Yesterday, VMware released VMware Fusion 2.0 Beta 1, a prerelease issue of the next major version of the virtualization environment for Mac OS X. The release features a number of new features, including "true support" for multiple monitors and improved 3D graphics, and better integration of the Windows apps with the Mac OS X interface. The beta is available for the public to test as a free download, and the release will be a free upgrade for 1.x owners.
The support for multiple monitors includes displaying the Windows desktop across multiple monitors and dragging Windows application windows across displays when the Unity feature is turned on. (Unity hides the Windows desktop.) Full screen Windows can be on one display or all displays. VMware said that Fusion 2.0 Beta 1 supports up to 10 monitors connected to a Mac. The VMware web site shows a video demonstration of Windows on 8 monitors connected to one Mac.
Fusion 2.0 Beta 1 also beefs up 3D gaming with DirectX 9.0 Shader Model 2, which enables it to better handle games with 3D graphics. The current shipping Fusion 1.1.2 supports DirectX 8.1. The current Parallels 3 supports DirectX 9.
Other improvements include:
- Can convert a Boot Camp partition to a virtual machine
- Imports, from within Fusion, virtual machines from Virtual PC and Parallels Desktop
- Improved Windows networking: Windows guests now able to join Active Directory domain with NAT networking if WINS is enabled in Mac OS X; various other improvements with NAT networking
- Windows virtual machines can print to any printer attached to the Mac, without additional setup
- Virtual machines can resume and start directly in Unity view, as well as other Unity improvements
- Improvements in shared folders between Mac OS X and Windows
- Improved USB performance, robustness; support for graphics tablets and mice with more than three buttons
VMware warns that the Beta 1 release can be unstable and shouldn't be run in "mission critical" situations.
If you've tried VMware Fusion 2.0 Beta 1
For more on Fusion, see our VMware Fusion Tips and Reports page.