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Testing Mac OS X Yosemite Beta on VMware Fusion 6.0.4

Today, Apple released the Public Beta of Mac OS X Yosemite. I haven’t tested a beta release of Mac OS X before, as I’ve yet to migrate to the full-paid Developer Program account. This is the first time Apple has chosen to release a beta version to the public though, so I thought I’d give it a spin.

Choosing the Safe Route
Many out there are going to install this Beta on their production/primary machines--I’m not that daring. Not that I think that most things would work satisfactorily, but for my initial go I wanted to try something a little safer. Since Virtualization is a thing nowadays, I thought I’d write up some of my experiences trying the new Yosemite Beta under VMware Fusion Professional 6.0.4.

I’ve had a Mac OS X 10.9 Mavericks VM sitting in my VMware library and I wasn’t sure what I’d ever do with it until now. Figuring that I should probably give my VM assets a little love, I did increase the amount of RAM allocated to the VM from 2GB to 4GB. Then, I fired it up and made sure to take a snapshot after I transferred the installation package for Yosemite Beta via Fire Sharing. So far the installer hasn’t run into any problems so I’ll hope for the best.

Screen Shot 2014-07-24 at 10.50.08 PM
Snapshot Manager with a Pre-Yosemite Snapshot: Testing and Snapshots are like Cake and Ice Cream. Happy

Screen Shot 2014-07-24 at 10.47.10 PM
Installation progressing: No issues encountered during the initial phases of the install.

Finishing the Installation
After the screen shown above, it took it a while to finally complete performing what I’m guessing is some file copying and placement. It hovered for a while around the 5 minute mark, eventually jumping right to the end. The VM then rebooted and the next completion phase continued on...

Screen Shot 2014-07-24 at 11.10.22 PM
Installation Completion Phase after 1st Reboot.

Once this completed, I was greeted with the Apple ID sign-in page, presented with a Yosemite interface! It looks like we’re going fine so far! I filled out my Apple ID and information and after a little percolation (including a prompt for enabling Find My Mac), I was brought to the Terms and Conditions page. Accepting this then brought up the iCloud Drive dialog--one of the new features of the Yosemite system. I decided to opt for deferring the upgrade to iCloud Drive, since I still need to be able to use OS X Mavericks and associated iCloud programs without issue.

Screen Shot 2014-07-24 at 11.11.49 PM
Apple ID Sign-In Page: No problems so far!

Screen Shot 2014-07-24 at 11.14.19 PM
iCloud Drive Upgrade Prompt: Choosing to defer upgrade to make sure my other systems remain compatible.

Screen Shot 2014-07-24 at 11.17.32 PM
Final Setup Screen: Almost there!

Post-Install Experiences
After choosing options for iCloud Drive and the final setup screen, I was dropped right into the Yosemite interface! We have a running install! Things are a little sluggish, as might be expected in a virtualized environment, but we’re at least online. A couple of observations up front:

  • It seems that some of the translucency effects that I expected might not be operational with the system running under VMware.
  • Optimizing Your Mac notification seems to be something I don’t remember from Mavericks and prior systems.
  • Though I’m not getting the translucency effects, maximizing and/or going to full-screen mode does work properly with the expected rescaling and resolution adjustment.

Screen Shot 2014-07-24 at 11.18.41 PM
Initial Desktop Presentation after Installation: Feedback Assistant for providing bug-reports and other information back to Apple

Screen Shot 2014-07-24 at 11.24.37 PM
Interface View: Note that in Virtualized Environment, Translucency and other effects are disabled.

Getting VMware Tools updated to support better graphics performance
Since it was essentially a fresh operating install, I thought I’d give a try to updating the VMware Tools via the Virtual Machine menu. I definitely had no hopes for any kinds of success, and ultimately I wasn’t able to get 3D graphics functional, but I can offer a tip for those who attempt to install the VMware tools after installation of OS X Yosemite Beta:

  • Running the installation of the VMware tools and rebooting resulted in a Black Screen. I thought that perhaps I was stuck here, which would be unfortunate since I forgot, in all the excitement, to take a snapshot again before installing the VMware tools. I went ahead and did a clean shutdown (via Virtual Machine / Shutdown) and was able to see that the machine was running, since it shutdown on its own shortly thereafter. I then went into the Virtual Machine Settings and re-enabled 3D Acceleration in the Display section. Upon booting it up again, I had my screen back (unfortunately, no translucency yet and no 3D graphics).

Screen Shot 2014-07-24 at 11.27.30 PM
Installing VMware Tools under OS X Yosemite Beta: No issues on the installation, see tip above if you get a black screen on reboot.

Final Thoughts
I may end up pushing things a little further as time moves on, but this step will at least allow me to explore some of the new features of the OS without much risk whatsoever. Without the Translucency and other visual effects, I’ll reserve judgment on the OS aesthetics--any modern system that can’t leverage the full graphics potential of the host system is bound to look a little crippled. Overall I’ve been impressed with the error-free (albeit feature-limited) installation of Mac OS X Yosemite Beta under VMware Fusion Professional 6.0.4. Hopefully VMware will perhaps update their guest tools to pipe in those delicious 3D graphics and allow for a more thorough and robust testing experience, all within a safe sandbox. I hope you have a good experience testing as well, and feel free to leave comments if you have any learnings or supplements, I love the feedback!

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