Run Windows on Mac

Windows and Mac side-by-side with Parallels Desktop 9 for Mac

You just switched to a Mac, so why would you want to go back to Windows? Here is a list of several common scenarios when you need to run Windows on your Mac:

  • Running Windows-only applications on your Mac (like CAD, scientific, or business software)
  • Playing PC games on your Mac
  • Testing a website in Windows Internet Explorer
  • Developing and testing different UNIX-based and Windows-based applications
  • Tinkering with the latest beta of an Operating System

The best solution to run Windows on Mac is
Parallels Desktop 9 for Mac

Parallels Desktop 9 for Mac is the virtualization solution that is the most powerful and flexible for users who need regular access to many apps on both Windows and Mac platforms from a single machine without rebooting. Run Internet Explorer, Windows Media Player, Access, OneNote or other applications not available on the Mac.

Enjoy the latest Mountain Lion and Lion features in Windows apps. Parallels Desktop 9 for Mac delivers an even more immersive environment for gaming, music, movies, with support for Retina display, Surround Sound 7.1 and superior 3D graphics rendering speeds.

In addition to Windows 8, other OSes can also be run in Parallels Desktop 9 for Mac, including Windows 7, Windows Vista, Windows XP, Windows 98, Linux, and Google Chrome OS.

Run Windows applications like they were made
for your Mac.

With full support of Windows 7 with its AERO graphics, Windows 8 as well as older versions of Windows, Parallels Desktop 9 for Mac is optimized for Mac OS X Mountain Lion and will be optimized for Mac OS X Mavericks. Mac OS X Mountain Lion and Lion features like Launchpad, Mission Control and gestures work in Windows applications, making them feel like they were made for Mac.

Parallels Desktop includes a feature called Coherence Mode, which hides the Windows desktop while displaying Windows applications. Windows still runs in the background, but is hidden from view. Windows applications appear in the Mac Dock, letting you switch between them without using the Windows interface. Isn’t that cool?

When no Windows applications are open, Parallels Desktop will pause, thus taking up very little system resources. Parallels Compressor is a feature that automatically compresses and defragments the virtual disk while you work for better performance.

User Testimonials about their experience of running Windows on Mac computers:

Parallels Desktop works flawlessly inside Mountain Lion. My Windows 7 Ultimate VM in full screen mode in its own mission control desktop just works and that's exactly what I need it to do. No hassles, no fuss...just works. 

— Keith W., Powell, OH

I have been using Parallels for a while now and the most important thing I can say is that it hasn't missed a beat. All of the features that caused me to switch from the "other" product are still there and there are some new things that I really like

— Rick H.

Buy Parallels Desktop 9 for only $79.99 or Download a Trial Now

New & enhanced features include:

New! SkyDrive, iCloud, Photo Stream, Dropbox, Google Drive optimizations make sure you don’t inadvertently duplicate files locals, so you get the most of our storage space

New! Get stuff done in Windows at with a “real” Start menu and the ability to run Modern (Metro) apps in a separate window rather than in full screen

New! The new Security Center makes is a breeze to make sure that all of your stuff, both on your Mac and in your Windows virtual machine, is protected

New! Integration between Mac and Windows deepens, and now you can use the Mac Dictionary gesture to access the dictionary in Windows

New! Power Nap on a Retina™ Display Mac or MacBook Air now also updates Windows and your Windows applications so that you’re always up to date

Enhanced! Virtual Machine wizard makes it even easier to create new virtual machines, especially if your Mac doesn’t have an optical drive.

Enhanced! If you use Windows in Full Screen mode and want to connect to an external monitor, Parallels Desktop will remember your settings and put your Windows VM back into full screen mode on your remote monitor 

Enhanced! Linux Guest integration gets better with shared applications, shared profiles, and automatic Parallels Tools updates

New & enhanced features of Parallels Desktop 9 include:

Brilliant Retina display resolution

Enjoy stunning Retina display resolution in Windows and Windows applications to see crisper fonts, vivid photos, images and animations

Security Center

Security Center makes it easy for you to be sure all your stuff is secure, both on your Mac and in your Windows virtual machine

Dictionary gestures in Windows

Integration between Mac and Windows deepens, and now you can use the Mac Dictionary gesture to access the dictionary in Windows

Thunderbolt and Firewire Drive support

Thunderbolt and Firewire drives connect just like USB devices

Full screen on demand

The Full screen on demand feature makes presentations interruption-free by disabling screen savers on Mac and Windows, optimizing the full screen display and automatically adjusting resolution

Virtual Machine Management Tools

Easily monitor your Mac’s resources with the new graphical view of how much of your Mac’s processor and memory is being used by your virtual machine.

3D Graphics

Parallels Desktop 9 gives your Mac a more enhanced Windows 3D graphics experience and offers up the fastest way to run the most graphical intensive Windows programs and cross-platform Windows development tools. And you can use a wide-variety of design programs and games with DirectX 9.0c/9Ex and Shader Model 3 support.

Linux guest support

Linux Guest integration gets better with shared applications, shared profiles, and automatic Parallels Tools updates

Surround Sound 7.1

Immerse yourself in games, movies, and music with Surround Sound 7.1 support for Windows 7, Windows XP, and Windows Vista: use any external Surround Sound 7.1 USB or FireWire device simultaneously in your Mac and the virtual machine. 

Advanced encryption support

Get improved data security through fast virtual machine encryption with Intel AES-NI. All your Windows programs are securely encrypted.


It's easy to see how much hard drive space your virtual machine is using with a visual indicator and improved Snapshots.

Proven Performance

With improved battery life, up to 1GB of video memory, enhanced security, and more Parallels Desktop 9 for Mac features the best overall performance and stability in the market.

Reviews & Awards

Parallels Desktop for Mac — WOW!

What others are saying:
We think Parallels Desktop 9 for Mac is great. But don't just take our word for it. Millions of people use Parallels Desktop, and these are some of their stories. Parents. Pilots. Police Officers. Pharmacists. Project Managers. Whoever you and are whatever you do, Parallels Desktop unites Mac and Windows. The rest is up to you.

  • “I like how Parallels makes it seem like I'm not even using Windows now, it's even more like it's part of my Mac.”

    — Adam G.

  • “A must software for a Mac beginner! Thanks!!!”

    — Adel M.

  • “It really works fast and supports many operating systems, which is important for me as a cross-platform developer.”

    — Alex S.

  • “I think this product is brilliant! One of the best Mac apps ever ~ Now I can use Windows in Mac like a charm.”

    — Robert F.

  • “My virtual machines are fast and have the power to do all my tasks without bogging down or impacting my Mac's performance. I Recommend.”

    — Maggie T.

Parallels Desktop 9 soups up cloud storage, improves Windows 8 support

Parallels announces Parallels Desktop 9: performance improvements, enhanced Windows support, more
9to5 Mac

Parallels Desktop 9 for Mac launches with cloud storage support, Windows 8 Start button, 40% faster read times

Volume Licensing

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.

Volume Licensing Program
A 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.

Need more licenses? Talk to a sales associate today!

Frequently Asked Questions

  1. 1.
    Parallels Desktop and Mavericks
    1. What versions of Parallels Desktop are compatible with Mavericks?
       Parallels Desktop 9 is compatible with Mavericks. Parallels Desktop 8 will work with Mavericks but does not take advantage of Mavericks features. Please make sure you are running the most recent build of Parallels Desktop. Click on the Parallels Desktop menu and select “Check for Updates”
    2. If you are running  Parallels Desktop 7 for Mac or earlier, please visit KB117394 for important information regarding incompatibility of Mavericks and Parallels Desktop 7 and below versions.
    3. What Macs will support OS X 10.9 Mavericks?  Please visit KB117804.  
    4. Planning the upgrade to Mavericks? What do I upgrade first, Parallels Desktop or Mavericks?
      We suggest that you upgrade to Parallels Desktop 9 first and then proceed with the OS X upgrade to Mavericks.
    5. 5.How do I install a Mavericks Virtual Machine? Simple instructions on installing Mavericks can be found at KB116282.
    6. I upgraded to Mavericks and my Virtual Machine doesn’t work. What should I do?
      Our top troubleshooting steps for your Virtual Machine can be found at KB113964
    7. Step-by-step guide to transferring your Virtual Machine to a new Mac can be found at KB114118
  2. 2.
    Question about Parallels Access
    1. How do I set-up and install Parallels Access?  Instructions can be found at KB116770
    2. How do I access my Parallels Desktop Virtual Machine from Parallels Access? Please see KB116675
    3. I cannot find my Virtual Machine inside of Parallels Access? See KB116714 for more details.
    4. I installed Parallels Access inside of my Virtual Machine, but it is not working? See KB116745 for more details on troubleshooting.
  3. 3.
    Pre-Sales Questions - I want to buy Parallels and need to know...
    1. Does Windows come pre-installed with Parallels Desktop for Mac? Windows is not included with your purchase of Parallels Desktop 9 for Mac. Windows can be purchased directly from Microsoft or many retail stores.
    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 1 Mac per license.  For more information, please reference
    4. Do you have discounts for Students/Education Staff/offer academic licenses?  Yes. For information on how to purchase Education licenses, please visit
    5. 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
    6. Is there a trial version of Parallels Desktop 9 for Mac I can evaluate before purchasing?  Yes, Parallels offers a free 14 day trial at
    7. I currently use VMware Fusion and am interested in switching to Parallels.  Information about switching to Parallels Desktop 9 for Mac can be found here.
  4. 4.
    I have purchased Parallels Desktop 9 for Mac and I need to...
    1. Getting started is quick and easy. Instructions and video tutorials are available at KB116850
    2. How do I activate my copy of Parallels Desktop 9 for Mac? Activation instructions are available at KB116852
    3. How do I register my copy of Parallels Desktop 9 for Mac?  Please visit KB116847
    4. Does Windows come with my purchase of Parallels?  Windows is sold separately from your Parallels Software.  For more information see KB115286
  5. 5.
    I have installed Parallels Desktop, but how do I install my Windows (or other) Virtual Machines?
    1. Easy guided steps for installing Windows in Parallels Desktop for Mac can be found at KB4729
    2. I cannot install Windows in my Virtual Machine. Help can be found at KB112940
    3. How do I launch Windows from Parallels Desktop for Mac ? See KB115170
    4. What is Coherence Mode? I cannot find my Windows Desktop/applications or see my open files. See KB4670
  6. 6.
    I have installed Windows but my Virtual Machine does not launch/crashes
    1. When starting Windows I get a black or blue screen? For solutions, see KB113964
    2. Windows is stuck at the “Welcome” screen or Windows displays unexpected error messages.  For solutions, see KB5223
    3. Windows and/or my Windows applications are slow. For solutions, see KB112091
  7. 7.
    I am unable to install Virtual Machine: troubleshooting installation issues

    Check solutions to the most frequent Virtual Machine installation issues at KB112940 

  8. 8.
    My printer / keyboard / mouse do not work?
    1. My printer does not work on the Windows side? For troubleshooting tips, see KB111997
    2. How do I setup the Network printer in my Virtual Machine? Setup instructions are available at KB4886
    3. My keyboard does not work/behave as expected? For troubleshooting tips, see KB113932
    4. My mouse does not work/behave as expected. For troubleshooting tips, see KB116990
  9. 9.
    I cannot connect to the Internet/network from my Virtual Machine?

    I am receiving an error message in my Windows VM that says I am not connected to the Internet.  For troubleshooting steps, see KB8978

  10. 10.
    Transfer an existing virtual machine to your new Mac

    To learn about migrating your Virtual Machines from one Mac to another please refer to KB114118 

  11. 11.
    A guide to Windows 8 - Install, Activation and Upgrade
    1. How do I install Windows 8? Easy steps are available at KB4729
    2. Check what Windows OS can be upgraded to Windows 8 at KB114988
    3. How do I upgrade/activate Windows 8? Follow these simple steps at KB114985
    4. My Windows 8 does not start? See KB114987 for tips and solutions
    5. Top Windows 8 questions and solutions are available at KB114993
  12. 12.
    How to migrate a Windows 8 PC to Parallels Desktop 9 Virtual Machine?

    To learn about how to migrate your existing Windows 8 install to a VM please visit KB115007 

  13. 13.
    Installing Internet Security and Anti-Virus Programs

    Parallels offers a number of internet security options.

    How can I install and activate Norton Internet Security? See KB116872

    How can I install and activate Kaspersky Internet Security? See KB116884 

    How can I install and activate Dr.Web Security Space? See KB116888

    How can I install and activate Norton Internet Security for Mac? See KB116895 

    How can I install and activate Kaspersky Security for Mac? See KB116898

    How can I install and activate Dr.Web for Mac OS X? See KB116903

With millions of users worldwide, Parallels Desktop for Mac is the #1 choice of Mac customers. Get the latest and the greatest to make your Windows, Linux or any other OS truly at home on your Mac.

Parallels Desktop brings OS X and Windows even closer together than before, and it adds several features that have become necessities in the virtualization world.


Buy Parallels Desktop 9 for only $79.99 or Download a Trial Now

Why choose Parallels Desktop for running Windows programs on your Mac?

The award-winning Parallels Desktop is the most tested, trusted and talked about way to run Windows on the Mac with more than a dozen awards for its excellence.


* Reviews and awards cited may be for previous versions of Parallels Desktop for Mac.