Install Windows 10 on Mac with Parallels Desktop

There are mainly two ways to run Windows OS on a Mac. You can use Apple’s Boot Camp to install Windows on Mac, so you have two operating systems side-by-side on one machine. The other way is to run Windows OS on Mac as a virtual machine. In this case, you run Windows like any other application in the Mac OS. You can use a virtual machine app for Mac, like VirtualBox, Parallels Desktop. 

If you choose to install Windows OS on Mac computer with Boot Camp, you have to choose between booting into Mac OS or booting into Windows on the same computer. The two systems are isolated. If you run Windows as virtual machine on Mac, you boot into the Mac as the host system, then run the Windows virtual machine like you run other apps. You can easily switch between Windows and Mac without rebooting. Files, hardware, network and many other resources can be shared between them. 

In this article, we will outline the steps to install Windows 10 in Mac Mojave with Parallels Desktop. You can actually run through this exact tutorial on any other major operating system as well, Windows 7, Windows 8, 8.1, MacOS Sierra, Mac OS X High Sierra, El Capitan, Yosemite. 

Important tips:

  • Parallels is a paid software, VirtualBox is free. However Parallels performance is significantly better and more feature-rich. 
  • Running Windows OS on Mac OS requires a Mac with sufficient disk space, RAM and CPU.

Parallels Desktop system requirements

Hardware

  • A Mac computer with an Intel Core 2 Duo, Core i3, Core i5, Core i7, Core i9, Intel Core M or Xeon processor
  • Minimum 4 GB of memory, 8 GB is recommended
  • See more details from this Parallels system requirements page.

Software

  • macOS Mojave 10.14
  • macOS High Sierra 10.13.6 or later
  • macOS Sierra 10.12.6 or later
  • OS X El Capitan 10.11.6 or later

Get Parallels and Windows 10

Go to download Parallels on to your Mac;

Then download Windows 10 installation image.

Installing Windows 10 on Mac with Parallels

Launch Parallels Desktop from the Launchpad on your Mac. Its Installation Assistant opens automatically. Click Install Windows or another OS from a DVD or image file

Parallels Desktop for Mac installation assistant

Parallels should be able to find the installation images saved on your Mac automatically. Select the Windows 10 installation image file in iso format. Click Continue. 

Parallels Desktop for Mac installation assistant choose windows 10 installation image

In the next screen, give your Windows virtual machine a name and choose a location to save it. 

Parallels Desktop for Mac installation assistant windows 10 virtual machine name and location

You can customize virtual machine settings before or after installation. 

Parallels Desktop for Mac installation assistant windows 10 virtual machine configuration

Click Continue button again. Then go through the standard Windows 10 installation process: copying Windows files, getting files ready for installation, installing features, finishing up.

Parallels Desktop for Mac installation assistant installing Windows OS

When setup is finished, Windows 10 will be running as virtual machine in Parallels. When you quite the Parallels app, you quite the Windows 10; when you want to run Windows 10 on Mac, launch Parallels first, then start Windows 10 in it. If you don’t need the virtual machine any more, you can delete the Windows virtual machine from Parallels and your Mac.

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