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How to install a VM running Mac OS X.

Our testing of services on older releases of Mac OS X has been hampered by a lack of hardware on which to conduct the testing. I was asked to investigate whether it would be possible to run Mac OS X in a virtual machine allowing us to have older version of the OS available for testing. Note that to remain within the law, the VM must run on genuine Apple hardware.

So far I have managed to getr both Mavericks (OS X 10.9) and the recently released Yosemite (OS X 10.10) running in Virtualbox on my 2013 Macbook Pro running Mavericks. I still have to test earlier versions of the OS such as Mountain Lion.

The main thing that needs to be done to run Mac OS in a vm is to extract the OS X distribution from the upgrade executable downloaded from the app store and convert this to a bootable disk image which can be mounted in the Virtualbox VM. For Mavericks, I followed the instructions at this site. Installing Yosemite is trickier since following the mechod which worked for Mavericks produced a bootable image which was missing some files. Following the procedure here did the trick though I note that there is a new version of iESD (the utility used to produce the boot image) which offers support for Yosemite so this may no longer be necessary.

As far as Virtualbox itself goes, all of this has been done on Virtualbox 4.3.18. On my late 2013 Macbook Pro, the only guest settings I needed to change were in the 'Motherboard' tab of the system page. Make sure that the Chipset is set to PIIX3 and the Enable EFI checkbox is ticked.

-- CraigStrachan - 31 Oct 2014

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Topic revision: r3 - 03 Nov 2014 - 10:13:19 - CraigStrachan
 
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