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Parallels Desktop 8 for Mac

The #1 choice of customers worldwide to run Windows on Mac
Parallels Desktop 8 for Mac lets you seamlessly run Windows and Mac applications side-by-side, without rebooting.

Enjoy the latest Mountain Lion and Lion features in Windows apps, and remotely access your Windows and Mac programs from your iPad or iPhone with the Parallels Mobile app, available for purchase in the App Store.

In addition to Windows 7, other OSes can also be run in Parallels Desktop 8 for Mac, including Windows 8, Windows Vista, Windows XP, Windows 98, Linux, and Google Chrome OS.
Upgrade now for $49.99
What's New
Volume License

Parallels Desktop® 8 for Mac is the best solution
for running Windows apps on a Mac

Parallels Desktop 8 for Mac is the virtualization solution that is the most powerful and flexible for users who need regular access to many apps on both Windows and Mac from a single machine without rebooting. From PC-only games to productivity software, Parallels Desktop 8 for Mac has you covered.

If you love the look & feel of Mac OS, make Windows invisible while still using its applications. If you're new to Mac, keep the familiar Windows background and controls on your Mac. Either way, run Windows and Mac applications side-by-side with no compromises in performance.

Run Windows applications like they were made for your Mac.

  • With full support of Windows 7 with its AERO graphics, Windows 8 as well as older versions of Windows, Parallels Desktop 8 for Mac is optimized for Mac OS X Mountain Lion. Mac OS X Mountain Lion and Lion features like Launchpad, Mission Control and gestures work in Windows applications, making them feel like they were made for Mac.
  • Parallels Desktop includes a feature called Coherence Mode, which hides the Windows desktop while displaying Windows applications. Windows still runs in the background, but is hidden from view. Windows applications appear in the Mac Dock, letting you switch between them without using the Windows interface. Isn’t that cool?
  • When no Windows applications are open, Parallels Desktop will pause, thus taking up very little system resources. Parallels Compressor is a feature that automatically compresses and defragments the virtual disk while you work for better performance.
  • On the go? You can remotely access your Windows and Mac programs from your iPad or iPhone with our Parallels Mobile app, available for purchase in the iTunes App Store. Parallels Mobile enables customers worldwide to seamlessly connect from their iPad or iPhone to the Windows applications available on their Mac. Parallels Mobile can start and stop Windows, so there is no need to keep Windows running.

User Testimonials about their experience of running Windows on Mac computers:

Parallels Desktop 8 works flawlessly inside Mountain Lion. My Windows 7 Ultimate VM in full screen mode in its own mission control desktop just works and that's exactly what I need it to do. No hassles, no fuss...just works. — Keith W., Powell, OH

Parallels Desktop for Mac works great. On medium graphics all the games I tested worked excellent. Thanks for making an excellent product! — Todd, @toddkelley, Twitter

I have been using Parallels 8 for a while now and the most important thing I can say is that it hasn't missed a beat. All of the features that caused me to switch from the "other" product are still there and there are some new things that I really like — Rick H.

New & enhanced features include:

  • New! Speak, don’t type because you can use Mountain Lion’s new Dictation tool across both Mac and Windows apps
  • New! Use Mac OS X Mountain Lion features like Launchpad and Mission Control with Windows applications
  • New! Switch from Safari to the same web page in Internet Explorer with a single click when you try to view a page that doesn’t render correctly
  • New! Run presentations, videos and other full-screen Windows apps easier with Fullscreen on Demand

  • New! Retina display support for Mac and Windows apps
  • New! Run Mac OS X Mountain Lion as a guest operating system
  • Enhanced! It’s easy to see how much hard drive space your virtual machine is using with a visual indicator and improved Snapshots
  • New! Seamlessly share Bluetooth devices between Mac and Windows just like with the FaceTime HD camera
  • Enhanced! Access remotely all of your Mac and Windows applications on your iPad or iPhone through Parallels Mobile app, available for purchase in the App Store
  • Enhanced! Use standard Mac OS X system preferences to set keyboard shortcuts instead of from the preferences panel in Parallels Desktop

New & enhanced features of Parallels Desktop 8 include:

Retina Display

Retina Display is supported for both Mac and Windows apps

Mac OS X 10.8 Mountain Lion support

Use OS X Lion & Mountain Lion features like Launchpad and Mission Control with Windows applications

Improved Spaces / Mission Control

Get a more natural full screen experience for Windows apps with improved support for Spaces and Mission Control.

Shared Trash

Now even your Mac Trash Can and Windows Recycle Bins are identical for only one Trash Can to manage.

Enhanced Application shortcuts

Use the standard Mac OSX keyboard mapping to get the shortcuts you want in Parallels Desktop for Mac.

Improved Snapshots

It’s easy to see how much hard drive space your virtual machine is using with a visual indicator and improved Snapshots.

Presentation Wizard

The Presentation Wizard allows you to easily and beautifully show presentations from your Mac on any external monitor or projector.

Open in IE button

Switch from Safari to the same web page in Internet Explorer with a single click when you try to view a page that doesn’t view correctly.

Display of processor & memory use by VMs

Easily monitor your Mac’s resources with the new graphical view of how much of your Mac’s processor and memory is being used by your virtual machine.

Shared Bluetooth

Seamlessly share Bluetooth devices between Mac and Windows just like with the FaceTime HD camera

Enhanced Crystal menu

Crystal view mode improvements make it easier than ever to access the full power of Crystal view mode.

Improved Mac OS X guest

Improved support for Mac OS X guests give you a more complete experience when running Lion or Mountain Lion in a guest.


Reviews & Awards
Parallels Desktop 8 for Mac — Second to None!

Parallels Desktop is consistently ranked as the world’s #1 virtualization software — its award winning history is second to none! See what others have to say.


Head-to-Head: How do VMware Fusion 5 and Parallels Desktop 8 for Mac compare?

In the vast majority of our overall tests, Parallels Desktop 8 won. …If you look at all the tests, including the 3DMark06 detailed tests, Parallels won over 68% by 5% or more, 56.9% of the tests by 10% or more, and 31.7% by 25% or more.

Parallels Desktop has power management features that stretch your battery life. On the MacBook Pro, we saw about 40% more battery time…Parallels ran Windows 8 about 40 minutes longer as well before running out of juice.

The Wall Street Journal Wall Street Journal: Walt Mossberg

In my reviews of the last couple of editions of Parallels and Fusion, I've found Parallels, which claims about 70% of the Windows-on-Mac market, superior.

I never had a crash or observed any strange behavior in Windows 8 using Parallels 8, while Fusion 5 froze my Mac three times and caused some text in Windows 8 to disappear.

I can recommend Parallels 8 as a good solution for running Windows on a Mac simultaneously with Mac programs, and especially for Mac users who want to also use Windows 8 later this fall, or experiment with the pre-release version.

MacNews Parallels Desktop 8 Vs 7: Should You Upgrade?

In short, if you are using virtualization regularly, the answer is a resounding yes. There’s a feel to the environment that is just smoother across the board, and the faster boot time, disk performance, and graphics are both welcome and noticeable.

9To5Mac Parallels 8 is a clear winner vs. VMware Fusion 5 in Ars shootout

Parallels 8 out-gunned VMware across the board (as previous benchmarks have shown) performance-wise and adds full support for Retina displays and dictation among other features.

The Mac Observer Parallels Desktop 8 vs. VMware Fusion 5: Benchmark Showdown

In terms of DirectX 9 performance, Fusion falls about eight to ten percent short of Parallels in all areas of the benchmark’s measurement.

From a purely performance-based perspective, Parallels has won this year’s competition of virtualization software on OS X.

ZDNet Seven 'must-have' apps for your new Mac

...the Boot Camp software only allows me to have access to one operating system at a time. By installing Parallels Desktop, I can access applications and data stored in other operating systems, including Windows 8, Windows 7, Linux, and even Android. This gives me access to a wide range of operating systems from my Mac.

Apple Insider Parallels Desktop 8 update enhances support for Windows 8

Parallels Desktop 8 for Mac on a MacBook Pro with Retina display is one of the best ways to run Windows 8. It enables people to experience Windows 8 on a Mac with the most vivid Retina resolution of 2880-by-1800 pixels, but with more readable text and graphics.


Volume Licensing

Parallels offers a simple and flexible volume licensing program that rewards businesses, academic, non-profit and government organizations for volume purchasing. Realize deeper IT savings and get the best value from your software investment with a Parallels Volume Licensing Program.

Volume Licensing Program
A Parallels Volume Licensing Program offers a simple and flexible approach to acquire the latest Parallels technologies and ensure your IT investment is protected. Licensing plans are available in the following options:

  • Corporate Volume Licensing Program
  • Academic Volume Licensing Program

Based on the size of your organization, a customized volume licensing program can address network computing requirements and purchasing preference while delivering a cost-effective and scalable solution. In addition, volume licensing allows organizations to acquire product licenses and maintenance plans, for a cost-effective and simple approach to acquiring the latest Parallels software.


Frequently Asked Questions

  1. Is Parallels Desktop 8 for Mac compatible with Mac OS X Mountain Lion?

    Parallels Desktop 8 for Mac supports OS X Mountain Lion as a host and guest virtual machine (VM).

    Older versions of Parallels Desktop (versions 4, 5 and 6) will not run on Mac OS X Mountain Lion, so we recommend that customers upgrade to Parallels Desktop 8 if they plan to run Mountain Lion. To learn more about new OS X Mountain Lion hardware and software compatibility please refer to this article:

    Customers who purchased a copy of Parallels Desktop 7 for Mac from Parallels or an authorized reseller on or after July 25, 2012 are eligible to request an upgrade to the next version of Parallels Desktop for Mac at no additional cost: Parallels Desktop for Mac Tech Guarantee 2012

  2. How do I install Windows OS on a Mac using Parallels Desktop?

    To learn about installing Windows OS, please refer to this article for complete details:

  3. What are the Parallels Desktop for Mac support options? How can I reach the support team?

    To learn about the Parallels Desktop for Mac support options please check the following KB article:

  4. Is Windows 8 supported on Parallels Desktop for Mac?

    The latest build of Parallels Desktop 7 for Mac is compatible with the previews of Windows 8. Please visit for more information on Parallels Desktop for Mac and Windows 8.

  5. How do I activate Parallels Desktop for Mac?

    To learn about activation, please refer to this article for complete details:

  6. I am unable to start Windows. What should I do?

    To learn about what to do if you can't start your virtual machine, please refer to this article for complete details:

  7. Windows installation into a virtual machine fails

    To learn more about what to do the Windows installation fails, please refer to this article for instructions:

  8. How do I migrate a PC to Parallels Desktop for Mac Virtual Machine?

    To learn about migrating your PC, please refer to this article for complete details:

  9. How do I upgrade Windows XP or Vista installed in Parallels Desktop Virtual Machine to Windows 7?

    Please check the following KB article to learn more about upgrading to Windows 7,


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