Setting an Expiration Date on a Virtual Machine

You can set an expiration date for a virtual machine. This can be a useful option if you are preparing a virtual machine for a contractor (or a third party user) and want to make sure that it works only for the duration of the contract.

To set an expiration date for a virtual machine:

  1. Open Parallels Desktop and select the desired virtual machine.

  2. On the Parallels Desktop menu bar, select Actions > Configure to open the virtual machine configuration dialog.

  3. Select the Security tab.

  4. An expiration date can only be set on an encrypted virtual machine. If your machine is not yet encrypted, click Encryption: Turn On, specify an encryption password, and click OK. Make sure to record the password or you will not be able to start the virtual machine. Wait until the encryption process finishes.

  5. To set an expiration date for the virtual machine, click Expiration Date: Set Date, specify a password and click OK. Make sure to record the password to be able to change the expiration settings later. You should keep this password secret to prevent the prospective user of the virtual machine from changing the expiration date.

  6. On the next screen, specify the following options:

    • Do not allow this VM start after: specifies the virtual machine expiration date.

    • Contact info: specifies the system administrator email, phone number, or other contact information. This information will be included in the message that will be displayed to the user when the virtual machine is about to expire. You can include each piece of information on a separate line.

    • Time Server: specifies the time server URL. The virtual machine expiration time will be checked against this server. The default time server is

    • Date Check Frequency: specifies how often the date and time should be verified against the time server. You can specify it in minutes, hours, or days.

    • If unable to check date, use VM for: specifies for how long the virtual machine should be kept working if the time server cannot be reached. For the duration of this period, the virtual machine will continue to check the date. If it succeeds before this period is over, the counter is reset, and the virtual machine will continue to work normally.

  7. Click OK when done entering the expiration info.

  8. To modify the current expiration date or password, click Expiration Date: Change Date or Expiration Date: Change Password and enter the new values.

Note: When giving the virtual machine to a contractor, make sure to provide them the encryption password, which is needed to start the virtual machine. Please note that this is NOT the expiration date password you've set in step 5 above. This is the password you set when you encrypted the virtual machine.

When the expiration date approaches, the virtual machine user will be notified as follows: a message will begin to be displayed seven days before the expiration date. The message will be shown to the user every 24 hours and additionally on every virtual machine startup. Once the date is reached, the virtual machine will be locked, so the user will not be able to start or resume it anymore.

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