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Update: Still a problem in Parallels 14.0.1 ☹


I have a host MacBook Pro (Retina, 15-inch, Late 2013) running Sierra 10.12.3, using Parallels Desktop version 12.1.3, with a virtual machine running as the guest OS the same version of macOS Sierra 10.12.3.

When I switch from an app on the real Mac, going back into the VM, I often find the mouse pointer no longer has any effect within the VM. I can see the mouse pointer within the VM. But clicking on menus has no effect, dragging on window titles has no effect, clicking within the various apps’ windows has no effect.

At that point, the VM becomes useless. My only option is to choose Actions > Restart on the Parallels app (on the real Mac) to reboot the VM. After restart the VM works normally… until I use an app on the real Mac and then return back to the VM. Then no more reactions to the mouse.

  • What is the trigger for this bug?
  • Is there a fix or workaround? Some way to regain the mouse pointer functionality within the running VM?

The mouse pointer is able move between the VM macOS and the host macOS. The mouse continues to work when used on apps on the real host macOS. The problem is that when the mouse is inside the VM macOS, clicking has no effect.

I am not alone in seeing this bug. See the Parallels forum site: Mouse Problems - P12 - Host MacOS Sierra - Guest OS X El Capitan

'll be working away in the VM and suddenly the mouse will not interact with any of the screen elements in the VM any more. I know the focus is still in the VM because, if I was working in a text file, for example, I can still type in the file. But I can't click on anything, move any of the windows around, click any menu items, etc. It even happened once when a drop-down list appeared and I couldn't select anything in the list. I can still move the mouse cursor around, though.

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A workaround with this is to open Apple Remote Desktop, and screen share the Mac VM. At least doing that will keep me from losing work that I have started in the VM.

I have contacted Parallels support about this many times. It happens on both of my Macs, and it has been going on since I upgraded to Parallels 12 last year. It's still happening with Parallels 13. Several people at Parallels claim that this is something that the engineering team is looking at, but if they are, it's low priority to them.

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use CTL+Alt(option) to free the cursor.

  • No. That is not the problem. Apparently I was not clear, so I added another paragraph to the Question. The mouse freely moves between the host and guest. But while inside the guest macOS, clicking has no effect. – Basil Bourque Feb 4 '17 at 16:05
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This problem has been reported by other people on various forums.

Workarounds

Show Force Quit Applications window

I read this handy quick way to restore mouse function:

Press Option+Command+Escape to display the Force Quit Applications window.

Mouse restored.

Close the window.

No need to actually quit any app. Just displaying the list of apps restores mouse function.

Worked for me on a MacBook Pro running Sierra 10.12.3 as host, with a guest OS of Sierra 10.12.4 when using Parallels 12.2.0.

Suspend VM, resume

Another solution is to “suspend” the entire virtual machine from Parallels Desktop > Control Panel and immediately “resume”. Obviously the “ Force Quit Applications” solution above is quicker.

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