Creating a VM Image

To create a VM image:

  1. First, create a Parallels virtual machine, install the operating system in it, and configure the virtual machine according to your requirements. Note that if you have Apple M-series and Intel based Macs in your organization, you need to create a separate virtual machine for each processor type. For the list of supported operating systems, please visit

  2. Make sure the virtual machine is shut down.

  3. If your virtual machine has snapshots, it is recommended that you remove them. This will significantly reduce the virtual machine size. Moreover, these snapshots may be unusable on another computer because of hardware differences.

  4. When the virtual machine is ready, it needs to be saved as an archive before you make it available for download to your users. Choose from the following options:

    • ZIP — simply archive the virtual machine bundle (.pvm) as a .zip file. In general, you can use any archiving format that can be extracted using the tar -xf command. For example, zip, tar.gz, tar.bz2.

      Please note that you will also need to calculate an SHA-256 checksum for the ZIP file. You can use the shasum command or another third-party tool. For instructions on how to use the shasum command, please see Calculating SHA-256 checksum below.

    • PVMP — this is a Parallels own archiving format that was first introduced in Parallels Desktop 16. It is primarily used to transfer virtual machines from one computer to another and is optimized for archiving Parallels virtual machine bundles. For instructions on how to create a PVMP archive, please see below.

Creating a PVMP Archive

To create a PVMP archive of a virtual machine, do the following:

  1. Open the Parallels Desktop Control Center.

  2. Right-click the virtual machine that you want to transfer and select Prepare for Transfer. Parallels Desktop starts packing the virtual machine. This process may take some time depending on the virtual machine size.

  3. Once the package is created, you can right-click it and choose to show where it is stored in the Finder. The package has the .pvmp extension.

  4. An SHA-256 checksum for the virtual machine package is calculated automatically and saved as VmName.sha256.txt file in the same folder. You will need it when creating a configuration profile for the VM image provisioning later. You can also calculate the checksum by executing the shasum command. For more info, please see Calculating SHA-256 checksum below.

Calculating the SHA-256 Checksum

When creating a configuration profile for VM image provisioning (described later in this chapter), you will need to specify an SHA-256 checksum for the VM image archive. As was mentioned in the previous subsection, the checksum is calculated automatically for the PVMP archive. If you are archiving a virtual machine bundle using a different archiving format (or if you need to calculate the checksum again for the PVMP format) you can execute the following command from the command line:

shasum -a 256 <path>/"<archive_name>"

For example:

shasum -a 256 /Users/<your_user>/Parallels/""

The output will look similar to the following:

63a90c3c38cc8c358221da339068fc1292b10bf7c00ed8449787b0e6019d706b /Users/parallels/Parallels/

Uploading the Image

Once you have a virtual machine saved as a ZIP or PVMP archive, upload it to the server from which Parallels Desktop users can download it to their Mac computers via HTTP or HTTPS. Note that the server might serve a number of simultaneous downloads, which can negatively affect the speed of a download (depending on the number of end users). For this reason, CDN is recommended for very large deployments.

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