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How to transfer hard drive from the existing virtual machine to an empty one?

  • Parallels Desktop for Mac Business Edition
  • Parallels Desktop for Mac Home Edition
  • Parallels Desktop for Mac Pro Edition


I need to transfer the hard drive from my existing virtual machine to an empty one.


My existing virtual machine has issues after update/upgrade.


Performing the steps below you will move the virtual hard drive. Please do it prudently, because all the virtual machine information is stored inside the virtual hard drive.

  1. Shutdown the original virtual machine.

  2. In Parallels Desktop menu bar go to File > New > Install Windows or another OS form a DVD or image file click Locate manually.

  3. Tick Continue without a source and click Continue.

  4. Choose appropriate OS > choose appropriate virtual machine configuration > tick Customize settings before installation

    and click Continue. When new virtual machine configuration window appear, do not close it.

  5. Open the Control Center (from the top menu bar use Window menu > Control Center). Click on the cogwheel next to the original virtual machine to open its configuration.

  6. Compare the setting of the new virtual machine settings with the original one. Set up all the new virtual machine settings like in the original one. Then close the original virtual machine configuration window.

  7. In the new virtual machine configuration go to Hardware tab > Hard Disk 1. Set the Source to Choose an image file

    NOTE: In case of Windows 10 operating system do not forget to tick 'Use EFI Boot' in Boot Order > Advances settings. Otherwise, virtual machine won't boot with message No boot device available, press Enter to continue.

  8. Navigate to the virtual machine location directory (default folders are /Documents/Parallels/ or /Users/Shared/Parallels/, it can be different in your particular case) and open your original virtual machine's .pvm bundle, choose .hdd file inside it. Also make sure that you got the same location type as it is in the original virtual machine configuration.

  9. Close settings and complete the virtual machine installation. The new virtual machine will be started. Make sure that it works fine and shut it down.

  10. Open the new virtual machine location folder (open the Control Center > right-click on the new virtual machine > Show in Finder), right-click the .pvm bundle Show package contents. Remove .hdd file.

  11. Also, open the original virtual machine's .pvm bundle in the separate Finder window.

  12. Drag and drop .hdd file from original .pvm bundle to new .pvm bundle. Also drag and drop Snapshots folder and Snapshots.xml file, if you have them.

  13. Perform Steps 5, 7 ,8 for the new virtual machine to choose a new location for .hdd.

  14. After .hdd file is transferred, boot your new virtual machine and check that it works properly.

  15. Remove your original virtual machine from the Control Center: right-click it > Remove > Move to trash.

  16. You will be able to change virtual machine name in the Configuration > General > Name.

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