Install OS X 10.8 Mountain Lion in VMware Fusion 4.1.3 (clean installation, not upgrade)

Previously I’ve been using older OS X virtual images and upgrading them as needed.  Looking back through some notes about various utilities, features, and command line tools, I noticed something which I wanted to test on a clean installation.

Sometimes new versions of OS X remove some features, but upgrading over an old installation (instead of doing a clean install) may leave the old feature or utility in place and available.  In order to verify whether Mountain Lion removed some utilities previously available in Snow Leapoard and Lion, it seemed like a good time to test the process of creating a clean VM installation from the App Store downloaded installation file for OS X 10.8 Mountain Lion.

Within VMware Fusion 4.1.3 (the latest release version at this time):

  • make sure you have an available copy of the App Store download for Mountain Lion
  • create a new VM
  • select “Continue without disc
  • on the next screen “Choose a disc or disk image…” and navigate to “Install OS X Mountain” file.  (When initially downloading this file, the App Store places it in your Applications Folder.  On most systems it gets automatically removed after the upgrade/installation is completed.  So prior to running it, it is a good idea to back up a copy to another location.  The copy can be used to upgrade other machines, or for creating VMs as we’re about to do now.)
  • select “Continue” on the next few screens to accept the defaults and start the VM.  The defaults should be adequate for most initial testing and I’d recommended them until you get more familiar or identify a specific need to customize settings further.
    • note: if you have a folder of application install files, it is helpful to configure Fusion’s “file sharing” options to present that folder within the VM when it is running.
  • At the end of the settings screens, select the “Finish” button.  Fusion will complete the configuration and start the VM.

The VM may seem to start very slowly before presenting the initial grey OS X booting screen.  And will likely take some time, perhaps several minutes unless you’re on an Ivy Bridge / SSD system (if you are on a 2012 Ivy Bridge CPU and encounter a CPU error from Fusion, this post explain how to modify your VM config to continue).

Eventually you should see the “OS X Utilities” window and have the option to select “Reinstall OS X“.  Select “Continue” a couple times, then “Agree” to the license (twice), select the hard drive “Macintosh HD” and “Install“.

The installation proceeds without an further interaction until it automatically reboots.  After the VM reboots, the “Install OS X” screen will appear and display a progress indicator.  On an older CoreDuo MacMini, it took about ten minutes to reach the reboot and then displays an estimate of about 20 minutes to complete the installation.  ActivityMonitor shows this old MacMini is CPU constrained, but I’m waiting for next refresh to include Ivy Bridge and USB 3 before getting a new one.

When the installation process completes, the VM will reboot and present the “Welcome” screen to begin the initial configuration of OS X.  If audio is enabled, you should hear a voice welcoming you to setup.

  • select a Country
  • select a Keyboard Layout
  • choose whether to Transfer Information using Migration Assistant.  If you haven’t used it before, it can move information from other Macs, Windows PCs, or TimeMachine backups and works pretty well for a wide variety of application settings and user data.   Since the goal is testing a clean installation of OS X 10.8 Mountain Lion, I won’t be using Migration Assistant this time.  It can also be ran later, so it’s not critical to decided right now.
  • choose whether to enable “Location Services” (I’m leaving it disabled on this VM).
  • Enter you AppleID to setup App Store, iCloud, etc.  I have separate IDs for iTunes and iCloud, and don’t need either configured on this VM right now.  So I’m selecting “Skip” on this setup screen.
  • accept the “Terms and Conditions” (twice again).
  • fill in the fields for “Create Your Computer Account” to establish your username and password.
  • Select Your Time Zone” by clicking the map and selecting a nearby city.
  • Register“.  I’ll “Skip” this screen for this VM.
  • and finally you reach the “Thank You” screen and can “Start using your Mac“.

At this point you get the new OS X Mountain Lion (fortunately it does not inflict another reboot on you here) and you are ready to go.

Since my goal was to configure a cleanly installed VM for some testing, I’m going to stop here, shut down the VM, and make a Zip Archive of the VM’s file image for later re-use.  Once that housekeeping task is complete, then I’ll review my notes on previous versions and retest various utilities to see what still works.  Results will be documented in a follow up post.


Summary:  Using the “Install OS X Mountain” file to create a new virtual machine in VMware Fusion 4.1.3 is quick and easy.

Testing “Xcode 4.5 and iOS 6 SDK beta 3” using a virtual machine instance of OS X Lion

For a couple weeks now, I’ve been using Xcode 4.3.3 and the iOS 5.1 SDK on a mid 2012 MacBook Air 13″ with 8GB Ram.  It’s very nice.

With the July 16th update to the iOS 6 development betas, it was time test running the new Xcode environment under a VM on the MacBook Air.  The first step in the process was to get a virtual instance of OS X Lion 10.7 running under VMware Fusion.

I’ve done this before, but the new 2012 MacBook CPU (Intel Ivy Bridge) caused a “CPU disabled by guest operating system… ” error under Fusion.  The solution was to add this line to the *.vmx config file of the target VM.

      cpuid.1.eax = “—-:—-:—-:0010:—-:—-:1010:0111”

VMware should have a 2012 update to Fusion for OS X Mountain Lion 10.8, they are currently testing it as a “technical preview”.  This post provides more information on the error and it’s solution.

With that problem solved, it was time to get Xcode 4.5 beta 3 up and running.  Right after installing VMware Tools and configuration some OS X settings to my preferences (I didn’t use Migration Assistant for this VM as I wanted a fresh environment).

The next issue was with the Xcode 4.5 app.  It would not run.  I used Lion 10.7.3 to create the VM the new beta requires a minimum of 10.7.4.  Using software updates to get 10.7.4, iTunes, and Safari updates downloaded about 1GB.  After the updates, the Xcode 4.5 beta is now able to run.  This is a good place to make a backup of the VMDK and save for future use.

VMware snapshots or Fusion Time Machine integration are both good features, but I prefer to locate the *.vmwarevm file (package) in Finder and copy to a compressed zip file.  I’ll use this zip as a clean start for additional beta releases as well as some OSX Server testing.  Will also use it to testing the Mountain Lion upgrade.

After installing Xcode, you’ll most likely want the ability to do something with it.  This entails installing some “core libraries”.  From within Xcode Preferences, the Downloads tab provides access to additional Components and Documentation. Plan for another GB or more of downloads.

If you’re setting up your virtual dev/test environment for first time, plan on 4 or 5 hours and several GB of downloads/updates during the process.  After that you’ll be able to test beta releases or do other experimental work in a VM (with USB access to physical devices if desired) without affecting any of the apps of your host Mac.