Licensing Microsoft Windows in Parallels Desktop for Chrome OS

Guest blog post by Aleksandr Sursiokov, Product Manager at Parallels

Parallels® Desktop for Chrome OS is the world’s first software that runs Windows directly on Chromebooks. It enables the use of full-featured Windows apps, including Microsoft Office and thousands of proprietary apps, even without an Internet connection.

Parallels Desktop for Chrome OS is integrated with Chrome OS and Google Admin console. It does not require the use of a virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI) solution, making it easy for IT departments to set up and deploy.

This solution recreates the virtual computer hardware of a real Windows PC and runs it on top of the Chrome OS operating system.

This virtual computer or a virtual machine (VM) doesn’t have any operating system installed. It’s similar to purchasing a PC where Windows is not installed or building a PC from individual hardware parts. In this case, all you need is a Windows license to run Parallels Desktop for Chrome OS.

Windows License Use Cases

1. A small team requires access to Windows applications. This could be just an IT team, a few engineers, or a group of accountants. An organization’s IT team can manage them easily by visiting their workplace or conducting a remote session to manually install and activate Windows on their Chrome devices.

In this scenario, a Windows 10 Home or Windows 10 Pro Edition retail license makes the most sense. The license terms enable installation on a virtual hardware system. This standalone license also supports transfer to another device or user.

This means that in a situation where a Chrome device is lost or upgraded to a newer model, the license enables you to use it on a newly installed Windows VM provided the previous one no longer exists. You can also transfer the license from one user to another.

2. A large team requires access to Windows applications. The scenario above works well until you need to provide access to a larger group of employees, or you require the features of Windows Enterprise or Education, such as AppLocker or disabling the Microsoft Store. If this is the case, you’ll likely need to invest in Microsoft Commercial Licensing.

This option enables you to access advanced management features and supports easy activation of Windows using techniques like Key Management Service (KMS), Multiple Activation Key (MAK), and Active Directory-based activation.

One important thing to keep in mind: Windows Enterprise or Windows Education are upgrade licenses. An upgrade license requires that a full base license covers your computer. In this case, Windows Full Packaged Product (FPP) and electronic software distribution (ESD) licenses cover VMs on Chrome OS.

This means that for each Windows VM, you need a base license. Windows Pro Edition is required for most businesses, but for qualified academic purchases, Windows Home Edition can also be a good option.

For Commercial Windows License prices and offerings, please contact your Microsoft Partner or Microsoft at

Learn more about Parallels Desktop for Chrome OS and download a free trial!

DISCLAIMER: This blog post is for informational purposes only. The use of products is governed by the terms and conditions of their licensing agreements. If there is any conflict between this information and your agreement, the terms and conditions of your agreement prevail.
The information is gathered on the date of publication and is subject to change.