Sharing Your Parallels Desktop Virtual Machine Between Multiple Mac User Accounts

Guest blog by Dhruba Jyoti Das, Parallels Support Team

Your home may be packed with more than one Mac plus other devices, but if you’re like a lot of other households, you have a central “family” Mac. This is the computer located in a high-traffic area such as the living room, kitchen, etc. Each family member has access to this Mac and uses it for everyday tasks like checking email, having a quick FaceTime chat with a friend or relative, accessing recipes, streaming music to AirPlay devices around the home, and looking things up on the Internet.

Although you can configure this Mac so that it has just a single account, you can make it more enjoyable for each family member to use (and easier for you to control) by creating separate user accounts. When you do that, everyone has a place to save their stuff, keep personal settings, etc.

If you have Parallels Desktop installed on this Mac, you might want to share your virtual machines with the other Mac user accounts. Today I’m going to shed some light on how this sharing process works.

You can share VMs in two different ways.


Method 1

Follow these steps if you want to create a new VM that is accessible from all the user accounts on your Mac:

Click on File  New → Select the type of VM you would like to install → Under Name & Location, check the option “Share with other users of this Mac”. Choose Proceed and follow the rest of the on-screen instructions. Yes, it’s that easy!

Parallels Desktop Multiple Users

The new VM will automatically be created in the /Users/Shared/Parallels directory, and all necessary permissions will be granted to the other users of your Mac.

This VM can also be used by different Mac accounts sequentially. For example, if one user suspends the VM and logs out, the VM will be suspended for the next user, who will have to resume the VM to continue work.

Now, let’s discuss the other way to share a VM.


Method 2

You already have a VM installed, and now you’ve decided to share it with the rest of the user accounts on your Mac.

This process might seem a bit trickier, but it’s not that complex. Check out the steps below:

Show in Finder

In order to give the other users access to the same VM, you need to set the correct permissions. You can choose the exact user accounts to share your VM with (in case you might not want to share it with all the users). To do that:

    cd /Users/Shared/Parallels


Hit Enter.

Sharing Your VM

    sudo chmod -R og+rwx /

And drag and drop your VM’s .pvm file from Finder to the Terminal window. The whole command will look similar to this one:

Sharing Your VM

Hit Return, enter your Mac account password when prompted, and press Enter again.

Note: Terminal will not display the actual symbols you’re typing. Just enter the password and hit Return.

    sudo chmod -R +a "user_account allow file_inherit,directory_inherit,list,add_file,search,delete,add_subdirectory,delete_child,readattr,writeattr,readextattr,writeextattr,readsecurity" /path_to_virtual machine

Let’s say you want to share the VM with your brother, and his Mac user account name is “Rob.” In that case, the command would look like this:

    sudo chmod -R +a "Rob allow file_inherit,directory_inherit,list,add_file,search,delete,add_subdirectory,delete_child,readattr,writeattr,readextattr,writeextattr,readsecurity"

Sharing Your VM

Finally, drag and drop your .pvm file to the Terminal window and hit Return.

Sharing Your VM

You will be asked to type the Mac password. Type it in and hit Return.

You can also create user accounts for Windows if you share a single VM with other people. Each person will have their own Windows account and customize their accounts with their own settings and preferences. To do this, just follow this Microsoft knowledge base article.

We hope you enjoyed this post on sharing your VM with other Mac users. If you find these tips helpful, please share the post with your friends and don’t forget to follow the Parallels Support team on Twitter!

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