Import a Parallels VM into VMware Fusion Pro

With the recent announcement that VMware Fusion (and Workstation Pro) are now free for personal use, many might be looking to import their Parallels VMs into Fusion. Sadly, the import functionality relied on OVFTool which doesn’t work on Macs with Apple Silicon, therefore the import functionality has been removed from the product and isn’t present in the File menu like it would have been with previous x86 versions.

The steps below worked for my Windows 11 VM, and they should work fine for other VMs.

First, I had to install VMTools on the existing VM for the NIC to be recognised post import into Fusion, I needed this for Internet connectivity to be able to reset my Windows account PIN. If you’re using a local account or Linux, you may not have to do this step.

Using the qemu-img CLI tool, you can convert the Parallels HDD into a VMDK, then use that as an existing disk for a new Fusion Pro VM.

First, if you don’t have Homebrew installed, run this one liner from your preferred terminal app:

/bin/bash -c "$(curl -fsSL https://raw.githubusercontent.com/Homebrew/install/HEAD/install.sh)"

I admit it’s been some time since I installed it, so I’m not too sure how long it takes. The official documentation will have more information.

Once Homebrew is installed, run the following command:

brew install qemu

Then using Finder, navigate to your Parallels VM folder, right click on the VM you want to import then show package contents. Do this step again for the .hdd file for the VM.

In this folder, there should be a .hds file, copy that and paste it somewhere. I used the Parallels directory.

Then run the following command, replacing the hard disk name with whatever the .hds file is called (hint – use tab to autocomplete).

qemu-img convert -f parallels -O vmdk your_hard_disk_name.hds win11.vmdk

The process might take a short while to complete. Once done, open Fusion Pro and create a custom VM. Move through the menu system until you get the option to select an existing disk, and then point it at the file from the output of the command above (win11.vmdk in this case).

Fusion will then copy the file into the new VM directory. Finish the wizard, and power on the VM. Check everything works as it should, and don’t forget to remove Parallels tools, plus the hds and vmdk files from the Parallels directory you copied/created earlier. If something goes wrong, you can always just switch back to the Parallels VM.

Hopefully this helps some people out.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.