Follow these steps to create installation media (USB flash drive or DVD) you can use to install a new copy of Windows 10, perform a clean installation, or reinstall Windows 10. Before you download the tool make sure you have: An internet connection (internet service provider fees may apply). Download-Time Windows-10 VDSL-50 (50.000 bit i-net connection) 11.4 Minutes. See also: Download Windows 10 all Version (Image-2) Install windows 10 and download time! Of course, the hard drive speed is crucial.

Windows 10 is the most popular version of Windows. Installing it on Parallels Desktop® Virtual Machine for Mac is easy to do—and does not require you to purchase Windows 10 beforehand.

There are four different scenarios you might find yourself in, with slightly different steps:

Scenario 1: You have just installed Parallels Desktop on your Mac.

Scenario 2: You have Parallels Desktop on your Mac, and you want to add a Windows 10 virtual machine (VM).

Scenario 3: You want to move Windows 10 from a physical PC into a Parallels Desktop VM.

Here are the individual steps for each:

Scenario 1: You have just installed Parallels Desktop on your Mac.

When you first launch Parallels Desktop on a Mac, it will detect that you have no virtual machines and will automatically offer to download and install Windows 10 for you. (See Figure 1.)

Once you click “Install Windows,” there is basically nothing else for you to do. The Windows 10 installation files will begin downloading (Figure 2).

Note: If you click on “Skip” instead, you will be directed to the Installation Assitant where you can purchase Windows 10 (see Figure 8).

Figure 2_Downloading Windows 10

Once the download finishes, the installation of Windows 10 into a new VM in Parallels Desktop will begin (Figure 3).

You will be notified when it completes (Figure 4).

Figure 4_Windows 10 installation complete

How long this process takes depends on the speed of your Internet connection and Mac. For me, at home and on a new MacBook Air, this took about one hour and 40 minutes.

While Windows 10 is installing, you’ll see dialogs about the installation of Parallels® Toolbox, a separate Parallels product that’s bundled with Parallels Desktop (Figure 5).

Figure 5_Parallels Toolbox, a product that is bundled with Parallels Desktop

Parallels Toolbox gives you 30+ single-purpose tools for common tasks. I encourage you to install Parallels Toolbox—I think you’ll find the tools very useful.

After Windows 10 is installed, you should get all of the available updates, and probably there will be several of them (Figure 6).

This may take a while but is very important.

At this point, you have a working installation of Windows 10 in a Parallels Desktop VM. You have not yet purchased Windows from Microsoft. A few features will be disabled until you do so. You can purchase and activate Windows from within your Windows VM, and the entire process takes only a few minutes (Figure 7).

Figure 7_Purchasing and activating Windows 10

Windows 10 update taking too long

Scenario 2: You have Parallels Desktop on your Mac, and you want to add a Windows 10 VM.

Adding Windows 10 as an additional VM in Parallels Desktop is also easy.

To start the process, either choose “New…” in the File menu of Parallels Desktop, or click on the “+” sign in the top right corner of the Control Center window.

Assuming that you don’t have a Windows 10 installation DVD laying around, click on the “Get Windows 10 from Microsoft” button (Figure 8).

Figure 8_Get Windows 10 button in the Installation Assistant

Then choose to purchase Windows 10 Home or Windows 10 Pro in the next screen. If you want to install Windows 10 without making a purchase yet, choose to download it (Figure 9).

Whichever path you choose, you will end up with a Windows 10 installation ISO file and a Windows 10 product key. After that, everything proceeds in the same manner as scenario 1. (See the previous Figure 2 as an example.) Don’t forget to install Parallels Toolbox and all the available Windows 10 updates!

Scenario 3: You want to move Windows 10 from a physical PC into a Parallels Desktop VM.

In this last scenario, you start out with the Installation Assistant dialog (see previous Figure 8) but choose “Transfer Windows from a PC.” You will then see the Transfer Windows dialog shown in Figure 14.

Figure 14_Transfer Your PC

This process will copy everything from a physical PC to a Parallels Desktop VM: apps, data files, and Windows itself. The physical PC will not be modified.

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The most common way to transfer is via the network. The amount of time this will take depends on how much information is on the PC and how fast your network is.

There may be several Windows PCs on your network, so you need to indicate which PC you want to migrate into a VM. Do this by installing the Parallels Transfer Agent on the PC to be migrated.

There are two computers involved in this transfer: the Windows PC you are transferring from, and the Mac running Parallels Desktop which you are transferring to. Some of the actions you’ll take to set up this transfer occur on the PC and others on the Mac, so you will need to go back and forth between the two computers to set everything up. These tasks are not complicated, as shown in this video:

I hope you’ve seen how easy it is to install Windows 10 on Parallels Desktop. Feel free to download a free full-featured trial of Parallels Desktop and install Windows 10 like explained in scenario 1 right away at no extra cost.

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Feel free to also check out our detailed video about How to install Windows on your Mac with Parallels Desktop – at no cost to you:

Let us know in the comments below, on Twitter or Facebook which way of installing Windows 10 on your Mac worked best for you.

WSL, the Windows Subsystem for Linux, is a free, optional feature of Windows 10 that allows Linux programs to run on Windows. It provides you with a Windows version of the bash shell and a compatibility layer that permits many Linux programs to run natively on your Windows machine.

System requirements

Before installing WSL, make sure your computer meets the minimum system requirements to run WSL:

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  • You must be running Windows 10 version 1607 (the Anniversary update) or above.
  • WSL only runs on 64-bit versions of Windows 10. 32-bit versions are not supported.

To check that the computer meet the requirements, follow these steps:

  1. Open your Settings. You can do this by clicking the gear icon on the Start menu, or by opening the Power User Tasks menu and choosing Settings.
  2. In the Settings window, choose System.
  3. On the left side of the System window, choose About.
  4. On the right side of the window, system information is displayed. Make sure the Version is at least 1607, and the System type is a 64-bit operating system.

If the Version number is less than 1607, you need to perform a Windows Update before installing WSL.

If the System type is not a 64-bit operating system, you cannot run WSL.

Installing WSL

To install WSL, follow these steps.

  1. Click Start, type cmd, right-click on Command Prompt and choose the option to run as Administrator.
  2. Once at the command prompt type wsl --install and press Enter.

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  1. Open a new PowerShell window as Administrator. To do this, open your Start menu, scroll down to W, and expand the Windows PowerShell folder. Right-click Windows PowerShell, choose More, then Run as administrator.
  1. At the PowerShell prompt, run the following command:
  1. Some necessary software downloads, and the WSL subsystem will be enabled after you reboot. Linux itself is not installed yet, however (until you choose a Linux distribution, in step 5.)
  1. When the download is complete, PowerShell ask if you're ready to reboot the computer. Before rebooting, make sure any documents are saved, and any open applications are closed. Type Y, or if you're going to reboot later, type N instead.

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  1. After your computer reboots, log in to Windows and open a new Command prompt (or PowerShell). At the prompt, run:
  1. Bash will inform you that no distribution is installed, and give you a URL for downloading one from the Windows Store:
  1. In a web browser, navigate to the URL to download a WSL-integrated Linux distribution. As of this writing, choices are Ubuntu, OpenSUSE, SUSE Enterprise Server, Debian, and Kali. If you're not sure what to pick, we recommend Ubuntu.
  1. Click the distribution of your choice, then click Get.
  1. When the installation is complete, click Launch. You will see this message:

It may silently wait for you to press a key after it's done, so you might want to press Backspace every 15 seconds or so, to check if it's finished.

This error is a known bug that occurs in some versions of Windows 10. If you get this error, you can fix it by repeating steps 1 and 2. Then, continue to step 10.

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  1. Ubuntu is now installed, and WSL is enabled. You can open the WSL Ubuntu command prompt by clicking the Launch button in the Windows Store or in the Start menu by choosing Ubuntu. You can also open a command prompt (or PowerShell) and run bash.

Getting started with your Linux subsystem

The first time you run your WSL distribution, you will be asked to create a user account. It can be different than your Windows username but needs to be in lowercase. You will be asked to set a password.

Congratulations! Linux is running. You're now at the bash prompt, and you can run Linux commands and programs.

Update your Linux software

Now is a great time to perform a software update. Follow the instructions below to update your software with the apt command.

Like Ubuntu, WSL uses the APT (advanced packaging tool) to manage software packages. The apt command allows you to search for, download, and install software, all from the command line. It automatically manages your software dependencies for you. That way, if one program depends on a certain version of another program, both will be installed, and kept up-to-date.

Any apt commands that make changes to your system must run as root. If you're logged in as your regular user (as you usually should be), run a program as root by prefixing it with sudo ('superuser do'). It requires you enter your password, and your program is run as root.

Updates download, but nothing is installed or upgraded yet. To upgrade all available packages, run:


Sudo will not ask you for your password this time, unless more than five minutes have elapsed since the last sudo command.

The size of the upgrades is calculated, and you will be prompted to continue. Type y and press Enter. The upgrades download and install, which might take a while, depending on the speed of your computer and Internet connection.

When the upgrade is complete, you will be returned to the bash prompt. Your Linux system is now up-to-date.

At any time, you can exit bash using the exit command.

The Windows and WSL file systems

WSL has its own file system. This Linux file system is installed to your Windows file system at the following location:

For instance, if your Windows username is Owner and Windows is installed on your C: drive, your WSL file system is located at:

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It's good to know that this is where it's located, but you shouldn't move or make any changes to the files it contains.

When you're using WSL, you might be wondering how you can access your Windows files. Your C: drive is located at:

The name mnt stands for 'mount,' which is where your Windows drives are mounted within WSL. For instance, your D: drive would be /mnt/d/, etc.

Creating links to Windows folders

For convenience, it's a good idea to create symbolic links to your Windows home folder. A symbolic link is similar to a shortcut in Windows: it's a file that points to another file or directory. When you refer to the symbolic link, the system will dereference the link, and behave as if you had specified the actual 'target' file or directory.

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Using symbolic links can save you a lot of typing, and remembering of obscure directory names.

To create a symbolic link in Linux, use the ln command. The syntax for creating a symbolic link is ln -s targetnamelinkname.

For instance, to create a symbolic link in your WSL home folder called winhome that refers to C:UsersOwner, follow these steps.

First, change the working directory to your home directory, which is located at /home/username/. You can do this with the cd command:

In bash, '~' (a tilde) is an alias for your home directory, so you can also type:

Next, use ln -s to create the symbolic link. For instance, if your Windows home folder is C:UsersOwner, the command would be:

Now there's a symbolic link called winhome in your WSL home directory, which acts like a shortcut to your Windows home directory. So, you can change to your Windows home directory using:

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Or, to change to your Windows desktop folder:

More information about Linux commands

Enjoy your new Linux subsystem! Make sure to visit our overview of Linux commands for more information about tools and programs you can use.

Additional information