In July I wrote a blog post about a proposed solution for running Quicken 2007 with Mac OS X Lion (10.7).
Unfortunately, that solution didn’t actually work for me. A few weeks ago, I made the leap to Lion, and experimented with a number of different solutions on how to successfully run Quicken 2007. I finally come up with one that works incredibly well for me, so I thought I’d share it here for the small number of people out there who can’t imagine life without Quicken for Mac. (BTW If you read the comments on that first blog post, you’ll see I’m not alone.)
Failure: Snow Leopard on VMware Fusion 4.0
There are quite a few blog posts and discussion boards on the web that explain how to hack VMware Fusion to run Mac OS X 10.6 Snow Leopard. Unfortunately, I found that none of them were stable over time.
While you can hack some of the configuration files within the virtual image package to “trick” the machine into loading Mac OS X 10.6, it ends up resetting almost every time you quit the virtual machine. I was hoping that VMware Fusion 4.0 would remove this limitation, since Apple now allows virtualization of Mac OS X 10.7, but apparently they are still enforcing the ban on virtualizing Snow Leopard. (Personally, I believe VMware should have made this check easy to disable, so that expert users could “take the licensing risk” while not offending Apple. But I digress.)
You can virtualize Snow Leopard Server, but if you try to buy a used copy on eBay, it’s still almost $200.00. Added to the $75.00 for VMware Fusion, and all of a sudden you have a very expensive solution. Worse, VM performance is surprisingly bad for a Mac running on top of a Mac. In the end, I gave up on this path.
Enter the Headless Mac Mini
For the longest time, you couldn’t actually run a Mac as a headless server. By headless, I mean without a display. It used to be that if you tried to boot a Mac without a display plugged in, it would stop in the middle of the boot process.
I’m happy to report that you can, in fact, now run a Mac Mini headless.
Here is what I did:
- I commandeered a 2007-era Mac Mini from my grandmother. (It’s not a bad as it sounds – I upgraded her to a new iMac in the process.)
- I did a clean install of Mac OS Snow Leopard 10.6, and then applied all updates to get to a clean 10.6.8
- I installed Quicken 2007, and applied the R2 & R3 updates
- I configured the machine to support file sharing and screen sharing, turned off the 802.11 network, turned off bluetooth, and to wake from sleep from Ethernet. I also configured it to auto-reboot if there is a power outage or crash.
- I then plugged it in to just power & gigabit ethernet, hiding it cleverly under my Apple Airport Extreme Base Station. It’s exactly the same size, so it now just looks like I have a fatter base station.
I call the machine “Quicken Mac”, and it lives on my network. Anytime I want to run Quicken 2007, I just use screen sharing from Lion to connect to “Quicken-Mac.local”, and I’m up and running. Once connected on screen sharing, I configured the display preferences of the mac to 1650×1080, giving me a large window to run Quicken.
I keep my actual Quicken file on my Mac OS X Lion machine, so it’s backed up with Time Machine, etc. Quicken Mac just mounts my document folder directly so it can access the file.
Quicken: End Game
This solution may seem like quite a bit of effort, but the truth is after the initial setup, everything has worked without a hitch. I’m hoping that once Intuit upgrades Quicken Essentials for the Mac to handle investments properly, I’ll be able to sell the Mac Mini on eBay, making it effectively a low cost solution.
For the time being, this solution works. Mac OS X 10.7 Lion & Quicken 2007. It can be done.