[VIRTUALIZATION] Snow Leopard on a modern Mac

Plughugger

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Mar 20, 2012
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I've read lots of threads about the subject and many people suggest it is possible - but as far as my personal attempts, I've not succeeded.

Has anyone been able to fully virtualize Snow Leopard on a modern Mac? And before any one suggest that the easiest way is just to buy an old SL Mac - that's how I do it today, but it would be more efficient for me to have it all in one place.

Any practical advice on the matter would be greatly appreciated.

/Carl
 

crocteau

macrumors newbie
May 10, 2016
9
15
I've found that running Snow Leopard Server ($19.99 from the Apple Store June2017) under VMware Fusion is practical for me using a mid-2012 MBP with a 2.6 GHz Intel Core i7 and 16 GB RAM running Mojave.
 

Plughugger

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Mar 20, 2012
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My last attempt was with Virtual Box, yes, but I only used my old iMac SL disc, and that didn't even boot. Weirdly enough. Maybe WMware is working better?

/Carl
 

chrfr

macrumors G3
Jul 11, 2009
9,587
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My last attempt was with Virtual Box, yes, but I only used my old iMac SL disc, and that didn't even boot. Weirdly enough. Maybe WMware is working better?

/Carl
You need Snow Leopard Server to virtualize Snow Leopard. The regular version is not licensed for virtualization, and as a result VMware Fusion will not allow you to create a virtual machine from the regular version.
 
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organicCPU

macrumors 6502a
Aug 8, 2016
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Isn't it, that it's only allowed to virtualize SL Server? Is it still available for purchase?
In VirtualBox, I'm running Sierra and High Sierra clients on a Sierra host. And yes, get them running was a bit of pain. Some snappiness is missing. Resolution is tied to sizes that are lacking the look and feel of a native install.
Technically, I think you need to make a disk image of your physical optical media, make it read-write and then exchange some files that cheats the system so that it thinks that it's the server version, but I guess it's prohibited by Apple's EULA, except they meanwhile claimed something else. I personally think and hope that Apple will declare Snow Leopard as Abandonware some day and make it public free of charge, but I guess it'll take some more time.
EDIT: @chrfr answered my question...
 

Plughugger

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Mar 20, 2012
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Thanks - that explains why I can't get it to work. I was using Virtual Box and it didn't say anything about a server version.

So the ways forward are either to modify a normal SL installation or get a server edition. Which of the three virtualizing softwares have you found to be best? So far I have only tried Virtual Box - but as organicCPU said, it kind of felt a bit sluggish. Is VMware Fusion the safest way to go?

/C
 

StellarVixen

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chrfr

macrumors G3
Jul 11, 2009
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It is a lie that only Server version of 10.6 is allowed to run in VirtualBox. I do not know about WMware or others, but in VirtualBox, both versions of Snow Leopard work.
It isn’t a lie that only the server version of SL is licensed for virtualization. Because of that, VMWare blocks the client version from running in Fusion. I doubt Virtualbox implements such a block.
 

Plughugger

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Mar 20, 2012
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It is a lie that only Server version of 10.6 is allowed to run in VirtualBox. I do not know about WMware or others, but in VirtualBox, both versions of Snow Leopard work.
Could explain how you installed the non-server version of SL on VirtualBox? I've heard lots of people saying it's possible, but when asked for how they did it - they never go into details. I'm sure this information would be appreciated by more than just me.

/C
[doublepost=1543675691][/doublepost]
What exactly do you consider a lie? Got it recently legit to install SL in a VM? If yes, please point me to the cross reference!

@Plughugger Do you know this discussion?
https://forums.macrumors.com/thread...llels-7-in-lion.1365439/page-17#post-16745691
Thanks - that might prove really useful!

/C
 

Plughugger

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Mar 20, 2012
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What help do you want? Do you want me to teach you how to use VirtualBox?
You are one of the few people who have succeeded to install the non-server version of SL on VirtualBox.
Yes, I want you to explain how you did it.

/C
 

StellarVixen

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Mar 1, 2018
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Make the DMG/ISO.

Create the new VM, choose OS X.

Follow the instructions, choose amount of RAM and HD space you would like to use.

Use your disk image to proceed with the installation, and follow the instructions. If everything goes smoothly, installation will be over in about half an hour.

Do you want me to make a video? I didn’t really do anything special.
 

Plughugger

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Mar 20, 2012
25
0
Make the DMG/ISO.

Create the new VM, choose OS X.

Follow the instructions, choose amount of RAM and HD space you would like to use.

Use your disk image to proceed with the installation, and follow the instructions. If everything goes smoothly, installation will be over in about half an hour.

Do you want me to make a video? I didn’t really do anything special.
I did exactly that and I get an error and the installation stops.
Yeah, I agree. A video would be very helpful.

/C
 

organicCPU

macrumors 6502a
Aug 8, 2016
666
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It is a lie that only Server version of 10.6 is allowed to run in VirtualBox. I do not know about WMware or others, but in VirtualBox, both versions of Snow Leopard work.
Lying is not my intention, so you motivated me to do my best with some research to clarify things. I'm not a lawyer, so please don't take my personal opinions on this topic too serious.

I was pretty certain about the thesis that one is allowed to run Mac OS X Snow Leopard Server, but not Mac OS X Snow Leopard as a guest OS in a VM. So here is what each of the three most popular vendors of virtualization apps for macOS are telling us:

VirtualBox
https://www.virtualbox.org/manual/ch03.html#intro-macosxguests
Mac OS X is commercial, licensed software and contains both license and technical restrictions that limit its use to certain hardware and usage scenarios.
https://www.virtualbox.org/wiki/Guest_OSes about supported Mac OS X systems:
Mac OS X Server (Leopard, Snow Leopard)
VMware Fusion
https://kb.vmware.com/s/article/1000131?lang=en_US
According to Apple's licensing policies, VMware only supports the virtualization of Apple Mac OS X 10.10 (Yosemite) client or server, Apple Mac OS X 10.11 (El Capitan) client or server, Mac OS X 10.9 (Mavericks) client or server, Mac OS X 10.8 (Mountain Lion) client or server, Mac OS X 10.7 (Lion) client or server, 10.6 (Snow Leopard) server and 10.5 (Leopard) server. …
In addition more recent macOS are mentioned at https://www.vmware.com/products/fusion/faqs.html#installation

Attention: It seems that Mac OS X Snow Leopard Server guest needs VMware Fusion 8.0 or lower to run. The latest version of VMware Fusion 11 seems just to be able to run OS X El Capitan 10.11.x to macOS Mojave 10.14.x. Check out this overview. Maybe some VMware Fusion user can correct this statement, as not supported doesn't always explicitly say incompatible.

Parallels Desktop
https://kb.parallels.com/en/112323
… Neither Leopard nor Snow Leopard are supported to be run on Parallels Desktop virtual machines. That is due to the fact that it is prohibited by Apple's EULA. …
https://kb.parallels.com/en/124223 on macOS Guest Operating Systems for Parallels Desktop 14 for Mac (recent at time of writing):
macOS Mojave 10.14.x, macOS High Sierra 10.13.x, macOS Sierra 10.12.x, OS X El Capitan 10.11.x, OS X Yosemite 10.10.x, OS X Mavericks 10.9.x, OS X Mountain Lion 10.8.x, OS X Lion 10.7.x, OS X Lion Server 10.7.x, Mac OS X Snow Leopard Server 10.6.x, Mac OS X Leopard Server 10.5.x
So there must be some major difference between Apple Software License Agreement of Mac OS X Snow Leopard and Mac OS X Lion. And here it is from §2B iii of the Mac OS X Lion SLA at https://www.apple.com/legal/sla/
… you are granted a limited, non-transferable, non-exclusive license:
(iii) to install, use and run up to two (2) additional copies or instances of the Apple Software within virtual operating system environments on each Mac Computer you own or control that is already running the Apple Software. …
As you can see, Apple started to allow the use inside a VM on Apple hardware with Mac OS X Lion. IMHO, running Mac OS X Snow Leopard inside a Virtual Machine isn't explicitly forbidden by the Apple SLA and neither explicitly allowed by Apple SLA for Mac OS X Snow Leopard Server, but the majority of VM vendors seem to have the consent, that it's just allowed to run the server versions of Mac OS X (Snow) Leopard. Maybe there is a lawyer around, that is able to give us an explanation, which part of the Mac OS X Snow Leopard SLA is likely to prohibit use inside a VM.

I did exactly that and I get an error and the installation stops.
Maybe you'll need an older version of the VM app, as new versions could have dropped support for older guests.
Then the version of your installer media could have relevance.
Another source of errors could be the restriction that Mac OS X Snow Leopard just allows the installation on certain processors. As your hardware might be quite recent, Snow Leopard didn't know about such an Apple CPU existing. For VirtualBox, you may find instructions to adjust the cpuidset with the help of the VBoxManage command to simulate an older (known) processor.
If you're going to post your errors or screenshots, others might be able to help.
 
Last edited:

chrfr

macrumors G3
Jul 11, 2009
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Attention: It seems that Mac OS X Snow Leopard Server guest needs VMware Fusion 8.0 or lower to run. The latest version of VMware Fusion 11 seems just to be able to run OS X El Capitan 10.11.x to macOS Mojave 10.14.x.
Snow Leopard Server runs fine in Fusion 11.
 
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Hughmac

macrumors demi-god
Feb 4, 2012
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Kent, UK
Screenshot 2018-12-04 at 16.49.03.png

I also have Snow Leopard 10.6.8 running in VirtualBox ;)

I believe I made an .iso of the retail DVD and used that to boot from. The VM is configured as Mac OS X 10.6 Snow Leopard (32 bit). You can't install the 64 bit version.

Limitations are that screen resolution is stuck at 1024 x 768, and graphics are very slow.

I was even able to restore all my settings and apps from an old Carbon Copy Cloner backup on an external drive.

Cheers :)

Hugh
 

liya1201

macrumors regular
Sep 8, 2010
124
15
I've successfully installed Snow Leopard in VirtualBox (5.2.22) under Mojave (10.14.2). However, I can't setup a "Shared Folder" in the virtual Snow Leopard due to lack of "VirtualBox guest additions". It seemed that a Mac version of VirtualBox guest additions does not exist yet... I thus wonder is there any workaround? Thanks!
 

organicCPU

macrumors 6502a
Aug 8, 2016
666
182
I thus wonder is there any workaround?
In VirtualBox switch the network preferences of SL VM from NAT to Bridged Network and connect from your host OS with afp://whateverTellsSharingSystemPreferencesOfVM.
The drawback is, that if you do connect the VM to the internet, it´s not connect through your host anymore, but makes a direct connection, thus could be more insecure.
 
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liya1201

macrumors regular
Sep 8, 2010
124
15
In VirtualBox switch the network preferences of SL VM from NAT to Bridged Network and connect from your host OS with afp://whateverTellsSharingSystemPreferencesOfVM.
The drawback is, that if you do connect the VM to the internet, it´s not connect through your host anymore, but makes a direct connection, thus could be more insecure.
This worked. Many thanks for help.

The reason I was trying to setup a virtualization of older OS (Snow Leopard) in current OS (Mojave) is to test if it is a viable workaround to use an irreplaceable 32-bit app when next OS stops supporting 32-bit apps.
 
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MichaelLAX

macrumors 6502a
Oct 31, 2011
772
12
This worked. Many thanks for help.

The reason I was trying to setup a virtualization of older OS (Snow Leopard) in current OS (Mojave) is to test if it is a viable workaround to use an irreplaceable 32-bit app when next OS stops supporting 32-bit apps.
What is your conclusion; I suspect that it will work fine!

My thread, explains in detail the procedures for installing both Snow Leopard and Snow Leopard Server into Parallels:

https://forums.macrumors.com/thread...and-rosetta-into-parallels-7-in-lion.1365439/

I stick with Parallels, even though it costs real money, because they have consistently updated it to provide such needed features as: copy/paste between environments and ease of file sharing, too.

It just seems to me that the $30 to purchase Snow Leopard Server is SO much easier to install and operate in a virtualized environment and the "Server" apps are easily removed from The Dock, so as to not confuse anyone.

It was a common myth that the Snow Leopard EULA prohibited its use in a virtualized environment on a Mac. That myth is not true.

It actually started due to some Tech Support geek at Parallels quoting the EULA in a Support Document originally (as noted in a post above) and Parallels keeps updating that same document for newer versions of OS X without correcting it.

The fact of the matter is that ALL of the virtualization companies have their own agreements with Apple that prevent THEM from allowing Snow Leopard to be installed and specifically allow for Snow Leopard Server.
[doublepost=1550954765][/doublepost]Installing Snow Leopard Server into Parallels for DUMMIES:

https://forums.macrumors.com/thread...llels-7-in-lion.1365439/page-23#post-17285039
 
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