How to Manage Parallels Desktop for Mac VPM (Filesize Up to 125 GB)

Parallels Desktop for Mac is showing 3 .vpm files:  MyBootCamp.vpm (1.8 MB), MyBootCamp1.vpm (284 MB), and Windows7.vpm (124.6GB).  I need to understand whether the latter file is an error or if correctly installed and working, how to manage its size.

PC:  MacbookPro 8.2 (15in 'Late 2011 Model')
OS:  Mac OSX Lion 10.7.5
Parallels Desktop:  Version 9 for Mac; build 9.0.24237
HDD:  (per system report)
  1 HD, Total Capacity 750.16 GB
     disk0s1(209.7 MB), Content:  EFI
     Macintosh HD (430.06 GB) Available:  48.12 GB, Content:  Apple_HFS
     Recovery HD (650 MB), Content:  Apple_Boot
     BOOTCAMP (249.29 GB), Available:  95.6 GB, Content:  Microsoft Basic Data


My MBP was originally set up with a Bootcamp Partition on which to run Windows 7.  The technician who initially configured it, with some difficulty, set it up at my request to use the same set of Windows 7 config files whether I was booting up directly/solely as a Windows PC (dual boot capability), or whether I was running Windows as a virtual machine under Parallels Desktop for Mac.  About two weeks after I started using the original MBP, it had to be exchanged for a different (new) machine of the same model for unrelated reasons.  The same tech re-did the configuration on the second MBP.  I don't know how the second machine was configured (from scratch, or part of the installation from the first machine was copied over) but I'm mentioning this fact in case some of my issues are related to this second configuration.  I've been using this MBP for two years and upgraded Parallels Desktop from version 7 to v9 through that period.

I am not certain but believe that I originally only had one .vpm file which Parallels Desktop accessed to run Windows 7 as a virtual machine when running under OS X.  Based on the file creation dates, the original .vpm would appear to have been the MyBootCamp.vpm file (created 18 May 2012).  The file MyBootCamp1.vpm shows a file creation date of 1 June 2012, consistent with the date my original MBP was replaced.  The Window7.vpm file mentioned below shows a creation date of 18 May 2012 which suggests it would have first been created during the original configuration.

File Sizes:
Presently, requesting a Virtual Machines List from Parallels Desktop 9 results in 2 virtual machines showing:  MyBootCamp and MyBootCamp1.  Finder reports their sizes as follows in the Documents/Parallels folder:   MyBootCamp.vpm (1.8 MB) and MyBootCamp1.vpm (15.9 MB when this vpm is not running and 284 MB when it is running).

However, Finder also shows a third .vpm file in the Documents/Parallels folder:  Windows7.vpm (124.64GB), though as noted above, this .vpm filename does not show up in the Virtual Machines List from Parallels Desktop 9.

Under Bootcamp, my Windows 7 installation and all of the associated apps and user data take up approximately 147 GB.  This is part of the reason I don't understand the large size of the Windows7.vpm, which resides on the Macintosh partition, being so large since all of the Windows 7 'stuff' already resides on the Bootcamp partition.

Windows VM Startup Behaviour

Attempting to startup a virtual windows machine by double-clicking MyBootCamp.vpm from the Documents/Parallels folder results in the following error:

The Boot Camp partition "/dev/disk0s3" used by Hard Disk 1 is not supported.

Attempting to startup a virtual windows machine by double-clicking MyBootCamp1.vpm from the Documents/Parallels folder results in the Windows 7 environment loading up in a separate window (which I believe is the normal behaviour).  From that Windows 7 virtual machine, I have access to all my Win7 apps and files etc..  Point being, this MyBootCamp1.vpm file is relatively small and it appears to allow me access to the much larger Windows environment installed under Bootcamp (which I think is normal behaviour).

Attempting to startup a virtual windows machine by double-clicking Windows7.vpm from the Documents/Parallels folder results in the following error message (see attached screengrab):

Have you copied or moved "Windows 7"?

Error Generated by Parallels Desktop 9 when attempting to run Windows7.vpm

1.  I'm not sure whether the Windows7.vpm file was somehow created just for temporary purposes when the tech originally setup my replacement MBP (two weeks after he had done the initial MBP), or whether I created this 'problem' by attempting to rename a .vpm file at some later time (which might have been named 'MyBootCamp.vpm' and I renamed it to read a less confusing 'Windows7.vpm')
2.  I'm not sure what this large 124GB 'Windows7.vpm' file actually contains so I'm reluctant to just delete it without understanding its purpose (I can of course transfer it to portable storage to relieve my HD but it will just take up space on the portableHD and I won't be any further ahead as to whether it's a valid file, what it's contents are or it's intended use.
3.  I'm not sure whether one of the two options (Moved or Copied) which Parallels Desktop presents when I attempt to run Windows7.vpm should be selected and if so, which one.
4.  I'm not sure whether the MyBootCamp.vpm file should be deleted.

Can someone help me clarify/troubleshoot this?

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Eoin OSullivanConsultantCommented:
Follow reading your thorough description

1. Both your suggestions are possible
2. Don't delete it until you see if its working - backup to external HD before you "play" with it on the HD
3. Select Copied or Moved ... neither will affect it starting up .. there's just an Ethernet MAC address allocation difference between they both options.  Choose either .. but Copied is a safer option
4. Yes, it should be deletable.  Move the file to the external HD for now .. until you're happy that the other one is working fine.

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qengAuthor Commented:
Thx eoino.  I'm am backing up MyBootCamp.pvm and Windows7.pvm to an external drive.  I'll then delete both from my MBP and test operation.  I'll return with feedback in a few hours.

Please note:


the file extension should have read '.pvm' throughout and not '.vpm'

I also verified that I could bootup directly from the Windows partition prior to moving the above files off the MBP.  I'll reconfirm this ability afterwards (my sense is that the above two Parallels files have nothing to do with that).

Sorry, just got back to this comment.  Thought I sent it out two days ago but just noticed it didn't submit.
I haven't played with either Parallels or Fusion since going to an SSD, since it's now much less painful to reboot into Boot Camp, but I would strongly suspect that your 147GB file is a complete and separate Windows environment from your Boot Camp partition.

If I were troubleshooting this, I'd open in Parallels, create some small text file on the desktop, then reboot into my Boot Camp partition, and see if the new file was present. If not, it would be pretty clear that Parallels was no longer displaying the Boot Camp installation within the Mac OS X environment.

I do agree with the previous recommendation to back it up before deleting, but hopefully you can repoint Parallels to Boot Camp and delete the backup once everything's functioning properly.
qengAuthor Commented:
Status update:

Backed up both MyBootCamp.pvm and Windows7.pvm to an external drive (in this case a Time Capsule).

Loaded Windows7.pvm in Parallels Desktop and used the 'copied' option.  The Parallels application successfully created a new MAC address for Windows7.pvm and it was successfully loaded, showing what seems to be a copy of the original Win7 environment which was created when the tech first configured the first MBP.

The Windows7.pvm desktop shows essentially just one large folder, 'Data' which contains apps and user data I would have had on a windows laptop which I originally wanted transferred/available to the MBP.  In order to view or retrieve specific information from the 'Data' file, in case I lose the Windows7.pvm file or it becomes corrupt, I decided to separately backup this Windows7.pvm/Data file (78.1 GB) to the Time Capsule (TC).

For reasons I don't understand, copying the 'Data' folder from the Windows7.pvm desktop to the Time Capsule, by dragging the 'Data' folder from the Windows7.pvm desktop onto the TC window resulted in an incomplete transfer of files, with only approx 7.7 GB being copied over, without error messages (ie no messages that it wasn't able to transfer some of the folders or files).

I subsequently installed SyncToy64 on the Windows7.pvm 'machine' and have been using it to transfer the missing files from Windows7.pvm/Data over to TimeCapsule/Backups/Windows7pvm/Data.

This last action has so far resulted in 365,000 of the 555,000 files in the 'Data' folder being copied over (copy still in progress) but, for reasons I also don't understand, the data transfer rate through SyncToy64 is very slow.  The copy has been running for two days now and is still only approx 60% complete (though it appears to be progressing without errors).  I want to wait until all 'Data' files are successfully transferred over to the TC before deleting the Windows7.pvm folder from the MBP.

Could this very slow transfer speed through SyncToy64 on the Windows virtual machine be caused by AVAST running on the Mac partition?
qengAuthor Commented:
Thanks MacProTX.  I will try the troubleshooting step you recommend and get back.

Another thing (related?) which has been puzzling me is why Parallels Desktop no longer displays a small icon in the upper 'taskbar' (not sure if that's what it's called in the Mac OS; it's the same taskbar at the top of the screen as where you'd find the battery capacity, system date and time, wi-fi status, etc.).  That icon used to display and would give access to various features like 'coherence' etc..

Is there an option somewhere in the Parallels app, or the MacOS,  which may have gotten turned off somewhere along the way, which allows this icon to dispay or am I looking at a possibly corrupted Parallels Desktop application file? (the functionality of Parallels Desktop seems otherwise to behave normally, albeit opening a bit sluggishly for my liking on bootup of a virtual machine).
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