I have a late 2011 MacBook Pro with 16GB RAM (system max) and a 1TB SSD. The drive has two partitions – one running MacOS Sierra 10.12.5 and the second running Mavericks 10.9.5 (for purposes of keeping commercially licensed software that is now only available as monthly/annually-paid subscriptions). This is the most complex setup I've ever attained, just to give you an idea of my technical expertise.
I would like to install Parallels/Fusion/other so that I can access my legacy apps without a restart, and Windows (via Bootcamp or other option?), and achieve a setup in which ALL THREE of these scenarios are possible:
- I can startup in Sierra and run Mavericks and/or Windows virtually as needed
- I can startup in Mavericks and run my legacy apps natively
- I can startup in a Bootcamp-based Windows mode (or other non-virtual method)
Before making any build changes that potentially “break” my current setup, I wanted to reach out for advice as to what is/isn't possible and the best method to achieve a system capable of accessing the three OS's. As I've researched, part of what I'm struggling with is perhaps not fully understanding how virtualization works. I'm not sure how much I can rely on it, hence keeping native bootable drives for each in my setup.
My questions are:
Can I use Parallels/Fusion/other to run my EXISTING Mavericks drive within Sierra or will I have to reinstall the OS and legacy applications through virtualization software?
Assuming a setup in which Mavericks can be run virtually in Sierra, will I be able to run Mavericks natively by rebooting to it as my Startup Disk if/when needed?
If I add a Bootcamp-built Windows partition, can it also be run virtually in Sierra (or do I have to choose one or the other)?