Upgrading Parallels 3 to 4 on a Macbook Pro

Posted on 2009-02-18
Last Modified: 2013-11-11
I am running Parallels 3.0 (build 5608) on a 15"" 2.4GHz Core 2 Duo MacBook Pro (latest version)  with 2GB of memory.

I have had no problems with running Windows XP Pro in Parallels but have been offered a free upgrade to version 4.0

I have two questions:

a) Is it worth upgrading? There have been a lot of posts on forums describing problems with the upgrade. Have they solved these with version 3810? Can you supply latest instructions on how to upgrade (there are so many different suggestions on the net) ?

b) My Parallels folder in OSX has a size of 30.64GB. If I run Parallels and Windows and look, in Windows Explorer, at the C: drive I see it is about half full (15.9 used space, 15.3 free space) Am not sure how big the partition is - how can you see this - do you run Disk Utility?
Is it true that you don't need to worry about it as Parallels automatically resizes the partition as the data increases? If not, how can I tell how big it is and how much free space do I need?

Question by:bogorman
    LVL 28

    Expert Comment

    I'll answer your general question.  I don't use Parallels on a daily basis.  I started with it, but was unimpressed with the tech support.  So I moved the Fusion.  However, I like to keep my hand in things so I recently bought version 4 upgrade.  The actual upgrade seemed to go OK. However, it seemed slow to come up and when I attempted to upgrade to the latest patch, it hung about half way through and I had to hard boot the VM.  I finally got it upgraded to the latest 4.0 build and it seems to be running.  However, I  now have a problem where I can not get to the Internet.

    I have a web filter that also functions as a proxy, but on my main segment with IE, since the switch knows the out door I don't have to enter in the IP address of the filtering appliance.  This works on regular PCs and Macs and on my Fusion VM.  However, for some reason, now on Parallels, I can't get to the Internet without putting the appliance's IP address in the IE proxy settings.  Haven't had time to do research on the Parallels web site yet.

    I'd suggest downloading it since it's free, but I'd spend time reading through the issues on their web site and I'd make a copy of your version 3.x VM before doing any upgrade.

    Author Comment

    I do make regular backups to an external drive of the Parallels folder in
    I assume this includes the whole Virtual Machine.
    If I have problems with installing Version 4.0, can I just restore the Parallels folder to revert to the previous installation?
    Also, do you know how I can measure the size of the partition in OSX that contains Parallels?
    LVL 28

    Expert Comment

    Once you upgrade to 4.0, you have to convert your VM to a format that is incompatible with 3.0.  If you want to go back you would have to uninstall 4.0, reinstall 3.0, and then pull a VM in from a backup. I believe that when you do the upgrade, it warns you about this and I believe that it also offers to do a backup before converting the VM.

    I think that how your disk displays depends on how you set it up. I believe that you have the option when you set up the VM to designate either a static drive size or an expanding one.   In my scenario I have a VM that Windows reports as having a C drive that's 120 GB in size with 109 GB free.  If I look on OS X the .hdd file, which is what contains the VM is only 13 GB in size. If you are seeing about a 30 GB C drive and about that same size in the parallels folder, my guess is that you chose a static disk size when you created the VM.

    There really isn't a "partition" in OS X that contains the parallels... the VM is really a single big file, with some other smaller supporting files.

    Author Comment

    Thanks again for your help.
    Should I have opted for an expanding drive?
    What happens when the virtual machine grows and fills up the static drive?
    Assuming I should have opted for an expanding one, Is there any way of telling whether I have set it up with a static drive or an expanding one? I would have followed the instructions in the Parallels booklet and there does not seem to be any reference to it there, the only option was to use an ISO image of the installation disk which I do not think I chose.
    Mind you, in the booklet, they suggest the Easy Install, though on that screen there is an Installation Type option.
    Before I install v 4.0, should I uninstall Parallels (having created a backup of the Parallels folder), then reinstall version 3.0? I assume then one should have the option of making the drive expanding if I can find it! I assume that, once I have uninstalled the present version and reinstalled it I can just overwrite the Parallels folder with my backup.
    After sending you all this, you may think that the static drive is ok!
    LVL 28

    Accepted Solution

    >>>Should I have opted for an expanding drive?

    Not necessarily, it gives you more flexibility, but if you sized it right in the first place, there's nothing wrong with a static size.

    Here's an article that talks about expanding the disk size.  I think it is for 3.0, but may work with 4 as well:

    Another option which I have NOT tried would be to expand the disk size using the above and then instead of creating another partition, use something like Partition Magic to expand the current "C" drive into the empty space... I would think that it might work, but, as I said, I have not tried it.

    I don't think that you can expand the drive size by reinstalling Parallels.  That's something that's either done when the VM is created or with the above procedure.  I suppose you could create a new VM with expanding size and then do a V2V conversion of the old VM into the new VM.  Read through the Transporter documentation.

    Author Closing Comment

    Thanks, jhyiesla, for all your help.You have spent so long on it.
    When I have a reasonable amount of time available I will carefully install the new version and hope everything goes ok. As you suggest, as long as I take a backup of the Parallels folder, I should be ok.
    If you are able to answer another question (probably not as I have assigned the points) can you tell me why I have apparently two VMs in my /Documents/Parallels folder:
    Microsoft Windows XP and
    Microsoft Windows XP 1
    The latter is dated 1 Nov 2008 and the second today. Can I delete the first? My personal email is but maybe you are not allowed to use that.
    LVL 28

    Expert Comment

    Right off I don't know... unless you are doing some kind of snapshot or cloning.  As I said earlier, I don't use parallels on a daily basis and haven't run their snapshot or cloning process. I would guess, based on dates that the first one is a file that's not actively being accessed, while the second is.  You can open the parallels application and it will show you the VM's that it sees.  This may give you a clue as to which file is being associated with which VM.

    Author Comment

    Thanks, jhyiesia.

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