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You are here: MacNN Forums > Hardware - Troubleshooting and Discussion > Mac Notebooks > Can I run two different OS on same computer?

Can I run two different OS on same computer?
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krx
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Jan 2, 2015, 12:31 PM
 
I have a mid-2009 13" MacBook Pro (5,5 - Intel Core 2 Duo - 2.26 GHz) with 8 GB RAM. I am currently running on OS 10.6.8. I want to upgrade to 10.7.5 or higher primarily to make use of iCloud, though I'm sure there are other benefits. However, I have a large number of old AppleWorks documents that require Rosetta to access. It would not be practical to convert them all into a more current format, so I need to either remain at 10.6.8, or find another solution.

I also plan to replace my original drive with an SSD. So my idea is to pull the original drive and put it in an enclosure (yes I have a current backup via Time Machine). I will leave the drive exactly as it is. Then after installing the SSD I will install the operating system that came with my Mac (10.5 I believe) and then upgrade to 10.7.5 or Mavericks or Yosemite. My hope is that this will give me a clean, new OS on the SSD that will have iCloud capability, with complete access to all my files on the original drive.

I have had a series of Mac laptops going back many years, usually getting a new one every few years and migrating everything from the old to the new. My Macs always start out fast but start slowing down within a few weeks or months. I was told that this might be due to the fact that I am importing so much old stuff onto my machines and that it would be better to keep the old stuff on a separate drive. So this plan should accomplish this.

My question is, does this plan make sense? Are there drawbacks or other considerations I'm not thinking of?
     
turtle777
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Jan 2, 2015, 12:39 PM
 
A far as the SSD goes, it is an excellent idea.

I just did it with the same Model MBP. It's screaming fast now.
I got the OWC SSD, installed it within a few minutes.

Putting the old HD in an external case works. OWC will supply a ext. HD enclosure with UDB. Speed will suck.

If you want to run both OS X quickly, I suggest to get a big enough SSD, get Parallels, and install the old OS X as a Virtual Machine.

-t
     
krx  (op)
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Jan 2, 2015, 01:10 PM
 
I bought a 500GB Samsung 840 EVO, so I should have the space to run both. I don't know much about Parallels. Is it fairly easy to set up?
     
turtle777
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Jan 2, 2015, 01:29 PM
 
Originally Posted by krx View Post
I bought a 500GB Samsung 840 EVO, so I should have the space to run both. I don't know much about Parallels. Is it fairly easy to set up?
I never imported an existing OSX HD into Parallels.

Setting up OS X from scratch as a Parallels Virtual Machine is easy.

-t
     
P
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Jan 2, 2015, 01:33 PM
 
Yes, it is simple to set up. I'm just not sure how they handle virtualizing 10.6.x, given that is strictly not according to Apple's license agreement (it changed with 10.7, so you can virtualize anything newer, but the agreement for 10.6 still says server version only). I think it works, but check with them.

Note that Parallels is frequently in a bundle for cheap, so if you're not in a hurry, you can usually save some money by keeping your eyes open.
The new Mac Pro has up to 30 MB of cache inside the processor itself. That's more than the HD in my first Mac. Somehow I'm still running out of space.
     
Mike Wuerthele
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Jan 2, 2015, 03:18 PM
 
Parallels 10 requires 10.9, I think.
     
turtle777
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Jan 2, 2015, 03:50 PM
 
Originally Posted by Mike Wuerthele View Post
Parallels 10 requires 10.9, I think.
I think you are correct.

Parallels 9.0 is needed for Mavericks, but also runs reasonably ok on Yosemite.

However, for the OP, it doesn't make much sense to stop at Mavericks if he's going for a clean install. He might as well go all the way to Mavericks. Then Parallels 10 is the way to go.

-t
     
billmboy
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Jan 2, 2015, 05:53 PM
 
If you want to run OSX 10.6 & I would also run OSX 10.10 I would partition the drive with 50 gig for 10.6 and install 10.10 on the larger partition. Put all your older files on an external drive and retrieve them when needed ( or flash drive or DVD/CD). I'm not sure where you need to install Parellels from you original post, a waste of space. Use 10.10 except when you need to access your older files. No real draw backs to doing it this way or just boot up in the old drive from and external case using USB. You can have as many OS's as you want.

I would have two new fresh UP TO DATE installs though of each OS and all the apps you use unless you no longer have the original app to re-install.

I would slowly convert your older AppleWorks file to a newer format like Pages or Numbars. I don't see Apple changing things for a long time.
     
turtle777
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Jan 2, 2015, 06:18 PM
 
The advantage of Parallels is that he can use old Rosetta-based apps and run them SIDE-BY-SIDE in OS X Yosemite.
With Parallels Coherence Mode, the old Rosetta App will open just as if it was running under OS X 10.10.

No constant rebooting required.

-t
     
amiller77
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Jan 2, 2015, 10:25 PM
 
For what it's worth, after I purchased a MacBook w/Retina display a year ago, preventing booting up in a 10.6 partition anymore, my solution for opening my old AppleWorks and FileMaker Pro 5 documents (mostly for sentimental value, such as my kids' school work starting in about 3rd grade) was to install SheepShaver (free). It's not for the faint of heart, and took several hours for me to get it setup properly, but it's fun to see OS 9 boot up faster than I ever thought possible, thanks to a modern Mac with a SSD. I can't copy and paste between OS 9 and OS X that way, but can usually save as .rtf document, and then open with a OS X app. I never thought of using Parallels for that purpose.
     
ghporter
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Jan 3, 2015, 07:59 AM
 
I agree with going with a larger SSD and using a virtual system for the "other" OS. There's no way to get anything like decent speed with an external boot drive - especially once you spoil yourself booting from an SSD.

In my experience, VirtualBox lets you virtualize a lot of different OSs and tends to run them well. Aside from licensing issues, the benefit of VirtualBox is that it's free, which means you can try out your "other" OS virtually without a lot of up-front cost. If it does what you want, great. If it lacks something you can get in Parallels, go that way.

Glenn -----OTR/L, MOT, Tx
     
Charles Martin
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Jan 3, 2015, 08:08 AM
 
What you actually need to do is convert those valuable old files over to a standard format while there are still a few programs left that can still read AppleWorks files, and be quick about it -- the number of apps that can convert them are disappearing fast!

The dual-OS version plan will work for the time being, but is absolutely, positively NOT a long-term solution. I deal with people all the time who waited too long (by a DECADE!) to convert those AppleWorks files, then their old machine dies and they replace it with a new machine that cannot run PPC-era apps *at all* and they up the creek, so to speak.

Don't let that happen to you.
Charles Martin
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amiller77
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Jan 4, 2015, 12:41 AM
 
This thread got me into more experimenting last night (i.e. wasting time). I tried running a copy of (non server) Snow Leopard 10.6 that I had, using the latest version of (free) Virtual Box, but it wasn't a very simple thing to setup (Install & Run Mac OS X 10.6 Snow Leopard in a Virtual Machine on top of OS X Lion | OSXDaily), took several tries (eventually discovered that if I set the VM to use 2 processors, it wouldn't boot after the initial install and boot), I didn't like that the screen resolution was too small, I couldn't copy and paste from the virtual machine (or network between) do to lack of any "guest additions" for Snow Leopard that Virtual Box usually needs to add such functionality, and Snow leopard wouldn't run the AppleWorks 6.0 installer, even with Rosetta supposedly installed. I don't have a separate 6.2.9 installer, just an update installer.
However, I also then ran across an article discussing how the free Open Source program LibreOffice can open older AppleWorks word processing documents that Pages '09 or later can't (Pages '09 can if the AppleWorks Word document was previously created with or updated with AppleWorks 6.2.9; same holds true for Numbers '09 with AppleWorks 6.2.9 spreadsheets).
Experimenting some more, Numbers '09 did preserve the charts I made with the AppleWorks 6.2.9 spreadsheet module (having long ago "up-converted" them from earlier versions of AppleWorks), but LibreOffice didn't (just the data). I couldn't find an AppleWorks database to open, since I mostly used FileMaker Pro for databases back then, starting with F.P.v.2., so I couldn't test LibreOffice with that, except a mailing label AppleWorks database I had was converted into a spreadsheet by LibreOffice.
     
krx  (op)
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Jan 4, 2015, 02:08 PM
 
Thanks for all the fantastic input, above. Very much appreciated. Still mulling over best approach for my purposes...

In the meantime I stumbled upon “fast user switching” as a way to move quickly between accounts, without having to log on and off. Would this be an option for moving between snow leopard and yosemite, set up as different accounts (or do all accounts have to be in the same OS to use fast user switching)?
     
turtle777
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Jan 4, 2015, 03:02 PM
 
Originally Posted by krx View Post
Thanks for all the fantastic input, above. Very much appreciated. Still mulling over best approach for my purposes...

In the meantime I stumbled upon “fast user switching” as a way to move quickly between accounts, without having to log on and off. Would this be an option for moving between snow leopard and yosemite, set up as different accounts (or do all accounts have to be in the same OS to use fast user switching)?
No, Fast User Switching only works for different users on the SAME OS X version.

-t
     
Mike Wuerthele
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Jan 4, 2015, 03:34 PM
 
Tossing this here, what about Sheepshaver for OS 9? It won't run X, but IIRC Appleworks ran on 9 until the very end.

The Official SheepShaver Home Page
     
   
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