How to install Parallels Desktop Tools in Linux

If I had a ten pound note ($20) for every article I’ve read that starts with the words, “Getting Linux to (insert your task here) is never easy, but…” – I’d have loads of money, or something.

I am happy to say, however, that despite the many occasions in the past when I’ve simply given up, this time around I finally managed to coax Ubuntu into installing Parallels Tools, which enables many of the same features of the Windows equivalent.

If you have no idea what I’m talking about, let me explain. Those who found this from a Google search, in the same desperation I was beginning to feel that such a thing might not be possible, can skip this bit and go right to the list of pointers below.

Ubuntu is a version of the free operating system Linux. Parallels Desktop is an application for the Mac which “pretends” to be a PC, so you can run Linux and Windows alongside Mac OS X. Because this virtual machine also has a virtual CDROM, hard drive and hardware drivers (for display, keyboard, sound and so on) it can sometimes be a bummer getting certain breeds of Linux to work properly.

Such was the situation with Ubuntu 7.10. I installed Parallels Tools as instructed and boom – no display drivers upon re-boot. The trick then is to do the following:

  • Install Ubuntu 7.04. Download
  • To Install Ubuntu in Parallels, create a new virtual machine, choose the ISO image file downloaded above and follow the on-screen instructions.

  • Once installed, fetch the latest version of Ubuntu 7.04 using Update Manager (System Menu > Administration).
  • Shut down the Linux virtual machine
  • In the Parallels settings pane, change the CDROM image from the ISO file you used to install Ubuntu back to default.
  • Now when you restart Ubuntu virtual machine and go to the Parallels ‘Actions’ menu and choose ‘Install Parallels Tools…’, Parallels will mount a CDROM image on your Ubuntu Linux desktop.
  • Go to the ‘Applications > Accessories’ menu in Ubuntu Linux and choose ‘Terminal’
  • In Terminal you need to go to the virtual CDROM Parallels has just mounted and type sh
  • You need to be using administrative privileges to run this command, so you might first need to type sudo -s, hit enter and when prompted type your admin password.

  • Confirm to that “Yes” you wish to continue and then, when it’s done, restart the virtual machine.
  • You should now be able to move between Ubuntu Linux windows and Mac OS X desktop, without having to hit Control and Option to enable the mouse. You can also re-size the Ubuntu desktop just by dragging the bottom right hand corner re-size window in Mac OS – like so…

    Full screen mode also plays well with Spaces in OS X Leopard, so you can have your Linux machine running at the same time as your Mac OS machine and keep the two neatly and separately organised.


    10 comments on “How to install Parallels Desktop Tools in Linux

    1. “Bear with me”. Of course the alternative has precedent.

      By the way: not to be a grammar fascist – and I have been known to post typos and spelling errors myself – but the world would be a tinier bit better place if we could all communicate better, and spelling is part of that. I try to make a habit of typing blog comments, e-mails, etc. first on a Word document, run the spell check and then copy and paste it where it belongs. It can avoid misunderstandings and sometimes big problems. You wouldn’t believe the quality of business e-mails I get even from executives. And for those whose excuse is, well I’m a poor speller (and I do think it has something to do with how your brain is hardwired)then the constant checking and correction will serve as a tutorial (I’ve improved my written Spanish a lot in the last few years doing this).

      And no, Jim, I still don’t have a Mac. Sigh.

    2. That much is obvious babe, because in-line spell checking is standard in any box you can type in, system wide – so no need to paste into word and so on.

      Thanks for pointing out my blindingly terrible error. Xxx

    3. Yeah, but I find doing it on a Word document in another Window gives me more time to think, and I have accidentally sent messages I hadn’t finished. And really most mistakes are just typos.
      As an English teacher, I’ve seen people say “I can’t spell” “I don’t like grammar”, “I don’t write well”, but putting a little effort into editing and using grammar and spell check functions can pay off and show results. Just more proof that the Web and its accessories are great learning tools.

    4. Pingback: VMWare Fusion is Streets ahead of Parallels: How to share files and folders between OS X and Kubuntu Linux « How good is that?

    5. Thank you! I stumbled upon this page exactly as you said, by Googling “parallels tools install ubuntu” Silly me. I did not know the necessary terminal command was “sh”.

    6. Yeah, the barrier to entry with Linux can sometimes be that the simplest of commands are only known to comic book store guy and friends. Glad that helped.

    7. some kill Lee and people like him. I hate those guys who are “annoyed” by small mistakes. I post 20 page blogs on how to rebuild a Porsche engine and some douchebag points out the words I misspell. I’ve got a sister who thinks intelligence is based on spelling and grammar as she pours coffee for a living…while I got a 12 on my SAT in English and an MBA in environmental science. I don’t go around correcting EVERYONES misconceptions on science and history (and believe me people that can spell well don’t always know science and history) but every dick will jump out to tell me how to spell bear vs. bare when I’m typing 90 words a minute at 3am in the morning.

      so Lee, didn’t you understand the article after the word “bear” came along. No you didn’t because your small mind was focused on that which is not important to the topic…

      and Jim, thank you for the useful article, I just could bear it any longer!

    8. Pingback: parallels tools Mandriva

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