Mac to Windows to Linux with only a click

The new version of Parallels Desktop was just released, adding support for 3D graphics and other great features. Get Parallels Desktop and the latest Mac news in the Daily Download.

Parallels Desktop
Parallels runs Windows in a window. (Credit: CNET Networks)

With all the news this week surrounding the new Safari beta for Mac and Windows, it seems like a good time to bring up a program that strongly (and literally) links the two. The Intel-powered Macs have been running Mac OS X, Windows, and Linux for some time now with Apple's Boot Camp (updated recently). But one of the best programs on the market for switching between operating systems just got a full-point upgrade with Parallels Desktop 3.

Parallels Desktop allows you to switch seamlessly between operating systems without the need to reboot your Mac. Even better, regardless of which system you're running at the time, when you open a file type that's for the other system, Parallels automatically recognizes the file type and makes the switch for you. But what some people are most excited about is the newly added support for 3D graphics, allowing you to play Windows games using the full power of your Mac's video card--gamers rejoice!

Another feature in the new version is Snapshots--these days a fairly common feature addition to virtual machine software. It allows you to take a snapshot of your Windows system when it's in a healthy state, so if you encounter any viruses or spyware while surfing, you can effectively rewind to your previously saved snapshot. I've used features like Snapshots before for testing purposes, and I'm happy to see it was added to Parallels Desktop.

What do you think? What program do you use to switch between Windows, Linux, and Mac OS X? Are you happy about the support for 3D hardware? Let me know in the comments!

About Jason Parker

Jason Parker has been at CNET for more than 13 years. He is the Senior Editor in charge iOS software and has become an expert reviewer of the software that runs on each new Apple device. He now spends most of his time covering Apple iOS releases and third-party apps.