Prepare a Virtual Machine for Transfer

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If you need to transfer a virtual machine to another Mac or if you are a Parallels Desktop for Business administrator wishing to provision a corporate virtual machine image without resorting to 3rd-party solutions, you can prepare a virtual machine by compressing it into a Parallels proprietary .pvmp format.

Note: This functionality is available in Parallels Desktop for Mac Pro and Business Editions only.

Note: Boot Camp-based virtual machines, archived virtual machines and linked clones cannot be prepared for transfer.

Prepare a Virtual Machine for Transfer

Note: Parallels Desktop uses its own, unique algorithm for in-place packing of a virtual machine, and, instead of creating an additional compressed copy of a file, it directly converts the .pvm package to a compressed .pvmp file. Therefore, if you want to keep using the virtual machine, or if it contains some business-critical data (that could potentially be lost if the packaging process is abruptly stopped), please create a copy of your virtual machine before proceeding (the steps to locate your virtual machine file are provided in KB 117333).

  1. Make sure the virtual machine is shut down. If it is running, shut it down using Actions > Shut down. If it is paused or suspended, resume the virtual machine and shut it down.
  2. If your virtual machine has snapshots, it is recommended that you remove them. This will significantly reduce the virtual machine size. Moreover, these snapshots may become useless on another Mac because of different hardware.
  3. Open the Parallels Desktop Control Center: click Parallels icon  in the macOS menu > Control Center.
  4. Right-click the virtual machine that you want to transfer and select Prepare for Transfer. Parallels Desktop will start packing the virtual machine. This process may take some time depending on the virtual machine's size.
  5. The compressed package will have the .pvmp extension, and will be placed in the location of the original .pvm bundle. 

If there were no error messages during the process, it means that all the virtual machine data has been packed successfully. If you wish, you can double-check that. You need to compare the checksum for the virtual machine with that for the package. They must coincide.

To see the checksum for the virtual machine, open the .txt file that was created and saved next to the .pvmp package. The string in this file is an encoded checksum.

To get the checksum for the package, open Terminal (Finder > Applications > Utilities) and execute the following command:

shasum -a 256 <path to the package>/"<package_name>"

This command may look as follows:

shasum -a 256 /Users/<your_user>/Parallels/"Windows 7.pvmp"

The output may be as follows:

63a90c3c38cc8c358221da339068fc1292b10bf7c00ed8449787b0e6019d706b  /Users/parallels/Parallels/Windows 7.pvmp

The string in the beginning must coincide with the string from the .txt file mentioned above. However, there's no need to compare the whole string. 4 symbols in the beginning and 4 at the end will be enough.

Transfer the Virtual Machine

After the package is created, you need to transfer it to another Mac. You can do this using a cloud storage, network drive, external hard disk, etc.

Open the Virtual Machine on Another Mac

To open the package on another Mac, do the following:

  1. Launch Parallels Desktop and click File > Open.
  2. Navigate to the folder where the package is stored, select it and click Open. The package appears in the Parallels Desktop Control Center.

Right-click the package and choose Open Package. Parallels Desktop starts unpacking the virtual machine. This process may also take some time depending on the package size. Once the virtual machine is unpacked, you can start using it.

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