Compare Parallels Desktop to other virtualization solutions

Compare Parallels Desktop to other virtualization solutions

There are a number of alternative virtualization solutions out there, but Parallels Desktop is the first Microsoft-authorized solution for running Windows on Apple’s M series Macs.

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See why users prefer Parallels Desktop over the alternatives

We’ve gathered information on the top virtual desktop solutions based on features, customer reviews and feedback, and related details so you can choose the best way to run Windows on Mac (and more).

Parallels Desktop vs VMware Fusion

VMware icon

What is VMware Fusion?

This solution is meant for IT professionals who need a configurable solution for their corporate environments. VMware does offer a free solution for personal use or other non-commercial purposes, but that option does not include technical support.

VMware icon VMware Fusion
Parallels Desktop icon Parallels Desktop
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Parallels Desktop vs VirtualBox

VirtualBox icon

What is VirtualBox?

This alternative to Parallels Desktop is positioned as a cost-effective, customizable solution for home and occasional business users who are not as concerned with speed and performance.

Parallels Desktop icon
Choose the faster option with better performance

Parallels Desktop offers more speed and better graphics support for an overall complete user experience, particularly if you are seeking a virtualization solution for professional purposes.

Its interface is simpler, installation is straightforward, and technical support is available if needed. For IT professionals and end users alike, Parallels Desktop offers an ideal blend of macOS and Windows.

Parallels Desktop vs CrossOver

CrossOver icon

What is CrossOver?

This solution operates as a compatibility layer, simulating the Windows OS by translating the commands from a Windows application into ones understood by the MacOS. You can use CrossOver to run some Windows games and apps, but certain software may not work properly.

Parallels Desktop icon
Choose the more complete alternative

Because Parallels Desktop is a virtualization solution, it allows you to install Windows or Linux on your Mac so you can run whatever programs you require.

In addition, Parallels Desktop’s Coherence mode enables you to see Windows apps and Mac apps side-by-side and use features like drag & drop, copy and paste, and shared printers. It’s simple to use and can be installed in just minutes.

Parallels Desktop vs UTM

UTM icon

What is UTM?

This is a free app that lets users run Windows and other operating systems on Mac.

Parallels Desktop icon
Choose the advanced features offered by virtual desktop software

Compared to UTM, Parallels Desktop offers more advanced features such as seamless copy and paste, easy drag and drop, and supports 3D graphics acceleration.

It simplifies the virtualization process without sacrificing depth or functionality and can be installed quickly. With Parallels Desktop, you’ll be running a Windows VM with the applications and games you want on your Mac in no time.

Trusted by over 7 million Mac users worldwide

TR Score 8.7 out of 10

Why choose Parallels Desktop over any other solution?

With Parallels Desktop, users can run Arm versions of Windows 11 on Macs with Apple Silicon seamlessly.
Parallels Desktop works natively on Apple Silicon with Coherence View mode, featuring shared folders, copy-paste, drag & drop, camera, and more. It offers superior graphics in Windows 11 on Arm, including DirectX up to version 11 and OpenGL up to version 4.1.

Seamless experience icon

Seamless experience

Enjoy access to a wide range of Windows applications seamlessly, from full-featured versions of popular Windows apps like Excel, PowerPoint, and Outlook to your favorite PC games. Meet your professional, educational, and even your personal gaming software and application needs, effortlessly.

No hardware purchase required icon

No hardware purchase required

Access the applications and software you need for work, school, and play (such as full-featured Microsoft Office 365 applications, accounting software, trading software, AutoCAD, SolidWorks, and more) without needing to purchase a separate PC.

Develop and test software in virtual environments

Develop and test software in virtual environments

Developers can build, test, and QA solutions across platforms easily. Streamline your workflow, efficiently switch between operating systems and browsers, and maintain high performance and security throughout the development process.

Play Windows games on a Mac

Play Windows games on a Mac

Play hundreds of PC games on Mac with Parallels Desktop, from first person to multiplayer games, Parallels Desktop transforms your Mac into a dynamic gaming device.

Windows-only software compatibility

Windows-only software compatibility

Create a Windows OS environment on your Mac with a virtual machine. Equip yourself with all the essential tools for your career or your course of study, from Microsoft Office 365, Windows-based CAD tools, statistics and accounting tools, and more.

Flexibility between multiple operating systems

Flexibility between multiple operating systems

Enjoy seamless compatibility and use your preferred operating systems and applications for different tasks, all without the hassle of maintaining multiple devices.

Start running Windows on your Mac with Parallels Desktop

Get started with Parallels Desktop and start maximizing the potential of your Mac.

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Try free Free for 14-days
Download Parallels Desktop icon

Download Parallels Desktop

Download and install Parallels Desktop on your Mac.

Install Windows icon

Install Windows

Once installed, set up a new virtual machine and install Windows.

Launch a virtual machine icon

Launch a virtual machine

After installing Windows, you can run your favorite Windows apps and software, play PC games, and more right from your Mac.

How much does Parallels Desktop cost?

Standard Edition
Includes major updates to support new versions of macOS, Windows, Linux, and new Mac models Subscription only
Virtual RAM for each VM 8 GB vRAM
Virtual CPUs for each VM** 4 vCPUs
Experience Windows as if it was designed for Mac: use Mac files, keyboard, trackpad, camera & mic, sound, graphics, Touch ID, and many more
Run thousands of Windows applications such as Microsoft Office 365, accounting software, trading software, SAP, Matlab, and more
Premium 24/7 phone and email support Subscription only
Most Popular
Pro Edition
All the Standard Edition features PLUS:
Includes major updates to support new versions of macOS, Windows, Linux, and new Mac models
Virtual RAM for each VM 128 GB vRAM
Virtual CPUs for each VM** 32 vCPUs
Run professional graphics-intensive Windows applications and multiple virtual machines
Develop, automate, test, and debug software in multiple operating systems simultaneously
Deliver Windows on Mac across your organization to run business-critical applications and free developers from the hassle of using multiple computers. Secure and key-free with SSO/SAML integration option
Premium 24/7 phone and email support
Integrations with VS Code, Vagrant, Packer, Docker, Minikube, and more
Advanced tools for virtual networking, debugging, and automation
Automate CI/CD workflows with Command Line Interface (prlctl, prlsrvctl)
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Business Edition
All the Standard and Pro Edition features PLUS:
Enable employees to download a preconfigured Windows installation to their Mac
Per-user licensing option for companies that are ready to use SSO/SAML/SCIM integration
Centralized administration and management and unified volume licensing for mass deployment
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* Windows 11 Pro and Enterprise
** Up to 22 CPU on a Mac with Apple silicon (M2 Ultra)


Not impressed by the alternatives?
Choose the right Parallels Desktop version for you

Standard Edition

Limited version for those that need to run Windows applications on base model Mac computers.

Supports future operating systems.
Cancel anytime.


Current version only. Full compatibility with future versions not guaranteed.

Most popular

Pro Edition

Versatile, fully loaded version for developers, individual business users, and gamers seeking the best performance and productivity.

Supports future operating systems.
Cancel anytime.