Parallels 11 now available w/ support for Windows 10, El Capitan, & always-on Cortana


Parallels, the company behind the popular virtual machine software, has today released the latest iteration of its popular Mac app. Parallels 11 ($79.99 retail, $49.99 upgrade) is available now with many of the features that were accidentally leaked by the company last month. Top features are of course support for both Windows 10 including Cortana and OS X El Capitan, as well as a variety of enhancements that improve the virtualization experience…

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Parallels touts that its latest version is up to 50 percent faster than previous iterations, including 50 percent faster boot up and shutdown times and 20 percent faster file operations. A new Travel Mode will also increase battery life by up to 20 percent. One of the flagship features of Parallels 11, however, is its support for Microsoft’s Cortana virtual assistant.

As explained by the company itself, as long as Windows 10 is running somewhere in the background, users will always be able to say “Hey Cortana” and receive a response, even if the software is not running in the forefront or being actively used.

We had a chance to see this in action but were foiled by a loud restaurant environment.

Other changes include improvements to Windows printing, a quicker way to view Windows notifications in OS X, improved file associations, and real-time location support in Windows. Windows can also now take advantage of OS X’s Quick Look feature for previewing documents and files.

Parallels has also introduced a new Pro version of its software that is aimed at developers and includes support for tools such as Docker, Visual Studio, and Chef.

For users of Parallels 9 and 10, the upgrade to version 11 costs $49.99, a move that often angers users of the software. But, if you think of Parallels as a service, a move that the company is hoping to embrace with this version and future versions, the equivalent is just a few bucks a month. That certainly seems reasonable to us for continued improvements to the software and doing the work to make it run well with new OSes every year.

If you want to just keep Parallels 10, most features will work but Coherence mode won’t in Windows 10

New customers can purchases Parallels 11 for $79.99 or the Pro edition which includes some developer tools for $99.99. A two-week free trial is also available for new customers. Watch the video below for a full breakdown of what is new:


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  1. numtsi - 7 years ago

    That picture gave me goosebumps! It’s like a horror movie! ….
    You just wanted to start a little Windows programme… But than… You heard that wispering… “Hi, im Cortana. What can I help you with?”… Muahahahahahahahaha!!!!!!
    Demi More in her brilliant role as the creepiest Assistant you’ll ever seen in a movie
    In theatres now


  2. Don’t install Win10 guys. It’s a spyware.

  3. depicus - 7 years ago

    Based on the last 10 releases which also promised massive speed gains this version should start before 1947 it’s that fast !!!!!!!!!

  4. Smigit - 7 years ago

    Going to sit back for the reviews and see how the performance improvements stack up in the real world. I do love Parallels, but I tend to disable all the cross OS application integration so the new features like Cortana are largely lost on me. May still upgrade if the entire thing runs better though.

  5. standardpull - 7 years ago

    I wouldn’t suspect that the offspring of Clippy and Microsoft Bob would look so hot, or be from the same planet of the film Avatar.

    It seems like the marketing folks at Microsoft are still entrenched.

  6. sardonick - 7 years ago

    Bollocks residual income. Win 10 works just fine on P10 and so does Cortana, whether I’m looking at the Mac screen or the Win screen. No reason to waste 50 bucks here.

  7. Mark - 7 years ago

    Good old Parallels… they never miss an opportunity to squeeze another $50 out of their users. The fact that Windows 10 works perfectly well on Parallels 9 (yes nine) will be kept quiet. It’s true that the ‘upgrade’ won’t work, because Parallels decided not to submit their driver to MS as supported (I wonder why) but if you do a fresh install, select ‘other windows’ and run Parallel’s Tools, everything works… including Cortana. But don’t listen to me, hand over your $50…

    • patstar5 - 7 years ago

      I was told to install Windows 10 with boot camp. Suppose to be much better performance, well I’ve never used parrarels before but it does seem snappy.
      But battery life is horrible! 2-3 hours on windows while around 10 with os x!
      Seems like it got worse after updating boot camp drivers

      • Mark - 7 years ago

        Yes, the discrete GPU stays on all the time. At least with Parallels you get more or less the same amount of time as you do from OS X with battery life.

      • patstar5 - 7 years ago

        Anyway to improve battery life?

      • Mark - 7 years ago

        Not in bootcamp, no. Apple has never released Windows drivers to switch the GPU within Bootcamp.

      • Smigit - 7 years ago

        “I was told to install Windows 10 with boot camp. Suppose to be much better performance”

        If you aren’t aware, you can use both Parallels or VMware to access a Bootcamp install while still on OS X. I have my Windows system in Bootcamp as well, but more often than not access them via Parallels since the performance is still very good for most tasks, and it’s far more convenient for general desktop computing tasks.

  8. Nick Donnelly - 7 years ago

    I was running Win10 on Yosemite – coherence worked fine (upgraded now though).

  9. Robert Kresek - 7 years ago

    WARNING BEFORE UPGRADING OR BUYING. In the past, Parallels would allow a limited number of activations on one license, such that you could install it on your desktop and laptop. They have changed that policy with Parallels 11, so that you only get one computer activation per license. So if you have multiple computers, you might want to hold off as long as possible before upgrading unless you want to purchase a license for each machine. I have heard that VMware allows three machines per license, so you might want to look at that before purchasing Parallels.

  10. Yiannis Tsentas - 7 years ago

    How to Install Windows 10 from iso on old MacBook running El Capitan


Avatar for Chance Miller Chance Miller

Chance is an editor for the entire 9to5 network and covers the latest Apple news for 9to5Mac.

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