This page has instructions on installing Windows on your Mac for the first time to use with Parallels Desktop.
You can also:
- Upgrade an existing Windows 7, Vista, or XP virtual machine to Windows 8. For instructions, see KB114985 Windows 8 upgrade: step by step instructions and tips for Parallels Desktop users.
- Import data from your Windows PC to your Mac. For instructions, see KB115007 How to migrate Windows PC to Parallels Desktop 8 Virtual Machine.
To install Windows on your Mac using a Microsoft Windows installation DVD disc or an .iso disk image file:
Step 1: Purchase Windows
Parallels Desktop for Mac does not include Microsoft Windows. If you don't already have a Windows installation disc or .iso disk image, you can purchase Windows on a DVD disc from many retail stores that sell software or online from retailers such as Amazon.com or the Microsoft Online Store. To install Windows 8, purchase a Windows 8 System Builder DVD.
Step 2: Create a New Virtual Machine
Open Parallels Desktop (in the Applications folder) and choose File → New.
Click Install Windows or another OS from DVD or image file and click Continue.
Step 3: Select the installation media
You may install Windows from a DVD or an .iso disk image or a bootable USB drive.
Important: Windows installation files with an .exe extension can only be used to upgrade an existing Windows Virtual Machine. If you are performing a new Windows install to create a new Windows Virtual Machine, the .exe installation file will not work. Please contact the retailer to request either an .iso image or physical DVD.
Parallels Wizard will automatically detect the installation media you want to use to install Windows
You can also switch to manual mode and choose the source for Windows installation
Step 4: Enter your Windows product key
Click Continue. In the Windows Product Key window, leave Express installation selected:
Note: If you uncheck Express installation, you will need to manually install Parallels Tools after the installation.
When ready, click Continue.
Step 5: Select how you want to use Windows
Select how you want to use Windows:
- Like a Mac: Windows programs appear on the Mac desktop just like Mac applications. Documents and media from Mac OS X and Windows are kept together on your Mac.
- Like a PC: The Windows desktop and programs appear in a single window separate from Mac applications. You can drag and drop objects between Windows and the Mac.
To learn more about Virtual Machine and OS X integration, see Help me choose.
Step 6: Specify a name and location
Name: You may specify a name for your Virtual Machine.
Location: The default location for Parallels Desktop Virtual Machines is /Users/username/Documents/Parallels.
If you want other user accounts on your Mac to have access to this installation of Windows, select Share with other users of this Mac.
If you want to change the default Virtual Machine settings select Customize settings before installation. These settings can also be easily changed later after installation.
Step 7: Begin the installation
Click Continue. The Windows installation begins. Once Windows is installed, you can start it by opening a Windows application or clicking the power button in the Parallels Virtual Machines list.
Important: The first time you start Windows, Parallels Tools are installed to allow seamless operation between Windows and Mac OS X. Please do not cancel or stop the installation process. Once Parallels Tools are installed, you're prompted to restart Windows.
If you have any issues with installing Windows from a CD/DVD or if you don't have a DVD drive, you can use another drive to create an ISO image and install from that. For instructions, see KB 4917: How to create an .iso image from a Windows installation CD.