How To Delete a Virtual Machine in Parallels

If you enjoy experimenting with different operating systems in Parallels, you may eventually find the VM files will eat up a significant amount of storage space. Parallel VMs can get quite large, and when you have several that you’re not using or rarely use, you’ll regain a lot of space by deleting them.

How To Delete a Virtual Machine in Parallels

Although the process to delete a Parallels virtual machine is not glaringly obvious, it is pretty straightforward. Read on to learn how to delete your Parallels VM.

How to Delete a Virtual Machine

Before deleting the VM, double-check that you won’t need anything from it, like files. Because once it’s

deleted, it’s gone. Follow these steps to remove the VM:

  1. Open the Parallels desktop app, but do not start the VM you want to delete.
  2. From the Mac bar, click the Parallels icon, then choose “Control Center.” Alternatively, enter a spotlight search (command + space) for “Parallels.”
  3. You should see a list of the VMs you have installed. Right-click on the virtual machine you wish to delete, then tap “Remove (virtual machine name).”

  4. You’ll be prompted to confirm that you want to delete the VM and its associated files. Select “Keep files” if you still want access to the files. The VM will be deleted from the list but stay in its original location.
  5. If you do not need the files from the virtual machine, choose “Move to Trash” to erase them.

How to Restore a Virtual Machine

If you need to get a virtual machine back from another saved location, here are the steps to do so:

  1. Close the Parallels app.
  2. Launch the Macintosh HD, then go to (Your User Name), “Library.”
  3. Then look for the folder name “Parallels.” This folder will have all your VM files.
  4. Now move your VM files back to the Parallels folder. This will overwrite the files there. Therefore, the current VM state and hard disk will now be replaced by the previously saved state.

How to Backup a Virtual Machine

Making a backup of your virtual machines is handy for having the option to go back to a previous state. Follow these steps to backup your VM:

  1. Shut down your VM and close the Parallels app.
  2. To access your VM files, go to your Mac HD (your user name), “Library.”
  3. Then find the “Parallels” folder.
  4. Copy the folder to a safe place like an external hard drive.


Where are Parallels VMs stored?

By default, you can find Parallels VMs (.pvm file) by going to “Documents” and then the “Parallels” folder in your user folder. Alternatively, go to “Users,” “Shared,” then “Parallels.”

The default location can be changed as you create the VM by selecting the Customize setting before the installation option.

Delete Your Virtual OS

Desktop virtualization software Parallels is excellent for masking the macOS and mimicking a native OS performance. However, VM files can become quite large and take up lots of space. Once a VM has served its purpose, you can reclaim some gigabytes by deleting it. The process to delete a VM is easy, and you have the option to hold on to the files from it.

Were you able to delete your Parallels VM successfully? Tell us what you think about the Parallels app in the comments section below.

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