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VMware Fusion 5 integrates with Mountain Lion, Win 8, boosts speed

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

VMware released VMware Fusion 5 ($50), a major new version of the virtualization software for OS X. The company said that the new version runs up to 40 percent faster than version 4.x, and incorporates many of Mountain Lion's new features. VMware Fusion 5 also adds support for Windows 8 and Windows Server 2012. A Professional edition for administrators is available for $100 for deploying to multiple clients.

The new Mountain Lion support enables users to integrate Windows applications into Mountain Lion features. For instance, the Fusion 5 uses Mountain Lion's Notification to display the status of virtual machines. Fusion 5 can also stream Windows applications to an HDTV using Mountain Lion's AirPlay Mirroring and Apple TV. You can also navigate between Mac and Windows applications by using a Mission Control swipe. Windows applications appear in Launchpad and Launchpad search. VMware Fusion 5 also supports running Mountain Lion and Mountain Lion Server in a virtual machine.

For Windows 8, VMware Fusion 5 uses the full screen mode of Lion and Mountain Lion to display Metro applications, which are full-screen apps on PCs. Fusion 5 includes a keyboard profile tailored for use with Windows 8, Windows 8 Pro and Windows 8 Enterprise. VMware Fusion 5 also supports running Windows 8 from a Boot Camp partition. USB 3.0 is supported for Windows 8 and for recent Linux distributions.

Performance improvements include optimization for MacBook Air and other Macs that have solid-state SSD drives. The company said that there are other performance enhancements apply to all Macs, including a 40 percent boost in the speed in launching Windows.

VMware Fusion 5 now supports Apple's high-resolution Retina display of the new MacBook Pro with Retina, so that Windows will look sharper. The company said that it has also improved battery life, which is usually much shorter when running virtual machines.

A VMware Fusion 5 Professional edition ($100) enables administrators to create pre-configured "restricted virtual machines" to deliver to multiple Mac, PC, and Linux users. With restricted VM, administrators can lock the settings of a virtual machine so that users can't change them. The Professional edition also includes a custom network configuration tool for creating specialized virtual networks for demonstrations and testing purposes.

A VMware technical article describes known problems with this first 5.0 version, including a error message that appears when trying to import a Boot Camp partition to a virtual machine.

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