Thunderbolt and FireWire external storage devices are supported in Parallels Desktop 9 for Mac. You can access them using Devices -> External Devices menu.
Thunderbolt and FireWire devices are not supported in Parallels Desktop 8 and earlier. But if you want to connect external HDD via Firewire port, you can do one of the following: If you are using Parallels Desktop 4, 5, 6, 7 or 8, you can make use of SmartMount feature.
If you are using Parallels Desktop 3, make a shared folder in your external hard drive so that you can see your files stored on your drive in your guest OS. Please note that you should install Parallels Tools before this action. To make a shared folder, you should turn off your guest OS. After that open Shared Folder Options in Configuration Editor and specify the folder you want to share with guest OS. After making changes in Configuration Editor turn on your guest OS. You can see your shared folder’s icon on your desktop in the guest OS. If that did not work for you, please follow the detailed description of the process at the end of this article.
USB 2.0 external drives are fully supported, thus you can see them directly from your Parallels Desktop virtual machine. Alternatively, you can connect such a drive using the technique described above for Firewire devices.
How to set a Firewire or USB 2.0 external drive as a shared folder - detailed steps:
Start Parallels Desktop application. Open Virtual Machines List, right click the virtual machine you want to connect external drive to and choose Configure.
For Parallels Desktop 4
On the left, choose Shared folders, then click on + button in the right part. Add the drive as a shared folder and save changes.
For Parallels Desktop 5, 6, 7 or 8
Open Options tab --> Sharing --> Custom Folders. Add the drive as a shared folder and close the configuration window.
Then start Windows and you will see the folder under Shared Folders shortcut on the Windows desktop. This will be your external drive.