Parallels Desktop 5 software arrives

Parallels has launched a new version of its operating system virtualization software. Parallels 5 allows you to run Windows, Linux, OS/2 Warp, or whatever other operating system takes your fancy from the comfort of your Mac desktop.

The company reckons that there are plenty of enhancements. Aero is now available on Windows 7 and Vista, and the software is claimed to feature seven to eight times better graphics performance than its previous version. There's also improved USB functionality and speed, and the latest VT-x2 virtualization technologies.

Another intriguing new feature is "Crystal mode", which allows you to make Windows invisible so that you can only see the program. You can now copy/paste formatted text between operating systems too, and there's multi-touch support for gestures in Windows. The Apple remote can now control Windows apps too.

There's a "Safe Mode", for privacy and security, as well as DirectX 9Ex and Shader Model 3 support. If you prefer, you can turn off the Mac/Windows integration, giving a completely isolated virtual machine, if you're running insecure code. Lastly, a feature called Mac Look will allow you to skin Windows... er... windows so that they look like Apple ones, instead of the default XP, Vista or 7 skin.

Parallels 5 will be available shortly for £60.