Troubleshooting Parallels Desktop start issues

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Note: you may have your Virtual Machines configured to start automatically when Parallels Desktop starts. This article describes Parallels Desktop start issues only, if you need help starting a Virtual Machine please check this article Troubleshooting Virtual Machine start issues.

You are unable to start Parallels Desktop because of one of these reasons:


It may happen because of one of these reasons:


Parallels Desktop reinstallation is the first step you should take. This procedure does not affect existing Virtual Machines, only the application will be overwritten.

Uninstall Parallels Desktop following the steps from this article, disable anti-malware if any and install Parallels Desktop again downloading it from here. Your virtual machines will be detected automatically.

If you are unable to start Parallels Desktop or a virtual machine and you get the error message:

    Unable to connect to Parallels Service 

If you still having the same issue:

  1. Repair possible macOS file system issues, as some Parallels Desktop files may be affected by these issues:

    • Boot your Mac to Recovery mode this way.
    • Open Disk Utility.
    • Select your macOS startup volume (Macintosh HD by default) in the left column, then click First Aid -> Run -> Continue.
    • Wait till the process is over.
    • Reboot the Mac to normal mode.
  2. Add Parallels Desktop in the Firewall and Privacy exception:

    • Open System Preferences.
    • Click the Security & Privacy icon.
    • Select the Privacy tab > Accessibility.
    • Click the lock icon in the preference pane, then enter an administrator name and password.
    • Drag and drop Parallels Desktop app (Finder: /Applications/Parallels Desktop) in the Allow the apps below to control your computer box.
    • Select the Firewall tab. If Firewall is enabled follow the steps below
    • Click the Firewall Options button
    • Click the Add Application (+) button.
    • Select the app you want to allow incoming connection privileges for - Parallels Desktop.
    • Click Add > OK.
  3. Add Parallels Desktop to the anti-virus white list if any.

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