The ability to install dual operating systems on your Mac has been possible ever since the introduction of Boot Camp. The downside of having dual systems installed is that you can only run one at a time. The more recent Macs have become powerful enough to be able to boot a virtual Windows machine that will run on your Mac’s desktop. The benefits of running Windows on a virtual machine are numerous.
You’ll be able to open files stored on your Mac using Windows software and connect all of the tools that are usable on your Mac with the Windows operating system, including Bluetooth and webcams. Compatibility issues can arise when installing a non-Mac operating system as a virtual machine, so do look into Parallels’ tech support if you are having compatibility problems.
1 Create a new machine
In the Desktop Control Center window, click the + icon. Parallels Wizard will open. If you have a Windows installation backed up somewhere, you can install it using the Migration tool.
2 DVD or ISO
Click ‘Install Windows or another OS from a DVD or image file’. Parallels will locate any compatible ISO or DVD that can install Windows, or you can locate the install file manually.
3 Installation setup
Add a serial key then click Continue. In the next window you can choose how Parallels runs Windows on your Mac. Select an option that best suits how you plan to use Windows.
4 More settings
Next select a booting style, choosing between the Windows interfaces. Select a location for your virtual machine. You’ll need a minimum of 20GB to install Windows.
5 Install Windows
Click Continue to begin installation. Windows will boot in the Parallels window. You will then need to run through the Windows installation process. When done, log in to Windows.
6 File integration
Go to Actions>Configure. Click Sharing. You can decide how your Mac files integrate themselves with Windows, choosing which folders you can access from the virtual machine.
7 Easy optimisation
In the Configuration window under Hardware, click Optimization. The Performance option lets you allocate more RAM and processor power to either your Mac or the virtual machine.
8 Hardware settings
Click CPU & Memory. From here you can manage how much RAM and processor speed your virtual machine uses. You will need to shut down Windows to make these changes.
9 Parallels tools
Go to Actions>Re-install Parallels tools. This lets you share files between operating systems. Once installed, you’ll see that items on your Mac desktop will appear on your Windows desktop.