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Based on the OS you plan to install, the wizard will preselect some default settings for you, but you can change them over the screens that follow. If you want something other than the default, select it here. The wizard will also create the virtual hard disk file to be used by the VM.

Unless you already have a virtual hard disk file you want to use, just select the option to create a new one. We recommend creating fixed size disks because, while they eat up a little more disk space, they also perform better—making your VM feel a bit more responsive. The Best Tech Newsletter Anywhere. Join , subscribers and get a daily digest of news, comics, trivia, reviews, and more. Windows Mac iPhone Android. Smarthome Office Security Linux. The Best Tech Newsletter Anywhere Join , subscribers and get a daily digest of news, geek trivia, and our feature articles.

Skip to content. How-To Geek is where you turn when you want experts to explain technology. Since we launched in , our articles have been read more than 1 billion times. By clicking on this icon, you will launch the application. Figure 4: Launching Desktop 5 from Applications.

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To make a shortcut to this application, simply drag the icon to the Dock as seen in Figure 5. This will create a shortcut so that you can launch Desktop 5 directly from the Dock without having to browse through the Applications folder. Figure 5: Create a Shortcut to Desktop 5 in your Dock. Next, you can click on either link to open Parallels Desktop.

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In Figure 6, if you have not activated Desktop 5, you will be asked to do so. You cannot start VMs or do other tasks without activating the product. If you are using a demo version, when you signed up for the download on the Parallels web site, you will be emailed a trial key for use. If you have the full version, you will be sent a full license key for use.

Click on Activate Product to enter your key. Figure 6: Activating Parallels Desktop. Figure 7 shows the activation process for Desktop 5. Here you can add your key and get to work. You can use a trial, purchase a full version or hit Cancel to quit. Figure 7: Entering the Activation Key for Desktop 5. Once you click OK and activate your product, you will be ready to get started setting up your virtualized environment.

Your next step is to create a virtual machine or VM on your system within Parallels. In the next section we will look at how to set this up. For example, if you had an older installation of Parallels, or someone wanted to share a VM with you, you can import it.

Step 0: Virtualization or Boot Camp?

This is the launch pad view which you can turn off as seen in the dialog box. You can also choose to Watch Video Tutorials to learn more about this process. Parallels offers extensive online documentation and help to support you if needed.


To create a VM without using the launch pad, you can go to your Apple menu and make sure that Parallels is the active application. Here you can select the operating system source. Once you select the source location, click Continue to begin. Figure 11 shows the windows to select the operating system type and version. Figure 12 shows the selection of Fedora Linux.

Click Continue to proceed with the installation process. Figure 13 shows the ISO file location, and the file used is a bin or binary file. Now that you have your ISO staged, you can click on one of three options as seen in Figure By selecting Typical or Custom, you can either choose an installation using the most typical settings, or customize them to your liking.

Figure Selecting your Virtual Machine Type. Next, once you click Continue to move on, you will then need to login with a username and password credential so that you can create and use your new VM. Figure 15 gives you the opportunity to configure these settings and get started customizing your new VM. Once credentials are supplied, you can then customize the hardware used for your new VM. Here you can select the amount of processors as well as how much main memory the VM will consume.

Parallels New Virtual Machine Assistant will provide you with recommended settings if you are unsure as to how much you should use. However, you should always do research and make sure that you in fact provide enough resources for your VM to function, by limiting resources too much; you may or may not be able to launch and use your new VM. Figure 17 shows the Hard Disk Options you can configure.

For example, you can use a new image file, existing image file, Boot Camp partition, or choose to not use the hard disk at all. Since you are using a portion of your main system disk, you need to section off a segment of it for VM use.

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  • You can adjust the capacity or set other options such as Split the disk image into 2 GB files, Set the disk to expand, or just us Plain disk which uses the full size of the system disk. Here, the option for expansion is selected. Next, Figure 19 shows the Network Type dialog box where you can configure how your new VM will be connected to a network. Shared allows you to use the Apple hosts network settings to make network connections, where Bridged allows the VM to appear as its own separate networked entity.

    Next, Figure 20 shows Optimization Options. Here you can specify whether the base system Mac , or the VM will be allocated the most resources. The recommended setting is to allow for the VM to be allocated more resources which will help to increase the performance of the VM, but may impact your host system. By selecting Mac, you will allocate more resources to OS X. Next, Figure 21 allows you to specify the name of your VM and the location so that other users of the host can find it.

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    Click Create to proceed. Next, Figure 22 shows the final dialog where you can finish up the creating process. Here you can also select Boot Options for your VM. Click on the drop down arrow to view your options and configure them. Note that when you open and launch your VM, your host system may suffer a performance hit, so try to monitor your systems closely when first setting up and configuring your VMs.

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    Figure Launching your new Linux VM. For example, you can log in, run applications and do whatever a normal desktop would do, from your Mac desktop. The bottom toolbar for the VM window offers tools, options such as a shutdown button and more.