Virtualize if you Can


Updated: 6/25/2014

Yesterday I mentioned that I thought that Capture NX2 would break with the upcoming Apple Mac OS-X Yosemite release (fall 2014). Then there’s Photoshop CS6: we have no guarantee that Adobe will update it for new OS releases, either. 

So what do you do?

On a Mac, it’s simple: use a product like Parallels or VMWare to create a virtualized instance of the current OS. It’ll take you some time to do it right and it can take up a fair amount of drive space, but it gives you the opportunity to still run older software after you’ve updated your computer to the latest OS. There’s no 100% guarantee that this will work forever, as sometimes Apple and Microsoft deprecate functions that the virtualized system might need to access, but it should work for a long time.

The problem with virtualization, though, is that you often get performance hits due to the way virtualization works. However, it does mean that you have everything on your working machine without having to restart.

Also note that you can’t virtualize pre-installed Apple OS’s, only retail (downloaded) ones, which can cause you a bit of a pain to figure out. Also, versions 10.7 and earlier can only be virtualized if they’re the server version, not the individual user version. 

You can also repartition your boot drive and create a new bootable partition on modern Macs, as well, with your older OS installed on that. You can’t jump back and forth between your older OS and the newer one, though, you have to reboot. My guess is that most people would want a workflow where they could process with Capture NX2 and immediately move to Photoshop or another product, rather than have to reboot in between. 

The best choice for Mac users would probably be to install the older OS on a bootable external drive, as this is the simplest and easiest to create solutions. For example, before I upgrade to Yosemite, I’ll clone my current boot drive onto an external drive that I can plug in and boot from any time I need to go back to Mavericks. I’ll leave Capture NX2 installed on that drive and uninstall it from my Yosemite boot drive.

Windows users can try Disk2VHD, the current virtual hard disk solution they provide. Details on how to create one are in this article. Another free option would be VirtualBox. Plus then there are products like VMWare Player (free for personal use). 

Alternatively, just dedicate a computer to staying on the old OS (though at the point that security updates no longer are available for it you should take it offline). 

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