Partition Mojave HD to run Sierra

Started 3 months ago | Discussions
JohnNewman
JohnNewman Contributing Member • Posts: 919
Partition Mojave HD to run Sierra

Hi folks

The thread title basically says it all. I have a MacBook Air (see image for specs) running Mojave and want to either make a small partition on which I can run Sierra so that I can use one particular application which will not run on anything newer or, alternatively, I have heard it might be possible to run this older MacOS (Sierra) on a USB stick?

I did have an older 17"MBP which I might be able to get working but it will cost a bomb to have repaired so, for now, I would prefer a cheaper solution.

I have managed to get a copy of the Sierra installation app which is now in my applications folder.

I tried following some instructions to install on a Sansdisk USB a little while ago but I always got the message that the OS was too old.

Any help or links would be appreciated.

Many thanks,

John

 JohnNewman's gear list:JohnNewman's gear list
Sony Cyber-shot DSC-HX90V Nikon Z fc Nikon Z 16-50mm F3.5-6.3 VR Nikon Z 50-250mm F4.5-6.3 VR
Tom_N Forum Pro • Posts: 19,168
Re: Partition Mojave HD to run Sierra
1

According to MacTracker, the 13-inch 2017 MacBook Air originally came with macOS 10.12.4. That means that it can't run anything earlier than Sierra 10.12.4, but it can definitely run the 10.12.4 version of Sierra (or run High Sierra, which is what I would recommend, applications allowing).

I don't know about partitioning the internal SSD, but you could install Sierra or High Sierra on an external HDD or SSD and dual-boot from that as needed. You can also install either on a USB flash drive, but if you do so, I'd STRONGLY recommend using a USB 3.0 flash drive, not a cheap, dog-slow USB 2.0 one.

https://www.maketecheasier.com/install-macos-on-usb-drive/

Here's a link to an Apple Support article that will help you to get the High Sierra kit, if you are interested.

Apple – How to get old versions of macOS

bmoag Senior Member • Posts: 2,971
Re: Partition Mojave HD to run Sierra

I feel your pain. I keep a Macbook Pro on Mojave because the 32 bit copy of Office on it is more valuable to me than anything in newer versions of macOS.

I agree that the best option is to install a second OS on a USB 3 SSD. You can save money inserting an SSD into an enclosure rather than buying a premade. USB keys of all ilk, with rare and expensive exceptions, have very slow read/write times for running an operating system.

The other option, but it eats up the limited storage space on your Air, might be to install Parallels and run the second OS in a virtual machine. Parallels is the easiest to use virtual machine app for macOS but not the only one. They all have their issues.

There are ways to circumvent the artificial restrictions Apple places on running older or newer versions of macOS. Everything since Snow Leopard can run on the X86 CPU in your machine. Instructions are not hard to find but generally require learning how to modify an installation file--not that hard and you might learn what Apple purposely hides from users who mostly do not want to know about these things anyway.

User groups like those on Reddit will likely provide more support.

 bmoag's gear list:bmoag's gear list
Nikon D70 Nikon D3300 Panasonic Lumix DMC-GX8 Nikon Z6
JPAlbert Senior Member • Posts: 1,084
Re: Partition Mojave HD to run Sierra
1

OP:

I recommend that you DON'T partition the internal drive.
Not "for only one app".

Instead, get a smallish-sized USB3 SSD drive (256gb should be fine even 128gb might do well enough), and install a copy of Sierra onto that.

You can either buy a ready-to-use USB3 SSD, or get a "bare" 2.5" SATA SSD and an enclosure, something like this:
https://www.amazon.com/Inateck-Inch-Drive-Enclosure-External/dp/B00FCLG65U/ref=sr_1_3?dchild=1&keywords=inateck+2.5%22+USB3+enclosure&qid=1625363201&sr=8-3

For 10.12 "Low" Sierra, format it for HFS+ (Mac OS extended with journaling enabled, GUID partition format).

Then download a copy of Low Sierra from Apple, see this page:
https://support.apple.com/en-us/HT211683

I believe this comes as a disk image. Open the image, launch the pkg file (I'm going from memory), and it will put the Low Sierra installer into your applications folder.

Then launch the installer and "aim it" at the EXTERNAL SSD (NOT the internal drive).

Expect the Mac to restart one or more times, and the screen may go dark for a minute or two. Be patient.

When done, you'll be presented with the initial startup screen (choose your language). Follow through and set up a basic account. I'd skip iCloud, email, etc.
Then install the app you intend to use.

When you need to switch boot, connect the external drive and boot with the option key held down CONTINUOUSLY until the startup manager appears.
Then select the external drive and hit return.

I've been doing stuff like this for many many years...

JohnNewman
OP JohnNewman Contributing Member • Posts: 919
Re: Partition Mojave HD to run Sierra

JPAlbert wrote:

OP:

For 10.12 "Low" Sierra, format it for HFS+ (Mac OS extended with journaling enabled, GUID partition format).

Then download a copy of Low Sierra from Apple, see this page:
https://support.apple.com/en-us/HT211683

I believe this comes as a disk image. Open the image, launch the pkg file (I'm going from memory), and it will put the Low Sierra installer into your applications folder.

Then launch the installer and "aim it" at the EXTERNAL SSD (NOT the internal drive).

Firstly thanks to everyone who's replied. Much appreciated.

I've downloaded a copy of the Sierra installer and it now sits in my applications folder.

But when I try to launch it I get the message shown below.

Is there any way to over-ride this, maybe by holding down a combination of keys? I've tried a few combos but to no avail.

Thanks for your continued help,

John

Message when trying to open the Sierra installer.

 JohnNewman's gear list:JohnNewman's gear list
Sony Cyber-shot DSC-HX90V Nikon Z fc Nikon Z 16-50mm F3.5-6.3 VR Nikon Z 50-250mm F4.5-6.3 VR
Tom_N Forum Pro • Posts: 19,168
Re: Partition Mojave HD to run Sierra

JohnNewman wrote:

I've downloaded a copy of the Sierra installer and it now sits in my applications folder.

But when I try to launch it I get the message shown below.

Message when trying to open the Sierra installer.

Is there some reason that you can't install High Sierra?

JPAlbert Senior Member • Posts: 1,084
Re: Partition Mojave HD to run Sierra

OP:

OK, we need to try something else, no promises.

You may want to print this out first.

1. Power down, all the way off
2. Now we're going to boot to a special version of internet recovery:
3. Press the power on button and IMMEDIATELY hold down:
Command-shift-OPTION-R
4. This will get the Mac booted and then should offer you the original version of the OS that was shipped with the MBair in 2017. Everymac.com says that this is OS 10.12.5.

5. Once you get booted, does it offer you the "Sierra" installer?
6. If so, start "clicking through"
7. REMEMBER -- at the appropriate moment, when the installer asks WHERE you wish to install, "point it" at the external drive.

Does this work?

If it does, go ahead and get a basic account set up. Then you may need to go to the Apple Software Updates.

There is the Sierra 10.12.6 "combo" updater:
https://support.apple.com/kb/DL1931?viewlocale=en_US&locale=en_US

And there may be a security update to install as well.
IMPORTANT -- there may be MORE THAN ONE security update, but I think the only one you may need might be the "last" of them. Investigation is needed.

ChrisLumix Veteran Member • Posts: 3,361
Re: Partition Mojave HD to run Sierra

No-one seems to have mentioned the obvious - use a virtualiser like VMWare or Parallels, install Sierra into it to create a virtual machine which you can then run at the same time as Mojave without having to keep rebooting.

-- hide signature --

Panas0n!c Lum!x LX100, TZ60

lightandaprayer Veteran Member • Posts: 4,640
Re: Partition Mojave HD to run Sierra

ChrisLumix wrote:

No-one seems to have mentioned the obvious - use a virtualiser like VMWare or Parallels, install Sierra into it to create a virtual machine which you can then run at the same time as Mojave without having to keep rebooting.

Chris, the OP only has 8GB RAM in his MBA. That doesn't seem like enough RAM for a VM but it has been some time since a ran a VM. And it was for a medical practice running Windows and some hefty third-party software. In that case the Mac had 16GB RAM.

Other than that, I rather like the VM option. . .

ChrisLumix Veteran Member • Posts: 3,361
Re: Partition Mojave HD to run Sierra

lightandaprayer wrote:

ChrisLumix wrote:

No-one seems to have mentioned the obvious - use a virtualiser like VMWare or Parallels, install Sierra into it to create a virtual machine which you can then run at the same time as Mojave without having to keep rebooting.

Chris, the OP only has 8GB RAM in his MBA. That doesn't seem like enough RAM for a VM but it has been some time since a ran a VM. And it was for a medical practice running Windows and some hefty third-party software. In that case the Mac had 16GB RAM.

Other than that, I rather like the VM option. . .

Ah I didn't read back far enough. Mind you, he could probably still get away with it, if he shut down most applications before launching the VM, and only running the one application in the VM? There again, that's only a little better than rebooting each time.

-- hide signature --

Panas0n!c Lum!x LX100, TZ60

JohnNewman
OP JohnNewman Contributing Member • Posts: 919
Re: Partition Mojave HD to run Sierra

JPAlbert wrote:

OP:

OK, we need to try something else, no promises.

You may want to print this out first.

1. Power down, all the way off
2. Now we're going to boot to a special version of internet recovery:
3. Press the power on button and IMMEDIATELY hold down:
Command-shift-OPTION-R
4. This will get the Mac booted and then should offer you the original version of the OS that was shipped with the MBair in 2017. Everymac.com says that this is OS 10.12.5.

5. Once you get booted, does it offer you the "Sierra" installer?
6. If so, start "clicking through"

Thanks everyone but getting a bit frustrated here. I may just have to bite the bullet and see if I can get my old 17" working again.

Basically I followed JPAlbert's instructions (for which many thanks) and got the option for Sierra (which it has to be to run my particular software and not High Sierra). After clicking through I got this message - "To download and restore macOS your computer's eligibility will be verified with Apple"

Fair enough I  thought and clicked continue only to get "The installer information on the recovery server is damaged". Hmm, so I clicked OK and got took straight back to the different recovery options and macOS Utilities. Tried again but same result so had to quit  macOS Utilities.

I'll look at the VM options but I only need this software about once a month so I was looking for an easy (and cheap) solution hence the initial USB option.

If anyone thinks I may still be able to do something, I'd be grateful for input.

Thank you all again,

John.

 JohnNewman's gear list:JohnNewman's gear list
Sony Cyber-shot DSC-HX90V Nikon Z fc Nikon Z 16-50mm F3.5-6.3 VR Nikon Z 50-250mm F4.5-6.3 VR
ChrisLumix Veteran Member • Posts: 3,361
Re: Partition Mojave HD to run Sierra

JohnNewman wrote:

JPAlbert wrote:

OP:

OK, we need to try something else, no promises.

You may want to print this out first.

1. Power down, all the way off
2. Now we're going to boot to a special version of internet recovery:
3. Press the power on button and IMMEDIATELY hold down:
Command-shift-OPTION-R
4. This will get the Mac booted and then should offer you the original version of the OS that was shipped with the MBair in 2017. Everymac.com says that this is OS 10.12.5.

5. Once you get booted, does it offer you the "Sierra" installer?
6. If so, start "clicking through"

Thanks everyone but getting a bit frustrated here. I may just have to bite the bullet and see if I can get my old 17" working again.

Basically I followed JPAlbert's instructions (for which many thanks) and got the option for Sierra (which it has to be to run my particular software and not High Sierra). After clicking through I got this message - "To download and restore macOS your computer's eligibility will be verified with Apple"

Fair enough I thought and clicked continue only to get "The installer information on the recovery server is damaged". Hmm, so I clicked OK and got took straight back to the different recovery options and macOS Utilities. Tried again but same result so had to quit macOS Utilities.

I'll look at the VM options but I only need this software about once a month so I was looking for an easy (and cheap) solution hence the initial USB option.

If anyone thinks I may still be able to do something, I'd be grateful for input.

Thank you all again,

John.

Don't get the original installer - along with most older versions of OS X, its certificate has expired. The installers were reissued in ?late 2019 with new certificates, and those are the ones you need. Google "old versions of mac OS X" and the relevant sites will come up.

-- hide signature --

Panas0n!c Lum!x LX100, TZ60

Tom_N Forum Pro • Posts: 19,168
Re: Partition Mojave HD to run Sierra

ChrisLumix wrote:

Don't get the original installer - along with most older versions of OS X, its certificate has expired. The installers were reissued in ?late 2019 with new certificates, and those are the ones you need. Google "old versions of mac OS X" and the relevant sites will come up.

I would hope that the Sierra kit link in

Apple Support – How to get old versions of macOS

points to an updated version of the Sierra kit with a non-expired certificate.  However, you make a very good point:  that a cached installer that one saved some time ago just in case you might need it, might have expired since one downloaded it.

It wasn't until the first instances of kits expiring that many of us realized that the installer kits could expire.

JPAlbert Senior Member • Posts: 1,084
Re: Partition Mojave HD to run Sierra
1

OP:

OK, let's try yet another approach.

You said you have a copy of the Sierra installer in your applications folder but it won't launch without an error msg, is this correct?

Do this:
Download a small free app called "Install disk creator".
I think you can get it here:
https://www.macupdate.com/app/mac/55532/install-disk-creator

Next, you will need a USB flashdrive at least 16gb in size. You could try 8gb and see if that works. It might.

Format the flash drive to Mac OS extended with journaling enabled, GUID partition format (HFS+).

Launch install disk creator and follow the instructions. They're easy.

Is it able to create a bootable installer of OS Sierra?

If so, SHUT DOWN, all the way off.

Now, press the power button and hold down the option key continuously until the startup manager appears. Select the flashdrive with the pointer and hit return.

Do you get a good boot from the bootable flashdrive?

If you do, start the OS installer and start clicking through. REMEMBER to "aim it" at the external drive that will become your Sierra boot drive.

Does this work?

One other thing:
DON'T WASTE ANY MONEY getting the 17" repaired, especially if it's suffering from RadeonGate.

You'd really spend that $$$ more wisely on a new Mac.

JohnNewman
OP JohnNewman Contributing Member • Posts: 919
Re: Partition Mojave HD to run Sierra

JPAlbert wrote:

OP:

OK, let's try yet another approach.

You said you have a copy of the Sierra installer in your applications folder but it won't launch without an error msg, is this correct?

Do this:
Download a small free app called "Install disk creator".
I think you can get it here:
https://www.macupdate.com/app/mac/55532/install-disk-creator

Next, you will need a USB flashdrive at least 16gb in size. You could try 8gb and see if that works. It might.

Format the flash drive to Mac OS extended with journaling enabled, GUID partition format (HFS+).

Launch install disk creator and follow the instructions. They're easy.

Is it able to create a bootable installer of OS Sierra?

Basically after several tries I still couldn't get an bootable installer (see image where I named the USB as 'Sierra'). I really do appreciate all the help and advice but don't see any way to progress from here.

I also appreciate the advice about my 17" MBP which I was only really looking at spending money on in desperation!

Thank you all again,

Regards

John

 JohnNewman's gear list:JohnNewman's gear list
Sony Cyber-shot DSC-HX90V Nikon Z fc Nikon Z 16-50mm F3.5-6.3 VR Nikon Z 50-250mm F4.5-6.3 VR
Gesture Veteran Member • Posts: 8,860
Re: Partition Mojave HD to run Sierra

I have excellent experience with those Inateck (and Sabrent) SSD USB 3.0 enclosures.

Then, you know the specs of the drive you install.  I like Samsung 860870 EVO.

An SSD will boot quite well from USB 3.0.

ChrisLumix Veteran Member • Posts: 3,361
Re: Partition Mojave HD to run Sierra

Tom_N wrote:

ChrisLumix wrote:

Don't get the original installer - along with most older versions of OS X, its certificate has expired. The installers were reissued in ?late 2019 with new certificates, and those are the ones you need. Google "old versions of mac OS X" and the relevant sites will come up.

I would hope that the Sierra kit link in

Apple Support – How to get old versions of macOS

points to an updated version of the Sierra kit with a non-expired certificate. However, you make a very good point: that a cached installer that one saved some time ago just in case you might need it, might have expired since one downloaded it.

It wasn't until the first instances of kits expiring that many of us realized that the installer kits could expire.

Yes, those should be ok. Actually, I believe it was the first time Apple certificates expired on old versions of the OS ? I'd always been able to use old installers but they all became invalid in 2019, then Apple released certain versions with updated certificates.

-- hide signature --

Panas0n!c Lum!x LX100, TZ60

ChrisLumix Veteran Member • Posts: 3,361
Re: Partition Mojave HD to run Sierra

JohnNewman wrote:

JPAlbert wrote:

OP:

OK, let's try yet another approach.

You said you have a copy of the Sierra installer in your applications folder but it won't launch without an error msg, is this correct?

Do this:
Download a small free app called "Install disk creator".
I think you can get it here:
https://www.macupdate.com/app/mac/55532/install-disk-creator

Next, you will need a USB flashdrive at least 16gb in size. You could try 8gb and see if that works. It might.

Format the flash drive to Mac OS extended with journaling enabled, GUID partition format (HFS+).

Launch install disk creator and follow the instructions. They're easy.

Is it able to create a bootable installer of OS Sierra?

Basically after several tries I still couldn't get an bootable installer (see image where I named the USB as 'Sierra'). I really do appreciate all the help and advice but don't see any way to progress from here.

I also appreciate the advice about my 17" MBP which I was only really looking at spending money on in desperation!

Thank you all again,

Regards

John

Did you follow my advice about getting a non-expired version of Sierra?.

-- hide signature --

Panas0n!c Lum!x LX100, TZ60

Gesture Veteran Member • Posts: 8,860
Re: Partition Mojave HD to run Sierra
JohnNewman
OP JohnNewman Contributing Member • Posts: 919
Re: Partition Mojave HD to run Sierra

ChrisLumix wrote:

JohnNewman wrote:

JPAlbert wrote:

OP:

OK, let's try yet another approach.

You said you have a copy of the Sierra installer in your applications folder but it won't launch without an error msg, is this correct?

Do this:
Download a small free app called "Install disk creator".
I think you can get it here:
https://www.macupdate.com/app/mac/55532/install-disk-creator

Next, you will need a USB flashdrive at least 16gb in size. You could try 8gb and see if that works. It might.

Format the flash drive to Mac OS extended with journaling enabled, GUID partition format (HFS+).

Launch install disk creator and follow the instructions. They're easy.

Is it able to create a bootable installer of OS Sierra?

Basically after several tries I still couldn't get an bootable installer (see image where I named the USB as 'Sierra'). I really do appreciate all the help and advice but don't see any way to progress from here.

I also appreciate the advice about my 17" MBP which I was only really looking at spending money on in desperation!

Thank you all again,

Regards

John

Did you follow my advice about getting a non-expired version of Sierra?.

Thanks and yes I had got this earlier and that’s when I got the message (see earlier post) that it was too old. I tried to use via a terminal instruction and by trying just double clicking with the idea of pointing it at the formatted USB.

Everytime I ended up with the “too old” message!

John

 JohnNewman's gear list:JohnNewman's gear list
Sony Cyber-shot DSC-HX90V Nikon Z fc Nikon Z 16-50mm F3.5-6.3 VR Nikon Z 50-250mm F4.5-6.3 VR
Keyboard shortcuts:
FForum MMy threads