Parallels Desktop Control

Parallels Desktop Control Center

Parallels desktop control center is a convenient way to find, manage and configure your Windows virtual machines. It also enables you to archive an exiting VM and prepare it for transfer to new hardware.

In addition, the app gives you the option to automatically reclaim disk space when shutting down your Windows VM. The latest version of the software, dubbed 16 for macOS Big Sur, has a fresh redesign and improved graphics performance.


Use the General Preferences section to set the color scheme for Parallels Desktop wizards and Control Center, change the folder where new virtual machines are stored, and more. Also specify whether a Parallels menu should be displayed in the macOS menu bar, and choose how you want to start and close a virtual machine.

In the Startup and Shutdown pane, you can configure what happens when you start and shut down your Windows virtual machine. Specify whether the Windows virtual machine stays open when you stop and shut down it from the Control Center window or closes the window when you do so. Also specify what to do when you close the Parallels Desktop window (these settings affect only what happens when the Windows virtual machine is set to appear in a separate window).

Some dialogs and windows are provided with the Do not show this message again option. Selecting it removes the corresponding button from the toolbar and prevents further changes to the corresponding dialog or window from being made.

Startup and Shutdown

In Parallels Desktop Control Center, you can set how your virtual machines start and shut down. To access these settings, click the Parallels Desktop icon in the menu bar and choose Configure.

You can also configure the view mode of Windows when you open it from the Control Center. The Startup View menu allows you to select Coherence, Window, Full Screen, Picture in Picture or Headless mode (available only in Parallels Desktop Pro Edition).

Shutting down a virtual machine is just like shutting down a regular Windows computer. It closes all Windows applications, saves any unsaved data and stops running the guest operating system. To shut down a virtual machine, click the Parallels Desktop icon in the Mac menu bar and choose Actions > Shut Down.

You can suspend your virtual machine by clicking the Suspend button in the toolbar or by choosing Pause from the Actions menu. When a virtual machine is suspended, its current state is saved on your host system and the current host RAM and CPU are freed from VM activity.

Managing virtual machines

VMs in Control Center can be grouped by name, description, size or location. This helps you to find a particular VM faster. You can also change the display settings of the VM.

You can enable Coherence mode to make Windows look like a single app when in full screen. This option works best if you use a multi-monitor setup.

If you select the Show windows when launching option, Windows will open in full-screen when Parallels Desktop starts up. If you disable this option, Windows will open in a window when the Parallels Desktop program is closed.

You can configure which view mode Windows opens when you select it from the list of running programs in Control Center. You can also select the Allow user to choose a view mode option.

If you are a Parallels Business Edition administrator, you can prepare a provisioning package for enrolling virtual machines in Intune via configuration profiles. Please refer to KB 129529 for details on the process.


There are a few troubleshooting options available in this tab. The first one lets you disable dialogs and windows, so they won’t appear each time you perform a specific operation. This is useful for avoiding distractions and saving your computer screen space.

Another option lets you use a more detailed log file for Parallels Desktop, which may be helpful when solving issues. However, it takes more hard disk space and might affect system performance.

Finally, the lock icon can protect the Parallels Desktop Preferences from unauthorized changes. If you click it, the next time anyone tries to change settings in this pane, they will be required to enter an administrator password. This option is useful if you work on your computer for extended periods of time, and it’s easy to forget your password.

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