Friday, August 28, 2009

Mounting Parallels HDD and HDS files

During examination of a Mac Laptop, I located a file similar to winxp.hdd.0.{5fbfaae3-6747-49ff-82a7-750e329bcb51}.hds. Further digging revealed that Parallels Workstation was installed and used on this computer and virtual machines have been later deleted. I found a good link that explains how to deal with .hds files. I then searched for .pvs files and DiskDescriptor.xml and was lucky to find a couple of DiskDescriptor.xml files. On of these files contained GUID 5fbfaae3-6747-49ff-82a7-750e329bcb51 and stated that the virtual disk is compressed. The rest was easy. I renamed winxp.hdd.0.{5fbfaae3-6747-49ff-82a7-750e329bcb51}.hds to winxp.hdd, went to Start -> All Programs -> Parallels and fired up Parallels Image Tool which was installed by default together with Parallels Workstation. With this tool I converted winxp.hdd to plain hard disk image, which took only a few minutes.

I then used my favorite free tool called ImDisk to mount the converted hard disk image. Default settings worked fine and ImDisk was able to mount 'converted.hdd' file in read-only mode.

Edit: The new version of Parallels Image Tool uses a little bit different GUI. Converting to the plain format is now done by going to "Manage disk properties" option. The quote "The perfect is the enemy of the good." from Voltaire's Dictionnaire Philosophique (1764) is quite relevant in this case because the latest version may not always successfully convert "old" HDS files, so do not yet through away/uninstall your old version of Parallels.

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