iLok and Parallels

PACE “do not formally support the use of VM’s”.


any updates on this? is it really messing up my build pipeline.
Usually I would use VirtualBox for windows builds but the ILok just won’t be accepted when I try to sign my plugins. It just worked randomly once or twice after multiple times reconnecting the ILok. I really have no idea whats the reason behind.

Has anybody found a solution by now?

I just installed the new Parallels 16 and unfortunately, the problem still exists. Damn.

I just switched from VirtualBox to Parallels and it seems to work for me. At least in the first few attempts the VM always accepted the iLok and the plugins got signed.

Parallels Version 1.5.0 (20116)
VM: Win10
Host: Catalina 10.15.6

I find one iLok works fine reliably. Having 2 iLok attached usually turns up problems for both the host and virtual OS. I had some better experience in VMWare, but have not tested that fully.

I use VMWare Fusion with VirtualHere for USB sharing. It works without issues. You need the VirtualHereServer on your Mac and the client on your windows VM.

Followup, with good news:

The Catalina VM I mentioned before (running in VMWare Fusion) is now connecting fine with the iLok.

The trick was in Fusion’s Virtual Machine Settings window, to open the USB & Bluetooth pane, and downgrade “USB Compatibility” from 3.1 to 2.0. This was mentioned above in a post in this thread, so thank you for the idea.

Full setup details for those who are troubleshooting:

Host system: macOS 10.14.6
VMware Fusion 11.5.6
VM OS: macOS 10.15.1

iLok is an iLok 2 (plastic casing)

PS: No changes to System Preferences > Security & Privacy > Full Disk Access were needed in this case.

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Are you referring to the Configuration window, “USB & Bluetooth”, “Advanced Settings”, and then uncheck “Enable USB 3.0”? I did this too, it made a difference for a few days, and then went back to misbehaving. Maybe you found a different option than I did since you mention USB 3.1 instead of 3.0.

In VMWare Fusion, it’s called the “Settings” window I believe (the one that opens with shortcut ⌘E).

Yes, I forgot that the USB Compatibility choice was hiding under the “Advanced USB Options” section, initially hidden within the pane until you press the little arrow to reveal it.

In the version of Fusion I’m running, it’s a popup menu, not a checkbox:

A little follow up…

Working with the Parallels team, it seems that using devices.usb.kextless=1 in the Boot Order/Advanced window works with the latest version 16. I’ve tried it on a MacBook Pro and an iMac and iLok License Manager seems to always properly recognize the iLok dongle and Synchronize.


Does anybody had luck connecting a 2.Gen iLok in a Big Sur Parallels-VM in Parallels?

My old Catalina VM worked out of the box with iLok (2. generation) (Big Sur host)

Yes it does work here, only one iLok works at a time on the system (i.e. one shared through to Windows and one on Mac is reliable for me), and I have to make sure Parallels has super-power permissions (Privacy set to “Files and Folders” and “Full Disk Access”). That said, performance in Parallels on my Intel Mac is so horrendous now I’ve switched fully to VMWare (which is fine, and iLoks work well in that too). Performance in Parallels with Windows ARM on my M1 mac is great though - I guess their attention is going there these days.

Thanks for the information.
Just to be sure we are on the same topic, I run a Big Sur VM (as guest system) on Big Sur MacBook (host-system). (no windows involved here)

Currently Parallels can forward the iLOK without any given permissions (Full Disk Access is not selected for Parallels) to an Catalina instance (guest system on Big Sur host), so I am not sure if its really a problem on the host, more between Parallels and the guest Big Sur VM.

Ah sorry, I’ve not tried Big Sur as a guest.

Update: It looks like a parallels Big Sur-VM (Guest) only “finds” the USB-Dongle one time after iLok License Manager installation and a reboot.
But then, after the next boot the dongle is not detectable, so you have to reinstall the License Manager again, and reboot.
Not sure who is the culprit. Could be apple, pace or parallels.

After I buried my ambitions to run parallels on big sur (guest) on big sur (host), I still was using parallels for my windows 10 (guest) for quite a while successfully with iLok. Until I had to rollback my Mac via time-machine, I have these weird synchronisation issues.

I just lost again 2 days, because followed every advice on the internet, still have these issues.
As I remember my last support-ticket experiences (Parallels, PACE) I just come to the conclusion is just by better to buy another PC to use as a clean build environment.

Try rolling back to Parallels 16. The recent Parallels 17 update broke support (but of course you can’t just step back by one point release with Parallels). Problem for me was Parallels 16 breaks my USB audio support in Big Sur.

So… yeah… just use a PC!

17.1.0 is not compatible with the iLok… you can revert to 17.0.1 (as I did)


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Thanks for the info! Maybe it was coincidence, that the update after the rollback caused these issues, but then again, the reason for the rollback was I couldn’t login into macOS any more, which happens often because of third-party-kexts like the one parallels uses :thinking: , maybe the update was also the reason for my initial problem. :neutral_face:
Parallels was such a great tool, but lately it feels more like a burden.

Thanks for the link to the thread with the old version.

Yes I totally agree it’s become a complete nuisance, it actually feels like a blessing when it’s working but that doesn’t often last long anymore. I had a brief spell using VMWare but that was so incredibly slow I decided Parallels was the lesser of two evils to avoid doubling my build times.

When I tried the preview of ARM on Parallels, even doing fully protected builds, it was actually really good. Not sure if it’s still the case but it was reason to be optimistic that when I’ve gone fully Apple Silicon things may improve.