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Parallels Desktop vs VMware Fusion (best virtualization software for mac)

User Interface
Operating System Compatibility
Ease of Use
Hardware requirements
Integration with Mac
Network features
Parallels Desktop has a subscription model starting at $79.99 per year for the standard version.
VMware Fusion offers a one-time purchase starting at $149 for the basic version and a Pro version with a $199 annual license.

With top-notch performance and seamless Windows integration, Parallels Desktop 🖥️ is perfect for Mac users. It’s user-friendly but pricey 💵.

VMware Fusion is a robust solution with plenty of features 🎁. It’s well-suited for IT professionals, but may be too complex for the average user 🤷.

Parallels Desktop Pros & Cons

Top Pros
  • Sleek design and intuitive interface 🖥️

  • Seamless integration with MacOS 👌

  • Strong performance and speed 🚀

  • Wide range of supported operating systems 🌐

  • Coherence mode for running Windows apps as if they are Mac apps 🔄

VMware Fusion Pros & Cons

Top Pros
  • Wide range of supported operating systems 🌐

  • Robust network features 🌐

  • Strong security and privacy options 🔒

  • Works well for more technical users 👩‍💻

  • 3D graphics acceleration for smoother performance 🎮

  • Unity mode for integrating Windows apps into MacOS 🔄

Top Cons
  • More demanding hardware requirements 💻

  • Subscription model can be costly over time 💰

  • Limited network features as compared to VMware Fusion ⛔

  • Occasional bugs and glitches 🐞

  • Lack of native support for Linux distributions 🐧

  • Limited customization options compared to VMware Fusion 👎

Top Cons
  • User interface can be complex and unfriendly for beginners ⚠️

  • Slightly lower performance compared to Parallels Desktop 📊

  • Expensive pricing 💰

  • Linux support not as smooth as Windows 🐧

  • Customer support can be slow 📞

Other best virtualization software for mac


VirtualBox is a budget-friendly 😃 and open-source 🎉 option. It’s not as feature-rich or smooth-running as competitive options.


QEMU, an open-source processor emulator, allows running OSes for any machine, on any machine. It’s free but technical expertise is needed 👩‍💻.


Vagrant provides a lower-level virtualization more focused on providing developers with reproducible environments 🌐. Limited OS support and complexity can be an issue.


The widely used and top-rated virtualization software for Mac includes Parallels Desktop and VMware Fusion.

Parallels Desktop is an advanced virtualization software designed for Mac users allowing them to run Windows, Linux, and other operating systems simultaneously without needing to reboot the system. It’s beneficial for running various applications or software exclusive to other operating systems.

Key features of Parallels Desktop include seamless integration with Mac OS, easy setup, and energy saver mode. It also offers the ability to run Windows applications natively, and can open Windows documents directly from Mac files.

No, Parallels Desktop can accommodate diverse operating systems, including Linux and older versions of Windows, letting users access programs exclusive to these systems on their Mac computers.

VMware Fusion is another powerful virtualization software for Mac users, which provides a more flexible and customizable interface for running Windows or Linux in a virtual environment. It’s a compelling choice for those dealing with complex application development and testing scenarios.

Some of the key features of VMware Fusion include the ability to run Windows applications alongside Mac apps, 3D graphics support, a wide variety of supported virtual networks and disk formats, and strong hardware support, including iSight and multi-core processors.

In addition to Windows, VMware Fusion supports other operating systems like Linux, Solaris, and more. This feature makes it a versatile tool for software developers and system administrators.

Both Parallels Desktop and VMware Fusion are reliable in terms of performance, but each has its own strengths. Parallels Desktop has demonstrated better performance in running more common applications, whereas VMware Fusion offers superior performance when handling more demanding tasks like 3D gaming or complex simulations.

No, both Parallels Desktop and VMware Fusion are premium software that offer trial versions. Users have to purchase a license for long-term use.

Yes, Parallels Desktop does offer a significant discount for students. You can verify the eligibility for an education discount on their official website.

VMware Fusion also provides a discount for educational purposes. Students can check the details on VMware’s Education Store page.

No, the installation process for Parallels Desktop is user-friendly and fairly straightforward. It offers a step-by-step guide for the easy integration of other operating systems on your Mac.

VMware Fusion provides a comprehensive support system that includes a well-documented knowledge base and community support forums. For more advanced issues, users can also reach out to VMware’s technical support.

Yes, upgrading your existing Parallels Desktop to the newest version is possible and usually recommended to ensure enhanced security and access to new features.

Updates for VMware Fusion are released periodically to improve performance, add new features, or secure vulnerabilities. Checking for updates regularly ensures smooth and reliable virtual machine performance.

While VMware Fusion is specifically designed for Mac, Parallels Desktop is only for MacOS. However, VMware provides other products such as VMware Workstation for Windows and Linux platforms.

Both Parallels Desktop and VMware Fusion offer solid security measures including isolation of the virtual environment and encryption of virtual machines, thus ensuring the privacy and safety of user data.

Yes, there are alternatives to Parallels Desktop and VMware Fusion. Some of them include VirtualBox, which is a similar, though less powerful and robust, free virtualization solution for Mac.

What sets Parallels Desktop and VMware Fusion apart from other virtualization software is their seamless integration with Mac OS, rich feature set, and robust performance. Their extensive support for different operating systems, a range of applications and strong customer support makes them the top choices of professionals and casual users alike.

The most flexible and frequently recommended virtualization software for Mac is undoubtedly Parallels Desktop, known for its seamless integration with macOS and ability to run numerous operating systems simultaneously. However, VMware Fusion is also a strong contender offering an extensive support for different OS and high performance.

Yes, Parallels Desktop is an ideal virtualization software for Mac users who want to run Windows. It allows you to run Windows applications without rebooting your computer and provides a seamless experience without any loss in performance.

Absolutely. VMware Fusion allows users to run multiple virtual machines all at once depending on your system’s capability. It supports a wide range of operating systems simultaneously.

In general, using software like Parallels Desktop or VMware Fusion should not harm your Mac’s overall performance as long as your system has enough resources. However, running multiple virtual machines could slow down your system if its hardware isn’t powerful enough.

No, both Parallels Desktop and VMware Fusion are not free. They both offer trial versions, but to use them in the long-term, a license must be purchased.

The minimum requirements include a Mac computer with an Intel Core 2 Duo processor or better, 4 GB of RAM, and about 15 GB of available disk space for each virtual machine. You’ll also need macOS Sierra 10.12 or later.

VMware Fusion supports a vast range of operating systems, including but not limited to Windows (from XP onwards), Linux, and even macOS. You can find a full list of supported operating systems on VMware’s official site.

The performance of Parallels Desktop is often commended for its speed and smooth operation. Although performance can vary based on system specs, many users find it faster and more efficient than other virtualization software.

Yes, it does. VMware Fusion offers a feature called ‘PC Migration Agent’ which allows you to move your entire PC to your Mac, effectively creating a virtual clone of your PC within your Mac environment.

One standout feature of Parallels Desktop is Coherence mode, which allows Windows apps to run as if they were Mac apps. Moreover, it utilizes Mac features like Touch Bar support and macOS quick look functionality in Windows programs.

Yes, VMware Fusion includes 18 months of free email support after registration. Further technical support can be purchased on their website.

Parallels Desktop usually releases major updates annually, in addition to regular minor updates and bug fixes during the year.

Definitely. VMware Fusion serves as an ideal platform for testing applications across different operating systems without affecting your primary system configuration.

Parallels Desktop offers a seamless and intuitive file transfer between macOS and the Windows system. You can simply drag and drop files between the two operating systems.

Yes, VMware Fusion supports DirectX 10.1 and OpenGL 3.3, which allows it to run 3D applications smoothly, including complex CAD software and modern games.

Yes, Parallels Desktop provides a version specifically designed for businesses, called Parallels Desktop for Mac Business Edition. It offers centralized administration and management along with other additional features.

For smooth performance, a minimum of 2GB RAM (4GB or more recommended), 750 MB of free disk space, and a Mac with an Intel Core 2 Duo or better is required. A full list of system requirements is available on the official VMware website.

Yes, Parallels Desktop supports a wide range of USB and Bluetooth devices including printers, hard drives, scanners, and more. These can be used within the virtualized environment just as you would with a traditional desktop.

Yes, VMware Fusion fully supports Retina display, delivering sharp and clear visual output on your Mac.

Parallels Desktop has a feature called Travel Mode, which extends the battery life by reducing power consumption when a power source is unavailable. This happens by temporarily shutting down resource-heavy services and features.