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Managing Virtual Machine(VM) Settings via Terminal

  • Parallels Desktop 7 for Mac
  • Parallels Desktop 6 for Mac
  • Parallels Desktop 5 for Mac


You can always set your VM's settings via Terminal.

You can find Terminal in your Applications or using Spotlight:


Terminal allows users to interact with the computer through a command line interface. By default it provides a bash shell, which allows the OS X user to visually interact with the system core.

You can control and set you VM via Terminal using command prlctl

For example, if you want to suspend your VM, open Terminal and type "prlctl suspend "Windows XP""

Then press Enter and you will see:

It is that easy.

You can see the whole list of commands by typing in "man prlctl":

Press Enter

For example, lets give 2 CPU to VM

Leaf over using Space and find Set command:

Then type:
prlctl set "Windows XP" --cpus 2

Special command line keys:

  • CTRL U - Delete the line
  • CTRL C - Abort command
  • CTRL Z - Suspend command, Type fg to put it back into the foreground
  • <TAB> - Auto complete command
  • <ALT>F1 through <ALT>F6 - Select a different virtual terminal
  • <CRTL><ALT>F7 - Toggle to the first X terminal, if one is running.
  • <CRTL><ALT>F1 - Toggle to the first text terminal from an X session.
  • CTRL D - End of file, exits the shell
  • CTRL W - Delete a word backwards
  • CTRL / - Quit, weaker than CTRL C but does a core dump.
  • CTRL S - Stop scrolling, may use "scroll lock" for this function.
  • CTRL Q - Resume scrolling
Basic commands:

1) cd
Cd is short for change directory. This will change the current directory to the directory specified. To access the “Desktop” directory, type:
cd Desktop
To return to your home directory, type:
cd ~

2) mkdir
Mkdir is short for make directory (make folder). To make a test directory, type:
mkdir test

3) pwd
Pwd displays the path of the current directory. Type:
will display something like this:

4) cp
Cp is short for copy. To copy the “test.txt” file inside of the “test” directory on the “Desktop”, type:
cp /Users/alex/Desktop/test.txt test/test2.txt
This placed a copy of the “test.txt” file inside the “test” directory and named it “test2.txt”.
Notice after the command “cp” we type “pathdir+old name” space, than “dir+new name”.

5) ls
Ls is short for list. Ls will list files in a directory. Type:
will output.

6) mv
Mv will change the name of a file. From the test directory type:
mv test2.txt test3.txt
Notice after the command “mv” we type “old name” space, than “new name”. Type “ls” to check if it worked.

7) rm
Rm is short for remove (delete). To remove the “test3.txt” file inside the current directory type:
rm test3.txt


Man is short for manual. For example to display the manual for “rm” type:
man rm
This will display information about the “rm” command. You can type any command after “man” to access additional information on that topic.

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