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:


As a first troubleshooting step, disable the anti-malware/firewall applications if there are any and then check if the issue still remains.

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 experience 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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