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How to use a virtual machine stored on NTFS-formatted partition

  • Parallels Desktop 9 for Mac Standard Edition


I am not able to start my virtual machine which is stored on the partition formatted to NTFS.


Mac OS X does not support writing data to NTFS partitions.


1. In order to run Parallels Desktop virtual machine from NTFS partition, you need to install NTFS driver for your Mac.

Here is the list of most popular solutions (Taken from "Solutions for writing to NTFS drives in OS X" By Jesus Vigo in "Apple in the Enterprise", July 10, 2013):

Tuxera NTFS**

Tuxera NTFS is the commercial offering from the developers of NTFS-3G. This paid version offers full-support for 10.8+, as well as support for virtualization and encryption applications. Also included with your paid license is professional support directly from the company itself and its hosted user support forums. Tuxera NTFS is a full-fledged application that does not rely on add-on functionality or patches such as its free open source cousin above.

All this comes at a cost in the form of a per-computer licensing scheme, though volume-licensing discounts are provided depending on the quantity being purchased.

Paragon NTFS for Mac**

Paragon Software offers a similar commercial offering as it offers support for 10.8+, support for unlimited file/partition sizes, repairing of NTFS partitions (similar to repairs of HPFS+ in OS X), and ease of installing the driver, which includes installer package for deployment via desktop management suites.

Professional support is also included in the cost of the purchase of a per-computer license, though the entry-level cost is slightly lower than Tuxera's app.

**Note: Just to reiterate, both the commercial apps are per-computer applications; meaning that it must be installed on each computer that requires read/write access to NTFS formatted drives. NTFS-3G also has the same requirement, except that it is open-source, while the commercial apps do require a paid license to legally use them for each desktop.

2. After installing NTFS driver for OS X, please copy your virtual machine to the NFTS partition, then switch to Parallels Desktop -> File -> locate&open your virtual machine from NTFS partition.

NOTE: When you move the virtual machine file from one location to another, Parallels Desktop may consider this virtual machine a copy of another virtual machine and offer you to create a new MAC address for its virtual network adapter.


Unless your virtual machine is a copy of another virtual machine and you are planning to use both of them, it is highly recommended that you don't change the virtual machine's MAC address (Moved button), as it may affect your Windows activation.

WARNING! Using two identical virtual machines may violate the Windows license agreement.

In some Linux virtual machines, the change of MAC address can be considered as an adapter change. For example, if the virtual machine's network adapter appeared as "eth0" in your Linux system before you changed the MAC address, after this change it may be displayed as "eth1".

Also please check this article before copying your virtual machine: Transfer an existing virtual machine to your new Mac or an external drive

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