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Install Land F/X With Parallels & Windows on a Mac

The instructions on this page will show you how to install the latest version of Parallels 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

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

1. Download Parallels Desktop from the Parallels website. 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.

install parallels 13



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 the latest version.

Step 2: Install Windows and set up a Parallels virtual machine

Parallels runs Windows on what's known as a "virtual machine." It's like having a Windows computer within your Mac, where you can run your Windows operating syterm and any Windows applications such as AutoCAD or F/X CAD.


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. You'll see this screen if you have an existing Parallels virtual machine.

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


If you don't have an existing virtual machine, skip to the next step.

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



Then click Continue.


5. On the next screen, click the Image File option.


6. Click Continue.


7. Browse to your Windows ISO file.


If you've just dowloaded Windows 10, this file will be in the location where your downloads normally go, such as your Downloads folder or your desktop.


Click Open.



8. On the next screen, enter your Windows license key, 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.



9. On the next screen, select Design.



Then click Continue.



10. On the next screen, verify that the following options are checked:

  • Create alias on Mac desktop
  • Customize settings before installation


Then click Create to create your Parallels virtual machine.



11. The configuration screen will open, and you can begin configuring your Parallels virtual machine.




Parallels configuration settings: Our recommendations

We recommend applying 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. 

Options tab: Select Startup and Shutdown from the left panel.


Select the options shown to the right.

Options tab: Select Optimization from the left panel.


Set the Resource Usage slider to No limit.

Options tab: Select Sharing from the left panel.


Under the Share Mac tab, select All disks from the Share Folders menu.



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 fast Mac, use the menu to change the number of Processors to 2.


Hardware tab: Select Graphics from the left panel.


Select the Scaled option under Resolution.


Hardware tab: Select Mouse & Keyboard from the left panel.


Select Auto-detect for games from the Mouse menu.


Hardware tab: Select Network from the left panel.


Select Default Adapter from the Source: menu.




12. Close the configuration screen.



13. The Virtual Machine Configuration screen will open.


Click Continue.



14. Allow a few minutes for Windows to install.

15. After Windows installs, Parallels Tools will install.



Allow a few minutes for the installation to complete.

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



Click Postpone.





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


18. 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 3: 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. 





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


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


2. Download and install an academic license of Land F/X.



Step 4: 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 5: Back up your PVM file

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


This file stores your Parallels virtual machine.


(Your Parallels folder will be in the location you selected for it when installing Parallels, such as your user folder or Documents folder.)


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 6: 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.  

Configure Parallels (if you didn't do so during installation)

If you didn't configure your Parallels virtual machine during installation, or if you need to reconfigure it after installing, click the gear icon in the main Parallels window to open the configuration screen.



You can then configure Parallels to your needs. For our recommendations, see the configuration steps above.

Last modified on Mar 08, 2018


  • Land F/X

Our software tailors AutoCAD to the needs of landscape architects, irrigation designers, and other professionals. We automate your most tedious tasks and ensure accuracy, giving you more time to design.