The newest version of Parallels Desktop for Mac -- the software that enables Intel-based Macs to run Windows without having to reboot first -- will be released today . The software has undergone an extensive public beta test for the past couple of months. A free upgrade for registered users, Parallels Desktop for Mac costs $79.99 (around £41).

New features in Parallels Desktop for Mac include Coherence, a feature that lets Windows applications operate much like Mac applications by appearing in the Mac OS X Finder's Dock. Also new is a migration tool called Transporter. It helps users move settings, applications, files and profiles to a virtual machine running on Parallels without having to reinstall Windows. Transporter also works with VMware Workstation and Microsoft Virtual PC (on PowerPC-based Macs).

Another new feature of Parallels Desktop for Mac is plug and play support of USB 2.0 devices, including external hard drives, printers and scanners running at full native speed.

One of the most important changes for Parallels Desktop for Mac is the ability to work with existing Boot Camp partitions as virtual machines. That means you don't have to install Windows twice on Macs that you'd prefer to use Boot Camp with sometimes, and Parallels for other times.

Other new features in this release of Parallels include drag and drop support, Windows Vista compatibility and full-feature virtual CD/DVD drive use.