Security is another area of focus within this release. The latest version offers consumers data protection with Parallels SmartGuard and SafeMode, plus antivirus protection for both Mac OS X and Windows with complimentary copies of Kaspersky Internet Security 2011, Kaspersky Anti-Virus for Mac, Acronis True Image Home 2010, and Acronis Disk Director 2011 Home. Parental control has been added to provide parents with peace of mind and the knowledge that children and information will be safe while online. The same parental controls set up on your Mac OS X environment can be automatically applied to virtualized Windows applications for added ease-of-use. The new Parallels version also includes built-in virtual machine encryption to help protect data from being stolen and accessed.
Additionally, there are a variety of small enhancements to make working between the virtual machine and the Mac OS X environment more seamless. The first is with Mac shortcuts; you can not only choose to use Mac OS X keyboard shortcuts within Windows applications, but you can also set up Parallels to use Windows shortcuts within Mac OS X applications. This is extremely beneficial for Windows users who are migrating over to a Mac desktop. The new version also has better integration with the OS X Spotlight feature to allow you to find and launch Windows applications using Spotlight while in OS X.
For folks switching from a PC to a Mac, data migration is simplified to help move programs, data, and media from Windows to the appropriate folders on the Mac. Parallels will also automatically help move any Internet Explorer, Firefox, or Chrome settings, as well as bookmarks from a Windows PC to the default browser on the Mac.
Other features include a speed boost for working with files on USB drives, networks, and shared folders; enhanced use of printers connected to the Mac by providing a direct printer port to the virtual machine; adding hot corners to allow for quick switching between windowed or full-screen mode; and a virtual machine assistant that can help users choose how to integrate their VMs into their desktop (run in their own dedicated window or operate Windows applications like a Mac application).
Parallels Desktop 6 for Mac will cost $79.99 for the standard retail version and $39.99 for the student edition. Current Parallels Desktop for Mac owners will be able to upgrade for $49.99, but for those owners who purchased Parallels Desktop 5 for Mac on or after Aug. 15, 2010, Parallels will upgrade you at no additional cost.
Parallels can provide a bridge between Windows and Mac OS X for users trying to switch platforms. Instead of making the transition cold turkey, Parallels also offers its Desktop 6 Switch to Mac edition that can help a user migrate from a Windows PC to a Mac at a cost of $99.99. This special edition comes with several support videos, tutorials, and cables to help ease the transition.
This story, "Parallels Desktop 6 for Mac promises better Windows experience," was originally published at InfoWorld.com. Follow the latest developments in virtualization and cloud computing at InfoWorld.com.