Mac OS X 10.6 Snow Leopard Server with Parallels 4.0 Desktop for Mac

I’ve been a parallels user since version 2.0. I bought my boxed copy back in March of 2007. I purchased my copy at the same time as I bought my iMac. I used it a bit at first with Windows XP but I never really had enough memory to run both efficiently in tandem. Recently, I upgraded my iMac to its maximum of 3GB which now allows me to run Virtual Machines.

So I upgraded my copy of parallels to version 3.0 and now more recently to version 4.0. All in hopes of being able to run a copy of Mac OS X 10.6 Snow Leopard client within a Virtual Machine. However, as far as I can tell, Snow Leopard Client cannot be used as a guest within Parallels 4.0. Despite the fact that Mac OS X 10.6 Client cannot be loaded, Mac OS X 10.5 Leopard Server can be loaded and thus this is what I have done.

Mac OS X 10.5 Snow Leopard installs into Parallels 4.0 just as it would on any Mac, with just a few tweaks to the installation. The only tweaks you have to make are as follows:

  1. Create a virtual hard drive. I recommend this be on a separate drive from your internal drive, but it is not necessary for this to be the case.
  2. Verify that Parallels has access to the DVD Drive.
  3. Just start up the virtual machine and begin installation.

The install will take just as long as if you were installing it natively to the hard drive.

Now one might ask, ‘Why would you ever want to do this?’ Well the answer can be any one of many. The reason I’m doing it is so that I can compare Mac OS X 10.5 Leopard Server to 10.6 Snow Leopard Server much easier than having to run them off of two hard drives and boot between the two. Secondly, I’m probably going to use my OS X 10.5 Leopard Server for development, thereby allowing me to keep my Snow Leopard Server in a much more stable state.

Now I have run into a few problems. The first, and most annoying is that every once in a while the networking within the Guest Operating System will reset and if I’m downloading anything that will reset as well. There is no rhyme or reason to this madness, but it is happening.

The second is that I cannot change the resolution of the Virtual Machine. If I go to system preferences and go to display it is stuck at 1024×768. Now this isn’t the end of the world, I have tried adjusting the memory up to above 16MB but nothing changes. According to Parallels 4.0 16MB can support 2560×1600 Resolution, which is much higher than my iMac’s maximum resolution of 1680×1050. So I’m not sure if this is just a bug with this version (4.0.3486 which is the latest as of this writing) or a larger issue. The screen shot below explains this quite well.

Other than that Parallels runs quite well under Mac OS X 10.6 Snow Leopard with very few other issues. If you plan on doing any virtualization or have a copy of Mac OS X 10.5 or 10.6 Server around and want to run both simultaneously, then Parallels is probably the way do accomplish that goal.

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