In order to install OS X Lion into a virtual machine running under VMware Fusion, you need the install file from the Mac App store. In this case, I started with:
- the Mac App store file “Install Max OS X Lion_10.7.3.app”
- VMware Fusion 4.1.1
- Macbook Air 13″ mid-2012
I’ve run OS X Lion under VMs previously, so expected this should work without any difficulties. I expected wrong.
Attempting to start a new VM resulted in a Fusion error message stating, “The CPU has been disabled by the guest operating system…”
To troubleshoot I:
- started by checking for Fusion updates; the in app update check didn’t show any available updates.
- Next I decided to try a reinstall of Fusion. Deleted the app, rebooted, and went to vmware.com to download a fresh copy. Found a newer version 4.1.3 Trying this version resulted in same CPU error.
- Did some additional searching and found a vmware forum thread which referred to a work around listed in another vmware forum thread.
Here’s a summary of the solution to save the time of going through all of the forum thread references.
The physical Intel CPU in the mid-2012 MacBooks is new. As a result, if you are using a Mac App store installation file for OS X obtained prior to the 2012 MacBooks, that version won’t understand the new processor.
The solution is to edit the configuration file of the OS X Lion virtual machine to add this entry
cpuid.1.eax = “—-:—-:—-:0010:—-:—-:1010:0111”
The configuration file will be located within the actual VM storage file. You can use Finder to location the *.vmwarevm file, then right click to “Show Package Contents”. The config file will be the *.vmx
Any easier way to open the VM’s configuration file is using the VMware Fusion Virtual Machine Library window. Use the OPTION key + Right Click on the target VM. An option to “Open Config File in Editor” will be available.
This solution should work on the following combinations of hardware software:
- All mid-2012 MacBooks
- VMware Fusion 4.1.3
- OS X host operating system version Lion 10.7.4
- OS X guest operating system versions Lion 10.7.3 or 10.7.4
VMware is working on a “Technology Preview 2012″ for OS X Mountain Lion 10.8 As of this writing the workaround for that version is different. Hopefully VMware will clean this up prior to release the 2012 version.
If Apple releases a Mac App store installation package of Lion 10.7.5, that may also solve the VM CPU configuration issue.
Running OS X Lion in virtual machines is my preferred method of testing new versions of the iOS SDK and Apple’s iOS Device Management tools. With a recent move to a 2012 MacBook Air 13” and the developer release of iOS v6, apparently it was time to encounter a new collection of configuration issues.