Home > create_macos_vm_install_dmg, macOS, macOS Recovery, VMware > Using macOS installer disk images to boot VMware Fusion virtual machines to macOS Recovery

Using macOS installer disk images to boot VMware Fusion virtual machines to macOS Recovery

Booting a VMware Fusion virtual machine to the macOS Recovery environment can be challenging, as Fusion uses Command-R as a keyboard shortcut for restoring snapshots.

Screen Shot 2022 03 09 at 5 05 19 PM

This is the same keyboard shortcut as booting to macOS Recovery for Intel Macs so if you’re not very fast, or you don’t have the virtual machine window selected correctly, you may be looking at an unwanted request to restore a snapshot instead of macOS Recovery.

Fortunately, there’s a workaround for this behavior which will reliably get you into macOS Recovery. For more details, please see below the jump.

This method relies on VMware Fusion being able to boot a virtual machine from a disk image. So your first step is to create a disk image of the macOS installer for the OS version you want.

You can create this disk image using a tool I’ve written:

https://github.com/rtrouton/create_macos_vm_install_dmg

Once you have the disk image built, use the procedure below to connect the disk image to the virtual machine and boot from it.

1. If necessary, add a CD/DVD to your virtual machine.

2. Connect the disk image of the macOS installer to the virtual machine’s CD/DVD drive.

Screen Shot 2022 03 09 at 6 51 08 PM

3. Under the Virtual Machine menu, select Power on to Firmware.

Screen Shot 2022 03 09 at 4 52 46 PM

4. Once booted to the Boot Manager screen, use the arrow keys on your keyboard to select the CDROM option.

Screen Shot 2022 03 09 at 4 46 39 PM

5. Hit the Return key on your keyboard.

The virtual machine should now boot to the macOS installer’s Recovery environment.

Screen Shot 2022 03 09 at 6 55 18 PM

Note: This Recovery environment is separate from the Recovery on your virtual machine’s regular boot drive, but as long as the OS versions match between the VM and the disk image, it shouldn’t matter which disk’s Recovery environment that you’re actually in.

Please see below for what the process of booting from the Boot Manager to the macOS installer’s Recovery environment should look like.

  1. Steffen
    March 10, 2022 at 1:36 am

    I remapped the Restore Snapshot menu item to something other than cmd-R using Keyboard Shortcuts (System Preferences).

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