[This is using Parallels 12]
I figured out a workaround to unlink a linked clone since there is no built-in feature in Parallels (as of this post). There is one caveat, in that you will have to reactivate Windows on the unlinked VM. Since I discovered this, I have gone through and unlinked all my linked VMs. Hard drive space is cheap and linked clones are too much of a headache and risk.
You will install the Parallels Transport Agent on the VM and "migrate" Windows from the linked VM to a new standalone VM. Basically what the transport agent app does is create an image of Windows to an external location. This image turns out to be a standalone parallels VM identical to the unlinked clone. Then you add this new VM using the "add new VM" wizard and choose: "Transfer Windows from a PC". Voila! Clean unlinked VM.
I hope this helps someone.
- Make sure all VMs are suspended or shut down.
- Launch the linked clone VM you want to unlink.
- Open up a browser in the VM and download the Parallels Transporter Agent from the official Parallels download page. Make sure you download the right version of the agent for the version of parallels you are running.
- Install the agent on the VM. It might ask you to reboot the VM.
- Run the agent if it doesn't launch automatically. When prompted, select to migrate to an external USB drive (or large USB stick) and navigate to the drive. Personally I created a subfolder on the drive.
- When asked, select to transfer ALL files, applications and documents (System and Files).
- When asked where to transfer your files choose: "Transfer to Windows".
- You will be asked to confirm that Windows needs reactivation. You've been warned.
- The process will be long depending on the size of the VM. For me I had a 40GB VM that took 2hrs to "migrate".
- Once it's done, shutdown the VM and make sure the USB drive is mounted to the MAC.
- Open Parallels Control Center on the MAC and select File...New
- In the Wizard select "Transfer Windows from a PC" then select External Storage.
- Click the "Select Manually" button and navigate to the migration file (parallels VM) that was created in step 9.
- When asked, select to import\transfer ALL files, applications and documents.
- Once the import\transfer is done Parallels will start the VM after asking some basic questions.
- At this point you are basically done. However the default VM memory and processor cores are probably not desirable. You should configure these to match the old VM BEFORE you activate Windows.
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Last edited: Jul 13, 2017