I’ll admit, I am typically slow to update to the new versions of Mac OS X, mostly out of fear of what peripherals I have that might stop working completely, or require me to jump through hoops to get working again. In the case of Mojave, the risk was my venerable Fujitsu document scanner, an S1500M, which I love and since it is still working perfectly I am loath to even consider replacing (even more so since I’ve been told that newer ScanSnap devices have a faulty license manager on the software that causes headaches at every update). Back to Mojave… I checked the interwebs for information, and on the Fujitsu site I found this statement:
ScanSnap S1500/S1500M does not support macOS Mojave. There are no plans for adding support in the future since the support for ScanSnap S1500/S1500M has already ended.Fujitsu Global Support
Not promising, and right now we enter the craziness of tax season here in the US, the scanner gets more use than at any other time of the year.
High Sierra Virtual Machine
It came to me one day that the solution to my problem might be as simple as creating a High Sierra guest OS for VirtualBox. That way I could boot that up every time I need to scan things. Not quite as convenient as before, but better than having to throw out (or sell) a perfectly good scanner & buy a new one.
I already had VirtualBox installed, and I already had the install application for High Sierra (I always keep a copy of those in case I need them for recovery purposes). Creating a new VM is simple, but getting Mac OS 10.13 installed in it is not as simple as you might imagine. Luckily, I am not the first to attempt this and there were detailed instructions available online. (There is also a link in there to another article that describes how to get a bootable ISO image you can mount into the VM from the High Sierra install application – use the script, it is much simpler, but make sure you do not have the Mac OS Disk Utility running – that interferes with the script).
Once installed, I managed to get the scanner software installed in the VM, mapped the scanner’s USB connection through from the host, and then discovered that ‘shared disc’ support is not available for Mac OS X guest images. Tweaking the VM network to be bridged rather than NAT mode got the VM its own IP address on my network, and allowed it to see the host OS on the network, so it was a simple thing to mount my already shared media drive in the virtual machine too. Problem solved – I now had a High Sierra image ready for scanning.
Happy with the virtual machine (though less happy with how much time it had taken to get to that point), I moved on to the Mojave update. That started cleanly, but then looked like it was stuck (Apple logo + progress bar that never moved and no estimate of time remaining was not a great sign). Just as I was about to give up and resort to hard reboot, it refreshed the screen with an estimate. I left it alone, and when I finally got back to it, the update had completed.
Logging in, all my startup apps came back as before, and the scanner app also started (I don’t recall that being in my startup list, but perhaps it was – I don’t reboot this machine often). One of the first things to appear on the screen was the notification in the top right that the scanner was available. Yup, the one that is apparently unsupported under Mojave was working just fine under Mojave. Looks like I’m not going to need that High Sierra VM after all, but at least I know I have it for the future, just in case that changes with an OS update.
A few other apps needed some tweaking, most notably Backblaze needed a new permission to be able to access the whole disk (it prompted for this, and provided a link to clear, step-by-step instructions which made it simple to fix).