I have a Mac OS X Lion (10.7) server, and I would like to administer it remotely from a client running Mountain Lion non-server (10.8).

I naively assumed that I could install the freely downloaded Server Admin Tools 10.7 on Mountain Lion, however it does not let me install Server Admin Tools 10.7.4, and does not let me run Server Admin Tools 10.7.

I have downloaded OS X Server for Mountain Lion. When I run the Server app and try to connect to my Lion server, it says "Server requires OS X 10.8." and "The server you’re trying to connect to is not running OS X 10.8. Install OS X 10.8 on the server and try again."

Screen sharing works, but I really hoped I could administer my server natively and locally like I used to be able to from a Lion client.

It really should not be this difficult!

  • Is Screen Sharing an option?
    – Gerry
    Commented Aug 6, 2012 at 11:55
  • Screen sharing is an option. Just not an elegant option!
    – Vihung
    Commented Aug 6, 2012 at 15:48

2 Answers 2


This seems to be an instance where Apple's push for the latest and greatest causes real world IT issues.

Per Apple's support article, HT1822 - OS X Server: Admin tools compatibility information, using Server Tools for mismatched client and server OS versions just isn't supported:

To administer Lion Server from a client with a different version of OS X, connect to the server using Screen Sharing or Apple Remote Desktop. You can also use Workgroup Manager 10.8 on Mountain Lion to connect to Lion Server.

I'm not sure how useful Workgroup Manager is to you, but it may be of some value.

There's also using the command line tools over SSH, which may or may not be more desirable than Screen Sharing/Remote Desktop to you. Apple's Advanced Lion Administration guide has info on how to use the command line tools for most tasks


You could fake Mountain Lion to think its regular Lion (10.7) just for the installer. I had to do this to app I needed to install under Mountain Lion. You may want to time machine your Mountain Lion client just in case it causes any weird problems after installing.

Open up a terminal session and:
1. sudo chmod u+w /System/Library/CoreServices/SystemVersion.plist
2. sudo vi /System/Library/CoreServices/SystemVersion.plist
3. change all references from 10.8 to 10.7

when you are done installing change the references back to 10.8 in the file.

  • Thanks. Interestingly, I downloaded Server Admin Tools 10.7 instead of 10.7.4 and was able to install it. However, when I try to run it, it says "You can’t open the application “Server Admin” because it is not supported on this type of Mac."
    – Vihung
    Commented Aug 6, 2012 at 15:43
  • This solution sounds very hacky. It really should not be this difficult
    – Vihung
    Commented Aug 6, 2012 at 15:49

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