Running Mac OS X 10.8 'Mountain Lion' in VMware ESXi 5

July 30, 2012 at 7:27 PMPhonicUK

Recently I bought a Mac Mini to use as a ESXi rig to host Mac VMs for development purposes.

Getting Lion running in ESXi 5 is a marginally annoying but entirely doable task. However if you try to follow the same steps with Mountain Lion, you'll very quickly get stuck at a "Waiting for root device..." message and find you're going nowhere.

Thankfully it's actually a pretty simple (if inconvenient thing) to work around:

  • Install OS X 10.7 (Lion) in a VM
  • Upgrade 10.7 to 10.8 after it's up and running
  • Done
That's it. Upgrading works, clean install doesn't.
 
Point of note: During the Mountain Lion installation, the screen may go black/white with a small box in it. If this happens just press any key on the keyboard to wake it up again. It's not dead.

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