Copy personal data between Intel-based and ARM-based virtual machines

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Question

An Intel-based virtual machine (VM) cannot be started on a new Mac with Apple M1 chip because it is not compatible with Mac computers equipped with the Apple M1 chip. The same applies to a VM created on a Mac with Apple M1 chip that cannot be started on a Mac with an Intel processor. How to copy the data from this VM?

Information

To run a virtual machine on a new Mac with the Apple M1 chip, the Parallels Engineering team created a new virtualization engine that uses the Apple M1 chip hardware-assisted virtualization and can run ARM-based OS in a virtual machine.

As a result, a new ARM-based virtual machine must be created. More information can be found in KB 125343.

Transfer data from an Intel-based VM to an ARM-based VM 

For Windows x86 VM

1. Click the Parallels icon (||) on the top menu bar > Control Center.

2. Right-click the virtual machine > select Show Hard Disk Contents...

3. A new Finder window will be opened with contents stored on the virtual hard drive:

4. Select the required disk where your data is stored. 

5. Copy the data and paste it to a folder on a Mac (you can share it with the ARM-based virtual machine later) or to an external drive:

6. Once you finish copying the data, eject the disks from Finder:

For Linux x86 VM

1. Create a new Linux virtual machine or download one from the list of free systems in Parallels Desktop wizard.

2. Once a virtual machine is created, shut it down (Actions > Shut Down) and open its configuration > Hardware.

3. Click + button on the bottom and select Hard disk:

4. Select Existing image file as a type and add a path to the hard drive of the x86 virtual machine. As a result, the hard drive of the old virtual machine will be added to the new virtual machine as a second one.

5. Start the virtual machine and copy the required data from the attached hard disk of the old x86 virtual machine. 

6. Once you finish copying the data, shut down the virtual machine, open the virtual machine configuration, select Hard Disk 2 and click the - button to remove the old hard disk.

For macOS x86 VM

Unfortunately, it's not possible to copy the data from a macOS x86 virtual machine on Mac with M1 chip. However, you can open your macOS x86 virtual machine on an Intel-based Mac to get access to the data stored inside the VM.

Transfer data from an ARM-based VM to an Intel-based VM 

To transfer the data from a virtual machine created on a Mac with Apple M1 chip to a virtual machine running on a Mac with Intel processor, perform the following steps:

1. Start the ARM-based virtual machine on your Mac with Apple M1 Chip.

2. Copy the data from the virtual machine to an external storage driver or upload it to cloud storage.

3. Start an existing Intel-based virtual machine on your Mac with an Intel processor. If you don't have such a VM, create a new one as per KB 4729.

4. Paste the copied data to the new virtual machine.

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