Par­al­lels Desk­top 11

Get Cor­tana on your Mac to­day

Mac Format - - CONTENTS -

Par­al­lels Desk­top al­lows you to run al­ter­na­tive op­er­at­ing sys­tems within OS X. It’s far more flex­i­ble than free ri­val Vir­tu­al­Box, and ver­sion 11 con­tin­ues to im­prove per­for­mance while adding handy new fea­tures.

A key rea­son to get it is El Cap­i­tan and Win­dows 10 sup­port – the lat­ter runs in Par­al­lels 10, but it’s nei­ther of­fi­cially sup­ported nor op­ti­mised. Par­al­lels 11 sweet­ens the deal by us­ing its stand­out Co­her­ence mode to in­te­grate key Win­dows 10 apps and fea­tures di­rectly into your OS X desk­top, most no­tably the new No­ti­fi­ca­tion Cen­tre, which closely re­sem­bles OS X’s own, and the Cor­tana search as­sis­tant – use­ful un­til Siri makes its way into OS X.

Par­al­lels 11 also makes one of OS X’s un­der­rated fea­tures avail­able to your vir­tual ma­chines. Quick Look isn’t avail­able in Win­dows, but by en­abling ‘Ac­cess Win­dows fold­ers from Mac’ un­der Set­tings > Shar­ing, you can press the space­bar within your VM to pre­view a file in OS X.

On a MacBook, Travel Mode prom­ises to cut power con­sump­tion by VMs to pre­vent them quickly drain­ing your bat­tery. It’s en­abled in each VM’s set­tings.

As with pre­vi­ous re­leases, Par­al­lels 11 prom­ises im­proved per­for­mance. The best im­prove­ments are in pro­ces­sor us­age, par­tic­u­larly when us­ing mul­ti­ple cores, but aside from when boot­ing a Win­dows 10 VM it’s not ob­vi­ous. Still, the gap be­tween vir­tual and na­tive per­for­mance gets that bit nar­rower – with one no­table ex­cep­tion: Par­al­lels 11 is stuck us­ing DirectX 10 tech­nol­ogy, which means graph­ics per­for­mance is no bet­ter

Co­her­ence mode in­te­grates key Win­dows 10 fea­tures – no­tably the Cor­tana search as­sis­tant – into OS X

than in Par­al­lels 10. Ul­ti­mately this trans­lates to one key thing: hard­core gamers are bet­ter off us­ing Boot Camp, but for ev­ery­one else, Par­al­lels makes ev­ery­day com­put­ing a breeze, so long as you have the CPU, RAM and drive space to spare.

The new sub­scrip­tion-based Pro edi­tion has a con­se­quence for reg­u­lar users. Each VM is now lim­ited to four pro­ces­sor cores and 8GB RAM. This won’t af­fect most peo­ple, but power users should take note.

Par­al­lels Desk­top con­tin­ues to evolve grace­fully – it’s a no-brainer for any­one want­ing to run Win­dows on their Mac for the first time, but ver­sion 10 users can prob­a­bly hold off this year’s up­grade, un­less you’re des­per­ate for those Win­dows 10 en­hance­ments. Nick Peers

Par­al­lels Desk­top 11 adds of­fi­cial sup­port and op­ti­mi­sa­tions for Win­dows 10.

Can’t live with­out Siri? Mi­crosoft’s Cor­tana may be the clos­est you’ll get for a while.

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