With two new desktop operating systems on the horizon from the big hitters, you might be wondering how best to check them out. Microsoft's Windows 8 was just made available as a public preview, and Apple has released its own developer preview of OS X 10.8 Mountain Lion to a select group of testers.
Unfortunately, as with any prerelease software, these previews are likely to be fraught with bugs and other details that must be tested and ironed out, so even if you have the option of installing these operating systems, you might not want to do so on your main working computer, as bugs can result in crashes and even data loss.
While you can create a separate partition on your hard drive to install these operating systems in, or with OS X install it on an external drive, even this setup can be cumbersome since it requires you reboot to the second OS installation in order to use it.
Luckily, modern virtualization technology enables you to install these test operating systems on your system without disrupting your work flow and current OS installation, and a new update means Parallels Desktop can now do this for both Windows 8 and OS X 10.8.
If you are a Parallels Desktop user, you can download the latest update via the program's built-in updater, and then use the program's wizard interface to automatically download and install the Windows 8 public preview. While there is no automatic download option for the OS X 10.8 preview, if you have been invited to test the OS by Apple you can install the OS on a Parallels virtual machine and take a look at some of the new features the OS has to offer.