Create a Virtual Machine

Syntax 1

prlctl create <vm_name> --ostemplate <name>

Creates a virtual machine from the specified virtual machine template. The --ostemplate <name> parameter specifies the source template name. To obtain the list of available templates, use the prlctl list -t command.

Optional parameters

--dst

A path to the directory where the virtual machine files will be stored. If omitted, the default location will be used.

--changesid

Change the Windows security identifier (SID) of a Windows-based virtual machine template. It requires Parallels Tools to be installed in the template. If omitted, the original SID will be used.

Syntax 2

prlctl create <vm_name> [-o,--ostype <name | list>]

Creates a virtual machine and optimizes it for the OS type specified in the --ostype option. If the --ostype parameter is omitted, the virtual machine is optimized for Windows 10 by default. If you want to optimize the virtual machine for a different OS type, use the list option to get the list of available OS types: prlctl create vm_name -o list, then select a desired OS type name and use it as a value of the -o parameter.

Syntax 3

prlctl create <vm_name> -d,--distribution <name | list>

Creates a virtual machine and optimizes it for the OS distribution specified in the --distribution option. Use the list option to get the list of available distributions: prlctl create vm_name -d list, then select a desired distribution name and use it as a value of the -o parameter.

Common optional parameters

--no-hdd

Create a virtual machine without hard disk drives.

--lion-recovery

Create a virtual machine from the Lion OS host recovery partition.

Creating a macOS Virtual Machine

To create a macOS virtual machine, download a .ipsw file with macOS installation image, and execute the command with the following parameters:

prlctl create <macOS_VM_name> -o macos --restore-image <path to the .ipsw file>

E.g., prlctl create "macOS_beta" -o macos --restore-image /Users/{user_account}/Downloads/UniversalMac_14.5_23F79_Restore.ipsw

Note: Since virtual machines on Apple Silicon Macs only work via Apple's own Virtualization Framework, there are compatibility limitations between different macOS versions on your Mac and virtual machines. The only scenario that is guaranteed to work is running the same major version of macOS on your virtual machine as on your Mac computer. For more information on possible limitations of macOS virtual machines on Apple Silicon Macs, please refer to this knowledge base article.

Creating a macOS Virtual Machine with a Customized Virtual Hard Drive Size

By default, the virtual machine is created with 64GB of disk space. If you want to create a machine with a different disk size, the process is slightly different:

  1. Having downloaded a .ipsw installation file, run the following command: prlctl create <macOS_VM_name> -o macos --no-hdd --restore-image <path to the .ipsw file> This command will create a virtual machine shell with no hard drive.

  2. Use the following command to add a virtual hard drive and specify its size (in megabytes): prlctl set <macOS_VM_name> --device-add hdd --type plain --size <size_in_megabytes> Note that only plain drive type is currently supported for macOS virtual machines on Apple Silicon Macs. For more information on supported virtual drive types, refer to this chapter of the guide.

  3. Start the installation process by executing the following command: prlctl start <macOS_VM_name>

  4. Wait for the installation to complete and follow on-screen instructions to choose language, create a user account, etc.

Creating a macOS Virtual Machine in Parallels Desktop Version 18 and Earlier

  1. Fetch the .ipsw file download URL by executing the following command in the Terminal: /Applications/Parallels\ Desktop.app/Contents/MacOS/prl_macvm_create --getipswurl

  2. Copy the resulting URL and open it in your browser to download the .ipsw file.

  3. Once the file has been downloaded, execute the following command in the Terminal: /Applications/Parallels\ Desktop.app/Contents/MacOS/prl_macvm_create <path_to_ipsw> <path_to_macVM> --disksize <size_in_bytes> E.g., /Applications/Parallels\ Desktop.app/Contents/MacOS/prl_macvm_create ~/Downloads/UniversalMac_13.3_22E252_Restore.ipsw ~/Parallels/macOS.macvm --disksize 80000000000

  4. Wait for the installation process to complete.

  5. Once finished, locate the file in ~/Parallels/ (your home folder > "Parallels"), drag and drop it to Control Center, or open it with Parallels Desktop via Finder.

Note: In this process, once your macOS VM is created, you won't be able to change the size of its virtual hard drive.

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