How to backup a virtual machine

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Information

Parallels Desktop virtual machines are very similar to real computers, therefore they are vulnerable to the same threats as real computers: hard disk corruption, data loss, power outage. We recommend creating virtual machine backups on a regular basis to keep your work and data safe.

Note: Our general recommendation for any backup method is to keep the virtual machine Shut Down during this process.

When should I backup my virtual machine?

We strongly recommend to backup your virtual machine before performing the following operations:

In all other situations, it is recommended to backup virtual machine once in few months depending on the amount of changes done to the system.

What are backup options?

Manual backup

You may simply back up the entire virtual machine by copying its .pvm file (it contains the whole virtual machine) to another place on your Mac HD or to an external disk (recommended).

If you run your virtual machine from the external drive, the backup of the virtual machine should be put to a different external hard drive.

To find your virtual machine's pvm file, follow these instructions :How do I find my virtual machine on Mac?

Time Machine

Please check this article to know how to do backups using Time Machine.

3rd-party solution

You may also use a preferred third party backup utility like Acronis True Image, Carbonite, etc.

How to protect Guest OS from corruption?

A snapshot is a saved state of the guest OS. It's useful to create snapshots, for example, before:

Additional information

If you have a snapshot, you can revert to a state of the virtual machine saved in there at any time.

For the additional information please check working with snapshots article.

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