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I'm currently running OS X 10.8.5 and I would like to set up a virtual machine that runs OS X 10.9. (The other way around would be fine too. I would upgrade to OS X 10.9 and run OS X 10.8.5 in a virtual machine.)

Use case: I'm a Mac developer and I would like to test my mac app on different operating systems versions. If I would develop my app on OS X 10.9 there would be no way to know if the app runs well on OS X 10.8.

Do you know any tool that accomplishes that? It shouldn't be a licensing problem, because I have already "bought" licenses for OS X 10.6, 10.8, 10.9 and 10.10-beta2.

What I tried so far...

I found this question which basically asks the same thing, but I think its not a duplicate, because that question is from 2010, things probably have changed since then, and this question is not about OS X 10.5 or 10.6. (At the time of this writing we have 2014.)

Another option would be to install to a separate partition on an external hard drive, but that's less flexible than a virtual machine.

Other acceptable solutions

For me, using a virtual machine is optional. I'm really just searching for the easiest process to verify wether my software runs smoothly on different OS versions, so other solutions - not based on virtualization - are welcome too!

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  • I removed the outdated question. Did you try virtualizing it already? – slhck Jul 21 '14 at 13:14
  • @slhck well, no, I don't know where to start. I have VMWare 5 installed on my computer and I can set up a virtual machine there and run an install program from an install CD (or an ISO-image of one). But for current OSX versions there are no install images, just an "Install OS X 10.10 Beta 2 Developer Preview.app" or similar. I have a WindowsXP CD, so I can install WinXP on a VM. Don't know how to create a VM without installation media... – Michael Jul 21 '14 at 13:19
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    Seems to be a dupe of apple.stackexchange.com/questions/106476/… – slhck Jul 21 '14 at 13:28
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Parallels Desktop allows you to you run Lion (10.7) and Mountain Lion (10.8) as a guest inside a Mavericks (10.9) host.

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  • and how do I do this? Is there any tutorial describing it? I searched, and the only thing I could find was this video that describes how to install exactly the same version of the OS that is currently present in the "recovery partition". So, I could install OS X 10.8 into a VM now, then upgrade to OS X 10.9 and keep using the OS X 10.8 VM... Is this what you're suggesting? – Michael Jul 21 '14 at 13:38
  • Parallels has documentation on their website and forums, it is very simple. You re-download older versions of OS X from the App Store or use a USB installer, and when you create a new virtual machine you simply choose that as the source to install the OS. kb.parallels.com/en/112121 – Bert Jul 21 '14 at 13:53
  • I've done the exact same thing with Fusion. It's not hypervisor specific. It's more about what resources your host has to share and what you dedicate to the VM. – SaxDaddy Jul 28 '14 at 18:56
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I just installed the Yosemite beta today on my Mavericks laptop using VMware Fusion 6. It was simple and straightforward and I even used the wizards to setup the VM. But this doesn't always work...the Developer's Preview wouldn't get past the Install OS X screen.

screenshot of 10.9 & 10/10 side by side

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  • I did that too. I think you can get past the install screen. Just give it an extra hour of time ;) There are some problems though: 1) The transparency is not working. In your screenshot you see that the menu bar is white. In real OSX Yosemite, the menu bar is semi-transparent. 2) Everything is really slow. When you move some window around, you have something like 2 frames per second or worse (and I have a Core i7 with 2 cores for the VM and a dedicated 1GB graphics card plus internal graphics.) Restarting takes 15min. It's really unusable – Michael Jul 26 '14 at 17:57
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    For OS X 10.9 (Mavericks), it's reasonable fast though. – Michael Jul 26 '14 at 17:59

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