Use VMWare Converter to convert your Parallels images

Many moons ago, Parallels was the only game in town for Macintosh virtual machines. The software is good, but there is a new player in town. VMWare, the big name in PC virtualization has thrown its hat into the ring and is expected to release version 1.0 of VMWare Fusion for the Macintosh next week. At this time, people may be interested in trying it out, or converting altogether. But, if you've already got Parallels disk images, how do you get access to them from VMWare?

Good question. And, it's one of the questions that has been holding me back from converting my daily-use XP configuration over to running under VMWare instead of Parallels. However, that is the case no longer.

Thanks to an article on Instructions for Migrating Parallels VMs to Fusion from the VMWare Technology Network forums, we now know that it can be done using the VMWare Converter program.

As odd as it seems, this requires launching Parallels and running a program in Parallels that converts from the "current hardware" to a virtual machine. If that sounds familiar, then it may be because some of us used a very similar program from Parallels (Parallels Transporter) to get our data from a "real PC" to our Parallels virtual machine.

After having tried the instructions, I've found them easy to follow, although the process does take some time and will load down the computer while doing it, so you may want to start it up and then go to lunch.

In following the instructions, I found one place where the decisions posed by the text aren't entirely clear and neither are the ramifications. When choosing between using the local network or using Parallels' access to your hard drive directly, I found the network mechanism to be an easy and efficient choice. Rumor is that it's also faster than direct access to your drives. Also, in setting up the network configuration for this, there is one missing step in the instructions, and that's configuring your account to be accessible via the remote user. If your account isn't enabled, then whatever account you log in with will both have to own the directory you are putting the new VM into, and will have to run the VM (unless you change this later).

Screwing up the former left me needing to dig through the lengthy and potentially confusing log files before I realized that I had a permissions error on my destination folder.

Take care and enjoy!