s website.
Lastly, there’s a free two-week trial available.