Why does Parallels take up so much disk space?

Discussion in 'General Questions' started by MathiasN1, Nov 7, 2017.

  1. lccomo

    lccomo Bit poster

    Like I said James...
    after having the techs working remotely on my machine with me watching them do the same thing I'd done a half dozen times before even contacting Parallels I finally decided they don't have a clue as to how to fix the problem. Mine happened while updating Windows after upgrading to PD14... it just kept sucking my HD space day after day until I couldn't stand it any more.

    Of course I then turned to Apple Techs who did exactly the same things I had just done to try and solve the problem... they also took control of my machine via moble access. Apple like Parallels didn't listen to what I had told them I already did to correct the problem. I read forums for two weeks, sent reports to those I felt may be able to help from Parallels and Apple to Adobe and in virtually every case they just repeated every solution I had already tried at least a half dozen times.

    Fact is they didn't listen, wasted my time doing the same moves on my computer on I watched it like in slow motion because remote access is slllooowww.

    I understand your frustration... been there for weeks on end. Final solution was figure out by me... not the software engineers. They obviously have not figured out why the upgrade causes such a horrible conflict.

    On 3 Nov 18 I was given this last report - basically says Parallels does not accept responsibility and I should contact Apple:
    I understand that you are unable to remove Windows 10 pvm file from Trash which was around Zero bytes.

    During the remote session, we tried removing Windows 10 zero bytes pvm file from Trash and got error message "unable to remove Windows 10.pvm as it is not identified".

    Checked with the Mac storage management which contains Parallels Desktop VMs was around 40.2 GB and Trash was Zero bytes. So if you like to fre up the space in Mac please contact Mac support regarding this.
    Apple eventually said it was a conflict with Parallels and not their problem... so if you believe Parallels is going to solve your problem, stay with them. I can tell you it's been almost 7 months since my problem came in to play - now you have the same problem and have not been given a solution.

    I will say once again, there is no solution other than erasing and starting over... if you can't do that in my opinion... you're screwed, sorry to say the obvious. Best of luck... I feel your pain but can also say my new updated software is working fine and I also gained about 22GB in the process.

    Truly wish you the best... if you want I can dig out some notes from the IT guys but they didn't help me at all so they are probably worthless.
  2. PolS1

    PolS1 Bit poster

  3. Hayden1

    Hayden1 Bit poster

    Same here, my parallels desktop keeps using more storage while it is open and I have to close it a lot so it doesn't keep using more storage and now my mac is almost out of storage. Can I please have some help.

    RAILITYL Member

    When I check every file in my C:\ disk in windows, I only use 32,6 GB. I'm aware that parallels itself take up disk space. But if I recall when first installing Parallels, It wasn't close to 38GB?
    Last edited: May 17, 2019
  5. JordanH2

    JordanH2 Bit poster

    I was having this same problem, my iMac is brand new but I ran out of space on my SSD. I watched it go from 4.5GB remaining to 2.5GB remaining in a couple hours. Alas, after calling Apple support twice and parallels support once I've got a solution. Parallels says it is not them, however the Mac wasn't doing this on its own, so I think its something in the software dumping files in the "core" folder. Second time calling apple we ran some terminal code programs and found where all the GB were hiding. Below is the solution:

    1) Go to Macintosh HD
    2) press command-shit-period
    (this will show grey "hidden" folders)
    3) go to folder named "core" and double click
    4) select everything inside and delete it

    You should notice tons of free space available now.

    Then enter this code into terminal:

    sudo launchctl limit core 0 unlimited

    Press enter, you should have to enter your system password, and viola! It is fixed and blocks applications from dumping into the core folder. It was writing a 2.2GB file every hour on the dot.

    Hope this helps everyone having this issue!!!
  6. YeongS

    YeongS Bit poster

    Most of my disk space are eaten up by snapshots! It's about 66% taken by snapshots and 30ish% by actual active Windows OS VM.
    Worst problem is, I have never succeeded in deleting my snapshots. It was errors out or causes a kernel panic that forces my macOS Catalina 10.15.3 to reboot after taking more than 2 hours spinning (from the time I selected snapshot to delete). I am running Parallels Desktop Professional v15.
  7. Please check your inbox.
  8. GirishP1

    GirishP1 Bit poster

    I guess, I am not the new to this problem :( so in my case what I am observing is that the size is of the virtual machine is keep on growing. if I visit to browser and next moment I see few MB's are added. I got to browser cache/history and clean them all but still the size remains the same. Next time I see the same behavior. I tried to do "sudo du -h /* | sort -h", I see the largest size of the folder is /usr and on top if I do total of ALL it won't go more than 10GB but my virtual machine is still at 29GB so where is rest of the GB? I understand my virtual machine is in disk expand mode but that too I observer is taking minimum 100GB and doesn't even allow me to go down from that to say 20GB that way i can control this so called "keep expanding".

    Output of "sudo du -h /* | sort -h":
    351M /lib
    628M /var
    753M /usr/lib/x86_64-linux-gnu
    1.1G /home
    1.1G /home/girish
    1.2G /usr/share
    2.0G /usr/lib
    3.4G /usr

    Now next when I execute command "df -h | sort -h", it says I have 61GB of disk capacity and only 5.8GB is used so why is disk keep on increasing? there is no snapshot, there is browser cache, there is no large files on the system?

    /dev/sda1 61G 5.8G 53G 11% /

    What am I missing?
  9. GirishP1

    GirishP1 Bit poster

    I have attached the screenshot that shows the data doesn't match the size of the disk usage.

    Attached Files:

  10. TinaA

    TinaA Junior Member

    I am running the latest Parallels on a Macbook with Catalina. I need to free up disk space to upgrade to Big Sur.
    I have one virtual machine, for the sole purpose of running one program (Atril Deja Vu) with I have running on Windows XP 3.
    I store all my user data on the MAC, not in the virtual machine. And yet the .pvm file is over 20 GB! Is there any way I can reduce the size?
  11. Hello, could you open your virtual machine- > right click on computer icon -> choose properties and check the disk size.
    Please share the results with us.
  12. TinaA

    TinaA Junior Member

    I don't know what you mean by "computer icon." Is there another way to locate the information you want?

    Attached Files:

  13. Sorry for the inconvinience.
    Please from the Start menu, select My Computer. Alternatively, double-click My Computer on the desktop.
  14. JohnH66

    JohnH66 Junior Member


    Depressing reading this thread isn't it.
    I have a Windows 7 VM so I can run Quicken.
    I set it to be 80 Gb expanding on my 1 tb SSD
    I have used 62.7 gb of the 70.9Gb capacity according to Window Explorer, so it should not have needed to expand.
    According to the Mac Finder the PVM is a massive 134.33 Gb.
    Exploring the package shows me that the Windows7-0.hdd file is 130.94 Gb in size. (97.4% of the PVM)
    So my question for the Parallels people is how can a 79.9Gb hard drive in Windows become a 130.34Gb file on my Mac. What is taking up the extra 50Gb that is not actually on the hard drive? Is there something else in that .hdd file apart from the disk itself/ if so why is it so huge and how do I clean it out. I really need that 50Gb right now!

    Thanks in advance

    PS yes I have done all the disk cleanup stuff in Windows and Parallels but that really isn't the issue here is it as I still have 17.3 Gb left on my nominally 80Gb windows C: drive?

    PPS -
    I just restarted my VM which is now reporting just 59.7 GB used on C: (20.2 gb free) but the pvm file has crept up to 134.71 so I just lost another 400mb again!
    So I restarted again - HD now showing C: 59.5Gb so down 200 mb with no changes having been made and PVM is now 134.75 so just 40 Mb lost this time, but nearly half a gig just today. So why if the C: drive usage is "shrinking" is my PVM increasing in size????
  15. Hello,
    Did you create a snapshot?
    Please check the snapshot size using the Free Up Disk space menu and provide us with the results.
  16. JohnH66

    JohnH66 Junior Member

    Hi Maria

    Well as you will deduce from the above the entire package is 134.75 Gb with the .hdd file taking up ~130 Gb so the snapshots couldn't be accounting for more than 4 Gb.

    But for completeness I checked and I have a snapshot directory visible in the package which takes up 3.84 GB (so most of the space that is not the .hdd file).
    FYI when I do Apple () menu > About This Mac > Storage > Manage I don't see the Parallels VMs listed separately even though it is stored in my /Users/john/Documents/ directory.

    Parallels Free Up Disk Space tells me I have 4 snapshots and can reclaim 114 Mb by compacting Win 7 and 5.2kb in Parallels desktop cache files
    Windows Disk Cleanup tells me I can reclaim 2.06 Mb

    None of this explains why the .hdd file is 131.67 Gb when the maximum capacity of my C: drive is 79.9Gb
    As I asked before "Is there something else in that .hdd file apart from the disk itself? if so why is it so huge and how do I clean it out?"
  17. JohnH66

    JohnH66 Junior Member

    Hello Maria. Are you there?
  18. JohnH66

    JohnH66 Junior Member

  19. mmika

    mmika Pro

    johnH66, why do you think "the snapshots couldn't be accounting for more than 4 Gb."
    It's not obvious at all. Also you didn't provide a technical data to Maria.
    What is size of snapshot files in .hdd folder?
  20. JohnH66

    JohnH66 Junior Member

    Thank you

    Ah OK so the .hds file is a package too - I assumed it was a file. It does indeed contain .hds files which I have now found out is the snapshot suffix. The oldest of these is 77.21Gb (11 May 2020) and there are 4 others which take up about 55 Gb between them. I think I now understand why my VM is so huge. My next questions are why the Snapshot Manager shows the first snapshot as 18/3/2020 and not 11 May as per File Manager, and are they incremental or can I delete the monster one (37 Gb) and still have the security of knowing I have a snapshot that works?

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