Ask Max: Which version of Windows do I need to run Parallels for Mac?
I have a new MacBook and have Parallels software on it. How do I know what version of Windows XP (or Vista) I need for it?
The great thing about using Parallels for Mac is that you can run any version of Windows or Linux you want on your Mac.
You just have to tell Parallels what you want to do before you install the non-Mac OS into a Parallels Virtual machine. Some versions of Windows Vista are not licensed for installation on virtual hardware like Parallels. You will want to use the Ultimate version of Windows Vista to comply with the Microsoft license. Also, you will want to run the Service Pack 2 version of Windows XP. This is only for security and is not about licensing. You can install any version of XP, but I recommend that you immediately upgrade it to the SP2 version, in order to prevent getting a virus on the PC side of your Mac.
You don't need anything fancy from your version of Windows when you run it in Parallels. Just get a version that will work best for what you are doing. In most cases, XP Home will serve you perfectly.