Convert Vmware images to Parallels

So, I have been a huge vmware fan for many years.  As a result, I have nearly a dozen separate images that were carefully built and customized for each purpose.  When I switched to the Mac I found my vmware images trapped in the older OS.  After several searches online I found the following sites to help me along my way:

Each was very good and thorough but unfortunately they were both painful in their descriptions (not that they were bad or poorly written, but instead that each required special software and specific configuration awareness).  I finally took the plunge and just turned on Parallels Transporter and voila – 15 minutes later my first vmware image was up and running – with ZERO problems.  The process I followed was the following (first make backup of your image – always a good idea):

  1. Open Parallels Transporter in the Parallels directory
  2. Choose Express, Whole virtual computer and point it at your vmware file
  3.  When it is done – check your disk space (it defaults the outputted files into your /application/parallels/ directory)
  4. Open the new image with Parallels, ignore Windows errors and force install the Parallel Tools
  5. Done – enjoy your images in Parallels

That is it – have fun!


* Yes I know… read the documentation on your own software before Googling the world looking for the answer.  Interesting fact – 1,600,000 results found when searching for “how to convert vmware to parallels”, and not one (at the time I searched) plainly state to use Transporter.


About J.D.

Passionate about CrossFit, mindset, bettering each other, technology, and the intersection of cybersecurity with products. The online views and posts represent my journey of discovery and learning.
This entry was posted in Mac, Technology and Gadgets, virtualization. Bookmark the permalink.

7 Responses to Convert Vmware images to Parallels

  1. obvious1 says:

    Fair enough James, but I for one am glad of this post. I can’t be bothered to look through the entire manual when all I want is a simple straightforward answer. Isn’t that what the internet was originally about – the free exchange of information and ideas? Thanks for the help.

  2. José says:


    I’m looking for answers to my issue converting VMW to || everywhere.
    I hope you have an idea to help me.

    I did the Parallels Transporter process, but as the Parallels team said, I need to register Windows again.
    When the machine tries to open first time, Windows ask for registration.
    The problem is that the mouse isn’t working inside the machine and Parallels tools can’t be installed until Windows finished loading-and it won’t finish loading
    until I register Windows.
    So, I’m going around in circles.
    I posted it in Parallels forums to no avail so far.
    For mor details with screen shots please take a look there:

    Any idea?

    Thanks a lot for your time,

  3. forg3 says:

    Doesn’t work any more. They changed the transporter and now it can’t see vmware images.’

    • pcidss says:

      Sorry to hear that! I have been wrestling personally with transporter .. if you find a solution would love for you to drop a link to the best approach.



  4. D. says:

    If you choose “open” in parallels it converts the image. This according to a co-worker who just did it from a vm-ware image I made this morning.

  5. delcas says:

    I’ve just trialled (for all of 5 minutes) then bought Parallels 7 (running under Lion) and can confirm that all you need to do is select FILE then OPEN in Parallels, browse to the directory of your VMware image is in and select the single file that is ‘active/selectable’ from the directory/image you’re interested in then sit back and let Parallels do the work. I’ve migrated two XP images so far with 100% success.

    NB: Windows will force you to re-activate your copy of Windows as it sees the migration to Parallels as having changed significant hardware.

  6. delcas says:

    PS – The trial lasted only 5 minutes as, although I haven’t tried VM Fusion 4 yet (as the beta crashed on me constantly and trashed my ETH/Wifi big time so got dumped VERY quickly), it was massively faster than VM Fusion 3 on my iMacG7 with 4GB RAM. Combined with the superb ‘Competitive Upgrade Price’ that was LESS than the VMware cost to basically buy another product by way of an upgrade, it was a complete no brainer. And some of the features and the comprehensiveness of the Cohension (blending XP with OSX) option are first class. Very happy bloke just now.

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