Available article translations:

Mac Disk Space Management

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


  • I am running out of a disk space on my Mac, and I want to make sure that my virtual machine doesn't occupy it all.
  • My virtual machine takes a lot of disk space on my Mac, and I want to make shrink it.
  • My virtual machine keeps expanding, taking the last gigabytes of Mac disk. How do I prevent that?



Identifying what takes disk space on a Mac

There might be a lot of different files except the virtual machine which may take up a lot of disk space of your Mac. We recommend to scan entire Mac disk to locate large files and decide whether you need them of not. Use this very handy freeware tool by Tjark Derlien: Disk Inventory X

  1. Download the Disk Inventory X image. Open the application.
  2. Select the disk and click Open Volume:


  3. Wait until the scan is completed:


  4. Once the scan is completed you can review the disk content in different view modes: a list, graphic tiles, file kinds:


As bigger the tile as more space is occupied on the Mac. Check all the big tiles by selecting them. Disk Inventory X will show you the detailed file description in the Information window.

Right-click on the tile to use the context menu:


NOTE: be careful with thee files from system directories /private/ and /Library/ - do not remove them.


Reducing the virtual machine's size

Follow the below steps to reduce the size of your virtual machine:

  1. Go to Parallels Desktop > File > Free Up Disk Space:


  2. On the opened window click Reclaim button to compact your virtual machine:


    NOTE: if you have multiple virtual machines, open Control Center > right-click on the virtual machine and select Reclaim Disk Space... option:


  3. Open Snapshot Manager: in the Control Center right-click on the virtual machine > Manage Snapshots...
    1. Delete snapshots you no longer need.

    NOTE: if you have a complex snapshots tree, then deleting one of the parent snapshots may cause the virtual disk size increase.

  4. If you still need to free up more disk space, then clean the contents of the virtual machine using the below instructions. Reclaim the disk space again.


Identifying the contents of a virtual machine

If you noticed that your Windows virtual machine takes a lot of disk space, use this freeware tool to check its contents similarly to OS X: Scanner

  1. Download the Scanner. Unzip the archive. Launch the program in your virtual machine.

  2. Select the partition where the Windows OS is installed. By default it's C:. What for the scan to complete:


  3. Once the scan is completed you will see the contents of your virtual machine on the sunburst chart:


Point to the desired section to see its size and location. Similarly to OS X, be careful with the system directories.

How to stop my virtual machine from expanding?

Please visit this knowledge base article for instructions: How do I stop my virtual machine size from expanding?

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