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Parallels 5 skins Windows

Win7 support added

High performance access to file storage

Parallels' annual update to its eponymous virtual machine software is out today, looking a bit smarter, and promising to be even more seamless than before.

A new Coherence mode sees Windows applications skinned with a Mac-like scheme. Dialogues look like Windows dialogues, and there's easier keyboard mapping - so your Windows app can use Apple-C/X/V to cut and paste, rather than Ctrl-C/X/V.

A picture is worth a thousand words, so here's how it looks.

Parallels 5 skins Windows

...and applications such as IE8.

You can turn off 'MacLook' if you want, and continue to run in the Full Screen and old Coherence modes. Another addition is a hands-off pause, with the VM detecting a lull in processing activity and handing resources back to the host machine.

Windows 7 graphics support, including the Aero gimmicks, and USB optimisations including support for chip and pin readers are also part of the £34.99 upgrade. Snow Leopard is now officially supported as a Mac host.

Parallels 5 new will cost around £59.99, which includes a year's subscription to Kaspersky Anti-Virus software. Newcomers to the Mac can pick up Parallels starter edition with tutorial and a USB data transfer cable for around £66 after shopping around. The Windows™ tax is extra. ®

High performance access to file storage

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