If I use Parallels on my Mac will Windows viruses effect me?

Spencer November 19, 2014
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Ok so I’m planning on using Parallels on my Macintosh to use Windows only applications. Parallels allows users to virtualize a Windows installation inside of a Mac.

My question is simple: If I get a virus on Windows, can it effect the Macintosh portion of my computer?

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  1. ha14
    November 19, 2014 at 8:17 am

    possible depends on the virus but first will affect windows and the virtual mode. If you enable Mirrored Folders, there is the potential to expose your Mac to viruses. Do not enable read/write shared folders between your Windows guest virtual machine and the Mac. Read-only shared folders will not allow Windows to modify data on your Mac.

  2. Jan F.
    November 19, 2014 at 7:27 am

    We had similar questions not too long ago
    http://www.makeuseof.com/answers/can-pc-viruses-virtual-machine-adversely-affect-mac/
    http://www.makeuseof.com/answers/am-i-exposing-my-mac-to-security-issues-if-i-run-windows-via-parallels/

    In most cases a virus will not directly effect your Mac. However, anything the virtual Window has access too could be targeted by the virus. So even if you wiped your virtual Windows installation the virus could still be residing on your Mac e.g. in shared files and folders Windows had access too. If you were to share those infected files with another Windows machine or access them from a fresh virtual Windows installation the infection could spread again.
    If the virtual Windows has access to OS X system files a virus could corrupt those files damaging your Mac too.

    In short, running Windows in a virtual environment does not substitute for using a decent anti-virus within Windows.