10.13.4 Installer can not be used to upgrade a 10.12.6 Virtual Machine

Number:rdar://39091906 Date Originated:April 1, 2018
Status:Open Resolved:
Product:macOS Installer Product Version:10.13.4 b17E199
Classification:Bug Reproducible:Always
Unable to use macOS High Sierra 10.13.4 (b17E199) full installer to upgrade an existing 10.12.6 virtual machine running in VMware Fusion to 10.13.4. The following error is given: “You may not install to this volume because the computer is missing a firmware partition”. As a 10.13.3 (b17D47) can be used to upgrade a VM, it seems the issue was introduced with 10.13.4.

Steps to Reproduce:
1. Using VMware Fusion 8.5.8 or 10.1.1 running on a macOS 10.12.6 host, create a virtual machine with a 10.12.6 guest OS. The guest OS should have one hard drive and use the recommended hardware configuration.
2. Install the VMware Fusion tools in the 10.12.6 guest 
3. Download the 10.13.4 installer from the App Store
4. Launch Install macOS High Sierra.app and follow the onscreen instruction to begin an upgrade on the guest OS' hard drive.

Expected Results:
The OS upgrade installer should proceed with the upgrade from 10.12.6 to 10.13.4.

Actual Results:
Attempt to select the guest OS' hard drive as the target for the upgrade. The installer will give the following error:

“You may not install to this volume because the computer is missing a firmware partition”

Able to duplicate the same results:
- With the CLI startosinstall command
- Using an installer media created with createinstallmedia
- After booting to the Recovery Partition [on the guest OS/VM] and repairing the internal drive 
- With an existing 10.12.6 VM and a newly created 10.12.6 VM
- With VMware Fusion 8.5.8 and 10.1.1


VMware Fusion Pro 10.1.1 virtual machine running on a macOS 10.12.6 host


I was able to test 10.13.5 b17F66a full installer made available this week. Using this build, I was able to successfully upgrade a VM running 10.12.6 to 10.13.5 provided the virtual machine was a standalone VM. A linked clone VM, which is an option in VMware Fusion to have a VM based on a second VM's disk, failed with “an internal error occurred while preflighting your volume for APFS conversion.” I suspect this is VMware's issue rather than an OS issue as a “vanilla” VM works.

By broccardo at May 10, 2018, 4:29 p.m. (reply...)

I also tried using startosinstall while booted from the Recovery partition with Install macOS High Sierra.app on both the internal drive and stored on an external USB drive. startosinstall gave the same error.

Able to duplicate with a 10.11.6 VM. When attempting to upgrade from 10.11.6 to 10.13.4 using any version of the 10.13.4 installer, the “missing firmware partition” error is thrown.

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