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Parallels Desktop 11 for Mac Adds New Features, Better Performance

Win 7 & 10 on El Capitan

Parallels today released the newest version of its flagship virtual machine (VM) environment for Mac. Parallels Desktop 11 for Mac will be attractive to both longtime VM fans and to those who are testing the VM waters for the first time.

Parallels Desktop 11 for Mac will run Windows 10 on both OS X 10.10 Yosemite and OS X 10.11 El Capitan. Those who are beta testing El Capitan will find the ability to run the next version of OS X as a VM on a Yosemite machine. Running a Windows 10 VM on a Mac gives Mac users “Always On Cortana,” a feature that brings Microsoft’s virtual assistant to OS X (see image below). Since Siri isn’t available on the Mac yet, this is a great way to gain the power of voice-powered searches and information.

Win10 Yosemite_cortana

Windows users will gain some desirable El Capitan features when the new operating system officially ships, including the new “Split View” that allows users to pin two apps side-by-side on a Mac screen. Windows fans also get the power of Quick Look for their Windows documents (see image below), location services in their Windows apps (supplied by the host Mac), lists of “most recently used” documents, synchronized volume controls between the two operating systems, simplified printing, and more.

QuickLook of a doc from Win8 desktop

As you’d expect from the latest version of an app, performance has been optimized in Parallels Desktop 11 for Mac. While using Windows 8.1 or Windows 10, boot and shut down times can be as much as 50 percent faster over Parallels Desktop 10. Tasks in Windows run up to 20 percent faster, battery life is extended up to 15 percent, and the time it takes to suspend a VM can be up to 20 percent faster.

Parallels Desktop has had a feature called “Coherence” for quite some time, which gets rid of the trappings of Windows and just runs Windows applications and services in the Mac host screen. Parallels Desktop 11 adds the ability to use the Windows 10 Action Center (think of Notifications Center on the Mac, except on Windows) when Windows 10 is running in Coherence. Users see a notification icon in the Mac menu bar, click it, and the Action Center slides in from the right side of the screen. In addition, any file stored on the Mac can now be opened in a Windows application through a right-click menu.

Road warriors will appreciate the new Travel Mode (see image below), which puts Windows into a power-thrifty condition and adjusts settings to make connections to public networks more easily.

Travel Mode setting in Parallels Desktop 11

There’s a new Pro Edition of Parallels Desktop 11, perfect for the millions of developers who use the Mac as their platform of choice. It includes advanced networking tools and confirmations, as well as integration with developer productivity tools Docker, Visual Studio, Chef, Jenkins, Vagrant and more. VMs can have up to 16 virtual CPUs and 64GB of virtual RAM.

For the enterprise, Parallels Desktop for Mac Business Edition will be updated soon, with new license key tools, premium support, an support for business cloud services including Box, OneDrive and Dropbox for Business.

The Rocket Yard will have a full review and tutorial on setting up Mac OS X 10.11 El Capitan and Windows 10 in Parallels Desktop 11 in the near future.

OWC Note: All purchases of Parallels 10 dated July 29th, 2015 through October 31st, 2015 are entitled to a FREE online upgrade to Parallels 11 when it is released on August 19th, 2015. You can also save big on Parallels 11 when purchasing with another item from OWC. See our Parallels 11 page for more details:

Steve Sande
the authorSteve Sande
Contributing Author
Steve has been writing about Apple products since 1986, starting on a bulletin board system, creating the first of his many Apple-related websites in 1994, joining the staff of The Unofficial Apple Weblog in 2008, and founding Apple World Today in 2015. He’s semi-retired, loves to camp and take photos, and is an FAA-licensed drone pilot.
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  • If you want to control USB devices from Windows from Mac, nothing like VMware Fusion.