How to create and use DMG based virtual disk in Parallels Desktop

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This article explains how to use a DMG file as a virtual disk for macOS virtual machines in Parallels Desktop 16.1.0 and later. A virtual machine will be operating with the DMG file directly using a virtual disk created by following the instructions below.


It's recommended to create a virtual disk based on a DMG file inside the virtual machine folder to avoid losing it.

To create a DMG based virtual disk, do the following:

  1. Open Terminal ( Applications > Utilities > Terminal )
  2. Type the following command:
    prl_disk_tool create --hdd <path to new virtual disk> --dmg <path to dmg file>
    Note: Use the full path to both files to avoid errors during the disk creation process.


    prl_disk_tool create --hdd ~/Parallels/macOS.pvm/dmg_disk.hdd --dmg /Users/username/macOSimage.dmg
  3. To attach the disk to a macOS virtual machine, use one of the following ways:
    • Open the virtual machine's configuration, go to the Hardware tab and click the + button > Hard Disk.
    • In the appeared menu select Type: Existing image file. Then navigate to the location of the disk created in step 2.

    • In the Terminal window type the command:
      prlctl set "virtual machine name" --device-add hdd --image <path to the disk>


      prlctl set "macOS" --device-add hdd --image ~/Parallels/macOS.pvm/dmg_disk.hdd
  4. If you want to boot the virtual machine from this DMG file, go to the Hardware > Boot Order and change the boot order respectively.

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