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Parallels Desktop For Mac has been the most popular virtual machine app for macOS, for a long time, and for good reasons. The app makes it possible for Mac users to use Windows, if they don’t have a PC or Laptop at their disposal.
I already have bootcamp and it’s free to use, why do I need Parallels Desktop for? Yeah, we have heard this argument before. The primary advantage is that you don’t have to keep rebooting to Windows and back to macOS, from time to time.
What can you do in Parallels Desktop that you cannot in bootcamp? How about using both Windows and macOS at the same time, running programs from each OS, side by side as if they were from the same OS? Can bootcamp do that, of course not.
Parallels Desktop has a lot more to offer than this. Imagine using the exclusive features of macOS in Windows apps, and vice-versa. Normal virtual machine apps and bootcamp cannot do this, but Parallels can.
With all these features packed in, it must be a complicated software to use, isn’t it? Wrong, Parallels Desktop is extremely easy to use. You see, everything is taken care of by the app. The only thing you need to do, is to install Windows on your Mac. And for that you have different options, you can use an existing virtual ISO image, or a USB Flash Drive with the Windows installation files.
You can also import an existing installation of Windows from Bootcamp, or from your PC. The app even has an option to take you to the Microsoft Digital Store, where you can buy a license for the operating system, and download the Windows 10 installer. How easy is that? Compared to installing via bootcamp, we think using the virtual machine, is just as easy as installing a regular macOS app.
What can you do with Parallels Desktop for Mac? What can’t you do? You can use Microsoft Office or other Windows applications, use Adobe Photoshop or other heavy applications, or even play games which have intensive graphics. You don’t have to worry about the memory usage of the apps or games either.
Parallels Desktop is optimized to run any program or game smoothly, without lags on all macOS devices like your MacBook, Mac mini, Mac Pro or iMac. The app supports up to 4 virtual CPUs and 8GB of virtual RAM per virtual machine (up to 32 virtual CPUs, 128GB of vRAM per virtual machine on the pro version), to ensure the best performance possible.
The virtual machine has a built-in tuning function using which you can select whether the application you want to run is a game, or a productivity app, design or development software, and Parallels Desktop will optimize the performance of the application accordingly, to ensure that it is running at its best. This way developers, designers and artists can run Visual Studio, Inventor, CorelDRAW, etc with ease on their Mac thanks to Parallels Desktop.
Installing Windows apps in MacOS is incredibly simple. You download the EXE installer, run it and it is installed, just like on a regular PC. To run the installed program, double click on the shortcut which you can place on the Dock or the desktop. Let’s say that the Windows VM is not running, when you started a Windows program, Parallels Desktop will automatically run, and start the application for you.
Migrating from your Windows PC to your Mac is easy, thanks to the user friendly Parallels Desktop setup assistant, which can move all of your data and programs to the Mac. The app can be used to convert your Boot Camp installation to a usable virtual machine too.
The specialty of using the VM app, is that it doesn’t feel like you are running programs in a virtual environment. The app’s Coherence mode lets you run Windows programs makes it look like you are using a native macOS app. You can move, minimize and run Windows applications in Full screen mode inside macOS. To switch to Full Screen use the menu option, and to switch between macOS and Windows in this mode, just use the trackpad’s multi-finger swipe gesture.
There are even more features to impress you. What if you could run Microsoft’s Cortana (which is Windows 10 exclusive) in macOS, and want to use Finder with your Windows applications. Yes, it is possible.
For example, if you want to copy and paste content from your Windows application to a macOS app, you can do that. Even drag and drop support is available between apps of the operating systems. In fact, you can use your Macbook’s Touch Bar to launch Windows applications quickly.
Another advantage to using Parallels Desktop is that you can use your Mac’s hardware with your Windows applications, including the Apple exclusive Thunderbolt, FireWire ports and your USB devices, and even Retina mode for Windows programs. This is impossible with other VMs, or if you are running Mac on your PC.
Can I run Linux using Parallels Desktop?
Of course you can, the virtual machine app can run any Linux or UNIX based operating systems. This allows you to run popular distros such as Ubuntu, Mint, Fedora. When you run Parallels Desktop for Mac, you will find options to download and install any of these on your machine.
And you also get Parallels Toolbox for Mac and Windows as part of the package. There are over 30 tools in the Toolbox, which can be used for various purposes including options to enable Presentation mode which detects projectors, and tools used to download videos, take screenshots, hide the desktop, do not disturb mode, find duplicate files, clean your drives to recover storage space and secure your privacy, a tool to create animated GIFs from videos, the file archiver for compressing large files and a video converter for converting movies in to a format which is supported on your Android or iOS devices, and more.
Whether you are a new MacBook owner who is not familiar with macOS, or you wish to use Windows on your Mac, there is no better choice than Parallels Desktop for the task.