How to Install and Run Windows 11 Virtually With Parallels Desktop

Parallels Desktop is a virtualization software that allows you to run Windows on a Mac. With Parallels Desktop, you can install Windows 11 in a virtual machine and use it seamlessly alongside macOS on your Mac.

Benefits of Using Parallels Desktop

Here are some of the key benefits of using Parallels Desktop to run Windows 11 virtually on a Mac:

  • Run Windows applications on your Mac without rebooting
  • Transfer files easily between macOS and Windows
  • Virtualize Windows 11 efficiently leveraging Apple silicon performance
  • Share devices like printers, folders, etc between macOS and Windows
  • Experience better graphics, usability and productivity

System Requirements

To run Windows 11 smoothly with Parallels Desktop on your Mac, ensure your Mac meets the following system requirements:

For Intel-based Macs

  • macOS 10.14 Mojave or newer
  • At least 4GB RAM (16GB recommended)
  • Intel Core i5, i7, i9 or Xeon processor
  • Minimum 600MB storage for Parallels Desktop installation
  • Additional storage for Windows (at least 16GB recommended for Windows 11)

For Apple Silicon Macs

  • macOS 12 Monterey or newer
  • At least 16GB RAM
  • Minimum 600MB storage for Parallels Desktop
  • Additional storage for Windows (at least 16GB recommended for Windows 11)

Step-by-Step Guide to Install Windows 11 on Parallels Desktop

Follow these steps to install and run Windows 11 seamlessly on your Mac using Parallels Desktop:

1. Download and Install Parallels Desktop

Go to the Parallels website and download the latest version of Parallels Desktop. Follow the on-screen instructions to install Parallels Desktop on your Mac.

2. Create a New Virtual Machine

Open Parallels Desktop and click the “+” button to create a new virtual machine. Select “Install Windows 11” and click continue.

3. Install Windows 11

The Windows 11 installation files will start downloading automatically within Parallels Desktop. Once downloaded, the Windows 11 installation will begin automatically. Follow the on-screen instructions and complete the Windows 11 installation process.

4. Activate Windows

Once the Windows 11 installation completes, you may need to activate it using a valid product key if you haven’t purchased one through Parallels. Refer to this article from Parallels on how to activate Windows 11.

5. Install Applications

You can now install applications on Windows 11 virtual machine just like you would on a regular Windows PC. Refer to this article for tips on installing applications on Windows virtual machine.

And that’s it! You now have Windows 11 running smoothly on your Mac with Parallels Desktop.

Tips for Using Windows 11 on Parallels Desktop

Here are some tips to get the best experience when using Windows 11 virtually via Parallels Desktop:

  • Allocate at least 2-4 CPU cores and 8GB RAM to the Windows 11 virtual machine for optimal performance
  • Enable nested virtualization in Parallels Desktop settings if you want to run Hyper-V inside Windows
  • Install Parallels Tools for maximum integration between Windows and macOS like shared clipboard, folders, and more
  • Enable Coherence view mode to run Windows application seamlessly like Mac apps
  • Refer to Parallels Desktop documentation if you face any issues with Windows 11 installation or usage


With straightforward installation steps, excellent integration with macOS and powerful virtualization capabilities optimized for Apple silicon, Parallels Desktop makes it easy to install and run Windows 11 on your Mac.

So go ahead and try it out – you can quickly experience the best of both Windows and macOS worlds on your Mac with Parallels Desktop!