Parallels 3 Upgrade Checklist

I finally got around to updating my Parallels 2.5 installation to the latest Parallels 3. Parallels 3 has been out awhile and I’ll be installing build 4560. I’ll be upgrading Parallels on my iMac and have 5 virtual machines configured. I don’t have Boot Camp installed on my iMac.

I checked to see if there was an update to Parallels 2.5. There was an update available for download but I was on the recently released build 3212. I didn’t see any mention of needing the newer version to do the upgrade so I stayed at 3212.

The upgrade had the following basic steps:

  1. Be sure you have a Parallels 3 license key (or make a conscious decision to use the trial version). Version 2 license keys will not work.
  2. Backup your Mac. Also backup your VMs as they will be upgraded and cannot be downgraded if you decide to go back to the old version of Parallels.
  3. Downloaded Parallels 3 (83MB)
  4. Mount the downloaded disk image and run “Install Parallels Desktop.pkg”. A user guide along with other documentation is in the download. Click through the installation wizard – do a complete install. (3 minutes)
  5. Restart the Mac when prompted
  6. After the restart fire up Parallels Desktop. Enter the activation (license) key when prompted. (1 minute)
  7. Start the VM. For Windows you will be prompted with the typical Windows “Found New Hardware” messages. Cancel these. The Parallels Tools virtual CD will autorun and you’ll be asked what to do – run PTStart.exe. During the install you may received numerous unsigned driver warning messages (I received 5 on Vista, none on XP). Allow the driver to install. (5 minutes)
  8. Restart the VM when prompted. Upon the first startup a “SmartSelect Update” will run. The VM is scanned and the software is cataloged. Your time may vary. (4 minutes)

It took me 35 minutes to upgrade Parallels and my first VM. I repeated steps 7 and 8 for each additional Windows VM and each took about 8 minutes. Ubuntu didn’t require any additional time.

Additional Notes:

  • Windows Vista – numerous unsigned driver warnings. One “Found new hardware” message that had to be canceled.
  • Windows XP – several “Found New Hardware” messages that had to be canceled. No unsigned driver errors. Low video resolution warning on first reboot after upgrade. Had to set the video resolution after the upgrade.
  • Ubuntu – no Parallels Tools so no driver upgrade. During the shutdown the screen goes psychedelic and Parallels sees the shutdown as incomplete. This happened on both Ubuntu VMs. It should be noted that the Ubuntu install under Parallels 2 required a workaround.