Creating and Configuring a Windows Image for Parallels Desktop for Chrome OS Enterprise and Education Edition

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Parallels Desktop Windows image is a virtual machine running Windows as a guest operating system. The image must first be created and then uploaded to a corporate server from where it can be downloaded to Chromebooks. The image settings must also be specified in the Google Admin console for Chromebook users to be able to download and use it.

Enroll Chrome Devices

Before a user can sign in to a Chromebook, the device must be enrolled into management. This also applies to the admin's Chromebook, which will be used to create a Parallels Desktop Windows image.

For the information about enrolling a Chrome device, please see the following Google article:

Creating a Windows Image

Download the Windows ISO image and create a Parallels Desktop Windows image

First, you need to download a Windows 10/11 ISO disk image to your Chromebook. Windows 10/11 installation images are available for download from Microsoft at the following locations: 

Download the image to the Downloads folder of the Chromebook. Do not create any subfolders, the image must reside in the Downloads folder.

To create a Parallels Desktop Windows image, in Chrome browser press Ctrl+Alt+T to open the crosh terminal. In the terminal, type the following command:

vmc create -p PvmDefault <filename.iso>



vmc create -p PvmDefault Win11_English_x64.iso

The command above will create a Parallels Desktop Windows image named "PvmDefault" and will mount the Windows 11 ISO disk image named "Win11_English_x64.iso" in it.

Wait until the command completes executing. You should see a text message that the command executed successfully.

Running Windows Setup

You can now start the Parallels Desktop Windows image, which will launch Windows Setup. To do so:

  1. Press Ctrl+Alt+T to open the crosh terminal.
  2. In the terminal, type the following command:

    vmc start PvmDefault
  3. Windows will start in its own window and you'll see Windows Setup screen. Follow on-screen instructions and install Windows as you normally would.

After Windows is started for the first time, the first thing that you should do is install Parallels Tools. This is a very important step in order to provide the best experience to your users. See below for instructions.

Installing Parallels Tools

Parallels Tools is a suite of drivers and utilities which is installed in Windows to allow seamless operation between Windows and Chrome OS. Parallels Tools help users to operate Windows in the most comfortable and efficient manner. For example, users will be able to change Windows screen resolution simply by resizing its window in Chrome OS, access user Windows folders in Chrome OS, copy and paste in both directions, and more. Installing Parallels Tools is highly recommended and even required for the best possible user experience.
Note: Presence of antivirus applications may affect Parallels Tools installation. Install Parallels Tools first, before any other applications.

The Parallels Tools package is connected to the virtual CD in the virtual machine, from where the installer can be executed as follows:

  1. Click the File Explorer icon on the Windows taskbar > This PC > Locate Parallels Tools CD drive. Then double-click on it to launch the Parallels Tools installer.
  2. If the installer doesn't start, right-click on Parallels Tools CD. Then select Open, locate the PTAgent.exe file and double-click it to launch the installation.
    Note: If Parallels Tools installation hasn't started, right-click on the PTAgent.exe file and select Run as administrator.
  3. If Parallels Tools are still not present, you can go to the three dots menu > Troubleshooting and select Install Parallels Tools or Reinstall Parallels Tools.

When Parallels Tools are installed, restart Windows to complete the installation. You can now install Windows applications required by your organization. Make sure you set up a volume license for Windows and other third party software.
Note: Shut down the Parallels Desktop Windows image before proceeding further. Otherwise, Shared Profile functionality will not work for users until Windows is restarted.

Configuring Shared Profile

Shared Profile is a Parallels Desktop feature that allows you to map user folders in Windows to Chrome OS folders. This way Windows folders like Desktop, Documents, Downloads, Pictures, Videos, Music become accessible from the Chrome OS Files app. Users can use files contained in those folders in Chrome OS applications, backup these files using Chrome OS tools, and use these files when Windows is not even running.

Note: When an IT administrator creates a Parallels Desktop Windows image by executing the vmc start command, they will not see the Shared Profile feature working, the following error will be shown: Windows cannot access \\ChromeOS\Home\Desktop. In order to test the image with this feature enabled, and to also see how end users will experience Windows on their devices, Windows must be shut down and then started from Chrome OS Launcher.

Folder mapping is done automatically by Parallels Desktop when you restart Windows after installing Parallels Tools. A folder structure is created in the Chrome OS Files app where each folder (Desktop, Documents, etc.) is mapped to the corresponding folder in Windows.

Disabling Shared Profile

The Shared Profile feature is enabled by default and is designed to improve user experience. However, if, for example, Roaming Profile or FSLogix like solutions are going to be used in Windows, then Shared Profile can be disabled. To disable the feature, execute the following command in the crosh terminal:

vmc adjust PvmDefault pvm.shared-profile off

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