Parallels Inc.

Parallels Desktop for Mac vs Boot Camp

Parallels Desktop 11
for Mac

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  • Overview
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  • What's New
  • Reviews & Awards
  • Volume Licensing
  • FAQ

Mac and Windows side-by-side—without rebooting

Both Parallels Desktop and Boot Camp allow you to run Windows on your Mac—but that’s where the similarities end.

One of the major drawbacks of Boot Camp is that you have to reboot your Mac every time you want to switch between Mac and Windows–talk about loss of productivity! This is one of the primary reasons over 35% of Parallels Desktop users have switched from Boot Camp.

With Parallels Desktop 11 for Mac you are covered—you have the Mac you want, the Windows apps you need. All of this without ever having to reboot your Mac.

Here are the top reasons why our customers chose Parallels Desktop for Mac over Boot Camp:

  1. No rebooting - switching between Mac and Windows is just a swipe away. You don’t have to waste precious time to boot into Windows and then back to OS X
  2. It’s not just about Windows – besides multiple Windows OSes (XP, Vista, Windows 7 & Windows 10) you can also run Linux, Google Chrome, and other UNIX based OSes.
  3. With Parallels Desktop Pro Edition you get built in support for popular developer tools like Visual Studio, Docker, Chef, Jenkins, and more.
  4. Move your complete PC — Boot Camp is a partition on your disk and you cannot transfer it from disk to disk. With Parallels desktop you can easily move your virtual machines.
  5. Cloud storage services like iCloud, DropBox, Google Drive and OneDrive are easily shared between your Mac and Windows virtual machine without duplicating your data, saving precious disk space.

Download your Free Trial to see the difference.

Already using Boot Camp? Use that same Windows partition to take your Windows + Mac environment further, by utilizing the integration features in Parallels Desktop.

Run all your favorite OS’s seamlessly, on one computer

Use Internet Explorer®, Windows 10 Edge Browser, Outlook, Access, Visual Studio, and hundreds of other Windows, Linux, and Google Chrome apps not available on the Mac.

Parallels Desktop 11 for Mac is the world's easiest, fastest, and most powerful solution for people who need regular access to many apps on both Windows and Mac platforms from a single machine, without rebooting.

Use the Boot Camp partition as a bootable volume disk in Parallels Desktop to run high-performance, PC-only software at full speed, in a Mac native hardware environment. 

Access all of your system settings, peripheral devices, files, and folders in your Parallels Desktop virtual machine.

Enjoy OS X like Launchpad, Mission Control, and Apple Keyboard Shortcuts in Windows apps. Speak, don’t type—use the OS X Dictation tool across both Windows and Mac applications.

Create a Boot Camp partition as a data disk for any Parallels Desktop virtual machine.

Need more power?

The new Parallels Desktop for Mac Pro Edition is specifically designed for the developer, power user, and other demanding pros. Compare Editions

Download a full-featured, free 14-day trial today.

You can choose a specific Parallels Desktop for Mac edition during installation.

Compare Editions

Parallels Desktop
Pro Edition
Run Windows on your Mac
The coolness of Mac combined with the utility of Windows
Support for Windows 10, Ready for El Capitan
Travel Mode
Disk space savings for popular cloud services
Easy to switch from PC to Mac
Automated performance tuning
Complimentary Parallels Access (a $20/yr value) 3 months
Microsoft Visual Studio Plug-in

Support for popular development, design, and test tools including Docker, Jenkins, and Chef  
Advanced networking tools
Support for Business Cloud Services
Virtual RAM / virtual CPUs for each VM 8GB vRAM / 4 vCPUs 64GB vRAM / 16 vCPUs
Premium 24/7 phone and email support
First 30 days
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Make your Windows, Linux, or any other OS
truly at home on your Mac.

Designed to be Faster, Easier,
and More Powerful

Ready for Windows 10 and El Capitan

Run Windows® 10 and OS X® El Capitan with ease. You can even upgrade your virtual machine from Windows 7 or 8 to Windows 10. 

Real-Time Location

Mapping applications like Google Earth now receive location data in real time from OS X.

Notification Center Comes to Mac

While in Coherence Mode, quickly view notifications through an icon located in your OS X menu bar.

Windows Printing made Easy

No need to install a print driver in Windows; printing from the virtual machine now opens the native OS X printer dialog to print to your OS X configured printer.

Quickly Switch into Coherence Mode

Quickly switch into Coherence Mode, maintaining the look and feel of OS X for your Windows apps.

Improved File Associations

Right click on a file in OS X and choose to have the files open in your virtual machine, and remember that choice for all operations with the extension.

New! Parallels Desktop for Mac Pro Edition

Designed for developers, power users, and other pros who demand more from their software.

Developer Tool Integration

Leverage popular productivity tools to reduce time spent on development and testing with Parallels Desktop Pro Edition. Validate web apps in any browser on any operating system.

Docker Integration 

Create and manage Docker virtual machines from within Parallels Desktop for Mac Pro Edition.

Advanced Networking Tools

Create virtual networks for complex network scenarios and testing, including simulating various network instabilities.

Business Cloud Service Support

With either Pro or Business Editions, virtual machines gain easy access to Business Cloud Services, including OneDrive Business,, and DropBox for Business.

Volume License Program

Parallels Volume Licensing Program offers a simple and flexible approach to acquire the latest Parallels technologies and ensure your IT investment is protected. Licensing plans are available in the following options:

  • Corporate Volume Licensing Program
  • Academic Volume Licensing Program

Based on the size of your organization, a customized volume licensing program can address network computing requirements and purchasing preference while delivering a cost-effective and scalable solution. In addition, volume licensing allows organizations to acquire product licenses and maintenance plans, for a cost-effective and simple approach to acquiring the latest Parallels software.

Parallels offers a simple and flexible volume licensing program that rewards businesses, academic, non-profit and government organizations for volume purchasing. Realize deeper IT savings and get the best value from your software investment with a Parallels Volume Licensing Program.

Frequently Asked Questions

  1. Customers who purchased and activated Parallels Desktop 10 for Mac between July 29, 2015 and October 15, 2015 are eligible for an upgrade to Parallels Desktop 11 for Mac at no charge. Eligible customers will be automatically sent their upgrade key to the email address used during registration. For complete details on the Tech Guarantee 2015, please visit this page.
  2. For information on how you receive your no-charge upgrade key for Parallels Desktop 10 for Mac, please visit KB123275.
  3. Parallels Desktop 8 for Mac End-of-Life statement is located at KB123274
  1. Does Windows come pre-installed with Parallels Desktop for Mac? Windows is not included with your purchase of Parallels Desktop for Mac. Windows can be purchased directly from Microsoft or retail stores. Please visit KB9003 for additional information.
  2. Will Parallels run on my current Mac hardware? A full list of system and hardware requirements can be found here
  3. Can I use my license on multiple Macs? Parallels licenses are valid only on one Mac per license. For more information, please reference
  4. Do you have discounts for Students/Education Staff/offer academic licenses? Yes. For more information on Education licenses, please visit KB113630.
  5. Is there a trial version of Parallels Desktop for Mac I can evaluate before purchasing? Yes, Parallels offers a free 14 day trial at
  6. I currently use VMware Fusion and am interested in switching to Parallels. Information about switching to Parallels Desktop for Mac can be found here.
  7. What bonus software comes with Parallels Desktop for Mac? Visit KB123282
  1. To install or upgrade to Parallels Desktop 11 for Mac see KB123279
  2. To upgrade Parallels Desktop to Pro Edition see KB123279
  3. To register your copy of Parallels Desktop 11 for Mac see KB123277
  4. To activate your full license copy of Parallels Desktop 11 for Mac see KB123221
  5. To activate your upgrade license Parallels Desktop 11 see KB123222
  6. Does Windows come with my purchase of Parallels? Windows is sold separately from your Parallels software. Please visit KB9003 for additional information.
  1. Easy guided steps for installing Windows in Parallels Desktop for Mac can be found at KB123284
  2. How do I launch Windows from Parallels Desktop for Mac? See KB115170.
  3. What are virtual machine profiles in Parallels Desktop 11? To learn how to set your profile and which is best for you, see KB123294.
  4. Can I migrate my current Windows PC to a Parallels Desktop for Mac virtual machine? Yes, for instructions on how to migrate your Windows PC, visit KB115007.
  5. How to install Quicken, MS Office or other software in Windows virtual machine. See KB119310.
  6. Which networking mode (Bridged, Shared or Host-Only) should I prefer for the virtual machine? See KB4948.
  7. How to install Parallels Tools? See KB123295.
  8. Parallels Desktop sharing tools. See KB122567.
  9. What is Coherence Mode? I cannot find my Windows Desktop/applications or see my open files. See KB4670.
  1. I lost my Parallels Desktop for Mac key. See KB115424.
  2. Unable to start Parallels Desktop: Troubleshooting Parallels Desktop start issues. See KB113990.
  3. A program for Windows does not work: troubleshooting third-party software issues. See KB112983.
  4. Cannot install Parallels Tools. See KB8969.
  5. Troubleshooting issues related to migrating a PC to Parallels Desktop for Mac Virtual Machine. See KB113269.
  6. How to terminate a frozen virtual machine. See KB6338.
  7. Windows Login Password required after Windows update installation in the Virtual Machine. See KB114193.

Tutorials for Parallels Desktop 11 for Mac

How to install and activate Parallels Desktop for Mac
How to move your Windows PC to Mac using Parallels Desktop
How to install Windows 10 on your Mac using Parallels Desktop
How to convert a Windows Boot Camp to a Parallels Desktop virtual machine