Migrating a Parallels Desktop Virtual Machine to vSphere ESXi 7.x on MacOS

This how-to will describe how to convert and move a Parallels Desktop Virtual Machine (VM) to a VMware vSphere ESXi 7.x server utilizing VMware Fusion on MacOS.

This is Just One of the Options Out there…

When searching for this topic, there are several opinions and viewpoints on how to exactly perform what we’re going to cover in the below how-to. Those other options might work just as well, the below steps are what I did in order to move the virtual machine will as little effort as possible, because I’m sure we all have better things we can doing. 🙂 The VM that I converted was running Windows 11.

Install the Trial Version of VMware Fusion

For this how-to, you will need VMware Fusion temporarily in order to perform the conversion and migration of the VM. Go out and grab the trial version of VMware Fusion, available on the VMware website here: https://www.vmware.com/products/fusion/fusion-evaluation.html

Once you have downloaded and installed the trial, proceed with the below steps.

Importing the Parallels Desktop Virtual Machine

In VMware Fusion, under the “File” menu, choose “Import“.

The following window will be shown. In my case, it automatically displayed my Parallels Desktop VM that was already on my Mac.

If for some reason, VMware Fusion does not display your VM automatically, you can browse and select the virtual machine that you want to migrate by selecting the “Choose File” button.

The rest of the wizard was very simple, so just accept defaults on any further options. Also choose where you want to temporarily store (on your Mac) the converted Virtual Machine.

Once the VM has been converted, VMware Fusion will display a window like the one shown below.

I pressed the “Play” button on the window in order to start the VM temporarily, just to make sure it would start its boot-up process. It booted up with no issues, so then I shut the VM down.

Note: don’t worry about chaning any of the VM specs or anything here at this step, as we’ll do that later once the VM is on ESXi.

Connect VMware Fusion to VMware vCenter (or standalone ESXi host)

Next, in VMware Fusion, click on the “File” menu, then choose “Connect to Server“. This will connect VMware Fusion to a vCenter instance or to a standalone ESXi server. This will make transferring the VM from your Mac to your ESXi environment very easy.

In my environment I am running vCenter, so I entered my vCenter location and credentials into the prompt.

Note: you do not need to be running vCenter and can also connect directly to a standalone ESXi server using this same method.

You might get a security certificate warning when you connect, which you can go ahead and choose the “Continue” option.

Once vCenter (or the standlone ESXi server) is connect, a list of VMs that are already in the environment will be shown.

On your local VM that you have converted, right click on it, and choose “Upload to Server“.

Uploading the Virtual Machine

In the next window, select the destination server for where you want to upload your VM. In my case, I would choose my vCenter instance. Then choose “Continue“.

On the next screen, choose which VM folder you want the virtual machine to be placed in. I didn’t really want it in a folder, so I just chose the main datacenter, named “VirtualDennis“.

Once you choose a location, click on the “Continue” button.

On the next screen, choose which ESXi host you want to use as a target for the virtual machine. Then select the datastore where the VM will be copied to.

Once those are selected, choose “Upload” to begin.

Monitoring the Upload

Once the upload starts, a window will be shown with the status of the upload process.

Note: I noticed when I clicked off of the VMware Fusion window into another app, the progress window would not be shown. Once clicking back onto VMware Fusion, it would appear again.

Once the VM has successfully been uploaded, you should see the copied VM now listed under the list of VMs under the vCenter instance.

And you should now see the copied VM in the vSphere Client connected to vCenter.

Editing the Virtual Machine in vCenter

Once in vCenter, I had to change some of properties of the VM as they were different than the original VM, and different than what I wanted to use.

In my case, I changed the number of CPUs (and vCPUs), the amount of RAM and I removed the E1000 network adapter that was listed and replaced it with the VMXNET 3 type of adapter.

Once you change any settings that are needed, click on the “Ok” button to save the changes.

Installing VMware Tools

Boot up the virtual machine. In my case, VMware Tools was not installed yet, so my network adapter wasn’t shown. The vSphere Client prompted me to install VMware Tools via the link in the message.

Once I installed VMware Tools, the network adapter was displayed. I then assigned the VM a static IP address, enabled Remote Desktop Connection and a few other minor changes that I typically do. Now the VM is up and running on ESXi!

Note: you now have 2 “copies” of this Virtual Machine on your Mac: the first original source VM in Parallels, and the second copy converted into VMware Fusion. Once you have tested the VM on ESXi and you know you no longer need the local Parallels and Fusion VMs, you can delete those from your Mac.

One Comment

  • Hello,

    I installed Monterey and Ventura on Vmware Esxi 7.0 U3 successfully.

    But I haven’t managed to get networking. I set the IP addresses as static IP as the other Linux VMs. But I cannot even ping the gateway or Google DNS IP.

    Adapter is set as
    ethernet0.virtualDev = “vmxnet3”
    I installed the vmware network tools.

    Is there a trick or specific configuration that would allow me to have an ethernet network on Mac OS (Monterey or Ventura)?

    Thank you


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