FYI -- Parallels 16 now supports BigSur as a VM on older systems

Ryan Schmidt ryandesign at
Mon Dec 7 01:15:53 UTC 2020

On Dec 6, 2020, at 15:54, Mojca Miklavec wrote:

> On Sun, 6 Dec 2020 at 22:37, Christopher Nielsen wrote:
>>> On 2020-12-06-S, at 16:16, Mark Anderson wrote:
>>> Is there a good way to get 10.6 - 10.16 installed in Parallels — I really don't want to download all of them from the app store, if that's even possible.
>>> —Mark
>> In my case, I’ve kept an archive of old MacOS installers, combo updates, etc, so I used those.
> I'm currently using VMWare (and I don't mind switching to Parallels in
> case they have this covered in a better way), but the question is
> similar.
> I tried to install a new VM with Big Sur, but:
> - the VM version I have on my box doesn't let me select any newer
> macOS version than what I have installed (to some extent this is
> understandable: they couldn't have known all the caveats of Big Sur
> years back)
> - the latest VMware Fusion 12 is no longer compatible with my OS (ok,
> I would somehow accept that, at some point I do need to upgrade)
> - but even if I upgrade to, say, 10.15 or 11 now, VMware Fusion 12 no
> longer supports 10.6, for example, which is the single one that I
> would *really* like to keep
> I know that several developers here have the full collection of VMs
> dating back to 10.5 or so. Even after solving the problem of finding a
> suitable image (which Apple doesn't really make easy even if you just
> want to revert to something that you already had on that same machine)
> ... what's the best way to keep a variety of VMs working?

As you know the 2009 Xserves I use to run the MacPorts Buildbot system run VMware ESXi 6.0.0 and are running VMs from Snow Leopard through Big Sur. Leopard works too and Tiger supposedly works with an installer patch from Landon. You probably don't want VMware ESXi but I would guess a contemporaneous version of VMware Fusion would have similar capabilities. VMware ESXi 6.0.0 doesn't know about newer macOS versions but that doesn't seem to be a problem. The Big Sur VM, for example, is configured as "Mac OS X 10.8 64-bit" but works fine. Booting from APFS requires giving VMware a custom EFI, following instructions I found online.

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