14 Replies Latest reply on Dec 9, 2014 2:07 PM by vmxmr

    run Snow Leopard in Mavericks

    stu22 Lurker

      Back in April I thought I talked to vmware by phone about Fusion 6 to virtualize my late 2009 macbook pro running snow leopard to a brand new macbook pro running mavericks by connecting them with an ethernet cable after installing vmware.  The idea being that the 2009 snow leopard machine, with all its files and programs (so no need to reinstall programs), is virtualized onto a brand new mavericks macbook pro, and I still have a vmware fusion 6 bookmark to a page that in april showed a diagram connecting two computers with an ethernet cable and it saying this would now work with Snow Leopard to Mavericks.  But now the link takes me to fusion 7 with no such diagram or info. I'm almost sure you can virtualize w/ vmware an old windows xp pc to a new macbook pro running Mavericks, but, like I said, since April I've really thought you could w/ snow leopard too.  If not, what about using Snow Leopard "Server" in some way that allows me to do what I want, without having to reinstall any old software on the new macbook pro?


      Thank you.



        • 1. Re: run Snow Leopard in Mavericks
          stu22 Lurker

          Maybe in this case I am limited to virtualizing Snow Leopard with all my programs on on the old macbook pro simply to a different partition on the hard drive of the old macbook pro?  A partition with Mavericks on it, for example?

          • 2. Re: run Snow Leopard in Mavericks
            WoodyZ Guru

            The Apple SLA for Mac OS X 10.6 Snow Leopard Client does not allow for it to be virtualized and VMware Fusion is coded to not allow it to be installed in or allow it to run in a Virtual Machine.   However, the Apple SLA for Mac OS X 10.6 Snow Leopard Server does allow for it to be virtualized although VMware Fusion has had installation issues with Server versions prior to Mac OS X 10.6.3 Snow Leopard Server when being installed.

            • 3. Re: run Snow Leopard in Mavericks
              stu22 Lurker

              Thank you Woodyz.   Do I install Snow Leopard Server on the same partition on the old macbook pro that has Snow Leopard Client?  Kind of like doing an OSX upgrade?  That partition has the third party applications that don't work in Mavericks.  Then will Fusion be able to virtualize that partition in some manner that I can move the virtualized Snow Leopard partition to a new Mavericks partition?  Not asking for detailed steps, but just how to conceptualize the process.

              • 4. Re: run Snow Leopard in Mavericks
                WoodyZ Guru

                VMware Fusion does not have the built in ability to do P2V with OS X like it does with Windows.  So you either have to install it normally in a new Virtual Machine and then either install the application software just like you did on the physical system or use the "/Applications/Utilities/Migration Assistant.app" over Ethernet.  The other option is to create/restore an image of the Mac OS X 10.6 Snow Leopard Server volume just as if it was all being done on a physical system, only restore to the virtual hard drive.

                1 person found this helpful
                • 5. Re: run Snow Leopard in Mavericks
                  dlhotka Virtuoso

                  There's another option - use a program like Carbon Copy Cloner to clone the 10.6 OS to an external USB hard drive.  Then during the installation of 10.6 server in the virtual machine, just plug that hard drive in when prompted to migrate your information from another mac during the OS installation process, and point it to that drive.

                  1 person found this helpful
                  • 6. Re: run Snow Leopard in Mavericks
                    vmxmr Hot Shot

                    Hi Stu,


                    I have a number of programs that will not run on anything past Mac OS X 10.6 Snow Leopard. I need to open older files, search data, etc. Those applications include Eudora (email), Microsoft Office 2004 (which can open old Word and Excel files correctly), Canvas X (graphics), Finale 4 (music notation), and more. I run those programs in a VMware Fusion guest running Snow Leopard Server.


                    Here are a few thoughts that may help you as you consider what to do:



                    Snow Leopard Server runs as a virtual machine guest, but the ordinary "client" version of Snow Leopard cannot. The license for the "client" (non-server) version of Snow Leopard does not permit it. Moreover, VMware enforces that restriction and allows only Snow Leopard Server guests. There are ways to hack around the restriction, but why bother when Snow Leopard Server is so reasonably priced? (See below.)



                    You can still purchase Mac OS X Server V10.6.3 REV 1 (Snow Leopard Server, unlimited client license). The price is $19.99. Order it by calling the Apple Store at (800) 692-7753, and ask for part number MC588Z/A. Not all salespeople will recognize what you want and will be able to find it, but don't lose heart - try again. I  called and verified that it is still available as of last night, 26 November 2014. It comes with Installation and Admin Tools DVDs.



                    Any program that runs under Snow Leopard "client" will run under Snow Leopard Server. In fact, if you ignore the Server components, there is no real difference.



                    Some newer Macs have problems installing Snow Leopard Server from the Installer DVD in a VMware virtual machine. Basically, the Mac OS X 10.6.3 installer DVD does not contain drivers for the newest Mac hardware. If you have problems, you may have to create the Snow Leopard Server guest virtual machine in VMware on an older Mac, install the latest Apple updates (to version 10.6.8) there, and then copy it to your new machine. You must run the Apple updates first on the old machine, so that your Snow Leopard Server guest will get the drivers that it needs to run on your new MacBook Pro.



                    Maybe you have a copy of VMware Fusion version 5 running on your old 2009 MacBook Pro. VMware Fusion version 5 is the latest version of Fusion that runs under Snow Leopard. Create the new Snow Leopard Server guest on the old MacBook Pro, update the newly created guest to version 10.6.8 on the old MacBook Pro, then copy the .vmwarevm file to the new MacBook Pro. (Remember to delete the guest file on the old Mac after you copy it to the new Mac, if you are planning to use Migration Assistant.)



                    If it were me, I would first ask myself, "Do I really want my ENTIRE old 2009 MacBook Pro running in a VMware guest?" My answer would be, "definitely not!" I would simply install those relatively few applications (and associated data files) that cannot run on the new MacBook Pro with Mavericks (or Yosemite). I named a few example applications in my SUMMARY, above. Based on my own experience, I would set up the new Snow Leopard Server guest manually - install the applications "fresh" and then copy the data files to the accounts on the Snow Leopard Server guest. Yeah, it means setting up preferences again for each application, but it is clean and it works. For the rest of your 2009 MacBook Pro applications, get the current versions and run them "native" on your new MacBook Pro. Create VMware Fusion shared folders to move files back and forth between your new MacBook Pro (Mavericks/Yosemite) and the Snow Leopard Server guest as needed.


                    MIGRATION ISSUES:

                    Let's say that you really want to move the entire 2009 MacBook Pro to a Snow Leopard Server guest. Frankly, if it were me, I would manually install all the applications and copy all the data. True, it would take a lot of time and effort, but it is the most likely way to yield a satisfying end result.


                    An automated approach would be to use Apple's Migration Assistant. My experience with Migration Assistant has not been good. Every time I have tried Migration Assistant (with real Macs!), there have been issues. Hopefully your experience will be better; actually a lot better (eeek!).



                    If you need to start again, why go through the hassle of installing Snow Leopard Server and applying all the Apple Updates to it, when you can simply copy the .vmwarevm file to a backup first? Hello? (If something goes wrong, copy the backup file and try again.)


                    One nice thing: If you have time and patience, you can try different approaches to see what works. If something does not work out the way you like, delete the VMware guest and try something different. Here are a few things to think about...


                    HOW WILL YOU MIGRATE YOUR 2009 MACBOOK PRO?

                    Let's assume that you have decided to migrate your entire 2009 MacBook Pro to a VMware Snow Leopard Guest. Let's assume that you have created a Snow Leopard Guest and it now runs on your new MacBook Pro. Here are a few approaches and considerations:



                    That's a good approach, but whatever you do will go VERY slow. Your 2009 MacBook Pro supports Firewire and USB 2.0. Your new MacBook Pro supports Thunderbolt and USB 3.0 (also 2.0).


                    Firewire is reasonably fast, but I have never seen an external Firewire drive that also has USB 3.0. External firewire drives seem to have USB 2.0 only, which would be VERY slow attached to your Snow Leopard Server guest. You could try using a Thunderbolt/Firewire interface, but then you would have to treat it as a Shared folder in VMware and would be exploring uncharted territory when it comes to file copying using Migration Assistant.


                    In addition, I have read complaints about the reliability of Apple's Thunderbolt/Firewire interface. Perhaps the issues have been fixed by now, but I am not sure I would trust that I could get a reliable copy of something as large as an entire Mac.



                    One advantage of a disk image is that once it is copied to your new MacBook Pro, you can try to get Migration Assistant to work in different ways, relying on your backup of the Snow Leopard Server guest if you want to delete and start over. It will take a lot of disk space, however.


                    You still have issues and some experimentation ahead. You might get a Thunderbolt/Firewire interface, put your 2009 MacBook Pro in Target Disk Mode, and then use Carbon Copy Cloner or Apple Disk Utility to create a disk image file of it onto your new MacBook Pro. (I would use CCC.)


                    The disk image and VMware guest files may be very large. Do you have enough disk space?


                    You may want to create a disk image file of the 2009 MacBook Pro on an external drive. Use Carbon Copy Cloner (or Disk Utility), but keep in mind the performance and reliability issues I described above.



                    You alluded to this approach in your original post. Here is a link to an Apple web page describing the process. Again, I believe that you will be pioneering uncharted territory here for the rest of us. Good luck! :-)




                    If you decide to try the Ethernet approach, then think about the following:


                    -- Use Gigabit ethernet if you can. Otherwise, connect the two Macs together. If you don't, copy speeds will be very slow.


                    -- You will probably have to put the VMware Snow Leopard Server guest's Network Adapter (VMware guest settings) into Bridged Networking mode.


                    -- If you wire the two Macs together, you will have to give them fixed (dedicated) IP addresses on the same "subnet". That's three IP addresses - one for the 2009 MacBook Pro, one for the new MacBook Pro, and one for the Snow Leopard Server guest. Go to Network settings in their respective System Preferences. Remember to write down their original settings first, and put things back once the migration is complete.


                    Common Example Fixed IP Addresses for You to Use:

          ,, and; Subnet mask:, Router (Gateway):

          , 251, 252; Subnet mask:, Router (Gateway):

          , 251, 252; Subnet mask:; Router:


                    I hope you have a lot of time and patience. Happy Troubleshooting! Good luck!


                    Message was edited by: vmxmd Re-read post and fixed truncated sentence.

                    • 7. Re: run Snow Leopard in Mavericks
                      stu22 Lurker

                      Sorry for the delay.  I've been busy with family and Thanksgiving, but I'd like to give thanks to everyone who responded.  This is more complicated than I thought, but now I have a lot more info.  I use Carbon Copy Cloner regularly, but I've never used VMware nor do I have any experience with servers.  I may be back with more questions.  Great community!



                      • 8. Re: run Snow Leopard in Mavericks
                        vmxmr Hot Shot

                        Don't be intimidated by my detailed response. I have been thinking about this problem for a while, and took advantage of your post to organize my thoughts and write them out. I opened a new thread, which encapsulates the crux of your problem. Everything else is easy. Really. Here is that new thread:


                        Buy VMware Fusion 7, but Download and Run Fusion v5 too?


                        P.S. The official "Server" versions of Mac OS X run exactly the same as their non-server counterparts. The only difference is that they come with special applications that help you configure and manage server features. If you ignore the server applications, then everything will work as you expect. Just "poof" the server configuration applications and utilities from the Dock so you won't have to look at them.

                        • 9. Re: run Snow Leopard in Mavericks
                          srksrk Lurker

                          Hi, Just wondering about the feasibility of installing snow leopard fresh on a virtual machine then doing a time machine restore from a backup.

                          What do you think?

                          • 10. Re: run Snow Leopard in Mavericks
                            vmxmr Hot Shot

                            Hi, Just wondering about the feasibility of installing snow leopard fresh on a virtual machine then doing a time machine restore from a backup.

                            What do you think?

                            It should work. I have had mixed results restoring from Time Machine backups on real Macs (not VMs). Most of the time, the restorations worked well. In the cases where I had problems restoring a full Mac from a Time Machine backup, I doubt that it would have made a difference whether I was restoring to a VM or a real Mac.

                            • 11. Re: run Snow Leopard in Mavericks
                              WoodyZ Guru

                              Using Time Machine to backup Virtual Machine is not the *proper way to backup VM's!


                              * It is a known fact that Time Machine is not 100% reliable backing up/restoring Virtual Machines under all circumstances/conditions.  Also backing up Virtual Machines via Time Machine is disk/time intensive and wastes a tremendous amount of space for something that may be corrupt and worthless come time to restore it.  At a minimum I would exclude Virtual Machines from Time Machine and with the Virtual Machines shutdown, not suspended, and VMware Fusion closed then manually copy the Virtual Machines Package(s) to an alternate location, preferably on to a different physical hard disk.  Then keep the User Data that is stored within the Virtual Machine backed up off of the Virtual Machine on a regular basis so as to always have a current User Data Backup.  If you have to restore a properly backed up Virtual Machine that is not as current at least you'll have a working Virtual Machine and current User Data to go forward with when you find out your Time Machine Backup of the Virtual Machine fails.


                              Also have a look at: Best Practices for virtual machine backup (programs and data) in VMware Fusion (1013628)

                              • 12. Re: run Snow Leopard in Mavericks
                                srksrk Lurker

                                I agree, but I am not proposing doing the backup on a virtual machine. I have an older macbook which I want to put to rest. Some of the stuff on it won't run on later osx's. SO I just want to take my regular time machine backup and restore it onto a vm on a new macbook pro.


                                Thanks for the info though.

                                • 13. Re: run Snow Leopard in Mavericks
                                  dlhotka Virtuoso

                                  You can't do a full restore because the 10.6 client version on the old machine can't be virtualized.


                                  Your best option is to build a new 10.6 server virtual machine, then during the installation, plug in and attach your old time machine drive (though a carbon copy cloner clone will work *MUCH* better - time machine on 10.6 was notorious for silent corruption), and use the migration wizard to move over the apps and data.

                                  • 14. Re: run Snow Leopard in Mavericks
                                    vmxmr Hot Shot

                                    I agree with all of the above. In my previous response, I assumed that srksrk had a Time Machine backup of an existing machine and was going to use it to restore to the newly created virtual machine Snow Leopard Server using Migration Assistant.


                                    The notes from others above are correct:

                                    1. You should not use Time Machine to backup a virtual machine. The backup is likely to have data integrity (data corruption) issues.

                                    2. Snow Leopard client does not run in VMware or other commercial virtual machine products. You are likely to encounter a problem if you restore an entire Snow Leopard client into a VM, VMware will detect it and fail. You must use Snow Leopard Server, which is available from Apple for $20.