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How much memory should I assign to my Virtual Machine?

  • Parallels Desktop for Mac


Parallels Desktop allocates a certain amount of the RAM available on your Mac to your virtual Machine; the rest of it is allocated to Mac OS X.

We advise allocating RAM to your virtual machine in accordance with the range recommended by the Parallels Desktop application based on the resources available on your Mac.

Follow the steps below for more information on the recommended range.

  1. Start the Parallels Desktop application by clicking on the Parallels Desktop icon in the Applications folder Do not start the virtual machine.
  2. Right click on your virtual machine in the Control Center (Virtual Machines List in Parallels Desktop 9 and earlier) and choose the Configure -> General tab.

NOTE: If too much memory is allocated to your Windows virtual machine, Mac OS X may slow down, which in turn can cause Windows programs to slow down because they are running on top of Mac OS X. If, on the other hand, too little memory is allocated to Windows, then Mac OS X applications may run well but Windows programs might be slow.

If you are running RAM-consuming applications in your virtual machine, make sure you keep at least 50% of total RAM allocated to Mac OS (if you have more than 8GB of RAM on your Mac, leave at least 4GB of RAM for Mac OS). To find out how much RAM you have on your Mac click the Apple logo in the top left corner of the screen -> About This Mac.

NOTE: The maximum amount of RAM which can be assigned to the virtual machine is:

  • 8GB in Parallels Dekstop 5, 6 and 7 for Mac.
  • 16GB in Parallels Desktop 8, 9 for Mac
  • up to 64 GB in Parallels Desktop 10 for Mac. See KB 122705 for more information.

If you run Parallels Desktop 7, 8, 9 or 10 the following Knowledge base article may also be useful:

  • KB 112091 How can I improve virtual machine performance on my Mac?

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