Parallels Desktop on External Drive? How?

Discussion in 'Windows Virtual Machine' started by PaulC30, Sep 22, 2023.

  1. PaulC30

    PaulC30 Junior Member

    Does anyone have any tips for running Parallels Desktop on External Drive?

    I am a Mac M1 Max user and would like a small Windows Parallels set up, but would prefer this to be on an External drive as I wouldn't be using it every day.
    I have heard that this is now a thing, and that its possible to do this, say with an external SSD drive?

    Are there any walkthroughs on doing this, does Windows also reside on the External drive?

    Any help would be great before I try the PD19 demo.
  2. Mikhail Ushakov

    Mikhail Ushakov Parallels Team

    Best Answer
    Yep, the steps are pretty simple:
    1. Create a Windows virtual machine (VM).
    2. Shut down Windows (Actions > Shut down).
    3. Locate the virtual machine file as outlined at
    4. Move the .pvm file of the VM to the external drive (just copy/paste it).
    5. Double-click the .pvm file on your external drive to register it in Parallels Desktop Control Center.
    It's done!
    Note: don't forget to shut down Windows before unplugging the drive from your Mac since it might cause the corruption of the VM (since if the VM is running and you unplug the drive from your Mac, it results in the interrupted I/O operations of the virtual hard drive).
    VinhN1 likes this.
  3. PaulC30

    PaulC30 Junior Member

    Ok thanks, so are you saying to create a normal Parallels Desktop on the main drive and move it afterwards instead of doing this direct to an exteranl drive?

    Secondly I think Windows XP is no longer supported? and its just Windows 11 now? (I only need an old VM to use with my older Windows programs)
  4. PaulC30

    PaulC30 Junior Member

    Bump anyone?
  5. MatthewR20

    MatthewR20 Most valuable person

    Windows 11 is the only official version of windows supported on Apple Silicon Macs.

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