Open OVA files with Parallels

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Today a friend of mine told me about something nice: Exploit Exercises. While I don’t feel like a black hat hacker, I believe this kind of challenge is a good way to learn more in-depth. Exploit Exercises provide linux virtual machines in OVA files, which are not that easy to open with Parallels Desktop…

Downloaded the OVA (Open Virtual Appliance, standard format for virtual machines), open it from Parallels Deskt… wait, why is it greyed out? Are you telling me I can’t open this with Parallels?

But there’s a solution! Download the ovftool from VMWare and install it on your computer. Once this is done, you can convert the OVA to .vmx format with this command:

# I had to type the full path, as the tool is not in the $PATH
# The --lax option allows the skip the error reported
/Applications/VMware\ OVF\ Tool/ovftool --lax exploit-exercises-nebula-4.ova exploit.vmx

Now, you have a .vmx file that you can open and migrate with Parallels. Enjoy :)

NB: I had to update Parallels to the latest version, otherwise trying to open the .vmx file would crash it.