Parallels has released details of a forthcoming tool designed to let consumers or businesses upgrade painlessly to Windows 7, while keeping any existing applications and data from XP or Vista.
The software is expected to draw interest from the many XP users who have so far delayed upgrading because of compatibility worries.
First disclosed last year and due for release this May, Parallels Desktop Upgrade to Windows 7 is a combined data transfer utility and virtualisation tool that automates the process of upgrading to Windows 7, keeping all applications and data intact.
Users can choose to upgrade an existing PC running XP or Vista, or transfer everything to a new system via a supplied USB cable, network connection or external storage, according to Parallels.
Another key feature is that the software lets users upgrade from any edition of XP or Vista, to any comparable Windows 7 edition. Without Parallels, users have to perform a clean install to move from XP to Windows 7.
Following the upgrade, users can access all their applications from the Windows start menu as normal. Any XP apps with compatibility issues are run inside a virtual machine, but this is hidden from the user who just sees the application window on the desktop alongside all the others.
Parallels Desktop Upgrade greatly simplifies the task of upgrading, according to product manager Mary Starman.
"Windows 7 is a really great operating system, but we're seeing that the folks using it so far are early adopters. Among those now talking about upgrading, there is a lot of concern about whether programs will run," she said.
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