A Mac is great and offers all kinds of specialized software. But sometimes you really need a Windows program. Do not be shocked: you do not have to buy a PC. Just open a window and install a virtual Windows system on your Mac with Parallels Desktop.
Windows on your Mac
You have just bought a Mac and find out that your colleagues or acquaintances are using a program that is only available for Windows. Sell your Mac again? Not necessary: just install Windows on your Mac via Parallels Desktop. The program normally costs 79.99 euros, but you can often find offers online so that you usually do not lose more than sixty euros. A free test version for thirty days is available. There are three versions of Parallels Desktop for Mac 13: Standard Edition, Pro Edition, and Business Edition.
The latter two are actually only interesting if you have a very powerful Mac with more than 16 gigabytes of memory since the limit of 8 gigabytes for a virtual machine is removed from these versions. A virtual machine? Yes, with the installation of Parallels Desktop you are not there yet, you have to install a virtual computer on your Mac. This can be a virtual Windows PC but also a virtual Android tablet or virtual Linux computer. How this works, we explain to you in this article.
If you have installed Parallels Desktop, you will first see a screen with options. Most users want to install Windows 10. Which is why this option is displayed large at the top of the screen. Important to know is that you do need a valid Windows license to use the operating system. If you choose to Get Windows 10 from Microsoft, then on the next screen you select whether you want to buy a license directly from the Microsoft Store. If you already have a license, this can also be a license of an older version of Windows, then you choose Download Windows 10.
Then click Install Windows. The installation file is 4.3 gigabytes, so this can take a while. After downloading you will see the familiar Windows logo: the operating system will be installed. If you have an SSD in your Mac, the installation process goes very fast: Windows runs for five minutes. Your virtual system will restart and configure itself in a few minutes. Even if you do not have a license, you can install and use Windows in this way until Windows troubles you that you have not yet activated your system.
4.3 GB download can take a while unless you have a fast internet connection.
With an SSD in your Mac, the installation process goes very fast: Windows runs within five minutes
If everything is configured, you will get the Installation Complete message. Click to continue. Click on it and you’ll see that your Windows system immediately displays all your desktop files from your Mac on your Windows desktop. Windows now run as a program on your Mac, you can simply switch between Windows and your other Mac programs via Cmd-Tab and you change various settings of your virtual Windows system by clicking one of the menu options at the top.
Windows can ask you a few questions, for example, if you want your Windows PC to be found on a network. What you need to do is install Parallels Tools. You do this by clicking Actions / Install Parallels Tools at the top. After this, you have to restart Windows. You do this simply by clicking the Windows button in Windows and choosing On / Off / Restart.
Parallels Desktop automatically makes available a number of gigabytes of your total memory for your virtual system, but you can change this yourself. This is only possible if you have closed the virtual machine. Make sure you have clicked Actions / Configure before you shut down Windows. The settings screen now remains open. Behind Name, you can change the name of your virtual system. This will change the name of the file on your disk. Your complete virtual system is, in fact, one file of a number of gigabytes; you can easily copy it to another location or PC. Click behind Configure for on Change if you want to use the virtual system for something else.
At the top of Hardware, you can choose how much memory and processor power Windows 10 can use. Behind Processors, you choose how many processor cores you make available for your virtual system. Make sure that this is not more than half of the number of available processors. Your Windows system is getting faster, but your Mac is slower of course. The same applies to Memory. On the left, you can choose which loudspeakers or USB devices Windows can use. By default, Windows shares all devices with the macOS mother system. You can also protect the Windows system with a password. You do this at Security behind Encrypt with a password.
By default, Windows shares all devices with the macOS mother system
Windows normally run as a closed system within your Mac, but you can also run Windows programs separately via the Coherence option. Each program gets its own menu bar and it looks like the Windows program is just a Mac program. If you are running a Windows system, choose View / Enter Coherence. Go to your home folder on your Mac and choose Applications (Parallels) / Windows 10 Applications and just open one of the Windows programs. In Coherence mode, you can not use the Windows start menu. You can view the Windows desktop or the Windows start menu if you navigate to Windows 10 with Cmd-Tab. You now see the Mac menu bar of your virtual system. Click View / Windows Start Menu or Show Windows Desktop. If you want to end the Coherence mode, click on View / Exit Coherence.
Windows in your program folder
Do you want to access all your Windows programs from your program folder? Then select a program in your home folder under Applications (Parallels) / Windows 10 Applications and press your right mouse button. Choose to Create the alias and drag this new file to your program folder.
On the road
If you work on your laptop, you notice that the use of a virtual system requires a lot of your battery. Logically, you run two operating systems at the same time. The Travel Mode helps you save energy. Click Actions / Enter Travel Mode at the top and Parallels will put the virtual system in sleep mode if you do not use Windows for a while. You can also put the system into sleep mode for a while. You do this by clicking Actions / Pause. The Suspend option is similar, but when suspended, the memory is released for other processes, this does not happen when pausing. Pausing, on the other hand, goes very fast, suspending takes a few seconds.
The Travel Mode helps you save your battery
Removing a system is very easy. Open the Parallels Desktop program, but do not start your virtual machine. Click on Windows / Control Center to see all your virtual machines. Right-click the virtual machine and choose Remove. In some cases, your right mouse button does not work as you have set in macOS. On a laptop, you have to click on your trackpad with two fingers to open the context menu. Confirm your action by clicking Move to trash.
You can also clone a virtual machine. For this, a virtual system must be turned off. A moon means that the system is sleeping. In this case, click on so that the system starts up and closes it from the system. Click on the system in the Control Center and choose File / Clone. Choose a location and a name for the system and click Save, simple! You can, of course, create a separate partition for all your virtual machines. To then tell Parallels Desktop that it has to install all virtual systems there go to Preferences / General. Behind the Virtual machines folder, you can choose your partition (or folder).
It is even possible to run a second version of macOS via Parallels Desktop
Android on your Mac
Open Parallels Desktop and choose File / New. At the bottom, you see a number of options. For example, choose Download Android, click Continue and then click Download. Within a minute or two you have a running version of Android on your Mac, how nice is that? You just cannot install apps and a browser is missing. Other operating system options are Ubuntu, Fedora, Mint and Debian, all Linux distributions. It is even possible to run a second version of macOS via Parallels Desktop. This can be useful if you want to test an update or try a program quickly and do not want to do this on your main system. To do this, click on File / New and choose to Install macOS Using the Recovery Partition / Continue.