how to work with Linked Clones in Parallels Desktop

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Parallels Desktop 18 for Mac provides a feature that can be especially useful for software developers, testers, and IT students - Linked Clones.

A Linked Clone is a virtual machine made from a Snapshot of another virtual machine. The original virtual machine from which the Linked Clone is created is called the parent virtual machine. All the files available on the parent virtual machine at the moment the Snapshot is created continue to be available to the Linked Clone. All the ongoing changes to the virtual disk of the parent virtual machine do not affect the Linked Clone, and the changes to the virtual disk of the Linked Clone do not affect the parent virtual machine.

The advantages of Linked Clones are:

  1. You can create a new virtual machine based on the parent virtual machine in a few moments.
  2. The Linked Clone saves your Mac's hard disk space because it does not require you to copy the entire parent virtual machine.
  3. Unlike the regular Snapshots, several Linked Clones of the same parent virtual machine can run at the same time.
  4. Linked Clones have unique hardware IDs and MAC addresses, so they behave as separate virtual machines.

Creating Linked Clones

You can create a Linked Clone from a virtual machine with or without existing Snapshots.

Working with Linked Clones

Limitations of the Linked Clones

Unlinking a clone is done with a couple of clicks


Essentially you create a copy while keeping the linked clone. You can delete the linked clone later.

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