ERROR: A disk read error occurred when starting virtual machine

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When you launching a virtual machine on Parallels Desktop, you receive a disk read error message:


Windows installation on this virtual machine is corrupted. This could be caused by improperly shutting down the VM.


  1. Open Time Machine and restore the 'Windows_name.pvm' file (see location below). If you don't have a backup, follow the steps below.

  2. You can try to restore Windows by following the Windows recovery guidance:

    • Recover using Windows CD/DVD/ISO:

    • Create a new virtual machine from scratch and try to connect the virtual hard drive of the corrupted virtual machine to the fresh one:
      • Go to Configuration of the new virtual machine > Hardware > click '+' in the bottom-left corner of the window and add the existing hdd file. Put the location path into the dialog window that appears.
  3. In addition, you may use one of the third-party file recovery applicationsfor instance, TestDisk (free) or DMDE (free trial).

Note: The applications above are just examples of the possible recovery applications which can be used. In case if you have any difficulties using those applications, please contact the support team of each application separately.

If none of the aforementioned solutions help, the virtual machine cannot be restored and you need to create a completely new virtual machine in order to continue running Windows on your Mac. We suggest you creating backups of the .pvm file regularly in order to prevent data loss.

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