How to install Parallels Desktop and Windows 10 on your Mac

Apple's Boot Camp software lets Macs runs Windows by restarting in Windows instead of OS X. Boot Camp, however, doesn't officially support Windows 10 yet. In the interim, there are other ways to get Windows 10 to work on the Mac. One of the best ways is using Parallels Desktop 10. Here's how!

Apple's decision to switch Macs to Intel chips in 2006 had a transformative effect on the way software runs on the Mac. Among other things, the architectural similarity to Windows computers makes it possible for the Mac to run Windows software, which is why Apple offers Boot Camp — software that enables Macs to run Windows by restarting and actually operating as a Windows PC.

Boot Camp isn't the only to do that, however. You can also run Windows inside a "virtual machine" host app like VMware Fusion or Parallels Desktop 10. These apps enable Windows to run at the same time as OS X. So if you'd prefer to use your Mac software to do some things, but you still rely on Windows, you can have both running at the same time.

Windows 10 won't be out until later this year, but you can download a preview version of it right now from Microsoft's web site. You simply need to create an account to register as a "Windows Insider" and download an ISO file, a virtual image of a software installer DVD-ROM.

Parallels recently announced an update to Desktop to version 10.1.4, a free update for registered Parallels Desktop 10 users which now supports Windows 10 Technical Preview. Parallels Desktop 10 costs $79.99, but nothing is stopping you from download a two-week trial version from the Parallels web site.

If you don't want to deal with trial software or shell out the money for Parallels Desktop 10, there are free alternatives, like VirtualBox.

To run Windows 10 Technical Preview with Parallels Desktop

  1. Download and install Parallels Desktop 10 trial version from the Parallels web site.
  2. Register to become a Windows Insider and download the ISO file containing Windows 10 Technical Preview. Go for the one labeled "x64."
  3. Launch Parallels Desktop. Select New from the File menu. This will start the Parallels Wizard.
  4. Click on "Install Windows or another OS from a DVD or image file," then click Continue.
  5. Parallels should automatically find your downloaded Windows 10 Technical Preview ISO file. If it doesn't, click the Locate Manually button. Once you've selected it, click Continue.
  6. Copy and paste the Windows Product Key Microsoft lists on the Windows 10 Technical Preview download page.
  7. Click the icon that describes how you plan to use Windows: For productivity, games, design, or software development (this helps the software configure resources to run optimally depending on your needs). Click Continue.
  8. Give your virtual machine a descriptive name. Read carefully, and note how much space you need for the installation. Make sure your hard drive has plenty of space, then click Continue.
  9. Parallels Desktop then goes through the process of installing Windows 10 Technical Preview. This next part may take a while depending on the speed of your Mac.
  10. Once Windows is installed, Parallels Desktop also installs its own software to integrate Windows better with the Mac. So don't be surprised to see Parallels Tools install themselves, and watch the virtual Windows environment restart and reset its video settings as it happens.

Download Windows 10 Technical Preview

Parallels Wizard

Parallels Windows 10 Setup

Have any trouble? Questions? Let me know.