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Upgrading Windows XP VM from Parallels Desktop 3 or 4 to Parallels Desktop 8, 9 or 10

  • Parallels Desktop 10 for Mac
  • Parallels Desktop 9 for Mac


  • Virtual machine with Windows XP is not loading after upgrade from Parallels Desktop 3 or 4 to Parallels Desktop 10.
  • Automatic upgrade always fails.
  • It tries to upgrade every time it is started but fails. If yiu change the upgrade mode to be manual you can see BSOD with prlfs.sys file for a second (stop code is 0x27).


  • Parallels Tools were not removed before upgrade.
  • High imcompatibility between version 3 and version 10, the structure of virtual hard disk is different.


NOTE: You need to perform the instruction below with the initial hard disk, that needs to be converted. This will not work with the already converted file as this operation completed improperly.

  1. Change the structure of virtual hard disk:

    • Open old virtual macnine's bundle (it should look as a simple Folder)

    • Locate .hdd file > right-click on it > Open with > Parallels Mounter.

    • This action will mount Windows volume to Mac, you will see it in Finder at the left pane.

    • Click on 'eject' button to unmount Windows volume.

    Click here to get information about Parallels Mounter.

    Virtual hard disk structure is changed now.

  2. Create empty virtual machine's shell:

    • In Parallels Desktop menu bar go to File > New.. > Install Windows or another OS form a DVD or image file and click Continue.

    • Tick Continue without a source and click Continue.

    • Choose appropriate OS > select appropriate view > tick Customize settings before installation and click Continue. When new virtual machine configuration window appear, do not close it.

    • In the new virtual machine configuration go to Hardware tab > Hard Disk 1. Set a Source to Choose an needful .hdd file:

    Navigate to virtual hard disk location directory choose .hdd file.

    More information regarding the empty virtual machine

  3. Add boot flags in Virtual Machine configuration:

    • Open the virtual machine configuration.

    • Switch on Hardware tab > select Boot Order.

    • Now, to the right pane you will have an option (a box) boot flag, please add the following boot flags: "devices.sfilter.enable=0; vm.compat.level=2;" (without quotes)

    • Please do it exactly as on the screenshot:


    • Close Configure window and start Virtual Machine.
  4. Remove old Paralells Tools:

    • Start the virtual machine

    • Click on 'eye' icon in order to switch to manual upgrade mode > select YES.


    • Boot in Safe Mode (this option is available now)


  5. Go to Control Panel and uninstall Parallels Tools from the applications list.

  6. Restart Windows.

  7. Go to Actions > Install Parallels Tools in order to install latest version of Parallels Tools.

  8. Upgrading window will appear again, now please just wait till this process will be completed. As result you will see the notification:


  9. Now you may shut down Windows open configuration (step #2) and remove boot flags.

Search words:

Parallels Tools







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