Running Windows on a Mac remains an occasional requirement for some Mac users. Fortunately, virtual machine (VM) software not only streamlines the process, but VM support and performance are improving.
VMware’s Fusion Pro 11 platform is a popular choice. A full license runs $159.99, while upgrades from version 8 or newer cost only $119.99.
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Fusion 11 Pro defaults to using a new Enhanced Metal Graphics Rendering Engine with Direct3D 10.1 compatibility on compatible hosts. The VM software also now supports Anti-Aliasing, Geometry shaders, and games and apps requiring DirectX 10.1 and those that fall back to version 10.1 from 11 and that run in a Windows 7, 8, or 10 VM session.
VMware Fusion 11’s new Application Menu simplifies accessing multiple VMs, changing views and adjusting settings and snapshots. The new interface also lets you open a Windows app with a single click.
Mac Finder operation is integrated within the new VM window, thereby permitting you to quickly navigate to file and folder locations. You can now drag-and-drop a file to print the VM’s file path within a text field.
MacBook Pro users fond of Apple’s Touch Bar will find the new Fusion Pro 11 possesses additional Touch Bar customization options. Further enhancements extend customizing a variety of VM Library and VM Window functions (Figure A). The capability speeds access to commonly used features, especially if you must manage multiple VMs.
Fusion’s REST API, which smooths automation and third-party application integration, contains virtual networking improvements. For example, there are new options for working with Mac-IP DHCP bindings and NAT port forwarding.
You can now use the VM platform to connect to any Linux VM that’s running an OpenSSH or compatible service, too. And, new vSphere updates and ESXi 6.7 and vCenter Server Appliance 6.7 support enable viewing resources by VM, host, or cluster. The enhancements simplify VM administration, particularly for those managing multiple VMs.
With hardware platform version 16 support, performance and security are improved within Fusion 11 Pro. In addition to security fixes, UEFI Secure Boot capability and additional support for the latest host and guest operating systems, including macOS, Ubuntu, Fedora, and Windows client and server platforms, the new VM software is enterprise ready.
Even novice users benefit from enhancements added over time designed to make it easier to manage virtual machines. Automated Disk Cleanup, originally introduced in Fusion 10, is but one example (Figure B).
When selected (enable the feature from the General Virtual Machine Settings option as shown in Figure B), the virtualization software automatically performs disk cleanup actions whenever a VM is shut down. The feature helps ensure host disk space is optimized, which is no small consideration with default drive sizes having trended downward on many Mac models.