Available article translations:

1. Installing guest OS

  • Parallels Desktop 3 for Mac Standard Edition
  • Parallels Desktop 2.x for Mac Standard Edition


In general, installation of guest OS inside Parallels Desktop for Mac is similar to the installation on a real PC. Below are general steps to install OS from a physical CD/DVD or CD/DVD .iso image:

  1. In the Parallels Desktop for Mac window click on the "CD/DVD-ROM 1" in the "Resources" list. This opens the Configuration Editor window with CD/DVD-ROM Options. Make sure that the "Enabled" and "Connect at startup" options are checked.
  2. Connect the CD/DVD-ROM with the guest OS distribution:
    1. If you want to install your operating system from a real CD/DVD: in the CD/DVD-ROM Options screen, click on the "Use real CD/DVD-ROM" option and specify which real drive to connect to the virtual device in the "CD/DVD-ROM Drives" list. Then simply insert the CD/DVD disk with the operating system distribution into the appropriate drive of your computer.
    2. If you’re installing from an .iso image file: in the CD/DVD-ROM Options screen, click the "Use image file option" and specify the path to the .iso distribution file in the Image File field.
  3. Save the virtual machine configuration. To do this, click OK on the Configuration Editor screen, then click the Save button in the Parallels Desktop window or select Save in the File menu.
  4. Start the virtual machine by clicking the "Power On" button on the toolbar. Capture the input devices in the guest OS screen by clicking inside Parallels Desktop window. Follow the installation instructions for the specific operating system.

Please take a minute to check the following tips:

  • Please make sure that you click your pointer cursor inside Parallels Desktop for Mac window with running VM in order to switch your pointer and keyboard to the VM. You can release it later by hitting Ctrl+Alt (by default).
  • If you are installing Windows 2000/XP/2003 inside Parallels Desktop for Mac on a Macbook or Macbook Pro you need to press "F8" with "Fn" key in order to accept Windows License Agreement. This also works for any other "Fx" key and for the "Delete" key.
  • After starting your Virtual machine if you see only black DOS-like screen with VM memory ammount and "No Boot Device available" message you need to stop the VM, click on the "Hard Disk" link in the main configuration window, hit "Recreate" button and confirm HDD recreation. Then try starting the VM again.(Important! This operation will delete ALL virtual hard drive content, use it only if you are sure that you want to erase your VM Virtual Hard Disk Drive)

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