Run 32 bit app and upgrade to Catalina

I have a 32 bit accounting software that will not be upgraded but want to keep accessing. I am transitioning to a Catalina compliant software.I have not upgraded to Catalina but don’t want to stay stuck in Mojave.
There is a Windows version but I don’t find running Parallels attractive
Is it possible to install a Mojave virtual machine on my 2019 MBP?
Would buying a used Mac for $400 - $700 be a solution? The problem I see here how to access f.e Excel reports on my main Mac
Either Mac or Parallels would require obtaining additional licenses for some of my software, I suppose.
Any ideas would be appreciated

Running Parallels Desktop for Mac does not require that you run Windows. My current crop of VMs also includes Snow Leopard Server, Sierra, Mojave, and, Mojave upgraded to Catalina (latest beta). As to Windows: I have been running Windows VMs since Windows XP (skipping Windows 8) and daily use Quicken on Windows 10 on my 2018 Mini while backing up the Quicken data file directly to a macOS folder.

So, go ahead and run any recent macOS in a VM on any recent MBP, iMac, MB, or, Mini. In my experience Parallels makes it easy.

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The underlying Apple hardware chip is Intel which executes both 32 and 64 bit instructions. Apple software long longer runs 32 bit programs on this chip but 32 bit execution is still there.

Parallels is a 32/64 bit program and appears to Apple like any other program. However, when Parallels is launched like any other Apple app, it can host both 32 or 64 bit operating system, i.e., it runs inside Parallels. Parallels then stands-in between the host OS and the native Apple macOS. The stand-in is a bi-directional conversion from the host I/O and system calls to access the modern macOS software and hardware. I.e, this is transparent to the host and native macOS.

Parallels is a one time license for $49, if on sale, or look on their site for the full retail price. This is a one time purchase without any obligation to ever upgrade. Updates are free.

You install the Parallels app (a 32/64 bit program) on your native Mojave (32 bit) machine and run the conversion program that will install a macOS of your choice inside of Parallels. After this, upgrade the native Mojave to Catalina. In both cases you might be asked to install the Parallels Tools. You’re good to go.

It’s pretty simple to follow the bouncing ball. I’d look into the install sections where Parallels asks you where the host OS resides - external drive, an ISO file, or downloaded OS install, or it may even be able to grab the native OS. I’d go to the and select the clean, up to date macOS of your choice, e.g. Mojave.

You’ll need 410 MB for Parallels and room for two macOS images - your current and the host OSs on disk. Host disk drives are virtual drives inside Parallels. Memory usage and disk sizes are configurable at any time. Since you’re only running one program, I’d set these at a minimum. Backing up Parallels has its drawbacks. All application data resides in a separate data file in the Documents/Parallels folder which can be very large. Change one bit and the whole thing gets backed up. I’m not up to date on this but I recall that Parallels has made changes to selectively back up only the changed pieces. This feature may only work on TimeMachine.

Hope this helps. Mike

Many thanks, Mike. It is mouthful.Most of it makes sense. I’ll have to go hands on to digest some of the information, but I feels better about running Mojave on a virtual disk in Catalina or whatever the lates respective O/S is


There’s another alternative that does not require Windows and will emulate Vista to Windows 10 64 Bit. The app is Crossover and it runs perfectly in Catalina. I am currently running a vast array of games and sophisticated graphics software. Crossover allows you to choose any of the available Systems and if additional software is needed Crossover will allow it to be downloaded and installed. Crossover is extremely simple to use, has a low RAM and CPU profile and will run at the sometime as your Mac OS and software with no interference. It also has one other amazing feature…if your AV/ Malware software discards something important to you chosen app to run Crossover will restore it. Support is excellent and there is n extensive community to add additional support.

I have not yet found the magic incantation to keep Parallels Desktop for Mac touching every single part of a Virtual Drive, so I just exclude Virtual Machines (.pvm) from Time Machine. CCC backups work perfectly as long as the VM is not actually running during backup.

This works well since my preferred approach is to have Applications in a VM store data on the host machine volume. For example, Quicken backup files to a macOS folder give sufficient protection even if the entire VM fails catastrophically. Rebuild the VM and Quicken instance, load the backup from the macOS host backup file, and continue seamlessly. And, data files are generally smaller than a complete VM files, so Time Machine is not stressed.

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