Parallels Desktop released for Intel Macs

Parallels on Thursday announced the release of Parallels Desktop, its "virtualization" software for Intel Macs that enables them to run Windows and other operating systems while continuing to operate Mac OS X simultaneously. Parallels Desktop's full retail price is $79.99, though the company is offering the software for $49.99 for the next thirty days.

Unlike Boot Camp, Parallels Desktop doesn't require Intel Mac users to restart their computers to run. And unlike PC emulation software, Parallels Desktop utilizes virtualization hardware on the Intel chip to run faster than you can using emulation -- at what the developers call "near native" speeds.

Parallels Desktop allows you to run many different operating systems besides Windows XP. You can install earlier versions of Windows, for example, Linux, FreeBSD, Solaris, OS/2 and more. You can run several virtual machines at once; expand them to full-screen size, and cut and paste between Windows and Mac OS X.

Parallels Desktop also includes Parallels Compressor, which compresses the space used on your Mac's hard disk for Windows. Compressor can shrink that virtual machine hard drive size by up to 50 percent or more. It's offered in Parallels' products for other platforms for $179.99, and is included for free with Parallels Desktop.

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