The new version of popular virtual machine software Parallels has arrived, bringing with it support for new operating systems, as well as an always-on Cortana. This latest release is also reportedly significantly quicker than previous entries, with speed increases of up to 50 percent.

Parallels Desktop has been letting OS X users run Windows virtual machines for years, and it can be a pretty useful tool, giving users the functionality of two operating systems without the need to switch machine. The new version opens up support to the upcoming OS X El Capitan, as well as Windows 10. Of course, you'll still be able to use the virtual machine software with other operating systems, including Windows 7 and 8, Linux and Google Chrome.

One of the the most compelling new features of Parallels 11 is always-on Cortana. As long as Parallels is open somewhere and running Windows 10, you'll be able to to access Microsoft's virtual assistant service either through a toggle or using the "Hey Cortana" voice command. Considering that Apple hasn't brought Siri to Mac, some users are sure to love this.

There's also a new travel mode, which tells Windows to use less power when you're not plugged into a wall outlet, extending up times when running the software. The whole program is also faster, with up to 50 percent quicker boot and shut down times, and up to a 20 percent improvement in performing general tasks.

Other enhancements include the ability to use Mac location services inside Windows, use QuickLook with Windows content, and OS X printer options are now available within Microsoft's OS.

Parallels Desktop 11 is available now, retailing for US$80 if you're a new customer. If you're an existing user of Parallels 9 or 10, you'll be able to get it for $58.

Source: Parallels

View gallery - 3 images