As every year goes, Parallels and VMware duke it out to deliver support for the latest OS X and Windows releases, and this time around things aren’t any different.
After VMware updated its Fusion virtualization software with support for OS X Mavericks and Windows 8.1, it was now Parallels’ turn to roll out an updated version of its own program that creates virtual machines for “guest” operating systems.
Powerful and feature-packed solutions both, VMware Fusion and Parallels Desktop are constantly trying to steal market share from one another.
Today is the latter’s turn to release Parallels Desktop 9 for Mac, the latest version of its powerful virtualization app which now supports Windows 8.
Unlike VMware Fusion 6, Parallels 9 lets you download and install Windows 8.1 Preview right from its own wizard.
Customers who prefer a classic experience can “set Windows 8 to boot directly to the desktop, set Windows 8 apps to run in resizable windows, and bring back the fully functional Start menu,” according to the company.
Full-screen Windows 8 modern UI apps are compatible, and the new version also runs Windows 8 in Coherence much smoother.
Windows 8.1 can go full screen when using multiple displays (including Retina and non-Retina monitors), and Shift-clicking the Windows 8 icon in the Dock now opens the Power User menu.
Parallels also notes smoother scrolling in Windows 8, support for the upcoming Power Nap feature in OS X Mavericks (to keep Windows up to date even when the Mac is in sleep mode), as well as new security patches, Thunderbolt and external storage support.
Parallels also throws in a fresh virtual network adapter (to provide a faster Internet connection), support for virtual SCSI controllers, and GUI restyling to support the new color scheme in Apple’s up-and-coming OS X 10.9.