VMware Workstation 9 is all about Windows 8

VMware has updated its client hypervisor to offer access from mobile devices

Staying ahead of Microsoft itself, VMware has updated its Workstation desktop computer hypervisor so that it can run Microsoft's soon-to-be-released Windows 8.

VMware Workstation 9, available now, also includes the ability for users to access their desktops, by phones or tablets, through a browser. The software has also been tailored to work with computers running Intel's new Ivy Bridge processors.

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Workstation is VMware's virtualization software for desktop computers. It allows users to run multiple OSes, such as Windows and Linux, on the same computer.

The new version, the first major upgrade since last September, can support Windows 8 in a number of ways. The software can recognize multitouch screen gestures, which Windows 8 was built to accommodate. Workstation's Unity, which allows users to run applications in a virtual machine without actually running the virtual machine itself, can handle Windows 8 applications. The software recognizes the USB 3.0 standard, also supported in Windows 8. On the Linux side, this version will be the first to run Linux's OpenGL 2.1 graphics library.

The software also features new capability to access virtual machines from tablets and smartphones, through the use of a browser, without the use of either Adobe Flash or browser plug-ins.

Workstation comes with some new tools for the administrator as well. Administrators can set up a virtual machine so that users cannot copy files between the virtual and physical desktops.

VMware Workstation 9 is priced at $249, and upgrades of VMware Workstation 7 and 8 cost $119. Those who purchased VMware Workstation 8 this month can upgrade to Workstation 9 at no cost.

In conjunction with this release of Workstation, VMware also updated its Fusion software, which allows users to run Windows on Apple Mac computers. Fusion 5 also can run Windows 8.

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