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How to share virtual machine with several user accounts on a Mac

  • Parallels Desktop 10 for Mac
  • Parallels Desktop 9 for Mac
  • Parallels Desktop 8 for Mac


I am unable to use my virtual machine on another Mac user account.


Virtual machine .pvm file is not shared among all Mac users and permissions are not properly set.


If you would like to share a virtual machine between several Mac user accounts, you should place it in the directory which is accessible for all those accounts. The optimal variant is /Users/Shared/ directory where you can create a dedicated Parallels folder to store all virtual machine's files.

Every user should have permissions to read, write and execute virtual machine's files.

If you are creating a new virtual machine:

To make your virtual machine shared during its creation you need to take the following steps:

While creating a new virtual machine, on the stage Name and Location (see picture below) select the checkbox Share virtual machine with other users of this Mac:

New virtual machine will be automatically placed in the /Users/Shared/Parallels directory and all necessary permissions will be granted to all users of this computer.

Such virtual machine could be used by different Mac accounts sequentially. For example, if one user turns the virtual machine into the suspended state and logs out, another one when logged in will find it in the same state and will have to resume it to continue the work.

If you wish to share an existing virtual machine:

If you need to make an existing virtual machine shared between different Mac accounts, please do the following:

  1. Start Parallels Desktop, in Mac menu click on Window > Control Center (Virtual Machines List in older versions) > right-click your virtual machine > choose Show in Finder (see picture below):

  2. The Finder window will be opened. Take a virtual machine's bundle (for example, Windows 7.pvm) and place it to the directory accessible for all the accounts which will use the virtual machine. It is strongly recommended to select /Users/Shared/Parallels folder for this purpose to avoid any trouble with insufficient permissions in the future.

  3. Since virtual machine is moved, you will see it listed in the Control Center (Virtual Machines List) as unavailable.

  4. Right-click on its name again and select Locate. Specify new virtual machine location (the folder you have just moved your virtual machine to). After that the machine will be available and you can use it in a regular way.

  5. For all other users to become able to use the same virtual machine it is necessary to set correct permissions for the virtual machine, adding all users who share virtual machine with read and write permissions, and applying permissions to all enclosed items. It should be done in the following way:

    a) First, decide how you want to share the virtual machine; for all user accounts on your Mac or just for certain users

    b) Open Terminal application from /Applications/Utilities/

    c) Go to public virtual machine's folder - to do this, please copy the following command in Terminal window and press Return/Enter:

    cd /Users/Shared/Parallels

    d) If you want to share the virtual machine with all users then perform the following command:

    sudo chmod -R og+rwx /path_to_vm_bundle

    Instead of /path_to_vm_bundle put the real path to the .pvm bundle you want to share. The easiest way of doing this is by dragging and dropping the virtual machine's bundle icon next to the sudo chmod -R og+rwx like this:

    dragging and dropping the .pvm bundle right next to the command string

    as result the full path to the .pvm bundle is inserted with correct syntax

    Now press Return/Enter key, enter your Mac user account password and press Return/Enter key again to execute the command.

    Note: Terminal does not display password symbols. Just enter your password and press Return/Enter.

    e) If you want to share the virtual machine with some specific user account(s), run the following commands from Terminal:

    sudo chmod -R +a "user_account allow file_inherit,directory_inherit,list,add_file,search,delete,add_subdirectory,delete_child,readattr,writeattr,readextattr,writeextattr,readsecurity" /path_to_VM

    (please use corresponding accounts login instead of user_account and correct paths instead of /path_to_VM).

    For example, lets add permissions for user parallels2 to work with virtual machine Windows 7 for sharing.pvm which is located in /Users/Shared/Parallels/ folder:

    • type in the command:

      sudo chmod -R +a "parallels2 allow file_inherit,directory_inherit,list,add_file,search,delete,add_subdirectory,delete_child,readattr,writeattr,readextattr,writeextattr,readsecurity"
    • drag and drop Windows 7 for sharing.pvm bundle icon next to the command string:

    • as result you will have a string like that:

    • press Return/Enter, enter your Mac user account password, press Return/Enter again.

    • login from another user account and to start the virtual machine.

During the process, if you receive an execution message like Operation not supported, please enable ACL support with the command:

    sudo fsaclctl -e -p /Users/Shared/Parallels

For information on sharing virtual machine in Parallels Desktop 2.x or 3.x, please refer to the following Knowledgebase article:

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