As I explained here, I have an old MacBook and I am planning to replace OS X with either Windows 7 or Linux.

I was wondering if it is at all possible to virtualize the physical Snow Leopard partition. In Windows you can convert a physical machine to a virtual machine using VMWare products. Could I do something like this for my MacBook?

The idea is to wipe everything, install Windows or Linux and have the original OS X partition as a Virtual Machine in case I need something.

  • Where do you want to store your 'original partition'? On an external drive? – klanomath Jan 6 '15 at 18:15
  • It doesn't matter. With VMWare products, in my experience, you can move VMs' location without problems. It will likely be on an external though due to the size of my internal. – Vic Jan 6 '15 at 18:28

According to this source this should work:


– Mac OS X 10.6.8 Server or Mac OS X 10.7 or later as prospective Guest OS

  1. Create a r/w image of your partition
  2. Open Terminal an enter:

    hdiutil imageinfo /path/to/image.dmg  | grep "Format"  

    Output should be:

    Format: UDRW
    Format Description: raw read/write
  3. Create a diskname.vmdk file with an editor:

    # Disk DescriptorFile
    # Extent description
    RW SIZE_OF_DMG_IN_SECTORS FLAT "Fully_Qualified_Pathname_of_DMG" 0
    # The Disk Data Base 
    ddb.adapterType = "lsilogic"
    #ddb.geometry.cylinders is not used by Mac OS.
    #ddb.geometry.heads is not used by Mac OS.
    #ddb.geometry.sectors is not used by Mac OS.
    #ddb.longContentID will be generated on the first write to the file.
    #ddb.uuid is not used by Mac OS.
    ddb.virtualHWVersion = "6"  
  4. customize SIZE_OF_DMG_IN_SECTORS (the size of your disk/512) and Fully_Qualified_Pathname_of_DMG in the above file

  5. Open VMware Workstation and create a new machine and choose the above created vdmk file as hdd.image

  6. There is a legal impediment to run Mac OS X on Non-Apple hardware. VMware Player & VMware Workstation therefore officially don't support the installation of Mac OS X on any hardware - not even on Macs.

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  • Thx. It will be a while before I can try this, but it is good to know that it can be done. – Vic Jan 6 '15 at 20:34
  • re: # 6, VMware Fusion let's you install and run OS X guests on OS X hosts. The way you worded it, it makes it sounds like you can't do this, when in fact you can. – Patrick McMahon Jan 6 '15 at 21:30
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    @PatrickMcMahon Vic wants to install Windows (or Linux) on his Mac as only OS. VMware Workstation (PC/Linux) running on the Windows host doesn't allow to install Mac OS X at all even if it is Apple hardware. – klanomath Jan 6 '15 at 21:35
  • Also, the OP wants to virtualize the non-server version of 10.6, which is also not allowed. It's possible to (cheaply?) acquire a 10.6 server installation DVD; but, I'm not sure what happens when 10.6.3 (the latest server version on DVD AFAIK) is installed on top of a running 10.6.8 system. – Kent Jan 6 '15 at 23:35
  • @Kent max. OS X for Macbook4,1 is 10.7.5 so it shouldn't be a problem – klanomath Jan 6 '15 at 23:39

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