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Installing Windows on your Mac using Parallels Desktop

APPLIES TO:
  • Parallels Desktop for Mac Business Edition
  • Parallels Desktop for Mac Home Edition
  • Parallels Desktop for Mac Pro Edition
  • Parallels Desktop Lite

This article gives instructions on installing Windows on your Mac for the first time to use with Parallels Desktop.

You can also:

  • Import data from your Windows PC to your Mac. For instructions, see KB 123929. If you are using Parallels Desktop 12 or later, please visit KB 123929

  • Upgrade an existing Windows 7, 8 or 8.1 virtual machine to Windows 10. For instructions, see KB 122884.

Step 1: Install Parallels Desktop for Mac

If you are new to Parallels Desktop for Mac, download the latest version here.

If you are already a Parallels Desktop user, proceed with the next steps.

Step 2: Download Windows

If you are running Parallels Desktop for Mac 12 or 13 you can easily download Windows 10 via Parallels Desktop. Click on Parallels icon in Mac menu bar > New... > Get Windows 10 from Microsoft > Download Windows 10.

If you are running an earlier version of Parallels Desktop for Mac, visit this page to Download Windows 10 from Microsoft.

For earlier versions of Windows, please refer to retail stores or authorized online resellers, including Amazon.com.


Please note that Parallels Desktop does not include a Microsoft Windows license. If you don’t have a Windows copy, you can purchase Windows 10 from the Microsoft Online Store:

Note: visit this page if you need help to choose Windows 10 edition: Home or Pro.


Step 3: Create a new virtual machine

Open Parallels Desktop.app from the Applications folder and choose File > New.

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Click Install Windows or another OS from DVD or image file, then click Continue.

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Step 3: Select the installation media

You may install Windows from a DVD or an .iso disc image, or a bootable USB drive.

Important: Windows installation files with an .exe extension can be used only to upgrade an existing Windows virtual machine (VM). If you are performing a new install to create a new Windows VM, the .exe installation file will not work. Please contact a retailer to request either a physical disc or an .iso image.

Parallels Wizard will detect the installation media automatically for installing 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 install Parallels Tools manually after the Windows installation.

When you are ready, click Continue.

Step 5: Select how you want to use Windows

Select how you want to use Windows in Parallels Desktop for Mac Home Edition:

  • Productivity
  • Games only

And in Parallels Desktop for Mac Pro and Business Editions:

  • Software development
  • Software testing
  • Design

To learn more about virtual machine profiles, visit KB 123878.

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/Parallels/.

If you want to change your default virtual machine settings select Customize settings before installation. These settings can also be changed easily after installation.

Step 7: Begin the installation

Click Continue and Windows installation will begin. Once Windows is installed, launch it by opening a Windows application or by clicking the Power button in the Parallels Virtual Machines list.

Important: The first time you start Windows, Parallels Tools will be installed to allow seamless operation between Windows and OS X. Please do not cancel or stop the installation process. Once the Parallels Tools are installed, you will be prompted to restart Windows.

Troubleshooting

If you have any problems installing Windows from a 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 DVD.

Other ways to create a Windows virtual machine using Parallels Desktop

It is possible to create a Windows virtual machine by:




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