Have you ever needed to use Windows-based software for some reason, but you use a Mac? There are different workarounds for this issue. You could use Mac OS X’s Bootcamp too to natively run a Windows OS, but if you still need access to your files, programs and data on your Mac, then this could be a time consuming way of solving the problem.

Parallels allows Apple users to run Windows on a Mac OS X computer. The software creates a Windows virtual machine that runs alongside the native operating system.

Apple’s Bootcamp application creates a bootable copy of Windows. Parallels is different; it runs Windows alongside OS X.

Windows can be run in its own window, in full screen mode, or in an integrated view called Coherence. Coherence allows Mac and Windows apps to be used side by side. Parallels can even simulate important keyboard shortcuts such as CTRL-ALT-DEL.

There are a number of benefits to using this kind of virtualisation software:

  • Parallels is useful for niche software, or legacy applications, where there is no Mac equivalent.
  • Users can choose whether devices are assigned to OS X or to Windows when they are plugged in.
  • Multiple virtual machines can be installed, each running self contained Windows installations.
  • The Mac’s internal RAM is split between the native OS and virtual machines. Users can customise the allocation using a slider.
  • It can be used to install XP, Vista, Windows 8 and Windows Blue (8.1), although XP is no longer supported and therefore not recommended.
  • Parallels ships with its own cross platform Security Centre.
  • The newest Parallels, version 9, supports USB, Firewire and Thunderbolt devices in every operating system. The software is compatible with all recent versions of OS X, from Snow Leopard (10.6.8) to Mavericks (10.9).

The following updates and fixes have been undertaken in this latest version of Parallels:

  • iCloud Drive Support: In Microsoft Office, you can ‘Save as” to your iCloud Drive.
  • Click to Call: Right click on a phone number in Outlook or Internet Explorer to place a call with your iPhone.
  • iMessage from Windows: Right click on selected text and select “Share with iMessage”. The text will be sent with iMessage, and if the recipient isn’t using iMessage, it will send via SMS using your iPhone.
  • Yosemite in a Virtual Machine: Run OS X Yosemite as a guest with ease.
  • Battery Life: Now extended by up to 30%.
  • Windows Documents: Now open 48% faster.
  • Mac Memory Management: Virtual machines use 10% less Mac memory.
  • 1-click tuning: One click and we will automatically set your virtual machine settings for optimal performance based on what you do most.
  • Real-time virtual disk optimisation: Your virtual disk is automatically compacted while you work, so it takes only as much space on your hard disk as it really needs.
  • Mac native “Save to” in Windows: “Save as” in Microsoft Office 2013 applications to Dropbox, Google Drive, and iCloud Drive (when Yosemite is available) if they are set up on your Mac.
  • Mac native “Share” from Windows: “Share” files, text or web-pages from Windows using Internet accounts configured on your Mac. Post on Twitter, Facebook, etc., send via email, AirDrop, and Messages.
  • Mac native Special Characters: Insert OS X Special Characters like emoji, math symbols, currency signs and more can be inserted into Windows programs from the Edit menu.
  • Launchpad for Windows 8.1: We’ve even made the Windows 8.1 Start Screen work like OS X Launchpad.
  • Windows apps added to Launchpad: As you install Windows apps, we automatically add them to Launchpad.
  • Support for 3+ button mouse: If you have custom mouse buttons set on a 3+ button mouse, those buttons will work in Windows applications and games.

You can download the latest version of Parallels from FileHippo.com, today.

[Image via blogs.parallels]