Parallels for Mac virtualization software has been getting major updates this year with the recent release of version 8, making it even easier to run Mac and Windows apps side by side. In version 7, it made it a lot easier to upgrade and buy copies of Windows directly from within the app, and we even had a Windows 8 developer preview up and running. Unfortunately, with today’s launch of Microsoft’s Windows 8, Parallel’s is warning Mac users that the app is not ready to update to the new OS.

In a support document on the company’s website, it issued a “critical and urgent Windows 8 service advisory” telling customers it should wait before upgrading from an existing installation of Windows to Windows 8:

Below is critically important information to help you successfully enjoy Windows 8 on your Mac. Please read this entire notice, as it may affect your computer’s performance…If you are planning on upgrading from an existing Windows OS to Windows 8, we strongly suggest waiting until Parallels has finalized testing the upgrade process.

According to the advisory, upgrading your virtual machine from an already installed version of Windows to Windows 8 could “damage your virtual machine, causing you to lose all your data, files and Windows applications.” Parallels confirmed it is working hard to test the Windows 8 upgrade process and would notify users with an in-app notification when they can successfully upgrade. The warning applies to Parallels Desktop 8 for Mac, as well as versions 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, and 2.x.

You can do a full install of Windows 8 to a new virtual machine without any issues in Parallels 8. Instructions for doing so are below:

If you are planning on performing a full install of any of the Windows 8 versions into a new virtual machine, this should work just fine. This article http://kb.parallels.com/en/4729 has the steps to smoothly and effectively add Windows 8 to your Mac. Be sure that you are using the very latest build of Parallels Desktop 8 to create this new virtual machine. To be sure you are on the latest build, go to the Parallels Desktop menu and click Check for Updates.