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How much memory should I assign to my Virtual Machine?

  • Parallels Desktop 9 for Mac
  • Parallels Desktop 8 for Mac
  • Parallels Desktop 7 for Mac
  • Parallels Desktop 6 for Mac
  • Parallels Desktop 5 for Mac


Parallels Desktop allocates a certain amount of the RAM memory available on MAC to your Virtual Machine while the rest of it is assigned to MAC OS X.

It is recommended to use/ allot RAM to the Virtual Machine as per the range recommended by Parallels Desktop application based on the resources available on the MAC. 

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

  1. Start Parallels Desktop application, do not start the Virtual Machine (Click on the Parallels Desktop icon in Applications folder).
  2. Right click the virtual machine in the Virtual Machines List and choose Configure --> General tab.

NOTE: If too much memory is allocated to 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, a little memory is allocated to Windows, then Mac OS X applications may run well but Windows programs might be slow.

In case you are running RAM consuming applications in your Virtual Machine, make sure you keep at least 50% of total RAM being still 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 know 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 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 and 9 for Mac

In case you run Parallels Desktop 7, 8 or 9 you may also find useful the following Knowledge base articles:

  • KB 112091 How can I improve virtual machine performance on my Mac?
  • KB 115645 How to tune my Virtual Machine for best performance?

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