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In Mac Last updated: August 11, 2023
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With a suite of incredible apps that can only be used within Windows, it’s one of the most powerful operating systems.

While MacOS is my favorite, some work demands native Windows apps, such as Microsoft Office suite, PC gaming, AutoCAD, PowerBI, MetaTrader, and Visual Studio.

If you’re in the same boat as me and often need Windows for business and personal purposes, you can install Parallels Desktop instead of investing in a new Windows computer. 

This state-of-the-art software allows you to run Windows on a MacOS computer, offering seamless integration options. It’s a cutting-edge way of using both operating systems on the same device and enjoying the best of both worlds. 

While Parallels isn’t one-of-a-kind software, it’s undoubtedly the best tool for running Windows on Mac, thanks to its seamless operation, optimization with Windows 11 and macOS Ventura, and an extensive toolbox with one-touch tools for Mac and PC.

In this post, I share my experience using Parallels Desktop and why I think it’s the best solution for using Windows on Mac.

Introducing – Parallels Desktop

Parallels Desktop is a powerful and cutting-edge desktop virtualization platform that bridges the gap between Mac and Windows operating software and allows you to use both on just one device.

It’s secure, fast, and perfect for rapid mass deployments. Using the software, you can easily run a host of Windows apps on your Mac device in a virtual machine.

YouTube video

It offers home and business versions, so whether you want to use Windows apps to prepare a school project or a work presentation, you have all the powerful Mac and Windows tools under one roof to complete the job.

Through Parallels desktop, you can create a virtual environment on your computers. This environment hosts a separate instance of Windows, which you can install and run just like any other application.

The visualization approach allows you to enjoy the best of both Windows and MacOS on a single device, eliminating the need to switch between devices to get work done.

No more being torn between which operating system to choose. There’s only one best choice – Parallels Desktop. 

Also read: Best Disk Cloning Software for Mac

Installing and Running Windows on macOS using Parallels Desktop

You need to install the software before you get Windows up and running on your Mac device. Here’s your guide to installing and running Parallels Desktop on Mac.

Step 1: Sign up for Parallels My Account.

Step 2: Download and install Parallels Desktop on your Mac computer for free using the trial like you normally would for any app. The following steps are to activate the solution on your device.

A screen showing the installation of a portable desktop.

Step 3: Launch Parallels Desktop. If the installation assistant pops up, you can skip it for now. We’ll come back to this later.

Step 4: Navigate to Parallels Desktop’s dropdown menu on the top left corner of your screen, and click on Account and License.

Mac os x parallels desktop account & license.

Step 5: Sign into the software using your Parallels My Account credentials from the sign-in dialogue box.

Step 6: At the bottom left corner, click on Business Edition or your chosen plan while installing it. This is where you’ll find the Enter Business Key dialog. Enter your Parallels Desktop license key, and click on Activate. You’ll get a confirmation message when the activation is successful.

Step 7: Upon successful installation, the software will detect that you don’t have any virtual machines installed, so you’ll see a screen like this offering you to install Windows on your macOS. This is the installation assistant that you skipped earlier. Click on Install Windows to proceed and start the download.

Download and install windows 10.

Step 8: Once the download is complete, the software will install Windows into a new virtual machine for you automatically. This might take a while, so wait for it to complete.

After the installation process is complete, you’re ready to start using Windows on your Mac computer.

Benefits of Parallels Desktop

There’s a reason Parallels Desktop is the leading desktop virtualization tool, despite there being plenty of competition. The credit goes to how seamless the program can make switching between two operating systems and performing tasks.

Here are some of the many benefits of it:

➡️ One Device – Several Desktops

One of the prime benefits of Parallels Desktop is the visualization software does the work of several computers in one device.

When you want to use Windows, you can switch with one swipe and be on your Windows desktop. With another swipe, you can get back on your MacOS computer.

This makes it much easier to use even non-Mac tools, especially the Microsoft Office Suite (which I frequently use.)

Using Parallels Desktop is much more convenient than having two different devices because it makes changing the OS easier, quicker, and more efficient.

➡️ Run Windows on Mac with or without Boot Camp

Apple knows that you might want to use Microsoft’s operating system on your Mac, allowing you to install Windows through Boot Camp.

Using Boot Camp, you can install and use Windows. However, the catch is – you can’t use the two OS simultaneously. On startup, you have to select from the two OS, and you can use only the selected system at any given time. This is a massive drawback of using Windows on Mac using Boot Camp. 

A computer screen with a screen showing a message and a button.

Here’s where Parallels Desktop turns out to be a blessing. It helps you use Windows on your Mac without Boot Camp and seamlessly switch between the operating systems with one swipe.

It allows you to use both OS simultaneously and transfer files between them, offering you the most powerful integrations possible.

In other news, you can also use Parallels Desktop alongside Boot Camp.

➡️ Seamlessly Switch Between Mac and Windows 

You might wonder how seamless it is to switch between Mac and Windows. For the record, Parallels Desktop offers different view modes.

In Windows mode, you have Microsoft Windows within the MacOS in parallel. When you’re running both operating systems, you can swipe your cursor from one mode to another, and the design of the cursor would change from Mac to Windows in a blink of an eye, indicating the shift. It’s that quick. 

You can also keep both the OS desktops full-screen and shift from one to another with a four-finger single swipe. Quick. Easy. Intuitive. This allows you to use your Mac apps alongside Windows apps, making the switch more accessible and convenient.

➡️ Run Other Operating Systems on Mac 

Besides Windows, you can install and run other operating systems on your Mac using Parallel, including Android and Linux. This could be really useful for testing app functionality across different operating systems or for work and personal reasons.

Features of Parallels Desktop

Parallels Desktop is at the top of its game for good reasons. It offers an extensive range of features, improved performance, and everything in between to give you the best possible experience. Here are some of the main features of this solution:

➡️ Office 365 Integration

Microsoft Office 365 is a cloud-based service that offers a suite of collaboration and productivity tools to streamline work functions. My work requires me to use MS Word, Excel, Powerpoint, and other MS offerings quite often, as these are the most popular programs used in education and work domains.

Since these services are not inherently available on Mac, this is where Parallels Desktop proved invaluable to me, as it allowed me to enjoy its seamless integration with Office 365 and easily use all MS products. And it can do the same for you!

➡️ Parallels Toolbox

Parallels offer a comprehensive toolbox with 40 one-touch tools that tremendously empower your experience with the virtual machine.

Parallels toolbox for mac os x and windows.

These allow you to clean your drive, download files, images, videos, etc., and take screenshots, among many other actions – with just one click.

It’s easy to get the hang of the software and use it for pretty much all your work-related tasks. 

➡️ Remote Access

In this day and age, any product that offers remote access is a goldmine. Parallels Desktop allows you to access your Mac from any iOS and Android device or browser using Parallels Access.

You can be away from your physical device and still use its content remotely from your phone or tablet. Do you realize how easy it would make things for you? You won’t have to carry your device everywhere you go since you’d be able to retrieve files from anywhere! 

➡️ Flexibility

The compatibility range of Parallels Desktop is impressive. It can work perfectly with Windows 11, 10, 8.1, and 7, along with Linux and MacOS, and more. You don’t have to feel torn between investing in a PC or Mac. You can go for a Mac and still be able to enjoy the benefits of Windows.

A desk with a computer, tablet, and phone.

That’s one way to win the hearts of both Mac and Windows fans. We’re getting the benefits of both!

➡️ Performance User Interface

Parallels Desktop comes with a simple and intuitive interface that flaunts rich functionality. Using a single control panel, you manage all your virtual machines, which also is configurational. From installation to getting the system up and running and operating the program, you don’t need much time to get the hang of Parallels to use it like a pro.

You’d also love the appearance and behavior patterns of the program. You can use the desktops in full screen while switching with just a swipe, run it in a separate window, or the coherence mode, depending on your suitability and convenience.

It’s also fast, secure, and does things without much fuss.

➡️ Privacy and Security 

Parallels Desktop ensures that all your connections to its cloud are secured and encrypted. This means the transmitted data from the Parallels Desktop to the cloud is anonymous. It also doesn’t save copies of the original user’s account passwords. You can rest easy that your privacy is maintained and the data is secured.

Parallels Desktop Integration With Host and Guest OS

Parallels Desktop offers unparalleled integration capabilities between host and guest operating systems. Here are some of the ways you can use two operating systems in one device to get work done:

➡️ Sharing Folders

If you want to share and access files from both environments, you can set up a shared folder between the host and guest system using Parallels Desktop.

➡️ Sharing Clipboard

This is probably my favorite integration feature of Parallels. It allows you to synchronize your system’s clipboard and enable easy copy and pasting of texts and images across the host and guest system with next to no effort.

➡️ Peripheral Devices

The program allows sharing of printers, USB devices, and other peripheral devices between the two operating systems. The network connection and internet access can also be shared between the two.

➡️ Seamless integration

The fact that you run both operating systems in a parallel way using the coherence mode makes Parallel Desktop reach the pinnacle of integration. The data between the two is also shared, ensuring a seamless user experience.

Parallels Desktop Vs. Others

As we discussed before, Parallels Desktop isn’t one-of-a-kind software. While it’s the leading desktop visualization tool, there are several alternatives you can try, two of which are VMware and Boot Camp Assistant. The latter is Apple’s native feature, while Parallels Desktop and VMWare are third-party tools. 

Here’s a comparison of these tools based on some common parameters:

Parallels DesktopVMware FusionBoot Camp
UI/UXIntuitiveUser-friendlyLimited interaction
Privacy and SecurityIsolated environmentsIsolation featuresNo virtualization
CompatibilityMultiple OS supportLimitedWindows
PriceStarting at $99.99/year$149Free

Closing Thoughts

The integration capabilities of Parallels Desktop are way more vast than VMware or Boot Camp. It allows unmatched collaboration between the host and guest operating software while being compatible with all the latest Mac, Windows, Linux, and Android versions.

It also features an all-inclusive control panel from where you can manage all your windows, desktops, functions, and features – without having to deal with separate menus. Moreover, Parallels Desktop is faster, more intuitive, and more secure than its competitors.

While the ultimate choice depends upon your needs and budget, for me, Parallels Desktop is a clear winner because of its extensive features, fantastic user experience, competitive pricing, and security.

Next, check out the best virtual desktop solutions for individuals and businesses.

  • Adnan Rehan
    Adnan is a BMS graduate and a senior writer for Geekflare who loves breaking down complex topics into easy-to-understand pieces. He has also written for sites like Sparkian and Techkle. Besides work, you can find him on the football turf or… read more
  • Rashmi Sharma

    Rashmi is a highly experienced content manager, SEO specialist, and data analyst with over 7 years of expertise. She has a solid academic background in computer applications and a keen interest in data analysis.

    Rashmi is… read more

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