Set up Parallels Desktop for Chromebook Enterprise

Chrome OS version 85 or later.

Parallels Desktop is a feature that allows your users to access and use the Microsoft Windows applications and files, including Microsoft Office, they need on their Chromebooks.

Before you begin

  • The following devices currently support Parallels Desktop for Chromebooks. The minimum recommended hardware specifications are Intel Core i5 and i7, 16 GB Memory, and 128 GB HDD/SSD.
    Acer Chromebook Spin 713 (CP713-2W)
    Acer Chromebook Spin 13
    ASUS Chromebook Flip C436FA
    Dell Latitude 5300 2-in-1 Chromebook Enterprise
    Dell Latitude 5400 Chromebook Enterprise
    Google Pixelbook
    Google Pixelbook Go
    HP Pro c640 Chromebook Enterprise
    HP Elite c1030 Chromebook Enterprise
    Lenovo Lenovo Yoga C630 Chromebook
  • You need a Windows disc image (ISO file) that can be used to install or reinstall Windows 10 and a Windows license.
  • Each Parallels Desktop user must have a Parallels Desktop for Chromebook license. To purchase licenses for Parallels Desktop, contact Parallels.
  • A corporate storage server from where the image can be downloaded to individual Chromebooks in your organization via HTTP or HTTPS must be available.

Setup Parallels

For a step-by-step guide on setting up Parallels Desktop for Chromebook, watch the following video:

Chrome Enterprise: How to enable Parallels® Desktop for Chromebook Enterprise

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Step 1: Initial Admin console set up
  1. Set up the organizational unit for your Chromebook Parallels users including the admin user. For details, see Add an organizational unit.
    1. Enable the Parallels Desktop license for the organizational unit. For details, see Manage app licenses.
    2. Enable Parallels Desktop for the organizational unit. For details, see the Parallels Desktop setting.
  2. Enroll the admin Chromebook where you will create a Windows image to be deployed to Chromebooks in your organization. For details, see Enroll Chrome devices.
Step 2: Create a Windows virtual machine

Download the Windows ISO image and create a virtual machine.

  1. Go to Download Windows 10 Disc Image (ISO File).
  2. On the admin Chromebook, download the image to the Downloads folder.
  3. Open a Chrome browser and press Ctrl+Alt+T to open the crosh terminal.
  4. Enter the command vmc create -p <vm-name> <filename.iso>.
    <vm-name> is a name for the new Windows image file and <filename.iso> is the name of the Windows ISO disk image file. For example, vmc create -p PvmDefault Win10_English_x64.iso.
(Optional) Step 3: Disable the shared profile

You can map user folders in a Windows virtual machine to Chrome OS folders by using the shared profile feature that is configured by default. Windows folders like Desktop or Documents can be accessed from the Chrome OS Files app.

When you restart Windows after installing Parallels Tools, Parallels Desktop automatically creates the folder structure in the Chrome OS Files app. Each folder is mapped to the corresponding folder in Windows.

Users can then use the files in Chrome OS apps and backup using Chrome OS tools, even when Windows is not running.

However, if solutions like Roaming User Profiles or FSLogix are used in Windows, you can disable the shared profile.

  1. Press Ctrl+Alt+T to open the crosh terminal.
  2. Enter vmc adjust <Vmname> pvm.shared-profile off.
    <Vmname> is the name of the virtual machine. To list the existing virtual machines, use the vmc list command.
Step 4: Install Windows
  1. Press Ctrl+Alt+T to open the crosh terminal.
  2. Enter vmc start <vm-name> where <vm-name> is the virtual machine name that you specified in the previous step. For example, vmc start Windows.
  3. Follow the Windows setup instructions to install Windows.
Step 5: Install Parallels Tools
  1. When Windows is started for the first time, click File Explorer on the Windows taskbar.
  2. Click This PCand thenLocate Parallels Tools CD drive.
  3. Double-click to launch the Parallels Tools installer.
  4. (Optional) If the installer doesn't start:
    1. Right-click Parallels Tools CD.
    2. Click Open and scroll to the autorun.exe file.
    3. Double-click autorun.exe.
  5. Restart Windows to complete the installation.
    You can now install the Windows applications required by your organization. Make sure you set up a volume license for Windows and other third-party software.
    Note: If you are having problems installing Parallels Tools, click More""and thenTroubleshooting and select Install Parallels Tools or Reinstall Parallels Tools.
  6. (Optional) To generalize your Windows image, run Sysprep before exporting your image. This removes unique information from the image so that you can safely reuse it on a different computer
Step 6: Export the virtual machine

You must export the virtual machine as an image file and make it available to users to download.

  1. Open a Chrome browser and press Ctrl+Alt+T to open the crosh terminal.
  2. Enter vmc export -d <VMname> <ImageName.zip>.
    For example: vmc export -d Windows Windows.zip

<VMname> is the virtual machine name and <ImageName.zip> is the name of the target image file. The -d option creates an SHA-256 hash (checksum) file in the same folder. You need the SHA-256 checksum when you enable the windows image in the Admin console.

The image is exported to the Downloads folder on the Chromebook. The downloaded file is a zip file containing a .pvm file. The SHA-256 checksum file is named in this example, Windows.zip.sha256.txt. It's a text file containing the SHA-256 hash string.

Step 7: Upload and enable the Windows image

To upload the Windows image, copy the .zip image file that you created in Step 6 to a storage server with HTTP or HTTPS download access. You might have data transfer limits associated with your storage server. Make sure the server has sufficient space before copying over the Windows image. We recommend content delivery networks (CDN) for very large deployments.

Before users can download the Windows image to their Chromebooks, you must specify the URL from which the image is downloaded and the SHA-256 hash of the Windows image file in the Admin console.

Note: If you don't specify the VM image URL or the SHA-256 hash, Chromebook users will get an error code 4. If this happens, verify that the URL and the checksum are correct.

  1. Sign in to your Google Admin console.

    Sign in using your administrator account (does not end in @gmail.com).

  2. From the Admin console Home page, go to Devicesand thenChrome.
  3. Click Settingsand thenUsers & browsers.
  4. On the left, select the organizational unit containing the Chromebook users.
  5. Scroll to Parallels Desktopand thenParallels Desktop Windows image and enter the following:
    • URL—The URL from which the Windows image is downloaded. For example, http://storage.enterprise.net/VMs/Windows.zip.
      Note: The protocol HTTP or HTTPS and the .zip virtual machine image file must be included in the URL.
    • SHA-256 hash—The SHA-256 hash of the Windows image file. The vmc export command used to export an image includes an option to generate the SHA-256 hash for the exported image. The hash is exported to a file name.sha256.txt to the same destination folder. See Step 6: Export the Virtual Machine.
  6. Click Save.
(Optional) Step 8: Enable or disable the command line for users

You can enable or disable the command line functionality for virtual machine users by setting the Chrome policy for users and browsers. If the command line is enabled, users can use command line tools to manage the virtual machine, for example to start or stop it.

  1. Sign in to your Google Admin console.

    Sign in using your administrator account (does not end in @gmail.com).

  2. From the Admin console Home page, go to Devicesand thenChrome.
  3. Click Settingsand thenUsers & browsers.
  4. On the left, select the organizational unit containing the Chromebook users.
  5. Scroll to Virtual machines (VMs) and developers.
  6.  From the Command line access list, select Enable VM command line access or Disable VM command line access.

Troubleshooting

For more troubleshooting tips go to Parallels support.

Verify policies are applied

After you apply any Chrome policies, users need to restart their Chromebooks for the settings to take effect.

If you performed all configuration steps, but the Parallels Desktop icon doesn't appear on a Chromebook or Parallels Desktop doesn't start as intended, check users’ devices to make sure the policy was applied correctly.

  1. On a managed device, go to chrome://policy.
  2. Click Reload policies.
  3. Check the Show policies with no value set box.
  4. For the policies that you set, make sure that Status is set to OK and that the policy values match what you set in the policy:
    • PluginVmAllowedtrue. This policy is set by Google. If it is missing or set to false, the Parallels Desktop hasn't been enabled for the organizational unit containing Chromebook devices. For help, contact customer support.
    • PluginVmImage—If this policy is missing or doesn't contain a valid URL and checksum, the Windows VM image specifications are missing. For details, see Step 7: Upload and enable the Windows image.
    • PluginVmUserId—If this policy is missing, the license is not enabled for the user in this organizational unit. For details, see Manage app licenses.
    • UserPluginVmAllowedtrue. If this policy is missing or set to false, verify that users are allowed to use Parallels Desktop. For details, see the Parallels Desktop setting.
Error codes

You might encounter the error codes and messages when setting up Parallels. The following table details possible errors and the suggested resolutions:

Error Message and Code Description/Resolution


Couldn't install Plugin VM. Please try again, or contact your administrator.

Error code 2

Retry. 

If the issue persists, send feedback by clicking Alt+Shift+I.

Couldn't install Plugin VM. Please try again, or contact your administrator.

Error code 6

Out of disk space.

Check if there is enough disk space for both the uncompressed VM and the compressed image and retry.

Plugin VM isn't allowed on this device. Contact your administrator.

Error code 3

Should only happen if you have disallowed Parallels while the installer is open. Retry the installation.

In other cases, you either don't see Parallels in the shelf, or opening it fails with a dialog.

Couldn't set up Plugin VM because of a configuration problem. Please contact your administrator.

Error code 4

You entered an invalid URL.

Verify that the download link is correct and retry the installation.

Couldn't set up Plugin VM because of a configuration problem. Please contact your administrator.

Error code 10

Verify the SHA-256 checksum for the VM image is correct and the VM image URL is pointing to the correct download item.

Couldn't set up Plugin VM because of a configuration problem. Please contact your administrator.

Error code 24

Verify that you have enough licenses for the organizational unit. For details see Manage app licenses.

Couldn't install the virtual machine because of a network error. Please try again, or contact your administrator.

Error code 7

Probably an internal error, such as a network error or the device went to sleep. 

Try again and if the problem persists, send feedback by clicking Alt+Shift+I.

Couldn't install the virtual machine because of a network error. Please try again, or contact your administrator.

Error code 8

Triggered if the connection fails entirely or if the download fails part-way through.

Check that the Windows Image URL is valid and the user has permission to access the image.

FAQ

How do I share folders or files between VM and Chrome OS?

If your administrator has enabled it, Parallels Desktop automatically creates a folder structure named Windows files in the Chrome OS Files app. Each folder is mapped to the corresponding folder in Windows. Files placed in any of the folders will also appear in the Windows versions of those folders.

You can then use the files in Chrome OS apps and backup using Chrome OS tools, even when Windows is not running.

Alternatively, you can right-click a folder in Files and click Share with Parallels Desktop. The folder will appear within Windows in Networkand thenChromeOS.

Can I use a USB stick?

Yes, you can share files from a USB drive by right-clicking the drive in Files and clicking Share with Parallels Desktop. The folder is displayed within Windows in Networkand thenChromeOS. Encrypted USB is currently not supported.

Can I use other USB devices?

USB is not supported in the current version. We will add this in the upcoming Chrome OS updates.

Can I use external monitors?

Yes, you can access your Parallels VM using an external monitor.

What are the other peripherals supported?

Mouse, external monitors, and external keyboards are supported.

Can I use a camera or microphone?

Cameras and microphones are currently not supported. We will be adding support in upcoming updates.

What apps are supported?

Windows in Parallels Desktop support any Windows app that runs in a native Windows environment. Currently, camera, microphone, and 3d graphics acceleration are not fully supported so the use of video conferencing applications and heavy graphics applications is limited.

Can I configure the amount of RAM Parallels uses?

No, the amount of RAM available to a VM is configured automatically, depending on the host's capabilities,

Will other devices be supported in the future?

We anticipate more supported devices. They will be detailed as they become available.

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