Parallels Desktop for Mac

Version17(as of 8/9/2021)
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Rating:2.9  |  80 Votes

Main Features

  • Run multiple versions of Windows, Linux, Android, and macOS
  • Transfer files and copy and paste data between macOS and VM OSes
  • Control VM OS programs like native macOS applications
  • Connect plug-and-play USB devices, such as flash drives, printers, and mobile devices
  • Capture VM snapshots and revert to saved states
  • Manage VM storage space directly from macOS
  • Use Toolbox utilities to take screenshots, record video and audio, archive files, and more

Software Overview

Screenshot of Parallels Desktop for Mac 16
Screenshot of Parallels Desktop for Mac 16

Parallels Desktop for Mac is an operating system virtualization program that allows Intel- and M1-based Mac users to run Windows and other operating systems (OSes) on their Mac. It lets users seamlessly run non-macOS programs and switch between operating systems as needed.

Parallels runs as an application within macOS and functions as a virtual machine (VM). Users can create and run Windows, Linux, Android, and even additional macOS VMs, each of which is integrated with the user's original instance of macOS. For example, users can access their macOS files within Parallels VMs, copy and paste text across OSes, and choose to connect USB devices, such as flash drives, printers, and mobile devices, to either macOS or a VM (and reassign devices as needed). Those who want to work across multiple OSes simultaneously can run Parallels in a windowed or side-by-side mode, while those who want to immerse themselves in Windows or another OS can run Parallels in full-screen mode.

On Intel-based Macs, Parallels allows users to run over 60 different OSes, including Windows 10, 8.1, 8, 7, Vista, XP, and 2000. It can also run macOS versions from Big Sur 11 to Lion 10.7, as well as Ubuntu Linux, Fedora Linux, CentOS Linux SUSE, Red Hat, Debian, Fedora Core, Mandriva, FreeBSD, Debian GNU/Linux, Kali, Mint Linux, Solaris, openBSD, FreeBSD, ReactOS, and Android. On M1 Macs, Parallels can run Windows 10, Ubuntu Linux, Fedora Workstation, Debian GNU/Linux, and Kali Linux.

After a user creates and launches their first VM, they'll be able to access Parallels' VM controls and toolkit. The program allows users to easily pause, suspend, shut down, and restart VMs, and it also allows users to save a snapshot of their VM's current state, to use as a backup or branch if needed. The included Parallels Toolbox simplifies many simple OS-based tasks, allowing you to archive files, record your screen, take screenshots, record audio, convert video, turn off wireless communication in Airplane mode, set notification alarms and timers, make GIFs, enter Presentation mode, and switch your VM's resolution with just a few clicks.


Parallels Desktop for Mac is a great solution for home or business users who prefer macOS but also need to perform tasks in Windows, Linux, and Android. In fact, it is by far the most popular choice for macOS users who need to run Windows or Linux on their Mac machines. If you're a macOS user who needs access to other OSes, you should definitely try Parallels Desktop for Mac.

Primary File Type

pvm icon.PVMParallels Virtual Machine

Supported File Types

ExtensionFile Type
.PVMParallels Virtual Machine
.FDDParallels Desktop Floppy Disk Image File
.HDDParallels Desktop Hard Disk
.HDSParallels Desktop Hard Disk File
.ISODisc Image File
.MEMParallels Desktop Memory Dump File
.PVCParallels Desktop Copied Configuration File
.PVMParallels Virtual Machine
.PVMZParallels Compressed Virtual Machine
.PVSParallels Desktop Configuration File
.SAVParallels Desktop Saved State Image File

Additional Related File Types

ExtensionFile Type
.BATDOS Batch File
.CMDWindows Command File
.COMDOS Command File
.DEVWindows Device Driver File
.EXEWindows Executable File
.INIWindows Initialization File
.LNKWindows Shortcut
.MSSTYLESWindows XP Style
.SYSWindows System File
.WPXPrinter Description File
Updated 8/9/2021