Parallels Desktop for Mac

Unparalleled VM functionality on iMac, Mac Pros, and MacBooks

Completely streamlined; setting up virtual machines require no technical expertise

Blurs the line between the OS X and Windows with deep integrative features; work on both operating systems simultaneously

One-click tuning for task-specific performance enhancements

Access to 20+ Parallels Toolbox one-touch tools for increased productivity; easily grab screenshots, convert videos, record audio, etc.

Supports additional operating systems for unprecedented versatility

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While virtual machines have been around for a long time, it’s not the easiest nor the most convenient method to run your favorite operating systems on a single machine. If you are a Mac user, you must be already familiar with Boot Camp and the inconvenience and inefficiency associated with it – complete system restarts and poor battery life usually isn’t the best way to run Windows, which already has its fair share of performance-related issues. With Parallels Desktop for Mac, however, you don’t run into these kinds of problems. A dedicated virtual machine built from the round up for the OS X, choose to work on Windows whenever and however you see fit, with blazing fast performance and seamless integrative features to back things up.

What Is Parallels Desktop for Mac

Parallels Desktop for Mac is a virtual machine, but it’d be wrong to simply stop defining it at that. Rather than limiting itself solely to running Windows operating systems in a sandboxed virtual environment, Parallels Desktop for Mac goes beyond that by blurring the boundaries between the host OS – the OS X, in this instance – and the virtual machine. We’ll be discussing the various integrative features present as we move along, but for now, expect working on Windows to be just as simple as working with another Mac-based application. What’s more, Parallels Desktop for Mac simply blows Apple’s Boot Camp Assistant out of the water.

No longer do you have to worry about creating bootable USB flash drives or restarting the OS X just to access Windows, since Parallels Desktop for Mac has made things quick and straightforward. Install Windows easily via the Installation Assistant bundled in with the application, perform one-click optimizations related to particular tasks, and do a load of additional stuff to enhance your VM experience. Parallels Desktop for Mac also features a ton of performance enhancements as well, with numerous vCPUs and vRAMs powering up each and every virtual machine that you create. Finally, you receive free access to the Parallels Toolbox, a collection of tools that’s bound to make daily common tasks much easier.

Setting Up Your First Virtual Machine

Getting your very first virtual machine up and running doesn’t take too long, thanks to the Installation Assistant that conveniently walks you through from start to finish. Rather than limiting you to just one option – via removable media, that is – when it comes to installing Windows, Parallels Desktop for Mac instead gives you access to many; choose to have Windows transferred via an existing PC, have the operating system imported via Boot Camp, or buy a fresh copy of Windows. Transferring Windows from another PC, of course, requires cables that may prove to be an annoyance, but it’s actually quite useful if you want to just continue using Windows on you Mac with your settings intact.

If you opt to import via Boot Camp Assistant, however, that’s quite straightforward, where you just have to select what Boot Camp installation that you want imported while the Installation Assistant does the rest automatically. Opting to buy a fresh copy of Microsoft is made easier, where you can make your purchase directly via the Installation Assistant, with the required files downloading automatically afterwards. Lastly, you can always use your DVDs, bootable flash drives, or ISO images to have Windows installed in record time. Once you finish creating your virtual machine, you can proceed with booting Windows, or you can choose to create another VM – Parallels Desktop for Mac imposes no caps on the number of VMs that you may have.

Before we move on, it’s worth mentioning that Parallels Desktop for Mac isn’t limited to emulating just Windows. Yes, you heard that right. In addition to running all modern versions of Windows flawlessly, the VM software in fact supports multiple other “free” operating systems. If you love what’s included in, for example, Ubuntu or Fedora, you can create a virtual machine of your favorite OS just as easily as a Windows VM. The Installation Assistant features a list of operating systems that you can install, where it then walks you through the process of setting up each of them. For a full list of supported operating systems, check out the System Requirements page on

Deep Integration With the OS X

Parallels Desktop for Mac features complete integration with the OS X, allowing you to take complete advantage of the functionalities present in both the host OS and the VM. In Boot Camp Assistant, you could only run Windows at one time, along with its myriad of optimization issues. With Parallels Desktop for Mac, however, you don’t have to go through such an ordeal. Expect to run Windows just as easily as you would run another application on your Mac – operate your virtual machine in window-mode by resizing, maximizing, or minimizing it. Alternately, you can also choose to run it in full-screen mode –switching between OS X and Windows then becomes a matter of just tapping a button, or swiping on your MacBook’s touchpad or Touch Bar (MacBook Pro).

It doesn’t stop at that. What make’s Parallels Desktop for Mac such a joy to use is the VM software’s ability to effectively merge both the features of both the OS X and Windows. Suppose you are tired of switching between each OS whenever you want to access a key feature. With Parallels Desktop for Mac, you can effectively avoid that extra hassle by opening Windows applications directly from via the OS X, and vice versa. Want to use Internet Explorer directly from within the OS X? Just configure the application to work on the Mac, and you can immediately access it via the Dock – or the Start menu if you want to use OS X applications in Windows. Any programs that you open this way function perfectly normally on your preferred operating system.

With that out of the way, what next? There are a host of other benefits, so let’s take a look at a few now, shall we? If you’ve, for example, ever attempted to make a simple file transfer from the host OS to the virtual machine via an alternate VM software, you know how tough that is. With Parallels Desktop for Mac, however, that’s made extremely simple – moving files between operating systems just involves a normal drag n’ drop. On the other hand, making presentations via your Windows virtual machine is made easier with multiple features that actively prevent the OS X from showing notifications and such – you don’t have to worry about your colleagues realizing that you’re using a Mac for your presentations.

Performance Boosters to Back Things Up

While Parallels Desktop for Mac is built from the ground up to run smoothly on your Mac, it in fact goes a few steps further to ensure that you’ve got the best experience when working on Windows. Each time that you install a new virtual machine, you’re asked for input on the primary task that you plan to perform on it. For example, if your plan is to play video games, simply select the “Games Only” option, and Parallels Desktop for Mac automatically does various optimizations in the background for a smoother gameplay experience. Other options include Productivity, Software Development, Software Testing, and Design, which makes any virtual machines you create suitable for multiple tasks.

VM optimizations doesn’t stop at just that. Parallels Desktop for Mac features unique proprietary technology that empowers your VMs with multiple vCPUs for unparalleled processing power. Each virtual machines that you create receives up to four vCPUs, allowing you to run even sophisticated applications with no bottlenecks in regards to available processing capacity. Further, you don’t have to worry about running out of system memory either – Parallels Desktop for Mac allocates up to 8 GB of vRAM for each VM. Also choose to manually configure the amount of resources allocated to VMs for maximum control over the system resources on your Mac.

What You Get with Parallels Toolbox

When you purchase Parallels Desktop for Mac, you also gain access to the Parallels Toolbox. If you’re wondering what that’s all about, the Parallels Toolbox is in fact a collection of one-click tools that should make your everyday life easier. Whether it’s taking a screenshot, converting a video, or recording sounds, the Parallels Toolbox lets you do that in record time with convenient access to the toolset via the Mac menu bar. With over 30 tools to play around with, the Parallels Toolbox isn’t limited to just the OS X either – expect them to work on your virtual machines as well, with additional tools designed solely to take advantage of Windows.

Should I Buy It?

Parallels Desktop for Mac provides an all-encompassing solution to Mac users looking to work with Windows. Rather than limiting itself to simply running Windows within a VM, Parallels Desktop for Mac in fact goes beyond that by offering seamless integration with the OS X. Whether it’s rapidly switching between operating systems, opening a Windows-based application directly via the OS X, or transferring files in next to no time, Parallels Desktop for Mac makes all of that possible. Tons of performance enhancements also ensure that you have no trouble working with demanding applications either. Last but not least, you gain access to the Parallels Toolbox, which is an awesome addition in its own right. If you are looking for VM software for your Mac, you don’t have to look any further than this.