By taking advantage of virtualisation software, it is possible to install and experiment with other operating systems.
It might be that you own a Mac and have always wondered if Windows is really as bad as some people make out. The answer is, generally, yes but Windows 10 looks interesting so install that one.
It might be that you have software that only works on a particular operating system with no version being available for OS X. Again, this is where virtualisation can help.
Virtualisation software allows you to install other versions of OS X, Windows, Linux—such as the popular Ubuntu distro—and more besides.
In this tutorial, I'll show how you can test drive El Capitan without overwriting the hard drive in the Mac. Ideal if you just want to see if Apple's new iteration of OS X is right for you.
What You'll Need
For the purposes of this tutorial, I am using an Apple MacBook Pro running OS X 10.10.5 Yosemite and VMware Fusion 8. Version 8 of VMware Fusion allows the installation of Windows 10 and OS X 10.11 El Capitan.
VMware Fusion version 7 will allow you to install earlier versions of the Microsoft and Apple operating systems, but not Windows 10 or OS X 10.11 El Capitan.
- Apple Mac
- OS X 10.10.5 Yosemite
- VMware Fusion 8
- OS X 10.11 El Capitan public beta
Download the El Capitan Public Beta
In order to obtain a download of the OS X 10.11 El Capitan public beta, it is first necessary to sign up to Apple's Beta Software Program.
It's easy to take part.
- Navigate a browser to beta.apple.com
- Sign up with your Apple ID.
Once you have signed up, you'll be able to download the OS X El Capitan Public Beta by clicking on the blue button.
You'll be redirected to the Mac App Store. The public beta of OS X 10.11 El Capitan is downloaded through the App Store in the same was that versions of OS X 10.7 Lion, 10.8 Mountain Lion, 10.9 Mavericks and 10.10 Yosemite have all been distributed.
Log in to the Mac App Store in the normal way if you are not logged in already.
The OS X El Capitan download will start automatically. You can keep track of the download progress by clicking on the Purchased tab at the top of the Mac App Store.
When OS X 10.11 El Capitan has dowloaded, it will prompt you to run the application to upgrade the Mac's operating system. That's not what you are trying to achieve, in this tutorial, so ensure that you cancel to prevent it upgrading the current operating system.
There are a couple of ways that you can test-drive El Capitan without upgrading the current version of OS X.
- Partition the existing hard drive
- Create a virtual machine
In a previous tutorial, Install Yosemite Open Beta on a Bootcamp Partition, Alex Spencer explained how to partition the existing hard drive of the Mac. The principle is the same for OS X El Capitan.
Create a Virtual Machine
When it comes to virtual machines, for Macs, there are three main choices:
- VMware Fusion 8
- Parallels 11
- Oracle VirtualBox
There is a cost to the first two, and both are very good. The latter is open source software that is freely available.
For the purposes of this tutorial, I am using VMware Fusion 8.
Step 1. Launch VMware Fusion 8
Open VMware Fusion 8. As you can see, in my example, there are a number of operating systems set up as virtual machines already.
Click the + Add button, at the top left, to start the process to create a new virtual machine.
Step 2. Select Install Medium
VMware defaults to installing from a disc image, as highlighted in blue, as shown in the screenshot above.
Step 3. Select the Image
VMware should automatically find the OS X 10.11 El Capitan Public Beta that you downloaded earlier. If it does not, click Use another disc or disc image... and browse for the download using Finder.
Step 4. Confirm
VMware Fusion will confirm details for the configuration of the virtual machine that it will create. Leave these set to the default values for the time being.
Step 5. Give It a Name
Enter a meaningful name to describe the virtual machine that you are creating. This is useful if you have a number of different virtual machines, as per my example, above.
It defaults to OS X 10.11 but I have chosen to make it more descriptive so that it shows as OS X 10.11 El Capitan.
Step 6. Installing OS X 10.11 on a Virtual Machine
VMware Fusion will then create and install the virtual machine from the OS X 10.11 downloaded image.
Choose a language for the operating system.
Select Install OS X and click Continue.
Select Macintosh HD and click Install.
Allow a few minutes for the software installation.
The virtual machine will reboot itself and continue with the installation of the operating system.
Configuring OS X 10.11 in the Virtual Machine
Following the installation of the downloaded image into a virtual machine, OS X will reboot to a state whereby the customisation and set up process of the operating system will begin.
You may already be familiar with this process as it is the same as anyone will conduct on setting up any new physical Mac device.
Select your country. I have chosen United Kingdom.
Select the keyboard layout. I have chosen British.
I'd recommend selecting Don't transfer any information now.
Decide whether you wish to use Location Services and click Continue.
I've chosen Don't Sign In with Apple ID. You can if you wish.
Click Agree to the Terms and Conditions.
Create an account for the computer.
You can read about Diagnostics & Usage before clicking Continue.
When the configuration process is complete, you'll see the El Capitan OS desktop, as shown in the image below.
The Feedback Assistant will launch automatically. Remember, this is a public beta and Apple expects beta testers to feedback any problems, bugs, issues and so forth.
From here, you can explore OS X 10.11 El Capitan and use it just as you would your current version of OS X.
Remember, though, this is beta software and should not be run in a production environment. This is precisely why I've installed it on a virtual machine.
When you next launch VMware, the Virtual Machine Library now shows the newly installed OS X 10.11 El Capitan.
In this tutorial, I have shown you the software required to create a virtual machine in order to test the public beta of Apple's new operating system, OS X 10.11 El Capitan.
I have shown you how to sign up for the public beta, how to download the operating system and how to install and configure El Capitan in a virtual machine.
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