Previous page

Next page

Locate page in Contents

Print this page

Using Boot Camp Partition in Virtual Machine

If you have a Boot Camp partition, you can create a virtual machine that will use Boot Camp partition as its hard disk or import Windows from this Boot Camp partition to a new virtual machine or use this partition as a data disk in virtual machines.

Creating a Boot Camp Virtual Machine

To create a new virtual machine for using the Boot Camp Windows partition, do the following:

  1. Boot into Mac OS X.
  2. Start Parallels Desktop and launch New Virtual Machine Assistant by clicking New in the File menu.
  3. In the Create New Virtual Machine window, choose Boot Camp partition from the Install from menu, click Continue and follow the instructions.

    Note: If your Boot Camp is divided into several partitions, only the bootable partition will be added to the virtual machine configuration. If you want to add the other partitions, you should add them as separate virtual hard disks in the Virtual Machine Configuration.

  4. Your Boot Camp virtual machine will be accessible through the Parallels Virtual Machine list that allows you to easily manage your virtual machines. When you boot into Boot Camp Windows through Parallels Desktop for the first time, Parallels Desktop will install Parallels Tools (Installing Parallels Tools, Installing Parallels Desktop).

After that, you will be able to boot into your Boot Camp partition from Parallels virtual machine or use it as usual by booting into the Windows partition.

Note: This version of Parallels Desktop allows you to suspend your Boot Camp virtual machines. If a Boot Camp virtual machine is suspended, it is highly recommended that you do not use the Boot Camp partition. Otherwise when you resume the virtual machine, it will store all the changes you made to the Boot Camp partition when the virtual machine was suspended.


There is a number of limitations for a Parallels virtual machine that uses the Boot Camp Windows partition either as a bootable volume or as a data disk:

  • it cannot be paused
  • it cannot have snapshots and run in Safe Mode
  • it cannot be compressed

Note: There are no limitations on types of users who can access the Boot Camp Windows partition from a virtual machine. You can log into Windows even if you don't have administrator rights.

Importing Data from Boot Camp to a New Virtual Machine

Parallels Desktop allows you to import the Boot Camp data to Parallels virtual machines. In such virtual machines, the Boot Camp data becomes available on .hdd images. As a result, such a virtual machine is in no way connected to the Boot Camp partition and it can be paused, compressed, and have snapshots.

To create such a virtual machine, follow these steps:

  1. Select a Boot Camp-based virtual machine and choose Import Boot Camp from the File menu. Or you can right-click this virtual machine in the Parallels Virtual Machines list and choose Import Boot Camp from the context menu.

    Note: This virtual machine must be shut down.

  2. Click Import.
  3. In the next step, locate where you want to store your new virtual machine and click Choose.
  4. Wait while the Boot Camp data is being imported to the virtual machine. After that, you will be able to use the newly created virtual machine in Parallels Desktop.

Note: You will be able to work with the original Boot Camp virtual machine as well.

Using Boot Camp as Data Disk

To use the Boot Camp Windows partition as a data disk, add it as a hard disk to an existing Windows XP, Windows Vista, or Windows 7 virtual machine. The Windows operating system will automatically recognize it as a new disk. For detailed information on adding hard disks to Virtual Machine Configuration, see Adding and Removing Devices.

Related Topics

Adding and Removing Devices

Parallels Virtual Machines List

Installing Parallels Tools

Using Safe Mode