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Virtualization of Leopard and Snow Leopard Using VMware Fusion

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Virtualization of Leopard and Snow Leopard Using VMware Fusion
Virtualization of Leopard and Snow Leopard Using VMware Fusion

You can still run your favorite older apps in Fusion's virtual environment.

Screenshot courtesy of Coyote Moon, Inc.

When Apple released OS X Lion, it changed the license agreement to allow customers to run both the client and server versions of Lion in a virtual environment. The only caveat was that the virtualization application had to be running on a Mac.

That was good news for some, mostly developers and those in the IT industry who need to run server environments. For the rest of us, it didn't seem like such a big deal, at least not until VMware, one of the leading developers of virtualization software, released a new version of Fusion. Fusion 4.1 can run Leopard and Snow Leopard clients in a virtual environment on the Mac.

Why is this important? One of the major beefs many Mac users have about Lion is its inability to run older applications that were written for PowerPC processors. This lack of support for pre-Intel apps caused quite a few Mac users to forego upgrading to Lion.

Now that it's possible to virtualize Leopard or Snow Leopard in VMware Fusion 4.1 or later, there's no reason not to upgrade to OS X Lion. You can still run your favorite older apps in Fusion's virtual environment.

Installing Snow Leopard As a Virtual Environment

In this step-by-step guide, I'm going to show you how to install a fresh copy of Snow Leopard in a VMware Fusion 4.1 or later virtual machine. If you wish to install Leopard instead, the steps are very similar and this guide should serve to walk you through the process.

One last note before we begin. There is a remote possibility that VMware could remove this capability in the near future if Apple objects loudly enough. If you're interested in virtualizing Leopard or Snow Leopard, I recommend purchasing VMware Fusion 4.1 as soon as possible.

What You Will Need

  • An installed copy of VMware Fusion 4.1 or later.

  • A Snow Leopard install DVD.

  • At least 15 GB of free space for the Snow Leopard installation.

  • About an hour of your time.
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