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Rescue of a broken Parallels VM (Linux guest system)

October 31st, 2013 Leave a comment Go to comments

Something went terrible wrong. I upgraded form Parallels Desktop 6 to 9 to have my Ubuntu VM in Mac OSX 10.9. After the second boot of the VM I got a popup by Parallels: “your disk 7gb contains lots of unused space, would you like to compress to 2gb” or something like that.

My first thought was “hey, nice, a smart tool, which cares about users”. After lots of I/O and 10min later I had a second thought: “f**king bull**** software, i want my files back”. The VM was “gone”, every time I booted I got messages about missing sata devices. The VM hdd was corrupted (and still 7gb big).

Mounting the VM hdd in another VM didn’t help either, cause it didn’t even show up as a harddrive. And Murphy’s law hit me as always: I deleted a copy of the hdd earlier this day which I used to check a migration to virtualbox 🙁

Luckily Ubuntu (or at least a bunch of Linux tools) and the fact that I had only one etx4 partition helped me to restore the VM:

  1. Boot w/ a Linux live CD in the VM and run “parted /dev/sda” as suggested here
  2. Run “mklabel msdos” and “rescue 0% 100%” in parted (change 100% to something else if you have multiple partitions)
  3. Reoot w/ a Boot-Repair-Disk live CD in the VM to restore MBR, grup, …. as explained here
  4. Reboot w/o live CD and the VM hopefully works again (as it does in my case)



  • Parallels Desktop 9 WTF???
  • Ubuntu/Linux *thumbs up* 😀
  • This writeup is not a general rescue guide, but worth a try if everything else fails.

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