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Working with snapshots

APPLIES TO:
  • Parallels Desktop for Mac
  • Parallels Desktop for Mac Pro Edition

Information

A snapshot is a saved state of the virtual machine. Snapshots can be created manually or automatically when the virtual machine is running.

After you make a snapshot, you can continue working with the virtual machine and revert to the created snapshot at any time of your work.

Warning: You can create a snapshot at any time. But it is recommended to complete all operations of installing, downloading, or writing to external devices before taking a snapshot. You should also complete or cancel any transactions performed via the virtual machine in external data bases.

You may need to make snapshots in the following cases:

  • you are going to run some programs that may damage the guest OS;
  • if you are going to configure some guest OS software that requires a lot of settings;
  • if you want to mark milestones in the development process.

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Note:
1. Snapshots cannot be created for Windows virtual machines that use the Boot Camp partition.
2. If your virtual machine has one or more snapshots, you can neither compress nor resize the virtual hard disk.`

If something goes wrong, you can revert the changes back to any of your snapshots and continue working with the guest OS.

Creating a Snapshot

  1. Start Parallels Desktop.
  2. In Parallels Desktop 10 right-click on the virtual machine you would like to create a snapshot of in the Parallels Desktop Control Center. Select Manage Snapshots. Click New to create a snapshot. Specify the snapshot name and click OK.

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  3. In previous version of Parallels Desktop select the virtual machine for which you want to create a snapshot from the Parallels Virtual Machines list. Click Virtual Machine menu > Take a snapshot

4. Specify the snapshot name and click OK.

Automate the Creation of Snapshots

The SmartGuard functionality allows you to automate snapshots creation.

Note: SmartGuard is available only when the Undo Disks feature is disabled and the Virtual Machine is not running in Safe Mode. `

To access settings for automating snapshots:

  1. Start Parallels Desktop.
  2. In Parallels Desktop 10 for Mac right-click on your virtual machine in Parallels Desktop Control Center, select Manage Snapshots, then click New to create a snapshot.

    In previous versions, select the virtual machine for which you want to create a snapshot from the Parallels Virtual Machines list.

  3. Click Virtual Machine > Configure.
  4. Click Security > Enable SmartGuard and click Yes

To automate snapshots, click the SmartGuard menu and choose one of the following:

  • Optimize for Time Machine. If you select this option, a snapshot will be taken every 24 hours. Time Machine, when backing up your Mac, will not back up the entire virtual machine, but only its latest snapshot. This allows you to reduce the amount of data that Time Machine backs up, to reduce the time Time Machine spends backing up the virtual hard disk(s), and to minimize the risk of data loss or corruption when restoring the virtual machine hard disk(s) from the Time Machine backup.
    If you want to know when it is time to make the next snapshot and to be able to reject the snapshot creation, enable the Notify me before snapshot creation option.

Note: If you use Time Machine to back up your Mac, you can configure the virtual machine so that Time Machine would back up not its whole hard disk but only the changes made since the latest snapshot. Choose Optimize for Time Machine and click OK.`

To set how often snapshots are made:

  • Use the Take a Snapshot Every field. You can set from one to 48 hours.

If the time interval is less than 24 hours, SmartGuard will allow you to restore the latest hourly, daily and weekly snapshot. If the time interval is more than 24 hours, you will be able to restore the latest daily, weekly and monthly snapshot.

To limit how many snapshots are stored:

  • Use the Snapshots to Keep field to set the maximum number of snapshots that can be stored on your Mac.

The maximum available value is 100 snapshots. As soon as Snapshots Manager reaches the limit for snapshots and needs to make a new one over limit, it deletes the oldest snapshot.

Revert to a Snapshot

To revert to a snapshot:

  1. Start Parallels Desktop.
  2. In the Parallels Virtual Machines list, select the virtual machine that you want to revert.
  3. Click Virtual Machine > Manage Snapshots.
  4. Select the snapshot to which you want to revert and click Go To.

Delete a Snapshot

To delete a snapshot:

  1. Start Parallels Desktop.
  2. In the Parallels Virtual Machines list, select the virtual machine which snapshot you want to delete.
  3. Click Virtual Machine menu > Manage Snapshots.
  4. Select the snapshot you want to delete and click Delete.

    When you delete an intermediate snapshot, the information it contains is merged into the next snapshot.


As an alternative resource on this topic, we also recommend visiting this blog post:

How to Use Parallels Desktop Snapshots

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