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Upgrade to Windows 8.1 from Windows XP

  • Parallels Desktop 9 for Mac Standard Edition
  • Parallels Desktop 8 for Mac Standard Edition


Microsoft has anounced that on April 8, 2014, support and updates for Windows XP will no longer be available.

This article describes the process of upgradng from Windows XP to Windows 8.1.

Warning: We strongly recommend to backup your Windows XP virtual machine before performing the steps below.

Important: To upgrade to Windows 8.1 from Windows Vista or Windows XP, you'll need to install it from a Windows 8.1 DVD and perform a clean installation. This means your files, settings, or programs will not be automatically transferred from Windows XP to Windows 8.1 after you upgrade.

  1. Buy Windows 8.1

    Parallels Desktop for Mac does not include Microsoft Windows 8.1. You can buy Windows 8.1 or Windows 8.1 Pro on a DVD from a participating retailer (DVDs of the upgrade aren't available in all countries and regions).

    Find your product key

    Your product key should be on the box that the Windows 8.1 DVD came in. It looks like this: PRODUCT KEY: XXXXX-XXXXX-XXXXX-XXXXX-XXXXX.

    You'll need to input your product key during installation. It's a 25-character code used to activate Windows.

    Important: If your Mac does not have a DVD drive we recommend to create an .iso image file from the Windows 8.1 DVD either on another Mac equipped with a DVD drive or on a Windows PC (Using a third-party CD or DVD burning program or other program that lets you create disc image files from a CD or DVD).

  2. Start Windows 8.1 installation

    2.1. Insert the Windows 8.1 DVD into your Mac DVD drive or make sure the Windows 8.1 .iso image file is located on your Mac hard disk

    2.2. Start Parallels Desktop, go through the Windows installation process described in our KB #4729 Installing Windows on your Mac using Parallels Desktop starting from Step 2: Create a New Virtual Machine

  3. Consider transferring your personal data from your Windows XP virtual machine to the new Windows 8.1 virtual machine.

    There are several options of transferring files, settings and user profiles from Windows XP virtual machine to your new Windows 8.1 virtual machine:

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