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Parallels Desktop 11 adds Windows 10 integration, extends Cortana to Mac desktop

19 August 2015, Nick Peers

Parallels DesktopParallels IP Holdings GmbH has released Parallels Desktop 11 for Mac, a major new release of its market-leading virtualisation tool.

The app, which allows users to run virtual versions of Windows, OS X and Linux in a virtual environment, adds full support for Windows 10 while readying itself for El Capitan’s imminent release. It also promises significant performance improvements.

Parallels Desktop 11 promises to launch and shutdown Windows machines up to 50 per cent faster than the previous release, while also improving file operations inside Windows VMs by up to 20 per cent. Suspend times should be 20 per cent quicker, while a new Travel Mode feature promises to improve battery life on laptops by up to 25 per cent through the temporary suspension of power-draining resources. Unspecified improvements to network performance are also claimed.

Parallels Desktop 11

Parallels Desktop 11 integrates Windows 10 into OS X – in particular Cortana.

As expected, the new build extends official support to Windows 10 on VM as well as promising to work on the forthcoming El Capitan release of OS X. However, Windows 10 integration goes further, with Parallels promising to give users access to Microsoft’s personal assistant Cortana from outside of the VM environment, allowing them to leverage it in OS X itself.

Other new features include adding Quick Look to Windows VMs, Force Touch gesture support for quick previews and word definitions and a new Coherence mode button. The most recently used list can now be viewed directly on the Mac too, regardless of the origin of its contents.

Also added is a new Easy Printing feature, the extension of Mac location services to Windows VMs and enhanced file associations making it easy to change file association directly in OS X.

Parallels Desktop 11 is also joined by a new Pro version aimed at more serious users, with integration for key developer tools, additional user profiles for testing purposes, advanced networking tools and enhanced memory and processor power for performance purposes.

Parallels Desktop 11 is available now as a trial download for Macs running OS X Lion or later. A Core 2 Duo processor or later is required with 4GB RAM recommended. Pricing remains unchanged, with the full version available for $79.99, with upgrades from Parallels 9 or 10 ($49.99) also available. The Pro build launches with an introductory annual subscription price of $49.99, which includes a complimentary Parallels Access subscription.

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