When Connectix first released Virtual PC it was an application the simply emulated the way a Windows machine worked, but there was very little integration with the Mac OS. Connectix has been changing that with subsequent releases and Virtual PC 6.0 continues to blur the lines between the two OSes.
One new feature users of Mac OS X will see with Virtual PC 6.0 is the integration of the Dock Start Menu. This feature will allow users of Virtual PC to see the same files in Mac OS X as they would in Virtual PC — even if Virtual PC isn’t running. If you have multiple Windows OSes loaded with Virtual PC, you can change the OS that the Dock Start Menu will use to show files.
Once you have found a particular document or application, you can click on it and the Dock Start Menu will launch Virtual PC and launch the OS associated with application.
“One of the big themes for Virtual PC 6 was integration between the two OSes. People already know how to use the Dock on the Mac, so we wanted to make it work in an equivalent way on Windows,” Kurt Schmucker, vice president of Mac Products at Connectix, told MacCentral.
The Dock Start Menu will work with Windows 98, 2000 and XP, but not Windows 95 or NT — support for those OSes should come in a future release.
The Desktop Drive Mounting feature available in the new version allows Mac applications like Sherlock to search PC volumes for files and it will give the user access to the drive to perform other operations like backing up the drive.
Connectix said they spent a lot of time improving the speed of Virtual PC, which will be noticed mostly by users of the latest version of Jaguar, 10.2.3. (At the time this story was posted the most current version of Mac OS X was 10.2.2). Schmucker said that most of the speed improvements were implemented where people use Virtual PC the most: running Windows applications.
Other features of version 6.0 include detection of USB printers; full screen video support for all Apple monitors, including the Apple Cinema 23-inch HD display; and self-contained configurations, which makes it easy to transfer virtual machines between Macs, according to Connectix.
Virtual PC 6.0 Upgrade (US$99) and Virtual PC 6.0 with DOS ($129) are available for download from the Connectix Web site. Other bundles, including Windows XP Home and Windows 98 ($219) and Windows 2000 and XP Professional ($249) will be available by the end of December from the Connectix Web site.
Special pricing is available for customers that purchased Virtual PC 5.0 for the Mac between November 1, 2002 and March 31, 2003. More details can be found from the Connectix Web site.
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