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The VirtualBox links suggested the kind of drag and drop copy I've done probably wouldn't work, because each VM has a unique UUID
Yes. VirtualBox stores a UUID in its disk images. You can backup and restore them. You can even create a new VM on another computer that uses a duplicate. What you can't do is use the original and the copy at the same time (e.g. in two different VMs) on the same computer - VirtualBox's "virtual media manager" will reject the second one you try to use.

If you need to duplicate a virtual disk such that it can be used on a new VM on the same computer, you should duplicate it using the Virtual Media Manager's GUI (or the CLI equivalent.
 


If you restore a backup copy of a VMware Fusion VM and open it, Fusion will ask if you moved it or copied it, with copied being the suggested default. Choosing moved preserves the UUID and Windows activation.

I had a simple backup copy of a VM fail to open one time, so now I compress them with Finder and back up the zip files. It's cumbersome, but I've never had another restored VM fail.
 


Ric Ford

MacInTouch
Here is some seriously fun hacking around, involving a Ryzen CPU, split into two virtual machines via one kind of "KVM" [Kernel VM], with one VM running macOS Catalina beta and each with its own graphics card and one half of a double-wide monitor with its own "KVM" [Keyboard, Video, Mouse switch] for sharing input devices between machines...
Linux Tech Tips said:
Mac? PC? You don’t have to choose.. [YouTube]
Choosing an OS can be hard – There’s only so much desk space! But a super ultrawide display can help with that.. And of course, we had to bring it to its logical conclusion.
 


Here is some seriously fun hacking around, involving a Ryzen CPU, split into two virtual machines via one kind of "KVM", with one VM running macOS Catalina beta and each with its own graphics card and one half of a double-wide monitor with its own "KVM" for switching input devices between machines...
Wow, just wow…
 


I updated my 2019 MacBook Pro to macOS 10.14.6 (18G87) this morning, and it has crashed twice since. Does anyone know if there's a problem with this release?
I was able to find the problem by looking at the crash log. It turned out to be a Parallels graphics issue related to Microsoft Office apps, which I coincidentally updated at the same time I updated macOS. I needed to change my Windows 10 virtual machine Graphics Configuration from "512 MB" to "Auto (Recommended)". I found details about the setting change here.
 


I finally got around to installing Aperture 3.6 on Parallels 15 virtual machines running High Sierra and Mojave. I also tried it on a VMware Fusion instance of a Mojave virtual machine.
Unfortunately, while Aperture is able to launch and run in those environments, it runs into the same display issue seen with previous virtualization solutions: image thumbnails are visible, but the main image viewing/editing pane is empty, so you can't actually see your images. At the moment, it looks like the only real solution for running Aperture 3.6 is running it outside of a virtual machine.
I've installed Aperture 3.6 on VMware Fusion 11.5, although I have yet to be able to open my Aperture files.

I moved my Aperture photos library to my Fusion shared folder on my iMac, but I get an error message every time I attempt to open the Aperture library. I receive the error messages "Cannot create symlink on Virtual Machine" or "Unable to write to library 'Aperture Library 2'", when I attempt to open the library in Aperture with Fusion.

I would appreciate it if you or somebody could suggest a remedy that would enable me to open the file. I cannot copy the file to my virtual machine, because the file is way too large.
 


I've installed Aperture 3.6 on VMware Fusion 11.5, although I have yet to be able to open my Aperture files. I moved my Aperture photos library to my Fusion shared folder on my iMac, but I get an error message every time I attempt to open the Aperture library. I receive the error messages "Cannot create symlink on Virtual Machine" or "Unable to write to library 'Aperture Library 2'", when I attempt to open the library in Aperture with Fusion....
It could be related to this known issue:

 



I've installed Aperture 3.6 on VMware Fusion 11.5, although I have yet to be able to open my Aperture files.
FWIW, I tried Aperture 3.6 running in a Mojave virtual machine with VMware Fusion 11.5, and it runs into the same issue that others have long encountered with other virtualization solutions, i.e. Aperture will install and open successfully, but it is unable to display images in the "View" pane, making virtualized Aperture useless for its primary purposes.

It appears that if you want to continue running Aperture 3.6, the only choice is to run it without virtualization on a bare metal installation of Mojave or earlier with supported graphics hardware.
 


FWIW, I tried Aperture 3.6 running in a Mojave virtual machine with VMware Fusion 11.5, and it runs into the same issue that others have long encountered with other virtualization solutions, i.e. Aperture will install and open successfully, but it is unable to display images in the "View" pane, making virtualized Aperture useless for its primary purposes. It appears that if you want to continue running Aperture 3.6, the only choice is to run it without virtualization on a bare metal installation of Mojave or earlier with supported graphics hardware.
This problem with VMware Fusion 11.5 started with Catalina. You need to go into Security & Privacy and, on the left side, scroll down to Screen Recording and click on it. In the right-side window, VMware Fusion should be listed with an empty check box. Click on the lock and enter your password and click on the check box.

This is a change in Catalina to not allow programs to use Screen Recording without permission from the user. I encountered this problem when I updated to Catalina and Windows 10 would display in the Screen Recording window. There was a thread on the VMware forum site with the answer.
 


This problem with VMware Fusion 11.5 started with Catalina. You need to go into Security & Privacy and, on the left side, scroll down to Screen Recording and click on it.
Thanks for the tip, which is a good one, but the Screen Recording issue you mentioned is different from the problem with running Aperture in a virtual machine.

Aperture requires direct access to certain hardware graphics acceleration capabilities, and the APIs that would allow doing so through a virtual machine do not exist in macOS.

You'll notice, for example, that in VMware's virtual machine Display settings, acceleration is not supported for any version of macOS guest VM, but it is supported for Windows guests. The issue predates Catalina, and it impacts all virtualization platforms, including Parallels and VirtualBox.
 


I've been mulling over Aperture replacements for the last five years, and nothing has really worked that well for me. Fast forward to 2019, where I sit now with my no-longer-current Mac Pro 5,1 and hanging onto Mojave with very few options.

Given that I'm basically one macOS/iOS patch/device from breaking an entire workflow, I figure I'd better get current to Catalina soon and maybe iOS 13.

But what to do with Aperture...

Since everything is kind of hack to keep things going, I figured I was going to put Mojave/Aperture in a VM to keep things going instead of the (incredible) hack to make Aperture work under Catalina. However, given the drawbacks noted by other submissions, I thought I would try another route that no one has reported yet.

I installed Ubuntu (desktop) and used the instructions listed at the Passthrough Post to make a VM host for a hackintosh. It went surprisingly well compared to my Mac OS X 10.5.8 hackintosh (still running).

The advantage of running a VM under Ubuntu or Linux is that I can pass through a GPU to the VM. None of the existing VM hosts for Windows or the Mac can do PCIe passthrough.

Nonetheless, I cannot share the passthrough GPU, so a dedicated GPU must be given to the VM. In my test machine, I used an RX580 (overkill) for the host and passed a GTX780 to the hackintosh.

Aperture/Mojave/VM ran perfectly, although there still may be quirks that may be show-stoppers. Example, for some reason a PCIe USB card I passed through works with USB flash devices, but my CFast card does not mount, though it does see the flash reader.

Video played smoothly for the most part (99%) – some slight hiccups because my test system isn't very modern, I think. Sound came through the HDMI monitor speaker fine, too.

I also have made a Catalina VM, using the same resources to pass through. I cannot run both Mojave and Catalina at the same time in this circumstance, but this setup is more of a test bed than anything serious at the moment.

Ideally, I would pass through a separate and dedicated GPU to each VM, and I am planning to possibly add a third GPU for a Windows 10 installation.

Speed of the VM seems good when it has its own GPU, even though I'm using a fairly old AMD FX9370 to test the installation.

Absolute performance doesn't seem to be an issue for a multi-VM installation, as evidenced by this kind of setup:

My final plan is to install the system on a Threadripper machine, but, technically, I could repurpose the old Mac Pro for this and be fully 'legit'.

I will probably choose a VM host setup that will not use a GPU – ideally, I'll set up an Ubuntu server installation or Unraid.

Polish isn't the strong suit of Linux, but most of the functionality seems to be there. I'd like to figure out how to easily suspend VMs to switch over, if I'm sharing resources, and I have yet to test iCloud/Continuity features etc., etc. And integrating mouse/keyboard setups is a bit finicky, unless you want dedicate a separate keyboard and mouse for each VM, which really makes a mess of my desk.
 


I've been mulling over Aperture replacements for the last five years, and nothing has really worked that well for me.
... The advantage of running a VM under Ubuntu or Linux is that I can pass through a GPU to the VM....
Thank you. This may be the only variant I've heard that sounds viable to me right now. Two questions:
- Does Aperture work without dedicating a GPU via pass-through? I'm less concerned about performance than compatibility (within reason).​
- I'm guessing that pass-through would require GPUs supported by macOS? I've currently got an Nvidia that isn't supported by Mojave/Catalina.​
 


Two questions:
- Does Aperture work without dedicating a GPU via pass-through? I'm less concerned about performance than compatibility (within reason).- I'm guessing that pass-through would require GPUs supported by macOS? I've currently got an Nvidia that isn't supported by Mojave/Catalina.
Hi, Greg, Aperture would likely 'work' without the GPU, with the limitations discussed above, where no images would shown in the view pane, similar to all the other non-GPU-accelerated VMs. Confirmed in Mojave VM that nothing shows up in the view pane, it appears that preview generation hangs Aperture.

Yes, the GPU must be supported by the VM's OS in order to function, which means most Nvidia cards won't work with Mojave onwards, but older macOS versions should function with the Nvidia web driver (if that's what you have). The Linux side mostly doesn't care, but there are some issues with some AMD cards from what I've read (earlier GPUs?).

Supported VM scripts seem to include High Sierra, as well, so I think you could pass through a previously supported GPU for that VM. I could test this one out, as well, as I've got a GTX980 that I could put under High Sierra.

A couple of other notes:

SIP is disabled, probably because Hackintosh.

The CFast card reader that didn't work is a ProGrade unit, I think it presents as a USB hub, as well as the reader, since it has a UHSII SD reader, as well. I get an error saying "No Free USB Ports" when I try to add additional USB devices, so I'm thinking that's the issue. A Sandisk CFast reader works perfectly. Still reading up on how to add more USB ports to the VM.

The USB card that I added is an Asmedia ASM1142 3.1 card that worked in my Mac Pro, so I knew it would function in the VM as well.

Hooking up two monitors to the GTX780 under the Mac VM works perfectly. It automatically and fully recognized the monitors over DisplayPort and HDMI, and sound routed through each monitor when I tested them under the System Preference.

However, sound seems to work better on Mojave than Catalina. I seemed to get unworking/partial audio on CNN videos, but the Apple keynote plays sound perfectly (concurrently). FWIW, Apple System Profiler says this is the voodoo driver (through HDA (ich9) on the VM).

Sleep works on the virtual machine Mac but seems to get tripped up if the Linux sleeps while the Mac is sleeping.
 


Aperture would likely 'work' without the GPU, with the limitations discussed above, where no images would shown in the view pane
... but older macOS versions should function with the Nvidia web driver (if that's what you have). ...
Supported VM scripts seem to include High Sierra, as well, so I think you could pass through a previously supported GPU for that VM. I could test this one out, as well, as I've got a GTX980 that I could put under High Sierra.
Thank you, Tony. I suppose that does provide some options, with, I guess, leaving a VM on High Sierra for use only with Aperture. At minimum, a bit of a glide-path forward, although I admit these days I don't see many compelling reasons to upgrade macOS at all - and on top of that, no compelling laptops on offer (and running Aperture would be one of the main tasks for a newer MacBook).
 


One thing to report was that I got the dreaded "Unsupported Image Format" error on my Mojave VM. This was only for some images that I had in a library that were round-tripped through Photoshop. The weird part was that some Photoshop images worked fine, but others were problematic. Exporting the the PSD and resaving it as PSD under Preview or Affinity allowed Aperture to support the image again.

I recall I had this problem with some videos and some images on my real Mac Pro Aperture, and I fixed it somehow, but that solution now escapes me, and it vexes me. The one clue that I remember was that, for some reason, Aperture reports the image or movie as 900 x 600. Maybe I'm missing a plugin, or QuickTime plugin or something.
This also reminds me that downgrading to a previous macOS for other types of support (like Nvidia web drivers) might come at a cost, if the Aperture library can no longer understand a specific camera raw format because it was baked into a later version of macOS.

Adobe DNG conversion can still work in those cases, but it can be a huge hassle to export and reimport those images, and especially if there were edits/tweaks to the original imports in Aperture, because I don't think you can lift the edits if the image is 'unsupported' and thus you have no settings to stamp.
 


I’ve created a clone of my Mojave system on an external SSD. I want to upgrade my 2017 iMac to Catalina, but I have some 32-but scanner and camera software that needs Mojave. I want to run the external Mojave drive from within a VM, so it won’t occupy disk space within my internal drive. Any suggestions regarding whether Fusion or Parallels would be a better choice for this?
 


Ric Ford

MacInTouch
I’ve created a clone of my Mojave system on an external SSD. I want to upgrade my 2017 iMac to Catalina, but I have some 32-but scanner and camera software that needs Mojave. I want to run the external Mojave drive from within a VM, so it won’t occupy disk space within my internal drive. Any suggestions regarding whether Fusion or Parallels would be a better choice for this?
I don't understand why you would want to go through all the grief of managing virtualization, when you can simply boot Mojave from the external SSD....
 


I don't understand why you would want to go through all the grief of managing virtualization, when you can simply boot Mojave from the external SSD....
I would like to avoid having to boot back-and-forth as I scan documents, process them, scan the next document, and so on.
 


Any suggestions regarding whether Fusion or Parallels would be a better choice for this?
I don't think it's possible to get VMware Fusion to use or import a physical drive as a virtual machine. I prefer VMware Fusion, because I've had fewer problems with it over the years than with Parallels.

Below is what I've done in the past. A big caveat is that the drive where the virtual machine is saved must have as much free space as the external clone's used space plus a safety margin (of tens of GBs). Another is that the external clone must be available to VMware virtual machines – generally, USB drives just work.

Here's my procedure:
  1. Dismount and unplug the external drive.
  2. Create the VM (Virtual Machine) using the same macOS as the external clone.
  3. When the "Customize Settings" button appears, click it and save the VM.
  4. Click "Hard Drive" and set the drive's size so it's larger than used space on the external clone.
  5. Click "Advanced Options", make sure "Pre-allocate disk space" is unchecked and "Split into multiple files" is checked.
  6. Click Processors and Memory. I prefer to use all available cores so the VM is as fast as possible.
  7. Click "Network Adapter", I prefer Bridged Networking over Ethernet.
  8. Install macOS. Create a user that exists on the external clone.
  9. Log into macOS, install VMware Tools, restart, log in again.
  10. Plug in the external clone.
  11. VMware should ask where to mount it, select the VM.
  12. In the Utilities folder, use Migration Assistant to migrate from the external clone.
  13. When it sees the duplicate account, delete the new account on the new macOS.
 


I swear I remember somewhere in the deep past that it was possible with VMware to have a volume that could both be booted directly or run under a VM. This would be very fast and very flexible, but I'm not sure if it's possible!
 



You should be able to – after all, that's how Fusion can virtualize a Boot Camp partition. It is called a Raw Disk vmdk.
"Should" is the appropriate word. It doesn't work. See my various test reports previously on MacInTouch. [post-16645, post-14833, post-14397]

The easiest solution to this problem (that I found) is to create a virtual machine running the version of macOS you want, mount the physical disk in the virtual machine and use Migration Assistant.
 



From that article, emphasis mine:

What JSchaffe wants to do is have the raw disk be the primary virtual hard disk.
... Here's a thread from 2018 where they were able to boot from an external APFS volume:
VMware Communities said:
Adding a physical disk: problem booting |VMware Communities

... I went about this in certainly a lazy and almost haphazard way as I simply replaced the virtual disk VMDK of an existing macOS High Sierra VM with the raw disk. I created a fullDevice based on /dev/disk2 with sata option.

I probably encountered the same errors as you did.
[...]
The key here seems to be once it fails to power up; it mounts the EFI volume. I then eject only SD480 and but keep the EFI partition mounted. I then power up the macOS VM with raw disk and the boot proceeds. For some reason, rawdisk creator didn't like creating a raw disk based on the EFI partition only.

Maybe using an existing macOS VM almost made a difference as its virtual firmware would have been set up.

... Based on my limited tests, I think that your previous idea ("The key here seems to be once it fails to power up; it mounts the EFI volume. I then eject only SD480 and but keep the EFI partition mounted. I then power up the macOS VM with raw disk and the boot proceeds.") works quite consistently if you can use the whole external disk (i.e., mount and unmount all the partitions). I did not continue exploring that option because in my target computer I cannot unmount one of the partitions...
 



each year's edition of TurboTax in its own virtual machine, running whichever version of macOS was supported in the TurboTax of the TurboTax edition.
A good idea. But isn't the VM software itself OS-version-dependent?

I seem to remember both Parallels and Fusion demanding paid upgrades to run on new OS X versions? Do the "old" VMs just transfer seamlessly into updated versions of their hosting software?
 


A good idea. But isn't the VM software itself OS-version-dependent? I seem to remember both Parallels and Fusion demanding paid upgrades to run on new OS X versions? Do the "old" VMs just transfer seamlessly into updated versions of their hosting software?
I won't vouch for how far back various tools will open older VM files, but I haven't had any problems opening files several revisions back with Parallels or Fusion. Sometimes you'll be prompted to update the VM app's drivers in the VM or to update the underlying file format, but even that is generally optional.

Also, a lot of VM programs and other utilities directly support VMware Fusion's VMDK virtual drive file format, so you can even switch between apps without too much trouble. VMDK has been an open standard for a few years now. For example, Parallels, VirtualBox, and QEMU will open or import VMDK files. Working with the Parallels PVM file format is a little more complicated, but there are ways to convert PVM files to intermediate formats, and VMware is able to import PVM files directly.

For maximum flexibility, the best practice probably would be to archive a tax-related VM in OVM/OVA format using either VirtualBox or VMware Fusion Pro. (Neither Parallels nor VMware Fusion directly export to OVM/OVA.)
 


I won't vouch for how far back various tools will open older VM files, but I haven't had any problems opening files several revisions back with Parallels or Fusion.
On what Mac are you running these VMs?
Current OS?
RAM?
SSD? Size?
What versions of OS X / MacOS have you virtualized?
How large are the VM files?
Can the VMs access external storage? Easily?

Thanks!
 


On what Mac are you running these VMs?
Current OS?
RAM?
SSD? Size?
What versions of OS X / MacOS have you virtualized?
How large are the VM files?
Can the VMs access external storage? Easily?

Thanks!
I'm currently maintaining VMs running Snow Leopard Server (10.6.8) through Catalina 10.15.2 using VMware Fusion 11.5.1. (I also have Windows VMs going back to Windows 2000 and various flavors of Linux and BSD running under Fusion or Parallels.)

At the moment, I have most of these VMs on a 2.5 GHz Core i5 13" mid-2012 MacBook Pro with 16 GB RAM and a 1 TB SSD under Mojave. Until recently, many of these same VMs worked fine on a 16 GB RAM/1 TB SSD Core2 Duo 13" 2010 MacBook Pro running Sierra and VMware Fusion 8.5.x.

With some exceptions, I've configured the macOS VM virtual drives to be nominally 40 GB, but the actual sizes on disk range from 20 GB (Snow Leopard Server) to more than 60 GB, depending on how much storage actually is required and how many VM snapshots I've taken. (You can set the virtual hard drive to take only as much physical space as is needed to store files, with the virtual drive automatically expanding up to its nominal capacity as more files are added.) I generally try to keep these VMs fairly simple, i.e. OS + latest supported version of Firefox, a text editor, perhaps MS Office or LibreOffice, and TurboTax, if applicable. FWIW, a clean install of Snow Leopard Server takes roughly 7.5 GB, and a clean install of Catalina is around 15 GB on disk.

While I don't often access external storage through the VMs, I haven't had any problems connecting USB devices to them or connecting to networked Macs, PCs, or Airport Extreme devices.

Performance on this hardware generally is quite good, though I rarely run more than one VM at a time.

#virtualization #vmware #snowleopard
 


I'm currently maintaining VMs running Snow Leopard Server (10.6.8) through Catalina 10.15.2 using VMware Fusion 11.5.1 ... Until recently, many of these same VMs worked fine on a 16 GB RAM/1 TB SSD Core2 Duo 13" 2010 MacBook Pro running Sierra and VMware Fusion 8.5.x.
  1. Was it a mandatory paid upgrade when you moved from Fusion 8.5 on Sierra to Fusion 11.5.1 on Mojave?
  2. If yes, cost?
  3. I set up a Fusion VM a long time ago and blocked it from network access. Do you know if that remains possible?
  4. Which "paid" VM would you recommend, Parallels or Fusion? Why?

Oracle VirtualBox is often described as "free." From what I can turn up, VirtualBox itself is open source, but the extensions aren't and have to be licensed for business use with 100 minimum license purchase. I could not find a single-license price on Oracle's site.
B-Lay: The License Management Company said:
Oracle VirtualBox – Do I need to license it?
Representatives from Oracle have been reaching out to multiple end users claiming that a license and/or support agreement would be needed as a result of downloading Oracle VM VirtualBox Extension Pack software. ... poIn case your organization is making use of the Oracle VM VirtualBox Extension Pack software for production or commercial purposes, then such use is required to be licensed through a commercial license.
 


Oracle VirtualBox is often described as "free." From what I can turn up, VirtualBox itself is open source, but the extensions aren't and have to be licensed
You are correct. One of the key changes when VirtualBox moved from version 3 to 4 is that all of the closed-source code was moved into the extension pack. The rest of VirtualBox is open source.

The extension pack (there is currently only one provided by VirtualBox) provides the following features:
  • Virtual USB 2.0 (EHCI) devices
  • Virtual USB 3.0 (xHCI) devices
  • Virtual Remote Desktop Protocol (VRDP)
  • Host webcam passthrough
  • Intel PXE boot ROM
  • Disk image encryption with AES
If you aren't using any of the above features, then you don't have to install the extension pack.

Support for USB 2.0 and 3.0 devices is probably the most annoying. If you need direct access to USB devices, then that access will be limited to USB 1.1 capabilities without the extension pack.

Note however, that this means accessing the USB device itself. Even without the extension pack, any interfaces created by your host operating system (e.g a serial port or network interface) for the USB device will still be usable by the guest OS. It just won't be able to go directly to the underlying USB device (or more accurately, will only have USB 1.1/OHCI access to it).

The only other extension I've ever made use of has been the remote desktop protocol. But that's far from a showstopper because you can run a remote desktop server (e.g. one of the many open source VNC products or x2go) in the guest operating system.
 


Was it a mandatory paid upgrade when you moved from Fusion 8.5 on Sierra to Fusion 11.5.1 on Mojave? ... If yes, cost?
I purchased a new license to Fusion 8.0 (standard version, not "Pro") in 2015 for $80 and upgraded to 11.0 for $40 almost exactly three years later to the day in 2018. The 8.0 to 8.5 and 11.0 to 11.5 updates were both free. If your needs aren't urgent, it's not uncommon to find licenses discounted 15-30% at the end of the year or around the time of big VMware conferences.

If I recall correctly, I upgraded from Fusion 8.5 to Fusion 11 to get official support for running Mojave and the latest release at the time of Windows 10 as guest operating systems.
I set up a Fusion VM a long time ago and blocked it from network access. Do you know if that remains possible?
Yes. To block network access, you may choose to disable the virtual network interface or remove it entirely via the "Virtual Machine" menu.
Which "paid" VM would you recommend, Parallels or Fusion? Why?
Questions like those used to the subjects of lengthy review articles in publications like MacWEEK and Macworld!

I maintain licenses to both and think both are excellent products. From what I've gleaned from your postings here at MacInTouch, VMware Fusion would be a better fit for your needs, possibly the "Pro" version of it. High-level thoughts:
  1. VMware products are very widely adopted in the enterprise. There is a large user community, and support is easy to find.
  2. VMware's virtual drive file format is widely adopted by other products, which eases portability.
  3. VMware Fusion Pro supports exporting VMs to the OVA open standard, again easing portability. (If you don't need that feature right away, upgrade pricing from "Standard" to "Pro" is available, and I suspect that a Pro evaluation license would let you do the export, too.)
  4. Historically, Parallels and VMware have been fairly close in performance, often playing a game of leapfrog with each other. With current versions, I don't notice a particular difference between the two in casual use, though I'd imagine there are edge cases where one might outperform the other.
  5. Parallels does feel more "Mac-like" and easier to use than Fusion, but I wouldn't call either program difficult to use. By modern standards, both have excellent documentation.
  6. Parallels has a very nice interface for downloading/creating VMs of common operating systems, while VMware is supported better by third-party VM appliance providers, like Bitnami, for downloading pre-configured "application stacks." Examples of the latter would be a pre-configured VM running WordPress or Drupal on Linux.
  7. While VMware's licensing terms are more generous than Parallels' terms for personal use, both require the purchase of one license per installed computer for commercial use.
Oracle VirtualBox is often described as "free." From what I can turn up, VirtualBox itself is open source, but the extensions aren't and have to be licensed for business use with 100 minimum license purchase. I could not find a single-license price on Oracle's site.
It looks like you can get single licenses for $40-50 in the US through CDW, but I don't have any experience with that.
 


Do the "old" VMs just transfer seamlessly into updated versions of their hosting software?
Pretty much. As a point of reference, I currently have a Windows XP VM that I still use (sometimes) that started off its life in Connectix Virtual PC, was imported into VMware Fusion 1.x, and has been upgraded all the way through its current home of VMware Fusion 11.1 without issues.

I'd definitely recommend VMware or Parallels over VirtualBox. At least based on my last VirtualBox experience a decade ago, there were so many things that "just work" on VMware and Parallels with a nice interface setting that you'd have to tinker endlessly to get to work on VirtualBox, it just wasn't worth the opportunity cost of time and aggravation.
I’ve created a clone of my Mojave system on an external SSD. I want to upgrade my 2017 iMac to Catalina, but I have some 32-but scanner and camera software that needs Mojave. I want to run the external Mojave drive from within a VM, so it won’t occupy disk space within my internal drive. Any suggestions regarding whether Fusion or Parallels would be a better choice for this?
In light of the ensuing discussion that followed this, it might be worthwhile to take a step back and confirm your requirements. It sounds to me like your primary requirement is that the data reside on an external disk (not taking up space on your internal drive), not necessarily that that disk actually be a bootable volume that the VM can access directly.

In that case, why not simply create a fresh new VM with the data (VMDK file) located on the external drive? And install your scanning and camera software in that new VM? Or, if, for some reason, you really need a clone of your current system, you can use MacStrategy’s physical-to-virtual instructions to create a cloned VM of your current system, and again, locate the VMDK file on the external drive.
 


As a point of reference, I currently have a Windows XP VM that I still use (sometimes) that started off its life in Connectix Virtual PC, was imported into VMware Fusion 1.x, and has been upgraded all the way through its current home of VMware Fusion 11.1 without issues.
Come to think of it, the Windows 2000 VM that I mentioned started life as a physical Windows 2000 PC that was converted to a VMware Workstation VM around 2004 or so, and it has made the transition from being hosted on a Windows XP PC to being hosted on Fusion 1.x and is now running happily with Fusion 11.5.1. I don't need to run anything on it any longer, but I like the idea of it still working.
 


As a point of reference, I currently have a Windows XP VM that I still use (sometimes) that started off its life in Connectix Virtual PC, was imported into VMware Fusion 1.x, and has been upgraded all the way through its current home of VMware Fusion 11.1 without issues.
Same here. Originally started as Windows XP Pro on Connectix Virtual PC. Imported it to Parallels, then imported that to VMware. Currently running VMware 7.1.3 on both Sierra and High Sierra.
 


I wanted to try using VMware Fusion to boot from an external drive, not a disk image. (This isn't because I have any particular use for this; other MacInTouch users were asking.)

The external drive is connected by FireWire (via Thunderbolt) and contains two partitions: one is HFS (not bootable), and the other is APFS, with Mojave in the container.

The procedure I followed was based on VMware's support article,
Creating a raw disk VMDK and adding it to the Virtual machine in Fusion:
  1. File > New > Create a custom virtual machine
  2. Operating system: macOS 10.14 (Mojave)
  3. Create a new virtual disk
  4. Customize
  5. Save the VM
  6. In terminal,
    Code:
    disk util list
  7. Identify the (external, physical) disk. In my case this was /dev/disk5.
  8. /Applications/VMware\ Fusion.app/Contents/Library/vmware-rawdiskCreator create /dev/disk# fullDevice path_to_where_to_put_vmdk/desired_vmdk_filename_prefix ide
  9. Edit the .vmx file:
    sata0:0.fileName = "rawdisk_filename.vmdk"
    sata0:0.deviceType = "rawDisk"
    suspend.disabled = "TRUE"​
  10. Delete the .vmdk file created by step #3, we don't need it.
  11. Unmount the external drive.
  12. Start the VM.
The result was that it booted up with no errors, abeit very slowly, since we're booting APFS on a spinning disk drive. And it didn't help that this external drive was pretty low on free space. And I only gave it 2 GB of memory, since my only purpose was to see if this actually works or not.

One warning: VMware advises disabling suspend, and probably snapshots, to keep from corrupting the external drive. My guess is that the risk is if:
  1. Use the drive in Fusion.
  2. Suspend Fusion.
  3. Mount the external drive in the host machine.
  4. Make some changes to the drive data.
  5. Unmount.
  6. Unsuspend in Fusion again.
Now Fusion's view of the disk data is out of sync with what's actually there.

This means that if you can't safely suspend, then it may take longer to use the Fusion machine, because you'll have to actually boot it and shut down each time.
 


"Should" is the appropriate word. It doesn't work. See my various test reports previously on MacInTouch. [post-16645, post-14833, post-14397]
What you were trying to do is import a physical drive into a virtual drive file, so that now you don't need the physical drive anymore.

What JSchaffe was asking about is raw access to a physical drive; the drive isn't imported, it is used directly by the VM.
 


Great... I will try this. And one final question: I understand that Parallels' license applies to a single Macintosh. But do you happen to know how Parallels deals with multiple users (i.e., logins) on a single Mac?
There is no legal problem with multiple users using Parallels on a single machine. However, I've found simultaneous usage to be problematic from a performance standpoint. In other words, User 1 should shut his VM down before User 2 logs into her account and starts up another VM.

An alternative to shutting down a VM is to "suspend" it, which is much faster and essentially freezes the VM's state. When you get back into the VM, all your apps and documents are just as you left them.
 


However, I've found simultaneous usage to be problematic from a performance standpoint. In other words, User 1 should shut his VM down before User 2 logs into her account and starts up another VM.
In my experience, this is mostly due to not having enough RAM. 8 GB is plenty for most common desktop applications, but if you need to run several VMs at once, you may find yourself needing to assign that much memory to each one of them. If you're running (for example) four VMs, each one with a comfortable desktop environment, then those VMs are probably going to require a total 32 GB of RAM (plus memory for the host environment). If the host doesn't have that much, you will start swapping, which will kill the performance of them all.

Available CPU cycles can also be a bottleneck, but only if the total number of virtual CPUs (across all your VMs) exceeds the number of hardware threads provided by the host, and even then only if the software running in the guest operating system is keeping them all busy. Most of the time, you can overcommit virtual CPUs by a factor of 2:1 or even 3:1, depending on how CPU-intensive the workload is at any given time.

This is why computers sold as dedicated VM hosts tend to have dozens of CPU cores/threads and hundreds of GB of RAM - to avoid these bottlenecks.
 


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