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Moving your Parallels virtual machine to another Mac


Recently, I decided it was time to do a clean install of OSX on my current primary home Mac -- a 20" Intel Core Duo iMac named Phoenix. Ordinarily, when I first get a new Mac, I usually wipe it completely and start over with a fresh install, putting in only the things I want -- but for some reason never did that with this one. So, it was time. Really, who needs all those printer drivers and languages anyway?

Another reason I wanted to nuke and pave this Mac was to reclaim the space taken over by the Windows partition devoted to Boot Camp. Yes, I realize I could have accomplished that by using the Boot Camp Setup software, but I was already ready to do a fresh install anyway, so I went ahead and just reformatted the drive completely. Once it was done, I went happily along installing the things I would need on the iMac to get my daily work done: Microsoft Office, NetNewsWire, Firefox, Adobe Photoshop, etc.

I also wanted to use Parallels on this Mac as well, so I installed that too. However, and this is the cool part, I didn't want to take the time to reinstall Windows and have to reconfigure it, do all the updates, etc. Instead, I copied the Parallels Folder from my MacBook Pro, which is located in the Documents Folder inside my Users Folder, to my iMac, started up Parallels and presto: Windows booted and I was good to go. No reinstall or re-authorization necessary. The only thing that I needed to install again was Parallels Tools -- even though it was already installed.

Once I did that, Windows functioned exactly the same way it did on my MacBook Pro. Fortunately, the serial number I used for my Windows install on the MacBook Pro allows it to be installed on two machines, otherwise I would delete it immediately from the MBP. So, just a tip should you ever need to wipe your drive and wish to alleviate at least some of the resulting hassle associated with putting all your software back on your Mac.

I'm sure this would also work if you were moving from an old Mac to a new one. Or, you could always use the Migration Assistant, which should accomplish the same thing. Although, being a hands-on type I usually migrate everything manually and drop it where it needs to go. But that's a subject for another post. For now, any questions?

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