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Install Parallels 11/Windows on a Mac

The instructions on this page will show you how to install Parallels 11 and Windows 10 (or your version of Windows) on your Mac computer. You'll then be able to install CAD and Land F/X.

Have a Mac? Try Parallels!

Indispensable programs like AutoCAD, SketchUp, GIS, Rhino, and yes, Land F/X, all either require or work better with a Windows system. Thanks to a program called Parallels, this is not a problem for Mac users. Parallels creates a "virtual" Windows system on your Mac. Once you have Parallels installed and configured, you can run AutoCAD, F/X CAD, Land F/X, and any other Windows-based software on your Mac.

Download a free 14-day trial of Parallels >

Here at the Land F/X office, we use Mac computers with Parallels to run our CAD and Land F/X installations. It works great, and we love it! Read more about Parallels >

Step 1: Install Parallels 11

If you already have an older version of Parallels on your computer, we recommend making a backup of your virtual machine before upgrading to Parallels 11.

1. Download Parallels Desktop from the Parallels website. As of 2017, Parallels costs about $70. You can also download a free 14-day trial.


2. Run the Parallels file.

3.  Double-click the word Install at the bottom of the installer screen.



4. Follow the installation prompts to complete the Parallels installation. You may need to enter your Apple ID.


Upgrading from an older version of Parallels? You may see a message that Parallels Desktop already exists in your Applications folder.



If so, click Replace to overwrite the older version of Parallels with Parallels 11.


Step 2: Install Windows 10 and Set Up a Parallels Virtual Machine

1. Download Windows 10, or insert your Windows 7, 8, or 10 DVD.


2. Locate and open the Parallels icon on the desktop or dock of your Mac.



This icon is a picture of a computer with two red vertical lines.

3. Click the plus (+) sign in the top right corner of the Parallels Desktop Control Center.

4. The Parallels Wizard will begin. Select the option to Install Windows or another OS from a DVD or image file.

5. When you see the screen pictured to the left, click Continue.

6. On the next screen, enter your Windows Product Key in the field shown below, then click Continue.


You can find your Windows Product Key on the cover of the installation DVD, or in an email from Microsoft if you purchased Windows 10 online.


7. After Windows installs, Parallels Tools will install.



Allow a few minutes for the installation to complete.

8. Once the Parallels Tools installation is complete, you'll see a message that Parallels Tools updated successfully.



Click Postpone.





9. Shut down Windows. (Select Shut Down from the Start menu.)


Step 3: Configure Parallels 11 for CAD and Land F/X

1. In the main Parallels window, click the gear icon to open the settings dialog box.


2. General tab: In the Configure for: section, click Change, and select the Design option.

While the Design setting is a great starting point, we recommend applying the remainder of the settings shown below in your Virtual Machine configuration. You can make additional changes, but these options will give you the best bang for your buck.

3. Options tab: Select Startup and Shutdown from the left panel. Select the options shown to the right.

4. Options tab: Select Optimization from the left panel. Keep the default settings (shown to the left).

5. Options tab: Select Sharing from the left panel. Under the Share Mac tab, select All disks from the Share Folders menu.

6. Hardware tab: Select CPU & Memory from the left panel.


Set the slider to the maximum setting within the Recommended range.


If you have an extremely fact Mac, use the menu to change the number of Processors to 2.


7. Hardware tab: Select Graphics from the left panel. Under Retina Resolution, make sure the Scaled option is selected.

8. Hardware tab: Select Mouse & Keyboard from the left panel. Select Auto-detect for games from the Mouse: menu.



9. Close the settings dialog box.




10. Start up your Parallels Virtual Machine again by clicking the power button in the Parallels window.




You're now ready to install our software.


Step 4: Install CAD and Land F/X

Land F/X requires an installation of either AutoCAD or F/X CAD (our stripped-down version of AutoCAD geared toward landscape architects and irrigation designers). Now that you have Parallels and Windows installed on your Mac, it's time to install CAD and Land F/X. 



F/X CAD and Land F/X (Trial or Purchase)

Follow our steps to install F/X CAD and Land F/X:

Not sure which F/X CAD and Land F/X installation steps to follow? Ask your system administrator.



AutoCAD and Land F/X (Trial or Purchase)

1. Install your AutoCAD license.


2. Follow our steps to install Land F/X:

Not sure which Land F/X installation steps to follow? Ask your system administrator.



College/University Students or Faculty

If you are a student or faculty member at a college or university, you are eligible for free academic licenses of both AutoCAD and Land F/X.

1. Download and install the free academic version of AutoCAD.


2. Follow our instructions to download and install an academic license of Land F/X.


Step 5: Turn Off Hardware Acceleration in CAD

To optimize CAD for use with Parallels on a Mac, we highly recommend turning off a CAD setting called Hardware Acceleration.

1. Open your CAD installation. Type Options in the Command line (the text field in the bottom left corner of your CAD screen), and press Enter.

2. The CAD Options dialog box will open. Select the System tab, and click the Graphics Performance button.

3. In the Graphics Performance dialog box, slide the Hardware Acceleration setting to Off. Click OK, and close the Options dialog box.

The CAD Options dialog box includes a number of important settings for your CAD installation. For our recommendations on these settings, please see our CAD Options documentation page. We offer several additional recommendations in our AutoCAD Configuration Settings documentation section for setting up your CAD installation for best results.


Step 6: Back Up Your PVM File

Locate your PVM file in the folder Documents\Parallels. It will have a filename ending in .pvm.


This file stores your Parallels virtual machine.


Back up this file by copying it to a location where you can access it easily.

If your Windows operating system crashes or has a catastrophic virus or corruption issue, you can get back to work quickly by dragging your backup PVM file into the Parallels folder pictured above. Restart Windows, and you can get back to work immediately.


Step 7: Set Up Automatic Backups With Time Machine

Macs are great – but not perfect. Any computer can crash at any given time – not to mention the possibility of a Land F/X user in your office accidentally deleting project data or drawing files. Periodic backups are the key to keeping your work safe.



Fortunately, your Mac includes a powerful backup tool called Time Machine. This valuable feature automatically backs up all files on your computer – including your CAD drawings – to the external medium of your choice. For instructions on setting up Time Machine, please see our article on Setting Up Automated Backups With Time Machine.

Important: Your Land F/X data is stored in a different manner from files such as CAD drawings. Although Time Machine will perform an abbreviated backup of this data, it's also essential to implement a periodic backup regimen that includes backing up your Land F/X data.  

Last modified on Wednesday, April 26 2017


  • Land F/X

Our professional landscape and irrigation design plugin for AutoCAD makes specification and calculation simple, giving you the time to design.