Free Systems in Parallels Desktop

Within our latest release of Parallels Desktop® for Mac, we have included free systems that are available to the user at no additional cost. These free systems are easily set up with a few simple clicks. Application developers, beta application testers, and software engineers utilize these systems to achieve a safe virtual environment that is separated from their host OS—the macOS®.

parallels free linux parallels free macos parallels free android

(Above is the Installation Assistant in Parallels Desktop. We’ve enabled users to have immediate access to the following systems)

Microsoft Windows

[Pro Edition] Microsoft Windows 10 Development Environment: Powered by Microsoft Visual Studio with Azure workflows enabled. Start your Universal Windows Platform Development quickly using an evaluation virtual machine.

Microsoft Modern.IE Test Environment: Enables developers and testers to work in a safe development environment.


Ubuntu: One of the most popular open-source softwares; based on the Debian GNU/Linux distribution.

Fedora: Formerly Fedora Core. Based on the Linux kernel, developed by the community-supported Fedora project, and sponsored by Red Hat.

CentOS: Provides a stable, predictable, manageable, and reproducible platform.

Debian GNU/Linux: A popular Unix-like operating system that is composed entirely of free software, which is utilized for personal computers and network servers.

Linux Mint: An easy-to-use free distribution that requires little maintenance and goes with full multimedia support.

Android: A Linux-based operating system for mobile devices, such as smartphones and tablet PCs.


Host macOS on your Mac: Available and free directly from Apple®. It’s included on your Mac®, so you can install it directly from your recovery partition.

Frequently Asked Questions Regarding Free Systems in Parallels Desktop:

Q: What is a Modern.IE environment?

A: Modern.IE is a 90-day pre-configured testing environment that ranges from IE6 on Windows 7 to Microsoft Edge on Windows 10.

Q: Does the Windows 10 Development Environment give me Microsoft’s Visual Studio for free?

A: No, you will not receive Visual Studio for free. However, you can run this VM on your current Mac for a free 60-day evaluation of the Universal Windows Platform Tools and technologies to accelerate bringing your existing code to Windows. While we offer evaluation for download, users who want a Windows copy can activate with a Pro key – can download it here:

Q: What if I want to try a beta of an OS this is not on this list?

A: Parallels Desktop is a great option to test out beta distributions of operating systems without harming your host macOS. Always feel free to try out your desired beta as a new virtual machine. You can easily delete the VM when it is no longer needed.

Feel free to utilize these free systems as much as you’d like within Parallels Desktop for Mac to run Windows, Linux, and more on your Mac—without restarting! Interested in starting a free 14-day trial? Download Parallels Desktop here to get started.