Is Windows 10 free for Parallels?

Is Windows 10 free for Parallels? : Windows 10 can be downloaded and installed using Parallels Desktop for free (you can later buy a product key from Microsoft) . You can transfer your files , Windows, and its applications from a physical PC to Parallels Desktop on a Mac. A Windows 10 virtual machine can be imported into Parallels Desktop.

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Of course, you can spend $119 on a Windows 10 or Windows 11 license. The only benefit of activating it is that it enables you to change the appearance of Windows 10 in terms of the desktop, lock screen, styling, removal of watermarks, etc.

This is not necessary for the majority of Mac users who simply want to install Windows-only applications or games on macOS, so you can use Windows 10 for nothing.

Here we show you howyou can easily get Windows 10 on your Mac for free, including Apple Silicon M1 and M2 Macs, in little more than 10 minutes.

If you’re interested in trying Windows 11, you can find instructions how to install Windows 11 on a Mac here.

Best WayTo Run Windows 10 on Mac For Free

The best way to run Windows on a Mac is to install it in a virtual machine.

A virtual machine allows you to run Windows and macOS at the same time so that you can switch between the two at any moment with just one click

By far the best virtual environment on Mac isParallels which makes it extremely easy to install Windows on macOS. With Parallels, you can switch between Windows games or apps and macOS instantly in just a click.

Parallels is also the best way to run Windowson M1 & M2 Macs.

Parallels can install Windows for ARM on M1 Macs which is a specially adapted version of Windows for ARM processors like the M1 and M2 chip.

Note that Parallels can automatically install and download Windows 11 for ARM from Microsoft. Windows 10 for ARM is no longer being developed by Microsoft however so you have to download an old Windows InsiderPreview version of Windows 10 for ARM which is more complicated.

You can download a free trial of Parallels and you can can read our full Parallels review for a more detailed look.

Virtual Machine vs Boot Camp

The alternative to a using a virtual machine is to install Windows in a separate partition on your hard drive using Apple’s Boot Camp.

However this means that you can only boot your Mac in either macOS or Windows at one time – you can’t run them simultaneously.

The other bigdisadvantage is that Boot Camp also does not work with Apple Silicon M1 Macs.

The advantage however is that Boot Camp is completely free whereas Parallels is only free for 14 days.

For the needs of most Mac users that want to run Windows only programs on Mac, using a virtual machine is by far your best option.

Only if the Windows program or game you want to use doesn’t function in virtual environments or demands a lot of graphics processing power should you use Boot Camp.

Examples include games such as Valorant which won’t work in virtual environments due to the Vanguard anti-cheat software or powerful CAD applications andgraphic design software which are highly demanding on your Mac’s resources.

Can You Install Windows 11 on a Mac?

Windows 11 was released by Microsoft on October 5th 2021 and you can now install Windows 11 on a Mac includingM1 Macs.

Windows 11 requires a physical TPM chip to run and although Macs don’t have one, Parallels can now emulate a virtual TPM chip so that Windows 11 will run on both Intel and M1 Macs.

You can find full instructions on how to run Windows 11 on a Mac here.

How To Run Windows 10 on Mac For Free

Before you start, you should have at least:

  • At least 4GB of RAM but we recommend 8GB of RAM if possible
  • At least 40GB of hard drive space free just to run Parallels and Windows. However, if you intend to install lots of games and software we recommend at least double this.

The good news is that if you’re running low on space, you can get anexternal drive for your Mac and install Windows on that although it’s generally better to install it on your Mac hard drive if possible.

Note that If you want to install Windows on an M1 Mac, the following procedure is slightly different and you can find instructions how to install Windowson an M1 Mac for free here.

With this in mind, follow these instructions to install Windows 10 on any Intel Mac for free.

  • Download Parallels for Mac. Although there are other virtual machines are available, Parallels is by far the easiest way to install Windows 10 on Mac.Parallels has been around for many years and the installation process in the latest version of Parallels is now so automated and refined then it even downloads and install Windows 10 for you. All you need to do is install Parallels itself. You don’t even need to purchase it to try it – you can download a free trial ofParallels instead.
  • Double click on the Parallels installer. Note that you can’t just drag it into your Applications folder – you need to run the installer for Parallels to install in macOS. You may see a warning that “Parallels is an application downloaded from the internet. Are you sure you want to open it?” Click Open and you will then need to enter your Mac admin password in order to allow the installer to run.
  • If you’ve never installed Parallelson your Mac before, when the installer is complete it will automatically launch the Windows 10 installation wizard. This conveniently installs Windows 10 on your Mac with no further action needed from you. Simply click Install Windows at the bottom and then skip to step 5 and sit back for about 10 minutes while Windows 10 downloads and installs.
  • If you have previously tried installing Parallels on your Mac before, Parallels will detect this and you may not see the auto-installer above. Instead you will see the New Virtual Machine installation assistant below. Click on Get Windows 10 From Microsoft.
  • You’ll be given a choice of Windows versions to choose from. Select the last option Download Windows 10 – don’t worry about the “If you have a license key” warning because as highlighted in the introduction to this tutorial, you no longer need to activate Windows 10 to actually use it.
  • Parallels will then download a free ISO image of Windows 10. The ISO image is a fully functional free “unactivated” version of Windows 10. The only benefit that activation offers is the ability to customize Windows 10 with wallpapers, themes, lock screens etc and it also removes a small watermark on the lower right hand corner of Windows so you really don’t have to pay for an license if you don’t want to.
  • If for any reason Parallels can’t download Windows 10, you can download the free ISO image of Windows 10 from Microsoft yourself and put it on a Pen Drive with at least 5GB of space. You would then haveto select the second option in the Virtual Machine Wizard Install Windows from a DVD or Image File. If you go this route, make sure you download the 64-bit version of Windows and not the 32-bit version.
  • Before the Windows installerstarts, you will be prompted to create a Parallels account. This is done instantly when you enter your email and click Create Account – you don’t have to wait for any confirmation emails or anything, you just have to choose a password. You can also use your Facebook or Google account to sign-up instead.
  • When you’ve created a Parallels account, you will see Windows being setup just as if you were installing it on a PC. This can take up to to ten minutes to complete and you’ll see a progress bar across the bottom.
  • After the installer has run,Windows will start the final setup phase. Don’t worry if it seems to hang as it’s still working.
  • Windows will then go into the final setup phase and you’ll then be warned it could take several minutes (although it should only be a few minutes at most). Make sure you don’t turn off your Mac or press anything.
  • Finally, you’ll seean “Installation Complete” message and hey presto, you’ve got Windows 10 on your Mac.
  • When you use Windows for the firsttime, you will hear and see various pop-ups in Windows as Parallels automatically detects hardware on your Mac. This is one of the best things about Parallels as it instantly integrates Windows with your Mac. With other virtual environments, you usually have to manually configure ports, hardware and sharing between your Mac and PC but Parallels automates the entire process so that your Mac and PC work in harmony from the start. You’ll even see all of your Mac desktop documents on your Windowsdesktop without having to do anything.
  • You may also see a Windows Activation screen pop-up but you can simply click Close it unless you’ve bought a full license for Windows and have a product key.
  • If you’re installing Windows only Office applications,we’ve provided full instructions on how to run Publisher on Mac and run Access on Mac. You can also install Office by going to the Windows 10 Start Menu and selecting Get Office.

That completes the free installation of Windows 10 on your Mac.

The free trial of Parallels will end after 14 days, which is the only expense you’ll incur. The decision to purchase a license for $79 is then yours to make. 99 or a $79 yearly subscription. 99 annually, which also includes no-cost upgrades.

Parallels is updated frequently to keep apace ofupdates to macOS and Windows so this may work out cheaper in the long run than having to buy a new version every year if new versions of macOS and Windows are released

You dont have to upgrade every year but the likelihood is youll need to upgrade at least every 2-3 years or so as Macs, macOS and Windows evolve

One thing to be aware of is that you may notice that your Mac’s cooling fans go into overdrive when installing Windows via Parallels and running Windows on your Mac.

This is because running a virtual environment is a very intensive process for your Macs resources and Windows will need a lot of RAM and CPU power to run on your Mac

The system requirements for Parallels are an Intel Core processor with a minimum of 4GB of RAM but it recommends 8GB of RAM

But even when using it on a MacBook Pro with a 2. 3 GHz Intel Core iZ with 8GB is still pushing it. You might find that Windows 10 occasionally consumes all of your CPU resources if you look at Activity Monitor.

Don’t worry, your Mac can handle this. However, to ensure that Parallels and Windows run as smoothly as possible, keep the number of applications you have open on your Mac to a minimum.

Basically, the best advice is to use Parallels on the most recent Mac with the most RAM.

The latest iMac Pros have 8, 10 or 18 Core processors which will handle Parallels virtualization software with ease

The latest version ofParallels has some nice new touches and has been optimized for Mojave.

It supports the new Dark Mode and has a convenient picture-in-picture mode that lets you work in macOS while always having your Windows desktop window visible.

The newest generation of Touch Bar MacBook Pros can only be used with Parallels’ virtual machine for Mac.

You can configure the Touch Bar to launch Windows apps such as Internet Explorer,OneNote, Chrome etc or change volume, brightness and other settings.

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You can see the full set of preconfigured actions and configurations built into Parallels by default below:

You can even configure it so that your Windows Task Bar:

is the same asyour Touch Bar for easier launching of apps:

You can pretty much configurethe Touch Bar to work however you want although it can get quite complicated to setup specific actions as you need to know a little about XML code but you can find full instructions how to do so here

Parallels can be used to install any operating systemincluding Linux and older versions of Windows and macOS (note however that you cant install older versions of macOS or Windows on M1 Macs)

However, we don’t advise installing older versions of Windows unless you really need them, especially as old as Windows XP because it is no longer supported by Microsoft.

We hope this tutorial has shown you how easy it is to install Windows 10 on your Mac for free but if you have any questions, problems or suggestions, let us know in thecomments below

Is parallel free for Mac? : We have included free systems that are accessible to users at no additional cost in our most recent release of Parallels Desktop for Mac. These free systems can be quickly set up with a few mouse clicks.
Is parallel desktop good for Mac? : All home and small office users who want to run Windows on an Apple Silicon- or Intel-based Mac should without a doubt start with Parallels Desktop. It is a seamless virtualization program for Mac users. Despite a few minor hiccups, it’s incredibly quick, smooth, and dependable.
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Due to extensive re-engineering for Big Sur, Monterey, and M1 chips, Parallels 17 is undoubtedly faster than ever. Parallels remains at the forefront of virtualization and is the best way to run Windows on both Intel and M1 Macs despite Boot Camp’s demise and the transition of the newest Macs to ARM M1 processors.

Supports Windows 11 on Intel and M1 Macs

Supports up to 120Hz refresh rates and ProMotion


Requires a subscription

Only 8GB of virtual RAM is available for Home and Student VM installations.

For as long as we can remember,Parallels has always been the best way to run Windows on a Mac and in this Parallels review, we take a look at why.

The latest version of Parallels 18 is also theonly virtual machine that officially supports running Windows 11 on a Mac as it’s the only software that can emulate the physical TPM chip required by Windows 11.

At the moment, it’s also the easiest way to run Windows 11 on M1 and M2 Macs and was the first virtual machine to support the latestApple Silicon M1 chip.

Parallels 18 For Mac is also optimized to make it faster and easier than ever to run Windows and macOS Big Sur, Monterey and the soon to be released macOS Ventura at the same time.

Parallels 18 is also offering a 50% discount tostudents and teachers making it an excellent deal for those in education.

Quick Navigation

  • What Is Parallels?
  • Is Parallels Bad For Your Mac?
  • DoesParallels Slow Down a Mac?
  • Parallels Review: Overview
  • Can Parallels Run Windows 11 on a Mac?
  • Setting Up Parallels
  • How Parallels Works
  • Parallels 17 and Parallels 18 Improvements
  • Parallels M1 & M2 Mac Support
  • Downsides
  • Parallels Pricing
  • Parallels 17 System Requirements

What Is Parallels?

Parallelsis a virtual environment that allows you to conveniently run all those Windows only applications and games that dont run on Mac

In fact, it can run over 200,000 Windows only apps on a Mac according to Parallels

The two operating systems can even be used together when copying and pasting files and documents between macOS and Windows.

Not only this but you can run just about any other operating system in it such as Linux and Android on it which allows you to play games such asAmong Us which aren’t available for Mac.

We think it’s by far the most convenient way to get Windows on your Mac because it’s incredibly easy to setup, launches Windows apps or games quickly and allows you to switch between macOS and Windows instantly.

The last major update to Parallels was inParallels 15 which was a big step-up from previous versions of Parallels because it finally supported DirectX 11 and Apple Metal API which allowed Mac users to play Windows only games such as FIFA, Age of Empires and Fallout.

It also allowed Mac users to use seriouslygraphic intensive apps such as Windows only CAD applications for the first time.

Parallels 16 and 16 5 brought significant speed improvements plus beta support for M1 Macs

Parallels 17 was another evolution in the product as it had to be re-engineered for some fundamental changes in macOS 11 Big Sur, Monterey and beyond intoApple Silicon

Parallels became the only virtualization software to officially support Apple Silicon ARM M1 & M2 chip Macs although other virtual machines have beta versions that support it.

Parallels 18 has extended this support to take full advantage of the M1 Ultra chip in the Mac Studio making it possible to run Windows 11 96% faster than before according to Parallels.

Is Parallels Bad For Your Mac?

Parallels runs in avirtual environment that doesnt affect your Mac in the same way as the macOS operating system installed on your Mac

This means that Parallels can’t actually hurt your Mac in any way. Everything that is done in Parallels is done from within a closed environment on macOS.

However, even in a virtual environment version of Windows, you could get a virus although it would be isolated to your virtual environment and Windows installation it would not touch your Macs hard drive

The copy of Windows that was damaged by a virus in Parallels could be easily reinstalled, leaving your Mac unharmed.

Parallels is therefore perfectly safe to use and will never be able to damage your Mac’s hard drive.

Does Parallels Slow Down a Mac?

Parallels will not slow down macOS in anyway,

In order to isolate any lag to the virtual environment, Parallels runs Windows and other operating systems alongside macOS.

Unlessyou have less than 4GB of RAM, your Mac is more than equipped to handle running two operating systems at the same time although we recommend using at least 8GB of RAM for best results

If you are experiencing any lag in Parallels itself, you can also allocate more of your Mac’s memory to it in the Hardware > Graphics settings.

With this in mind, here we take a closer look at the latest version of Parallels for Mac to see whats new and how it performs

YouMay Also Like:

  • 6 Best Ways To Run Windows on a Mac
  • How To Install Windows on a Mac with Boot Camp
  • How ToInstall Windows 10 for Free on a Mac
  • How To Install Windows on M1 & M2 Macs
  • How To Install Windows 11 on a Mac

Parallels Review: Overview

Before we begin, here’s what’s new in the latestversions of Parallels 17 and 18.

  • The biggest change is official support for Apple Silicon M1 & M2 Macs. You can now run Windows seamlessly on M1 and M2 Macs with Parallels and switch between Windows and macOS 11 instantly.
  • As with most new releases of Parallels, there’s also an improvement in speed. With each release Parallels gets a little bit faster andParallels launches Windows noticeably faster due to a re-engineering effort because of fundamental changes in macOS Big Sur, Monterey and the M1/M2 chip. While using Windows on an M1 or M2 Mac, it feels a lot snappier than before with less lag when using big apps or games. In fact Parallels claims that Windows starts-up 33% faster on an M1/M2 Mac, performs 20% better at handling Windows 10 disk space, 25% faster 2D graphics handling and 28% faster DirectX processing whichimproves the speed and responsiveness of Windows games on a Mac. Support for the M1 Ultra chip in Parallels 18 means that it runs Windows 11 98% faster than previous versions according to Parallels.
  • On both Intel and M1/M2 chip Macs, Parallels claims there’s a 38% increase in speed resuming a paused or shut down Windows session on a Mac.
  • Drag and drop support for text and images between windows including for Quick Notes in Monterey.
  • Parallels takes up lessspace on your hard drive than previous versions. It now takes up to around 16GB which is mainly for Windows 10 or Windows 11.
  • M1‌/M2 chip Macs users can now use BitLocker and Secure Boot due to a virtualized TPM (Trusted Platform Module) chip in Parallels.
  • There’s a new energy saving Travel Mode for when you’re on the move and using your Mac’s battery. This gives an energy saving of 10% compared to the previous version of Parallels.
  • Windows 10can now recognize your macOS battery status in Parallels and activate on low power saving mode when your Mac runs low on battery.
  • You can automatically reclaim cached disk space taken by Parallels when it puts the virtual machine to sleep.
  • You can now zoom and rotate in Windows apps with your Mac Trackpad as well as enhanced Touch Bar support to control Windows applications.
  • A new Do No Disturb Mode whenyou’re using Windows to prevent distractions from notifications while you’re working.
  • Far more print options from Windows including different paper sizes from A0 to envelopes and support for remote printing on networks.
  • Support for OpenGL 3.2 which means Parallels now allows Mac users to run tools like DiaLux for lightening design and Samson for molecular modelling.
  • Apple Pencil and Sidecar support in Windows usingParallels so that you can now use your drawing tablet connected to your Mac within Windows apps too.
  • Parallels 18 also improves support for faster refresh rates ProMotion Displays in the latest M1 Macs and external displays such as theApple Studio Display and Apple Pro XDR.
  • Support for installing Windows 11 on ARM has also been improved with an easier installation process on M1 Macs and support for Xbox and DualShock Bluetooth game controllers in Windows 11 on a Mac.
  • AppleSilicon M1 and M2 Mac can now enjoy better compatibility with Intel (x86) only apps and games when running Windows 11 on ARM in Parallels.
  • Improved USB 3.0 support for live streaming to devices such as the Elgato HD60 and Startech USB 3.0 Video Capture.

Can Parallels Run Windows 11 on a Mac?

Parallels is the only software that supportsrunning Windows 11 on a Mac because it’s the only virtual environment that can emulate the TPM module required by Windows 11.

Although Parallels only supports Direct X 11 at the moment, it will also soon add Direct X 12 required by some games and applications in Windows 11

However, it’s crucial to be aware that while Parallels can run Windows 11 for ARM in Insider Preview on M1/M2 Macs, it can only run Windows 11 for ARM in its standard version on Intel Macs.

You can find full instructions how to install Windows 11 on a Mac here.

You can also watch a version of Windows 11 running in Parallels on an M1 Mac below.

Setting Up Parallels

Parallels is by far the easiest way to install Windows on a Mac because of how much easier its setup process has gotten over the years.

Note that if youre doing this on an M1 or M2 Mac, the setup process is slightly different as it used a different version of Windows called Windows 10 for ARM which is compatible with the new Apple Silicon M1 and M2 chips

Check here to see how to setup Windows on an M1/M2 Mac using Parallels.

Thesetup Wizard makes it easy to install any kind of operating system on a Mac especially Windows and Linux distros

To install Windows, you simply select Get Windows 10 from Microsoft which automatically downloads it for the installation

You can use Windows 10 for free without activating it as you only need to get an activation code from Microsoft if you want to customize it

Alternatively if youve already installed Windows on your Mac using Boot Camp, Parallels can cleverlyimport Windows from that installation

We also like how Parallels optimizes your Windows installation based on how you plan to use it For example, the setup can be customized for gaming, productivity, software development, software testing or design

How Parallels Works

Once youveinstalled Windows, Parallels makes it incredibly seamless to switch between Windows and macOS

You can use Windows and macOS side by side with no restart or reboot required (unlike with Boot Camp where you must choose to boot in either macOS or Windows when you start your machine)

Parallelsis able to run even the most graphic intensive applications within Windows on your Mac including Adobe Photoshop, Visual Studio and powerful CAD software such as SketchUp and AutoCAD.

You can of course run Microsoft Office applications too including Windows only apps such as Microsoft Publisher and Microsoft Visio

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You can also customize how Windows looks on a Mac. For instance, Coherence Mode enables you to easily run Mac-installed applications directly from the Dock.

You can also run Windows in windowed mode, which displays Windows and its apps in a separate window, if you’d like more separation between your macOS and Windows installations.

Parallels 17 and Parallels 18 Improvements

Because Apple eliminated so-called kexts in macOS 11 Big Sur, Parallels had to significantly re-engineer Parallels 17.

Kexts, also referred to as conventional kernel extensions, are what programs like Parallels use to run other operating systems inside of macOS.

Apple ditched them in the newest generation of Macs built from late 2020 onwards however on security grounds Moving to an Appleonly internal hardware system also gives Apple much more control over the performance of Macs and macOS

As a result, Parallels 17 is noticeably the fastest Parallels ever with Windows apps launching extremely quickly.

It’s also much quicker to wake a virtual machine from sleep when you’re not using it.

Shared printing from Windows is now available for the first time meaning if your Mac is connected to an office network, you can print to anyprinter.

Parallels 17 is also far more efficient at reclaiming disk space used by Parallels when it puts a virtual machine to sleep

The first updated virtual machine for macOS Monterey was Parallels 17.

One of the most useful touches has been the improved drag and drop supportwhich now allows you to easily drag and drop text and images into macOS Monterey Quick Note from Windows apps

For Linux users, Parallels 17 was also updated so that you can enjoy multichannel sound support with sound jackdetection It also dynamically updates the resolution when you resize a Linux window now

Parallels 17 also features much better support for USB devices such as external drives, drawing pads and printers. This includes support for USB 3.1 devices and SSD drives such as the Samsung T7 Touch and Pro Elite Portable SSDs.

Other improvements include:

  • Betterdisk space control so you can clearly see how much space your Windows installations are consuming. Parallels 17 will also better evaluate how much RAM and other resources your Mac is using to run Windows and re-allocate where necessary.
  • Shift+Option+Command+V support to paste unformatted text from macOS into Windows
  • Ability to use the Mac Option key to work at AltGr in Windows 10
  • In the Pro and Business Editions of Parallels, you can also create an independent virtualmachine from a linked clone
  • The Pro and Business Edition also have better support for Visual Studio 19 on M1/M2 Macs
  • Business admins can also provision pre-configured Windows machines to M1/M2 Macs

With greater support for the M1 Ultra chip in the Apple Studio for running Windows 11, Parallels 18 was a much more subtle update.

Improvements in Parallels included:

  • Improved support for faster refresh rates ProMotion Displays in the latest M1 Macs andexternal displays such as the Apple Studio Display and Apple Pro XDR.
  • An easier installation process for Windows 11 on ARM on M1 Macs and support for Xboxand DualShock Bluetooth game controllers in Windows 11 on a Mac.
  • M1 and M2 Mac now enjoy better compatibility with Intel (x86) only apps and games when running Windows 11 on ARM in Parallels.
  • Better USB 3.0 support for live streaming to devices such as the Elgato HD60 and Startech USB 3.0 Video Capture.

Parallels M1 & M2 Mac Support

One of the biggest innovations in Parallels in recent years was the addition ofsupport for installing Windows on Apple Silicon M1 Macs and the more recent M2 Macs.

The M1 and M2 chips are based on Apples own Silicon technology and the same kind of chip you get in iOS devices such as iPads and iPhones

Parallels has a very close relationship with Apple and even as far back as the Apple WWDC 2020, Parallels demonstrated Linux running in Parallels on a Mac with AppleSilicon

In April 2021, Parallels 16 5 was released which allows you to install Windows on M1 Macs and Parallels 17 now makes this support official

Parallels 18 has improved support for the M1 Ultra chip in the Mac Studio for even faster running of Windows 11 on ARM especially on ProMotion Displays

Parallels was the first virtual machine to do this and shows how committed they are to keeping up with not only the latest versions of macOS but the latest changes in Mactechnology too

Parallels does this by using an M1/M2 chip compatible version of Windows known as Windows 11 for ARM which isnt exactly the same as the normal version of Windows thats installed on all PCs

You can find full details and instructions here on how to install Windows on M1 & M2 MacBooks and Mac Minis using Parallels.


On a performance level, Parallels will still only allocate 8GB of virtual RAM (vRAM) in the Standard Edition and 128GB of Virtual RAM in the Business and Pro edition to each VM installation

Although the 128GB in the Business and Pro versions is enough for most needs, the Home and Student edition limit of 8GB becomes a problem if youre running more than a few apps or a graphic intensive program

On M1 and M2 Macs, Parallels can only install Windows 11 for ARM which isntcompatible with all Windows software either but as Microsoft improves the x86 emulation in Windows 11 for ARM (which allows it to run 64 bit Intel only games and apps) this should become less of an issue

You can no longer install Windows 10 on ARM on M1 or M2 Macs with Parallels as Microsoft is no longer supporting development of Windows 10 on ARM as it is focusing on Windows 11.

Parallels Pricing

Parallels 18 offers3 different versions: Home & Student ($99.99), Desktop Pro ($119.99/year) and Desktop Business ($149.99/year).

All prices have increased slightly in Parallels 18 vs Parallels 17

TheHome & Student version is the one that most general users need.

Parallels 18 is also offering a 50% discount to students andteachers as part of a new academic promotion.

The Business Version of Parallels is aimed at large enterprises that need to manage multiple licenses of Parallels in an office environment The Pro version of Parallels is aimed at developers of apps and games that need debugging tools such as support for Microsoft Visual Studio

Both a standalone version and a subscription version are available for every version. Both were ($99). The standalone version will eventually need an upgrade, which will cost $69. 99, but you won’t have to pay that. 99.

If you choose the $99.99 subscription model, all upgrades are included and since each new release of macOS requires Parallels to be updated, especially with macOS Ventura about to be released, this makes much more sense.

A 30-day money-back guarantee is available if you purchase directly from Parallels, but it does not apply if you purchase it from another merchant.

Theres also a 50% Educational Discount for educators and students from the Standard Edition

As an incentive to go for the subscription model, Parallels are also offering Parallels Toolbox andParallels Access for free with new subscription purchases of Parallels 18.

Parallels Toolbox offers some useful utilities to smooth integration between Windows and macOS (such as file sharing, drag and dropping, printer sharing etc)

Parallels Access is aremote desktop solution which allows you to access a Windows installation on your Mac from your iOS and Android device.

You can also try a free 14 day trial of Parallels 18 to test it foryourself first.

Parallels 17 System Requirements


  • A Mac computer with an Intel Core 2 Duo, Core i3, Core i5, Core i7, Core i9, Intel Core M , Xeon processor or M1/M2 chip
  • Minimum 4 GB of memory, 16 GB is recommended
  • 600 MB for Parallels Desktop application installation
  • Additional disk space for the guest operating system (at least 16 GB is required for Windows 11)
  • SSD drive isrecommended for better performance
  • Internet connection for product activation and select features


  • macOS Ventura 13.0
  • macOS Monterey 12.0
  • macOS Big Sur 11.0
  • macOS Catalina 10.15
  • macOS Mojave 10.14
  • macOS High Sierra 10.13
  • DirectX 11 requires at least macOS Mojave 10.14, but works best on macOS 10.15.3 Catalina or newer.
What is Parallel Desktop on Mac? : Parallels Desktop for Mac is desktop virtualization software that allows Microsoft Windows, Linux and Google Chrome OSes and applications to run on an Apple Mac computer The software integrates the guest OS into macOS, allowing it to mimic native OS performance
Read Detail Answer On What is Parallel Desktop on Mac?

Parallels Desktop is the best option for home and small business users if they want to run a complete Windows system on an Intel Mac. Additionally, it is currently the only option that is practical for running Windows on Apple Silicon devices. With its quick performance, tight host-guest machine integration, and regular updates that keep it compatible with the most recent Windows and macOS operating systems, Parallels is a great choice for virtualization. The virtualization software that won Editors’ Choice from PCMag is Parallels Desktop.

Parallels Desktop is slightly less stable and enterprise-friendly than VMware Fusion, but that app performs more slowly and doesn’t yet officially support Apple Silicon hardware. Freeware VirtualBox won’t run on an Apple Silicon Mac, either, and is too unstable for regular use. The free, experimentalUTM app(Opens in a new window), based on the open-source QEMU emulation software, can run Windows on Apple Silicon, but is frustrating to set up and lacks all the conveniences built into Parallels.

Parallels Desktop offers Standard, Pro, and Business editions of its software The Standard edition, which is intended for home users, costs either a one-time permanent-license fee of $99 99, or $79 99 per year for a subscription Students can get the Standard edition for $39 99 per year The subscription includes any upgrades to new versions of the software during the payment period, while anyone who buys apermanent license option is not eligible for free version updates The Pro and Business editions cost $99 99 per year You can try any version free for 14 days

I strongly recommend going with the subscription, because the Parallels app is so deeply integrated with macOS, and because new iterations of macOS often require new versions of Parallels If, however, youve already bought a one-time license to the Standard edition, you can upgrade to a Pro subscription for $49 99 per year insteadof paying the full Pro version subscription price You can also purchase a one-time upgrade to the latest, single-license version of Parallels Desktop’s Standard edition for $49 99

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The Standard version supports virtual machines with 8GB of RAM and four virtual CPUs; the Pro version upgrades those specs to 128GB of RAM and 32 CPUs If youre using graphics- ormath-intensive Windows software, youll need the Pro version A Business version, priced identically to the Pro version and with the same support for RAM and CPUs, offers centralized management and a single volume license for multiple machines The Pro and Business versions include a kiosk-like rollback feature that makes it easy to run an emulated system without saving any changes in it when it shuts down All versions support a snapshot feature that lets you manually roll back to an earlierversion, but the kiosk-like feature is the practical and effortless choice for corporate and educational setups

VMware Fusion is pricierthan Parallels Desktop It charges $149 for the standard Player edition and $199 for the Pro version Upgrades to the latest version of the Player edition for current users cost $79, while upgrades for Pro users to the latest Pro version cost $99 Notably, VMware offers a free version that lets you run existing emulated systems, but not create new ones

If price is what matters most, you can use the freeVirtualBox or UTM solutions, keeping in mind that UTM, but not VirtualBox, is usable on an Apple Silicon Mac. Still, you’re better off spending money for VMware or Parallels rather than struggling with the free apps. Check out our article on how to run Windows apps on your Mac for additional free options.

What Platforms Does Parallels Desktop Support?

On an Apple Silicon Mac, Parallels lets you run the freely available and ARM-based developer beta versions ofWindows 10 or Windows 11 You can also run ARM-based versions of LinuxParallels has a menu that lets you download and install ARM-based Debian, Fedora, Kali Linux, or Ubuntu If youre running macOS Monterey, you can run a special version of it virtually However, this special version doesnt support any of the tight host-guest integrationfeatures that Parallels offers to those running macOS guest systems on Intel machines

On a Mac with an Intel CPU, you can create virtual systems that run any Intel-based Windows or Linux versions, plus any recent Intel-based versions of macOS from your recovery partition On these devices, the download menu includes multiple flavors of Android, Linux, and Windows

You can also install any supported system from a disk image or DVD, as well as import an existing Windows systemover a network after installing Parallels transfer software on the original machine Keep in mind that you need to buy a license for any virtual Windows systems, except for developer betas

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You can’t download a version ofParallels Desktop that lets you run emulated systems on Windows or Linux platforms the way you can with VMware Fusion. That means, with Parallels, you’re restricted to running your virtual machines on a Mac. VMware doesn’t yet officially support Apple Silicon devices, but you can download a public preview of an Apple-Silicon-compatible version(Opens in a newwindow)

For gaming and graphics-intensive apps, Parallels Desktop, like VMware Fusion, supports DirectX 11 graphics, but not DirectX 12, which brings new ray-tracing and machine-learning capabilities VirtualBox works with DirectX up to version 9 The only way to get DirectX 12 graphics on a Mac is to install Windows via a Boot Camp partition on an Intel-based Mac Unless youre a serious Windows gamer or run high-powered Windows scientific and graphic apps, DirectX 11support is likely sufficient

Recent versions of macOS won’t let you run older 32-bit apps, but if you have an Intel Mac, then Parallels, like VMware Fusion, lets you run older macOS versions (Mojave and earlier) that support these apps on virtual machines. Our story on how to run 32-bit apps in macOS Catalina has all the details.

Getting Started With Parallels Desktop

When you install Parallels Desktop, the app walks you through the process of setting up the permissions it needs, instead of sending youto your Macs System Preferences to sort them out on your own I wish more vendors took the trouble to make this process as smooth as Parallels does

You must first follow the instructions in the app to download the preview version of Windows 11 for ARM devices if you’re installing Parallels on an Apple Silicon-based Mac. The Create New menu appears next, where you can configure a Windows system using the disk image you downloaded in the previous step or select one of a few free included Linux systems. Parallels lists every virtual system you have in a single window it calls the Control Center, just like VMware Fusion and VirtualBox do.

The easiest way to install the ARM-based previewversion of Windows 11 is from a disk image. If you aren’t already a member of Microsoft’s Insider Preview program, follow the instructions that Parallels provides and then drag the disk image you download from Microsoft into Parallels’ window. Parallels then gives you a choice of configuring your system for productivity or only full-screen games. In testing, Parallels created and started the Windows guest system in less than a minute. Windows then installed itself in less than five minutes—notmuch slower than the process would take when installing directly on hardware.

Host and Guest Integrations

Parallels offers seamless integrations between the macOS host and the virtual guest systems that it oversees, much like VMware Fusion and VirtualBox. For instance, you can drag and drop files between your Windows or Linux guest and your Mac host, as well as, for Intel Macs only, your macOS guest system. Additionally, you can share the clipboard between the two operating systems and, if desired, start Windows-based programs on your Windows system to access files on your host Mac.

By default, when Windows starts up under Parallels, the folders on your Mac’s desktop also appear on your Windows desktop. The same setting is now the default in VMware Fusion. For me, this configuration is a bad idea, because I keep some Mac apps on my Mac desktop. Mac apps are technically folders (called application bundles) that the Mac displays as if they wereindividual files. Windows can’t handle application bundles correctly and simply displays them as folders on your desktop. You can easily mess up your Mac apps if you start exploring these folders on your Windows instance. I always turn off the option to share the desktop between my Mac and any guest system. Even if you do this, Parallels still has a convenient Mac Files shortcut on the Windows desktop that lets you access any of your Mac folders on your virtual Windows system.

Parallels, like VMware Fusion and VirtualBox, lets you run Windows in three ways: with the Windows desktop running in a window on your macOS desktop, in a full-screen mode, or via what Parallels calls Coherencemode In Coherence mode, Parallels shows only a single Windows app on your Mac desktop in its own window and hides the rest of the Windows desktop As I discuss in a later section, Parallels Desktop switches in and out of these modes quickly and seamlessly

Other aspects of day-to-day computing work as expected. For example, the same printers installed on your Mac appear in the print dialog in your Windows apps. When you attach a USB peripheral, a clear menu pops up to let you choosewhether the device will be accessible in your Windows or Mac systems. You can send Windows-only keystrokes like Break or PrintScreen via a menu on your Mac. All these features are also available in VMware Fusion (for Intel Macs only), but Parallels does a better job of implementing them, with more lucid dialogs and better-organized menus.

Additional Features and Customizations

Start a virtual machine in Rollback mode is one of the main benefits of Parallels Desktop for Pro subscribers. A guest Windows, Mac, or Linux system can be operated in this mode just like a kiosk. To put it another way, the machine restarts in its initial state every time. It’s a helpful feature for those who like to play around with software without permanently altering the system. Parallels is the only emulation tool that offers this useful kiosk-style mode in addition to supporting snapshots, which let you save a guest system’s current state.

Parallels Desktop, by default, muscles into your Mac with features that you may or may not find convenient For example, drives on your emulated system appear in the Finders sidebar and applications that you run in Windows show up onthe dock You can bring all these integration features under control, but you have to spend some time exploring Parallels menus to get everything to work the way you want

One other minor annoyance is that the app pops up dialogs inviting you to buy a utility suite called Parallels Toolbox. It’s a set of miscellaneous tools for reading barcodes, taking screen captures, and more, and it has nothing to do with virtualization and doesn’t add anything to the virtualization experience. You canturn off the advertising dialogs, but you can’t remove the Install Parallels Toolbox menu item.

Speed and Performance

The most impressive aspect of Parallels Desktop is its speed On an M1-based MacBook Pro, Windows 11 booted to the desktop in 9 seconds and needed 2 seconds to resume the system after I had suspended it That’s spectacularly fast The freeware UTM, on the same machine, booted Windows 11 in 12 seconds, which is almost as fast, but UTMdoesnt offer Parallels deep integration features

On an older MacBook Pro with an Intel processor, Windows 11 booted to the desktop in 34 seconds and resumed in 4 seconds. On the same Intel machine, VMware Fusion required 43 seconds to boot Windows 11 to the desktop and 15 seconds to resume from a suspended state. VirtualBox started Windows 11 in 38 seconds, but once I got to the desktop, I found its performance to be unusable.

In comparison to competing similar modes, Parallels’ various display modes also operated more quickly and fluidly. For instance, I was able to move a Windows app’s window around my Mac desktop while it was running in Parallels Coherence mode without experiencing the choppy or slow responses I had experienced with competing emulators. When I entered and exited Coherence mode, Parallels completed the task quickly and without any visual interruptions. VirtualBox and VMware Fusion changed between modes more slowly and with distractingly small windows that appeared and vanished on the screen.

The price thatParallels pays for its speed may be its reliability. The current version is a lot more stable than previous ones, but even with the new version, I experienced one lockup while Parallels was updating its host-guest integration tools. I had to shut down the app from my Mac’s Force Quit menu. That experience won’t stop me from using Parallels when I need to run Windows apps, but it has made me cautious about backing up often from those apps. By contrast, I’ve never experienced a lockup with VMwareFusion. VirtualBox, however, is unreliable, with frequent crashes during setup.

Seamless Virtualization Software for Mac Users

Parallels Desktop is the obvious first choice for all home and small office users who want to run Windows on an Apple Silicon- or Intel-based Mac Its terrifically fast, smooth, and, despite minor glitches, reliable Parallels Desktop remains our Editors’ Choice winner for emulation software

VMwareFusion may be a better choice for large corporations and educational sites that need absolute reliability and the option to run virtual machines on Windows and Linux platforms, in addition to Macs


  • Runs ARM-based Windows on an M1 Mac

  • Faster than rivals in testing

  • Smooth graphics performance for gaming and supports DirectX 11

  • Installs macOS from recovery partition on Intel-based Macs

  • Kiosk-like rollback mode

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  • Not as stable as VMware Fusion

  • Potentially confusing integrations between Windows guest and Machost

The Bottom Line

Parallels Desktop is the best and fastest emulation software for running Windows, Linux, and even older versions of macOS on Intel-based Macs. If you need to run Windows on an Apple Silicon machine, it’s the only practical option.

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Additional Question — Is Windows 10 free for Parallels?

Is parallels Free for Mac M1?

There is a 14-day free, full-featured trial of Parallels Desktop 17. If you are using an M1 Mac, no payment is required to use the Insider Preview of Windows 10 on ARM or Windows 11 on ARM during this 14-day trial.

How long is Parallels free trial?

Try Parallels Desktop for free for 14 days!

What are the Parallels Desktop an example of?

Parallels Desktop is an example of? Explanation: Example of Type 2 hypervisor include VMware Player or Parallels Desktop Hosted hypervisors are often found on endpoints like PCs

How do I remove Parallels Desktop from Mac?

InstructionsQuit Parallels Desktop and shut down your virtual machine. Drag the Parallels Desktop icon to the Trash by opening your Applications folder. Fill the trash can. Restart your Mac.

How much space does Parallels take up on Mac?

600 MB

Is it possible to play Windows games on Mac?

Can I Play a Windows Game on My Mac? You can play most Windows games on your Mac, but it’s more complicated than just installing your favorite game and running it If your Mac supports it, the best way to play Windows games on a Mac is to use Bootcamp to install Windows on your Mac

Is Boot Camp free on Mac?

Boot Camp is a free feature in macOS that enables you to install Windows for nothing on your computer.

Can Macs run Steam?

The latest version of Intel Mac OS X is supported by Steam. or later, since El Capitan. All new macOS applications must be 64-bit and notarized by Apple as of October 14, 2019, in order to use Steam.

Are Macs good for gaming?

Mac computers are excellent for professionals and are great for productivity, but they aren’t made to be gaming computers.

Why is PC better than Mac for gaming?

With the number of different systems and the number of users, PCs have better backwards compatibility, that is, you can run older versions of software or operating systems on new hardware It’s certainly possible to run games on a Mac, but PCs are generally considered better for hard-core gaming

Why doesn’t Apple make a gaming computer?

There isn’t much of a reason for gamers to purchase a Mac if well-known developers aren’t creating games for it. There isn’t enough motivation for major developers to invest the time and money necessary to create their games for MacOS if players don’t demand that they be made available on Mac devices.

Dannie Jarrod

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