Install Parallels Tools on a Debian Virtual Machine

April 18, 2013

I’ve been using Parallels Desktop for Mac to run a Debian Linux 6.0 virtual machine. I wanted to install the Parallels Tools in the Debian virtual machine so I could take advantage of better integration between the Linux virtual machine and the Mac OS X host computer.

It wasn’t as straightforward as I thought it would be but it wasn’t hard to figure out. I described the procedure I used below.

  1. Start the virtual machine and log in.

  2. In the Parallels menu, select the menu command:

    Virtual Machine → Install Parallels Tools

    This will mount a CD image on the virtual machine’s desktop that contains the Parallels Tools installer. But, some extra steps are required to install Parallels Tools.

  3. Debian Linux automatically mounts the the Parallels Tools CDROM image when it is “inserted” into the virtual machine. But, for security reasons, the image is mounted in a state where no executable software on the CDROM will run.

    We need to unmount the CDROM and then remount it with the execute option enabled using the following commands:

    $ umount /media/cdrom
    $ sudo mount -o exec /media/cdrom

    You will be asked to enter your super-user password.

  4. Go to the cdrom folder and run the Parallels Tools install script with the following commands:

    $ cd /media/cdrom
    $ sudo ./install

    You will need to enter your super-user password, again.

  5. The Parallels Tools installer will start up. Enter “Yes” to all questions. At the final step, you can restart the virtual machine or you can choose to quit the script and restart later.

  6. If you restart later, unmount the Parallels Tools CD image.

    $ sudo umount /media/cdrom
  7. You need to restart the virtual machine for Parallels Tools to work.

Now you can enjoy the functionality provided by Parallels Tools when using this virtual machine.

7 responses to Install Parallels Tools on a Debian Virtual Machine

  1. Gilbert Solorio April 22, 2013 at 5:54 pm

    I was searching online for instructions to install Parallels Tools and happen to run across your posting. I installed Debian 6.0.7 using Parallels for Mac 8. Now I need to install Parallels Tools however I’m now stuck in step 3, when entering my password. I get the following message:

    student@debian:~$ umount /media/cdrom
    student@debian:~$ sudo mount -o exec /media/cdrom
    [sudo] password for student:
    student is not in the suboers file. This incident will be report.

    I’m new to Unix and computers. Do you know what this means?


    • Hi Gilbert,

      Thanks for your interest!

      You would have needed to include your userid in the “sudoers” file, which defines which accounts can have super-user privileges.

      To add your userid to the sudoers file, do the following:

      1) switch to “root” user
      $ su root
      (you may need to enter the root password or the super-user password)
      Your command-line prompt will change from “$” to “#”.

      2) Let’s pretent your user id is “youruserid”. Execute the command:
      # adduser youruserid sudo

      3) Exit the root user by typing “exit”
      # exit

      Now, restart and then sudo should work.


  2. Gilbert Solorio April 22, 2013 at 10:17 pm

    Thanks so much Brian!!!

    Can you be my teacher? lol!!! I’m taking Intro to Linux at UCSC Extension.


  3. hello!
    Why did I encounter this mistake
    Please help me to answer Thank you!

    • hello!
      Why did I encounter this mistake
      Please help me to answer Thank you!
      root@bad:~# umount /media/cdrom0 br>
      root@bad:~# sudo mount -o exec /media/cdrom
      mount: /dev/sr0 is write-protected, mounting read-only