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I am unable to start Windows: troubleshooting virtual machine startup issues

  • Parallels Desktop for Mac
  • Parallels Desktop for Mac Business Edition
  • Parallels Access


  • Your Windows virtual machine (or another OS) no longer boots, and you cannot start it.
  • You get an error message when you try to start your virtual machine.
  • You get a critical error message or the virtual machine does not boot because of the Blue Screen of Death (BSOD).


  • Windows OS installed in this virtual machine is corrupted.
  • A Mac OS X-related issue (lack of free disk space, wrong permissions on Parallels Desktop files).
  • A Parallels Desktop issue.


Before trying solutions described here, we recommend that you search for a solution with the error message you get when you start your virtual machine:

If you did not find a solution, click on one of these symptoms for more options:

Parallels Desktop gives me an error message when I start my virtual machine, or nothing happens.

  • You cannot start your virtual machine because of the error message “hdd file is missing, corrupted, or used by other application” appears on virtual machine startup. See KB 4680.

  • You upgraded to Mac OS X Lion, and you can no longer see your virtual machine when you start it. See KB 111682.

  • Windows cannot start. It shows a black screen with the error message “Fatal error: No free memory for XSDT.” See KB 111406.

  • You cannot start your virtual machine because of this error: ”Your virtual machine may run slow because virtualization support is disabled on your Mac.” See KB 111693.

  • You cannot start your virtual machine because of permissions issues, and you see the error message: “Access denied: you do not have enough rights to use this virtual machine.” See KB 5796.

  • After you upgrade Parallels Desktop for Mac, your virtual machine fails to start in Mac OS X 10.5.8 Leopard with the following error message: “Critical error when starting virtual machine on Mac OS X.” See KB 9231.

  • You cannot start the virtual machine because the Mac hard drive has errors. An error occurred while accessing the hard disk: PRL_ERR_DISK_READ_FAILED(820021029),errno=5 (input/output error). See KB 112140.

  • You cannot start your virtual machine because its hard disk is locked by Parallels Mounter. The error message “There is no operating system installed" appears when you start the virtual machine that was just ejected from Finder. See KB 113617.

My Windows does not boot - it is stuck, but I do not get an error message dialogue

  • Windows cannot start. It shows a black screen with the error message: “Fatal error: No free memory for XSDT.” See KB 111406.

  • Your Windows virtual machine is stuck at this stage: “A disk read error occurred when starting Virtual Machine.” See KB 112869.

  • Windows is stuck at “Trying to boot from SATA drive...” See KB 113342.

Windows boots with a Blue Screen of Death (BSOD)

Such errors are hardware- or driver-related, causing the virtual machine to stop responding in order to prevent damage to the hardware or data. Contact Microsoft for assistance: You can also check our solutions for the following BSOD issues:

  • After you upgrade from Parallels Desktop version 4 to a later version, you Windows XP virtual machine fails to boot: IRQL_NOT_LESS_OR_EQUAL. See KB 6873

  • You go to BSOD when trying to start a virtual machine migrated from the PC: BSOD STOP 0x0000007B. See KB 112772.

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Windows doesn't start

Windows failed to start

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