Connectix has announced Virtual PC (VPC) for Mac version 5.0, the Mac OS X and OS 9-supporting version of the company's PC-emulation software.

The application runs in both Mac OS X and Mac OS 9. Additionally, Macintosh users need install VPC 5.0 only once to take advantage of it from either OS. When run in Mac OS X, the solution supports multiple processors.

Teresa Mahler, Connectix's senior product manager, said: "We think the fact that VPC 5.0 will run in either Mac OS X or Mac OS 9 is really important. It produces a flexible, easy migration path for our users – such as those in the education market – who want to begin the migration to Mac OS X."

XP under X New features also include Windows XP support, DVD-ROM data support and Virtual Switch for increased networking capabilities. The company has also added "undoable" drives. This means its possible to leave the original drive image file unchanged, and easily back out of any Windows session. The company has also upgraded its online-support area, Connectix Care.

Users may also dynamically assign window display sizes - so the virtual windows environment can be made larger or smaller in the traditional Mac OS way, with no need to adjust the resolution of the virtual desktop display.

Mitchell Cipriano, vice president of product management at Connectix, said: "We concentrated on both new and existing users when we designed the features and capabilities of this new release.

PC drive Other features new to version 5 include Zip, Jaz, CD and DVD drive sharing, enhanced support for drag-&-dropping files directly between virtual machines, and full character mapping between a Mac and PC keyboard.

A Mac OS X-only feature is the ability to permit OS X users to set up a virtual network on their Mac, in order to access all the different disk images housed on that Mac over that virtual network.

Three versions of the product are available from Connectix's UK distributor Computers Unlimited (0208 358 5857). A £59 upgrade version, a £149 version with Windows 98 pre-installed and a £75 version with PC-DOS pre-installed. The PC-DOS version is ideal for those who already own licensed copies of a PC OS, as these can then be installed on top of the PC-DOS virtual machine. Two other versions - Windows 2000 and Windows XP - will begin shipping in late December and early January respectively.

Any user who has purchased Virtual PC 4.0 since November 1 is eligible for a free upgrade to version 5.0.

Connectix has also launched a series of Connectix OS Packs. These are companion products to VPC 5.0, and let users add additional Windows operating systems with no need to go through a complete installation process. Currently available packs include Windows 2000, Windows 98, and Windows Me. Windows XP Professional and Windows XP Home OS Packs will ship in late December.