I've read that the EULA now allows to install Mac OS X in a virtual machine, and I'd be interested in doing it. However, since I forgot to back up the Mountain Lion installation program before using it, I'd like to be able to do it from the recovery partition. Apparently, Parallels can do that, so it's probably not impossible from VMware Fusion.

This is what I've tried with VMware Fusion:

  • Mount the Recovery HD partition, then find the BaseSystem.dmg file on it and assign it as an OS installation disk: the system boots, but it says "This copy of the Install OS X Mountain Lion application is damaged, and can't be used to install OS X" when I try to install it.
  • Dump the whole Recovery HD partition to a disk image and try to boot from it: does not boot, the Apple logo gets replaced by a Ø symbol.

Considering these two failed attempts, I'm not too sure how I should proceed from here.

How can I install Mountain Lion in a VMware Fusion virtual machine from the recovery partition?

  • Is the OS type Mac OS X? Remember that Mountain Lion is not officially supported yet.
    – duci9y
    Commented Aug 7, 2012 at 8:44
  • Yes, the OS type is Mac OS X.
    – zneak
    Commented Aug 7, 2012 at 12:53

1 Answer 1


You cannot install OS X Mountain Lion through the Recovery HD to VMWare Fusion. It doesn’t have the necessary files. An OS X Installer Image is required, which you can obtain from within the Install OS X Mountain Lion.app. It’s called Install ESD.dmg, and it worked for me, so it will most likely work for you.

  • I suppose you mean that I would have to re-download Mountain Lion even though I boot through the recovery partition, rather than I cannot install Mountain Lion from the recovery partition into VMware, right?
    – zneak
    Commented Aug 7, 2012 at 17:51
  • No, both. You would’ve to re-download the installer. The Recovery Partition also downloads the files, but it doesn’t seem to work in VMWare.
    – duci9y
    Commented Aug 8, 2012 at 8:41
  • From my point of view, it doesn't work in VMware because we're doing something wrong (and because the guys at VMware didn't make it easy in the first place), not because the software is incapable of doing it. Anyways, the solution will be basically the same: download the Mountain Lion installer, then use ESD.dmg.
    – zneak
    Commented Aug 8, 2012 at 14:50
  • Yep. Don’t blame VMWare though, they still don’t officially support Mountain Lion. Also, the Recovery HD requires authentication to download the installer files. It does so by sending Apple your serial number. A virtual machine does not have a real serial number, so it won’t work anyway if we get it to boot.
    – duci9y
    Commented Aug 8, 2012 at 15:46

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