How to install Windows on Mac using Parallels Desktop (Guide)

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There are several ways to install Windows on a Mac. One of these ways is the built-in technology in Mac OS called BootCamp. However, installing and using Windows on a Mac can be more comfortable, namely with Parallels Desktop.

Parallels Desktop is a so-called Virtual Machine. A virtual machine is a software application that mimics a computer.

Because you can create a virtual machine with Parallels Desktop, you can install Windows on this machine. This makes it possible to start Windows on a Mac. Not only Windows but with Parallels Desktop, you can also install Mac, Linux or Android on your Mac.

Parallels Desktop is so easy to use that anyone without technical knowledge can use it.

In this article, I will explain step by step how to install Windows on your Mac with Parallels Desktop.

Installing Windows on a Mac

Parallels Desktop

To get started, you need to download Parallels Desktop Mac. Install Parallels Desktop the same way you install any application on your Mac.

If you don’t already have a Windows ISO file, but you do have a Windows license code, you can download the Windows ISO file.

Open Parallels Desktop. In the Control Center, click on the + to create a new virtual machine.

add virtual machine

Click on: Install Windows or another OS from a DVD or image file. Then click the Continue button.

new windows installation parallels desktop

Parallels Desktop finds an ISO file automatically. If not, please click on: Choose manual.

select windows iso file parallels desktop

If you: Choose manual, you have the choice of installing Windows from a DVD, image file, or USB drive. Click Continue if you have selected the Windows installation media.

install windows dvd usb of image bestand

In the next window, you can enter the Windows license code to install Windows faster. The installation of Windows will then automatically continue until the end and will no longer ask you to enter a license code during Windows’s installation.

Uncheck this option if you do not want Windows to be installed with a code or do not have a license code yet. Click the Continue button to continue.

windows license code parallels desktop

In the next window, you can indicate what you will mainly use Windows for. Parallels Desktop then applies the Windows virtual machine’s optimal settings, adapted to your Mac computer specifications.

Click the Continue button to continue.

what are going to use windows for parallels desktop

Name the Windows installation on your Mac. Select the location of the Parallels desktop file. Depending on the Windows source file size, it will determine how much disk space your Mac should have available for installation.

At the bottom, you can indicate if you want to get a shortcut on the Mac desktop and if you want to change the settings of the Windows virtual machine for installation.

In this installation process, I assume that you want to adjust the settings for installation. This to give you an idea of what you can customize.

Click the Create button to create a Windows virtual machine on your Mac using Parallels Desktop.

name and location file parallels desktop

The Windows virtual machine is now being created on your Mac.

create virtual machine on mac

Once the virtual machine is created, the options that allow you to customize the Windows virtual machine on your Mac are displayed.

Under the tab: General, you will find the settings to customize the virtual machine name and description. You will also see what you installed the machine for in this example, “Productivity” and the total disk space the Parallels Desktop virtual machine occupies on your Mac.

parallels desktop edit configuration

The following tab: Options. All kinds of options to customize the virtual machine. Think about which folders you want to share with the virtual machine, which e-mail program to use if you wish to the virtual machine to pause automatically. I advise you to check each of these options for yourself and adjust them if necessary.

parallels desktop options

Tab: Hardware. These are settings that you can customize for the virtual hardware that the Windows machine uses. Basically, you don’t have to change anything here. The best settings are taken from your selection, “what you are going to use the machine for.” For example, if you have selected “Gaming,” the best settings of your Mac will be applied to the virtual machine for gaming.

The hardware settings are somewhat advanced for the average user. Again, it is advisable to adjust the virtual hardware settings to suit your needs.

parallels desktop hardware configuration

Parallels Desktop also provides security settings to protect your virtual machine (file). You can apply a password to the virtual machine, which prevents other users of your Mac from starting and modifying the virtual machine.

You can also isolate all Windows settings on your virtual Parallels machine from your Mac. For example, if you share folders or other settings, set the option: Isolate Windows from Mac, the virtual machine will no longer be linked to your Mac.

parallels desktop security settings

You can add backup settings to automatically back up the Parallels virtual machine. If you have set Time Machine, the virtual machine will already be backed up automatically.

If you activate Smartguard in Parallels, snapshots will be taken automatically every so often (which you set). Snapshots are temporary copies of the current state of the virtual machine, this way you can always restore a temporary backup of the virtual machine.

parallels desktop backup settings

Once you have checked all settings and adjusted them where necessary, you can close the configuration by clicking on the red button in the configuration window. The installation of Windows will then continue automatically.

install windows on mac using parallels desktop

Follow the complete Windows installation process, and you have successfully installed Windows on your Mac.

windows installation on mac

If you have any questions, please use the comment field below. I will be happy to help you, thanks for reading!

Read more: Learn how to make Mac faster.

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