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Error starting Parallels Desktop: Unable to connect to Parallels Service

  • Parallels Desktop 9 for Mac
  • Parallels Desktop 8 for Mac
  • Parallels Desktop 7 for Mac
  • Parallels Desktop 6 for Mac


You are unable to start Parallels Desktop or a virtual machine, and you see the following error message:

Unable to connect to Parallels Service. Make sure that the prl_disp_service process is active and it is not blocked by Firewall. For details, please refer to If the problem persists, contact the Parallels support team for assistance.

Possible Cause

  • prl_disp_service is blocked by the firewall
  • prl_disp_service cannot start due to insufficient permissions


Try to start Parallels Desktop or a virtual machine after each step:

  1. Restart your Mac.
  2. Launch the Disk Utility application located in Applications > Utilities. In Disk Utility, click on Macintosh HD, then click Repair Disk Permissions.

  3. Make sure Parallels and Parallels are not blocked by the firewall (see KB 7076). If you use Little Snitch or any other firewall, confirm that Parallels Desktop is in the list of approved applications.

Advanced Troubleshooting (not applicable for Parallels Desktop 8)

If the issue persists after the steps above, do the following:

  1. Launch the Terminal application located in Applications > Utilities
  2. Paste the command below into Terminal, then hit Return:

    sudo launchctl stop com.parallels.desktop.launchdaemon
  3. You may need to type your Mac password and hit Return (you will not see characters while typing)
  4. Copy and paste the following command, then hit Return to start Parallels Service:

    sudo launchctl start com.parallels.desktop.launchdaemon
  5. Try to start Parallels Desktop application or a virtual machine.

If the issue is unresolved...

Uninstall Parallels Desktop and install it again using one of these articles (note — your virtual machines will not be removed):

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