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11/2/2006
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Virtual Mac Machine Adds Vista Install

Parallels has updated its virtualization software for Intel-powered Macs by stealthing the virtual hardware from outsiders. It has also added a one-step wizard that walks users through the process of installing an operating system to a virtual machine.

Parallels Inc. has updated its virtualization software for Intel-powered Macs by stealthing the virtual hardware from outsiders, and has added a one-step wizard that walks users through the process of installing an operating system to a virtual machine.

The free update to Parallels Desktop for Mac adds something the Renton, Wash.-based developer dubbed "SharedNetwork" which camouflages multiple IP addresses as just one address. The technique hides virtual machines from the outside world, and reduces the chance that a hacker will find them, much less launch an attack. SharedNetwork also lets virtual machines connect to the Internet using cable, LAN, broadband, wireless, or dial-up without requiring any manual reconfiguration.

The new Installation Assistant wizard automates VM setup and OS installation for Windows XP and Vista, said Parallels. Users only need to select which edition of Windows they're installing, enter their name and product activation key, and click one button. The wizard takes care of the rest.

After XP or Vista is installed to the VM, the assistant adds Parallels Tools, a collection of freebies that improve networking, video, and sound support; syncs mouse activity between the physical and VM systems; and allows for copying data and sharing files between Windows and the native Mac OS X operating system.

The updated Parallels Desktop for Mac retails for $79.99, and can be downloaded from the company's Web site. A 15-day free trial version is also available.

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