Transferring a Parallels Windows virtual machine

If you’ve already set up Parallels virtual machines, you can transfer them to another Mac. This saves you the trouble of installing and configuring Windows from scratch. You can simply install Parallels, copy a virtual machine and you’re ready to go. And because you’re using the same virtual machine, you may not need to purchase multiple Windows licenses for each computer.

Copying an existing Windows virtual machine

  1. On a Mac with a virtual machine you’d like to use, open the Parallels virtual machine folder. It’s usually in the home folder/Parallels.
  2. Copy the virtual machine’s .pvm file to a shared or external drive.

Using an existing Windows virtual machine

  1. On another Mac, download Parallels Desktop. Install as a 30-day-trial or enter a license code.
  2. Install as a 30-day-trial or enter a license code. When Parallels offers to set up a new virtual machine, leave the window open and continue with the steps below.
  3. Open the Parallels virtual machine folder in the home folder/Parallels.
  4. Connect to the shared or external drive with the virtual machine you need.
  5. Copy the virtual machine’s .pvm file from the drive.
  6. Open the Parallels Desktop app and choose File-Open. Navigate to your Parallels folder and open the virtual machine.
  7. When Parallels asks if you’ve copied or moved the virtual machine, choose Moved. This avoids Windows activation issues and you won’t need the Windows product key.
  8. Now you can configure Windows and install apps as usual.

Changing the MAC address

You may need to change the network MAC address so it doesn’t conflict with other users on your network.

  1. Open Parallels. If a virtual machine opens automatically, click the Virtual Machine menu and Shut Down. Keep Parallels open.
  2. Click the Virtual Machine menu and Configure.
  3. Choose Network 1 (or another interface).
  4. Next to MAC address, click Generate. The MAC address changes.

Changing the computer, product key or account

Each user may prefer to have their own custom settings for Windows.

  1. Start the vitual machine and log into an admin account.
  2. Move the pointer to the upper-right corner or click the arrow. Click the Settings gear icon.
  3. To change the computer name or product key, click Change PC settings. Click PC and devices, then click PC info. Click Rename or Change product key.
  4. To change user accounts, click Accounts. You may change the current account or add other accounts. To add a password, click Sign-in options.

Find out how to keep Windows up-to-date.

Learn more about installation.

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