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I played with Boot Camp and Parallels when they first came out, but didn't have much use for them at the time. Do most VM's grow storage as needed or does the storage size have to be assigned when set up? What is the advantage of a VM of an older macOS on top of the current macOS vs. simply a bootable partition? Other than, I suppose, fairly quick switching between which I'm less concerned about. If I'm booted into an older OS to use CS6, I will probably be busy there for awhile.
 


In today's case, however, it's not apps that are being deprecated; it's user-created/modified files. More akin (I think) to Apple's decision to deprecate old-version ClarisWorks / AppleWorks files when Apple abandoned those apps and switched to Pages. Thankfully, LibreOffice still (!) handles those old formats. I'm wondering how I'll handle all those embedded videos when QT7 formats are no longer readable by Apple's video software.
Actually, because the apps were eliminated, access to many of my files was also eliminated. I have a number of Clarisworks/Appleworks databases (one of the great, simple databases) that are not really usable, even with LibreOffice. I can get the data out of them and use filtering to emulate the database, but the format is lost for reports. I still have an old iMac running Snow Leopard that I leave on so I can wake it up, connect to it with screen sharing, and run databases as needed.
 


Actually, because the apps were eliminated, access to many of my files was also eliminated. I have a number of Clarisworks/Appleworks databases (one of the great, simple databases) that are not really usable, even with LibreOffice. I can get the data out of them and use filtering to emulate the database, but the format is lost for reports. I still have an old iMac running Snow Leopard that I leave on so I can wake it up, connect to it with screen sharing, and run databases as needed.
There was an AppleWorks for Windows. Have to wonder if the last release, version 6.2.2, still works under Windows 10 and if it could read some of those database files.
 


I played with Boot Camp and Parallels when they first came out, but didn't have much use for them at the time. Do most VM's grow storage as needed or does the storage size have to be assigned when set up?
For Parallels Desktop for Mac, one typically sets a maximum virtual disk size limit. Real disk space is then utilized as needed. Unused space may be reclaimed.
What is the advantage of a VM of an older macOS on top of the current macOS vs. simply a bootable partition?
Older OS versions may not run properly (or even be installable) on newer hardware, mooting the separate partition choice. Virtual machines are essentially portable. For example, I have some favorite programs that run on Snow Leopard Server. I have continued to use this VM through many subsequent versions of macOS and Apple hardware.
Other than, I suppose, fairly quick switching between which I'm less concerned about. If I'm booted into an older OS to use CS6, I will probably be busy there for awhile.
As a Creative Cloud subscriber, I have not had need to run Adobe products on older platforms. My impression of using other applications on both Windows and OS X VMs is that the performance is sometimes even better than that possible on compatible hardware. But the primary operational advantages include:
  • Minimal disruption of current macOS operations - read your mail or use Calendar or Notes concurrently with VM-hosted applications
  • Easy file interchange with the host OS
  • Printing to macOS printers
  • Full VM machine backup via file copy as part of regular macOS backup
  • Astoundingly easy recovery from crashed guest OS instances by simply restoring VM file backups. This is especially awesome for broken Windows, but allows reversal of inadvertent updates from Apple that break whatever you were trying to do.
  • No time wasted in rebooting or trying to figure out why you can not reboot in a particular OS on the host machine.
Combining the first and last bullets -- one can leave a guest OS (VM) active indefinitely and still be able to use whatever macOS features and applications at will. Checking a Calendar for appointments (or, even, receiving notifications of same) in macOS just works.
 


Ric Ford

MacInTouch
... Easy file interchange with the host OS...
Thanks for the good post about virtual machine advantages, and I'd just appreciate a bit more detail about this one item, which was problematic for me when I tried to set up a VM system and ran out time to sort out the issue.

Are you talking about using file-sharing somehow to move files between VM and host systems? How exactly do you make this "easy"?
 


Do most VM's grow storage as needed or does the storage size have to be assigned when set up?
With most VM systems, you must decide when you create the VM.

More specifically, each virtual hard drive is a file on the host's file system. You specify the capacity when you create it. The size of the file may be fixed (at the maximum size) or it may be configured to start small and grow as needed as content is written.

I don't know of any VM system that can dynamically shrink an image when files are deleted, unfortunately. It should theoretically be possible if the VM supports TRIM on the volume, but I haven't seen anybody actually do it.
What is the advantage of a VM of an older macOS on top of the current macOS vs. simply a bootable partition?
It lets you run both OS's at the same time. If you enable a shared clipboard, you can therefore copy/paste data between two apps that can't otherwise run at the same time (e.g. one requires a new OS and one requires an old OS).

Additionally, it is often possible for a VM to run a version of the OS too old to be booted natively on the computer's "bare metal."
 


Are you talking about using file-sharing somehow to move files between VM and host systems?
I don't know what James is referring to, but there are generally two ways to do this.

One is to use the VM environment's "guest additions" (or whatever they call it). This is software to run on the guest OS, granting it some additional capabilities. Typically this includes the ability to resize the guest OS's desktop by resizing the VM's window and the ability to mount one or more of the host's file system folders as a volume in the guest.

The other way is via network file sharing. If the host and guest can see each other over a virtual network interface, then you can enable sharing on one and mount its volume from the other. Depending on what kind of virtual network you have set up, this may or may not be easy,
 


Thanks for the good post about virtual machine advantages, and I'd just appreciate a bit more detail about this one item, which was problematic for me when I tried to set up a VM system and ran out time to sort out the issue. Are you talking about using file-sharing somehow to move files between VM and host systems? How exactly do you make this "easy"?
  • Drag and drop of files and folders between desktops 'just works'.
  • Shared clipboard works.
  • Direct access of VM applications to OS X/macOS file system regardless of HFS+ or APFS works as well.
  • For example, all my Quicken on Windows backup files are directed to ~/Documents/Quicken Backups on the host machine.
  • Another example was Canvas for Mac 926 where the application was on the VM OS, but the drawing files only appeared on the host OS file system. (Now replaced by Canvas Draw for Mac on current macOS.)
  • All this works without interfering with other cloud sharing such as Dropbox, iCloud, AgileBitsCloud, and others or with network sharing as with SMB or scp and the like.
What I won't claim is that understanding the virtual machine vendor's documents is simple. I fought these setup problem so long ago, I don't even remember the details.

The bottom line is the difference between Screen Sharing and accessing a VM is almost nonexistent.
 


Thanks for the good post about virtual machine advantages...
Here is a recent example of support for a workflow that Apple has broken:
  • I store shipping contacts in macOS Contacts and use a very effective Address Book plugin called PostCheck by Brian Toth to check the address against the USPS database. PostCheck confirms the existence of the address and can provide uniform abbreviations and case for each address.
  • Apple, in its wisdom, has discontinued plugin support in Contacts in Mojave.
  • Using an archived macOS installer, I created a VM instance of Sierra.
  • I installed PostCheck on the VM (and also prohibited update of Safari past version 11) so that plugins were supported.
  • After all order processing except generation of the shipping label has been completed, I click on the VM icon and select the shipping address in Contacts and click PostCheck to update the address, and then close the VM window.
  • In the meantime iCloud has been happily bidirectionally synchronizing changes to contacts.
  • The updated postal address can then be applied to the shipping label.
  • The time added (minutes at most) to the order processing flow is negligible but very effective in promoting reliable delivery. This both from PostCheck success and, in some cases, failure which lets me check with the customer for exceptions or errors.
 


I don't know of any VM system that can dynamically shrink an image when files are deleted, unfortunately. It should theoretically be possible if the VM supports TRIM on the volume, but I haven't seen anybody actually do it.
VMware can shrink the size of a VM after you're done using it. The last I checked, this was a manual "clean up" process that you had to activate in the VM settings after the VM was shut down.

Unfortunately, this only seems to be supported on Windows VMs (and possibly Linux, too.)

They explicitly state that it is not possible for macOS VMs; note that this distinction is based on the guest OS, not the host.
 


Ric Ford

MacInTouch
  • Drag and drop of files and folders between desktops 'just works'.
  • Shared clipboard works.
  • Direct access of VM applications to OS X/macOS file system regardless of HFS+ or APFS works as well.
  • For example, all my Quicken on Windows backup files are directed to ~/Documents/Quicken Backups on the host machine.
  • Another example was Canvas for Mac 926 where the application was on the VM OS, but the drawing files only appeared on the host OS file system. (Now replaced by Canvas Draw for Mac on current macOS.)
  • All this works without interfering with other cloud sharing such as Dropbox, iCloud, AgileBitsCloud, and others or with network sharing as with SMB or scp and the like.
What I won't claim is that understanding the virtual machine vendor's documents is simple. I fought these setup problem so long ago, I don't even remember the details.

The bottom line is the difference between Screen Sharing and accessing a VM is almost nonexistent.
I'm going to take a wild guess that you're not using VirtualBox here....

What virtualization software are you using?
 


For example, all my Quicken on Windows backup files are directed to ~/Documents/Quicken Backups on the host machine.
The only thing that makes me nervous about this type of feature is that a Windows virus could theoretically slip past one's defenses and wipe out/encrypt an entire directory on the Mac side. Backups become even more crucial with this type of setup.
 



I'm going to take a wild guess that you're not using VirtualBox here....
What virtualization software are you using?
Don't waste your time with VirtualBox. Honestly, it's not worth the time and aggravation to forego the ease-of-use features that are standard and well-implemented on both VMware Fusion and Parallels Desktop. As I understand it, both of them are comparable in features, so either would be a huge step up from VirtualBox.

Personally, I've used VMware Fusion for almost 12 years. I switched from Parallels to VMware when Fusion 1.0 came out and was slightly better than Parallels at a few things. I've had no reason to switch from it since then. I've run VM's for everything from Windows XP to Windows 10, Mac OS X Leopard to Sierra, and Ubuntu and CentOS.

The only major virtualization limitation I've run up against is that macOS guests can't support GPU hardware acceleration due to restrictions put in place by Apple. This precludes applications that require acceleration, like games and Final Cut Pro.
 


  • I store shipping contacts in macOS Contacts and use a very effective Address Book plugin called PostCheck by Brian Toth to check the address against the USPS database. PostCheck confirms the existence of the address and can provide uniform abbreviations and case for each address.
  • Apple, in its wisdom, has discontinued plugin support in Contacts in Mojave.
Ugh! I was just about to pull the trigger and migrate my main Mac from Sierra to Mojave, and now I'm going to lose another useful function? It may seem like a small thing, but PostCheck has been a very convenient, handy little utility for verifying postal addresses. Aside from improved Continuity features and perhaps some security refinements, I struggle to think of any major macOS update in the last five years that has significantly improved my experience more than it has disrupted it.

Earlier today I went on a rant in my office over how much my web browsing experience has degraded since Apple forced the abandonment of old-style extensions. Since then, it has been quite the parade of new ad blockers as I try to find one that works as well as the old ones. I can't wait for the new, "interactive" Google AMP-formatted emails to start showing up and improving my "experience" even more. (/sarcasm) It's getting to the point where I'm starting to think that I should just go back to using a computer as a glorified typewriter and calculator, and nothing more, rather than getting disappointed when things that have been useful end up being sacrificed to the latest random "improvements."
 


... Easy file interchange with the host OS...
I'm going to take a wild guess that you're not using VirtualBox here....
What virtualization software are you using?
This is confirmed with all my recent VM testing: Parallels and VMware make it really easy to share a folder/volume between the VM and the primary OS. I could never get that stuff to work properly with VirtualBox or if it did, it took an inordinate amount of time fussing with the settings. As I recently stated in this forum, in my opinion, although VirtualBox is free, it's not easy to use. You have to consider how much time you will waste getting it to work. If you have the time to waste, go for it. If your time is money, forget it and just buy Parallels or VMware!

As Will M points out, sharing folders/volumes does raise a security risk (especially with Windows VMs), but this is why I recommend (in my installation guides over on MacStrategy) that you only create one special folder for sharing files (never share whole volumes). This way, if there is an attack, only that shared folder should get messed up, and you can restore that from a backup of your primary system.

If you don't need to share a folder, e.g. all the files you need for the VM can stay in the VM, that's best. In fact, I'm sure I saw in the Parallels or VMware, or both, settings when I did all the testing a quick and easy tick box option to "isolate" the VM from the primary OS, effectively making it harder for any nasty stuff in the VM to affect the primary OS.
 



Ric Ford

MacInTouch
As Will M points out, sharing folders/volumes does raise a security risk (especially with Windows VMs), but this is why I recommend (in my installation guides over on MacStrategy) that you only create one special folder for sharing files (never share whole volumes)....
The first challenge (not yet completed) for me was to migrate a complete, customized Mac system into a virtual machine - e.g. my Snow Leopard system with all the apps, utilities, settings and documents, which I'd built and carefully configured over years of full-time production usage. This seems to require guest access to a whole volume.

The secondary challenge was how to build a highly experimental test system in a secure virtual machine, such that it couldn't wreck my host system but could still share things easily when needed (e.g. host apps for testing in the VM or test results to be sent back the other way). A single shared folder may be the solution here.
 


In today's case, however, it's not apps that are being deprecated; it's user-created/modified files. More akin (I think) to Apple's decision to deprecate old-version ClarisWorks / AppleWorks files when Apple abandoned those apps and switched to Pages. Thankfully, LibreOffice still (!) handles those old formats. I'm wondering how I'll handle all those embedded videos when QT7 formats are no longer readable by Apple's video software.
There was an AppleWorks for Windows. Have to wonder if the last release, version 6.2.2, still works under Windows 10 and if it could read some of those database files.
I took the opportunity to try installing my copy of AppleWorks for Windows Version 6.2 onto my laptop running Windows 10 Pro.

Initially it failed, looking for an installed copy of QuickTime. I downloaded QuickTime 7.7.9 for Windows off the Apple server, along with the AppleWorks for Windows 6.2.2 updater. After installing QT7, installing AppleWorks and the updater went without issue. While I do not have any old files to experiment with, the program seems to work. (Just looks a bit low-res on my HD display due to the age of the product.)

If you have a need to open some old file formats and have a Windows box available, this may a path worth considering.

On a similar note, this same laptop has also been running AirPort Utility 5.6.1 for Windows without issue.
 


The only thing that makes me nervous about this type of feature is that a Windows virus could theoretically slip past one's defenses and wipe out/encrypt an entire directory on the Mac side. Backups become even more crucial with this type of setup.
Since you are only using Quicken, just set up the VM without internet access, then there is no way for a virus to get in.
 


The only major virtualization limitation I've run up against is that macOS guests can't support GPU hardware acceleration due to restrictions put in place by Apple. This precludes applications that require acceleration, like games and Final Cut Pro.
Does VMware Workstation Pro do a better job with hardware acceleration when run on Linux or Windows? Are these restrictions put in place by Apple based on the hardware or OS?

So, on a Mac with a VM, is Final Cut Pro X completely unusable? Will the VM only access the integrated graphics and not the discrete graphics? I wonder if 1080p would be possible or 720p (I don't do 4k). Of course, even with 1080p, you can create proxy media to speed up editing a single clip, multiclip, or even 4k.

Has anyone tried Logic X in a VM? I wonder how that would do.
 


The first challenge (not yet completed) for me was to migrate a complete, customized Mac system into a virtual machine - e.g. my Snow Leopard system with all the apps, utilities, settings and documents, which I'd built and carefully configured over years of full-time production usage. This seems to require guest access to a whole volume.
You don't need to let the guest OS access a whole volume to do this - as long as you have enough storage space on the primary computer system that is hosting the VM you can create a virtual machine from a cloned .dmg of the original Snow Leopard installation - as per my recent article basically:

1. Clone the original Snow Leopard installation using Carbon Copy Cloner to a .dmg disk image file (either directly onto or copy it to a storage device that can be easily moved to the primary computer system that will host the VM)
2. Create a basic, clean installation OS guest VM - I successfully did this procedure using VMware Fusion but the process should be similar for Parallels but I haven't tested the latter yet
3. Copy the cloned .dmg disk image file into the guest VM
4. Create and format an additional drive within the guest VM that is at least big enough to host the original Snow Leopard installation
5. Install Carbon Copy Cloner into the guest OS
6. Open the copied, cloned .dmg disk image in the guest VM
7. Clone the contents of the cloned .dmg disk image to the secondary, additional drive within the guest VM
8. Change the startup disk within the VM to the additional drive, shutdown the VM, remove the original drive, change the VM settings appropriately for the original Snow Leopard installation
9. Boot up the VM (which should now boot up as the original Snow Leopard installation now running as the VM)
 


Well, Rosetta removal was, indeed, a pain, though somehow I remember it being announced (but maybe I'm wrong)....
As it was announced, one of my Apple contacts called me and told me that IBM was no longer going to license Rosetta to Apple, and I needed to buy my Mac Mini right now. That was the 2010 model. Now I am on a 2014 Mini with the 2010 acting as a server.

(BTW, I installed an update on my 2010 and now my login password is not working. As long as my Apple TV can see the server, I don't care, but a friend and I will look how to resolve this.)
 



I took the opportunity to try installing my copy of AppleWorks for Windows Version 6.2 onto my laptop running Windows 10 Pro. Initially it failed, looking for an installed copy of QuickTime. I downloaded QuickTime 7.7.9 for Windows off the Apple server, along with the AppleWorks for Windows 6.2.2 updater. After installing QT7, installing AppleWorks and the updater went without issue. While I do not have any old files to experiment with, the program seems to work. (Just looks a bit low-res on my HD display due to the age of the product.)
If you have a need to open some old file formats and have a Windows box available, this may a path worth considering.
On a similar note, this same laptop has also been running AirPort Utility 5.6.1 for Windows without issue.
No need for a Windows box. I have both programs (AppleWorks and AirPort Utility) running under Wine on Mojave. I'm using Wineskin, but Crossover or other Wine implementations should work too.
 


VMware does a pretty good job with documentation - Virtual Hardware Specifications for Fusion and Workstation. There are a few more details about configuration in the documentation sets for both products.
I'm really looking for personal experience with FCP X and Logic X within a VM, but I will note your link to documentation.

I'm guessing Logic X "might" be possible (it doesn't need to use the discrete video card and stays on the Integrated graphics without issue - you just need to throw a lot of RAM at it), and FCP X "might" be usable with proxy material. My expectations are low, but I figure it's worth a shot to see if someone has tried this yet.
 


I played with Boot Camp and Parallels when they first came out, but didn't have much use for them at the time. Do most VM's grow storage as needed or does the storage size have to be assigned when set up? What is the advantage of a VM of an older macOS on top of the current macOS vs. simply a bootable partition? Other than, I suppose, fairly quick switching between which I'm less concerned about. If I'm booted into an older OS to use CS6, I will probably be busy there for awhile.
I battled Parallels for a long time; never particularly happy with it, but in the last year or two that has all changed. I work on a MacBook Pro and a 2015 iMac, one in a mobile location in a school system. I get comments from colleagues: "Why does your Windows 10 seem to run faster than my school issued HP?"

I run my Parallels (46 GB) on a USB 256GB SSD, so I can work back and forth with the MacBook Pro and my iMac with no file compatibility issues. The SSD gets hot to the touch, but no issues in terms of how it runs.

I started on a Boot Camp partition - no advantage at all and the obvious need for reboot.

What I have now is my best Windows setup ever.
 


Thanks for the good post about virtual machine advantages, and I'd just appreciate a bit more detail about this one item, which was problematic for me when I tried to set up a VM system and ran out time to sort out the issue. Are you talking about using file-sharing somehow to move files between VM and host systems? How exactly do you make this "easy"?
A real easy way to move files between Parallels and OSX running on the same machine is to use something like Dropbox or Google Drive. Sometimes, when moving files from one platform to another using the Parallels tool, you can run into permission issues. Using Dropbox etc. seems to solve the permissions issue.

Also, note in my office. my server shows up in Windows as a drive "x' where 'x' is some letter.... Thus, within Windows, I can navigate across my whole server and [can be] working on my server transparently within Windows running in Parallels.

Considering that Parallels, and most likely VMware, costs around $79 plus updates for $49 (sometimes $39), I cannot afford the time to use some other free version to avoid these expenditures. I have used both VMware and Parallels and find both easy to use. BTW, Parallels has a tool to expand the Windows C [virtual] drive without erasing the drive.

Probably the worst issue using a virtual machine is that backups on the OSX side see opening Windows in the vm as a huge file that got changed. Hence, backups can take a while after visiting Windows. (Note that Carbon Copy Cloner just replaces the old 'C' drive file with a new one, even if the 'C is 100 gig or larger.)
 


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