VMware Fusion Beta 4 works with Boot Camp

VMware on Friday introduced Fusion Beta 4, a new version of its virtualization software for Intel-based Macs.

VMware Fusion enables Intel-based Macs to run PC applications and operating system software, similar to Parallels Desktop for Mac. The software doesn’t require you to reboot your Macintosh, unlike Apple’s Boot Camp.

The new beta of Fusion incorporates major changes including “Unity,” a new feature that lets you run Windows XP applications from your Mac desktop (similar to Parallels’ “Coherence” mode). A Fusion Launch Palette lets you access Windows applications, and you can save Windows favorites in the Mac OS X Dock.

Also new in this version is the ability to use your existing Boot Camp partition as a virtual machine, so you don’t need to allocate additional hard disk space (or another Windows user license) to VMware Fusion. The new release adds “experimental” support for Windows Vista and improved Boot Camp partition detection, and now automatically updates Windows to use optimized drivers when operating as a virtual machine.

VMware has also improved boot time in this new release, and provides faster application launching and better interactive performance. Also in beta 4 is a customizable toolbar and improved user experience.

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