Install Visual Studio plugin for debugging in Parallels Desktop Pro Edition

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Note: the Visual Studio plugin is supported on Mac computers with Apple M1 chip starting with Parallels Desktop 17 in Pro and Business Editions.


The Parallels plugin for Visual Studio allows C++ software developers to develop software in one virtual machine and test it in other virtual machines with just one click. To read more about the feature, please visit Parallels Desktop User's Guide.

In order to install the Visual Studio plugin, perform the following steps: 

1. In the virtual machine with Visual Studio, navigate to the directory where Parallels Tools are installed. In most cases, it is C:\Program Files\Parallels\Parallels Tools\DevTools.
2. There are two plugins: the plugin for Visual Studio 2013-2015 and the plugin for Visual Studio 2017 and newer versions. Double-click the respective VMDebugHelper.vsix file. The plugin for Visual Studio will be installed automatically.

To use the plugin, perform the steps below:

1. In the virtual machine where Visual Studio is installed, open Visual Studio and open your project.

2. Build the project and test it locally.

3. Click PARALLELS > Start Debugging in VM and select the virtual machine you need (this virtual machine must be running). Your project will open in the selected virtual machine.

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