UPDATE 2020 VIDEO PLEASE VIEW THIS NEW VERSION INSTEAD: Please consider helping: In this vi. Mar 04, 2020 Many people commonly use tools like Parallels or VMware to set up a virtual machine (VM) on their Macs. VirtualBox is a great, free alternative to do this. Plus, you can install and set it up in just a few minutes. VMs can run any operating system (OS) in your current one. Whether it’s for disaster recovery, code testing, or just some fun.
Windows 10 is a great operating system. It has its quirks and annoyances, but which operating system doesn’t? Even if you’re beholden to Microsoft and Windows 10, you can still shop around.
What better way to do that than from the safe confines of your existing operating system with a virtual machine? This way, you can run macOS on Windows, which is perfect when you want to use Mac-only apps on Windows.
So, here’s how you install macOS in a virtual machine on Windows, making a virtual Hackintosh that lets you run Apple apps from your Windows machine.
What Files Do You Need to Create a macOS Virtual Machine on Windows 10?
Before delving into the “how-to,” you need to download and install the essential tools. The tutorial details how to create macOS virtual machines using both Oracle VirtualBox Manager (VirtualBox) and VMware Workstation Player (VMware Player).
Not sure which to use? Learn more about the differences between VirtualBox and VMware.
- Download the latest version of VirtualBox. The tutorial uses VirtualBox 6.1.4
- Download the latest version of VMware Player. The tutorial uses VMware Player 15.0.4
You need a copy of macOS, too. Catalina is the latest macOS version. You can find the download links for macOS Catalina in the next section.
This tutorial will focus on installing macOS Catalina in a virtual machine running on Intel hardware, using either VirtualBox or VMware Player.
Unfortunately, I do not have access to any AMD hardware, so I cannot provide a tutorial.
There is, however, the code snippet that anyone using an AMD system requires to boot a macOS Catalina using VMware on AMD hardware.
The process to launch the macOS Catalina virtual machine is the same as the Intel version but uses a slightly different code snippet. You can find the tutorial and the code snippet in the section below.
Furthermore, you will find links to several AMD macOS Catalina, Mojave, and High Sierra virtual machine tutorials, at the end of the article.
Download macOS Catalina Virtual Image
Use the following links to download macOS Catalina for both VirtualBox and VMware.
If the Google Drive reaches its download limit, right-click the file and select Copy to create a copy in your own Google Drive. You can then download the macOS Catalina virtual image from there.
Please note that these links may stop working from time to time. If that is the case, please leave a comment, and I’ll fix them as soon as possible.
After the virtual image finishes downloading, right-click, and extract the file using your favorite archive tool. For instance, right-click, then select 7-Zip > Extract to “macOS Catalina.”
How to Create a macOS Catalina Virtual Machine with VirtualBox
Before creating the macOS virtual machine, you need to install the VirtualBox Extension Pack. It includes fixes for USB 3.0 support, mouse and keyboard support, and other useful VirtualBox patches.
Download: VirtualBox Extension Pack for Windows (Free)
Scroll down, select All supported platforms to download, then double-click to install.
Create the macOS Catalina Virtual Machine
Open VirtualBox. Select New. Type macOS.
VirtualBox will detect the OS as you type and will default to Mac OS X. You can leave this as is.
Regarding the virtual machine name, make it something memorable yet easy to type. You’ll need to input this name in a series of commands, and it is frustrating to type a complicated name multiple times!
Next, set the amount of RAM the macOS virtual machine can use. I would suggest a minimum of 4GB, but the more you can give from the host system, the better your experience will be.
Remember, you cannot assign more RAM than your system has available, and you need to leave some memory available for the host operating system. Learn more about how much RAM does a system need?
Now, you need to assign a hard disk, which is the virtual image downloaded previously. Select Use an existing virtual hard disk file, then select the folder icon. Browse to the VMDK file, then select Create.
Edit the macOS Catalina Virtual Machine Settings
Don’t try and start your macOS Catalina virtual machine yet. Before firing the virtual machine up, you need to make a few tweaks to the settings. Right-click your macOS virtual machine and select Settings.
Under System, remove Floppy from the boot order. Ensure the Chipset is set to ICH9.
Select the Processor tab. Assign two processors. If you have a CPU with power to spare (such as an Intel Core i7 or i9 with multiple extra cores), consider assigning more. However, this isn’t vital.
Make sure the Enable PAE/NX box is checked.
Under Display, set Video Memory to 128MB.
Now, under Storage, check the box alongside Use Host I/O Cache.
Finally, head to the USB tab and select USB 3.0, then press OK.
Use Command Prompt to Add Custom Code to VirtualBox
It still isn’t quite time to fire up your macOS Catalina virtual machine. In its current configuration, VirtualBox doesn’t work with your macOS VMDK.
To get it up and running, you have to essentially patch VirtualBox before the macOS virtual machine will function. To do this, you need to enter some code using the Command Prompt. All the details are below.
Start by closing VirtualBox. The commands will not execute properly if VirtualBox or any of its associated processes are running.
Once closed, press Windows Key + X, then select Command Prompt (Admin) from the menu.
If your menu only shows the PowerShell option, type command into your Start menu search bar. Then right-click the Best Match, and select Run as Administrator.
The following code works for VirtualBox 5.x and 6.x.
Use the following command to locate the Oracle VirtualBox directory:
Now, enter the following commands, one by one. Adjust the command to match the name of your virtual machine. For instance, my virtual machine name is “
macoscat.” Here are the commands:
After the completion of the commands, and presuming you encountered no errors, close the Command Prompt.
Boot Your macOS Mojave Virtual Machine
Reopen VirtualBox. Double-click your macOS virtual machine to start it. You will see a long stream of text, followed by a gray screen.
The gray screen can take a moment or two to clear, but don’t panic. Once the screen clears, macOS Catalina will begin installing. When it resolves, you will arrive at the macOS “Welcome” screen.
From here, you can set your macOS Mojave virtual machine up as you see fit.
Mac Os On Oracle Vm
Pro Tip: Take a snapshot of your virtual machine once it passes the gray screen. If anything goes wrong down the line, you can return to the Welcome screen setup and start the process again.
Once you complete the macOS setup, take another one so you can jump straight into your macOS installation. Head to Machine > Take Snapshot, give your snapshot a name, and wait for it to process.
How to Create a macOS Catalina Virtual Machine Using VMware Workstation Player
Prefer VMware over VirtualBox? You can create a macOS Catalina virtual machine using VMware that works exactly the same as VirtualBox. And, just as with VirtualBox, VMware also requires patching before the macOS Catalina virtual machine will work.
This part of the tutorial works for Intel and AMD systems. AMD users must use the second code snippet when editing the virtual machine VMX file. Read through the tutorial to see what this means exactly.
Patch VMware Workstation Player
In the “macOS Catalina Virtual Image” section is the VMware Player Patch Tool. Before commencing any further, download the patch tool.
Then, browse to the location you downloaded the patch tool to. Extract the contents of the archive. This process works best when the folders are on the same drive (e.g., the VMware root folder and extracted archive are both found on the C: drive).
Make sure VMware is completely closed. Now, in the patcher folder, right-click the win-install command script and select Run as Administrator. The script will open a Command Prompt window, and the patch-script will run.
Do pay attention. The script whizzes by, and you need to keep watch for any “File not Found” messages.
The most common reason for a “file not found” or a “system cannot find the file specified” message is installing VMware Workstation Player in a different location to the default folder, and executing the patch from a different directory.
Once the patch completes, you can open VMware.
Create the macOS Catalina Virtual Machine with VMware
Select Create a New Virtual Machine. Choose I will install the operating system later.
Now, select Apple Mac OS X, and change the Version to macOS 10.14. If you don’t see the macOS options, it is because the patch didn’t install correctly.
Next, you need to choose a name for your macOS Catalina virtual machine. Choose something easy to remember, then copy the file path to somewhere handy—you’re going to need it to make some edits in a moment.
On the next screen, stick with the suggested maximum hard disk size, then select Store virtual disk as a single file. Complete the virtual disk creation wizard, but do not start the virtual machine just yet.
Edit the macOS Mojave Virtual Machine Settings
Before you can boot the virtual machine, you must edit the hardware specifications. Plus, you need to tell VMware where to find the macOS VMDK.
From the main VMware screen, select your macOS Catalina virtual machine, then right-click, and select Settings.
Like VirtualBox, bump the virtual machine memory up to at least 4GB. You can allocate more if you have RAM to spare.
Under Processors, edit the number of available cores to 2.
Now, under Hard Disk (SATA), you need to remove the hard disk created earlier. Select Remove and VMware will remove the disk automatically.
Now, select Add > Hard Disk > SATA (Recommended)> Use an existing disk. Browse to the location of the macOS VMDK and select it.
Edit the macOS Catalina VMX File for Intel Hardware
This section is for Intel users and it involves the final set of edits you need to make before switching your VMware macOS Catalina virtual machine on!
Close VMware. Head to the location you stored the macOS virtual machine. The default location is:
Browse to macOS.vmx, right-click, and select Open with…, select Notepad (or your preferred text editor). Scroll to the bottom of the configuration file and add the following line:
Save, then Exit.
You can now open VMware, select your macOS Mojave virtual machine, and fire it up!
Edit the macOS Catalina VMX File for AMD Hardware
This section is for AMD users. Like the above section, AMD users must also edit the VMX file before proceeding. The AMD edit involves a few more lines than the Intel version, but you can copy and paste the data into the file.
Close VMware. Head to the location you stored the macOS virtual machine. The default location is:
Browse to macOS.vmx, right-click, and select Open with…, select Notepad (or your preferred text editor). Scroll to the bottom of the configuration file and add the following lines:
Save, then Exit.
You can now open VMware, select your macOS Mojave virtual machine, and fire it up!
Install VMware Tools to Your macOS Catalina Virtual Machine
You now need to install VMware Tools, which is a set of utilities and extensions that improve mouse handling, video performance, and other useful things.
With the macOS virtual machine running, head to Player > Manage > Install VMware Tools.
The installation digavsc will appear on the macOS desktop. When the option appears, select Install VMware Tools, then allow it access to the removable volume. Follow the guided installer, which will require a restart on completion.
There are a couple of things that can go wrong during the macOS virtual machine installation in VMware Player Workstation.
- If you cannot see “Apple Mac OS X” during the virtual machine creation wizard, then you need to revisit the patch process. Ensure every process associated with VMware Player is off.
- If you receive the message “Mac OS X is not supported with binary translation” when starting the virtual machine, there is a strong chance you need to activate virtualization in your BIOS/UEFI configuration.
- If you receive the message “VMware Player unrecoverable error: (vcpu-0)” when starting the virtual machine, you need to head back to the macOS.vmx configuration file to ensure you added the extra line and saved the edit.
- If you’re running AMD hardware and get stuck at the Apple logo, first power off the virtual machine. Now, head to Settings > Options > General. Change the Guest operating system to Microsoft Windows, and the Version to Windows 10 x64. Press OK, then attempt to power up the virtual machine again. Once the Apple logo passes, power down the virtual machine, then set the Guest operating system option back to Apple Mac OS X, selecting the correct version.
macOS Virtual Machines for AMD Hardware
Apple uses Intel hardware to power desktops and laptops. Configuring a macOS virtual machine using Intel hardware is easier because the hardware specifications are very similar.
With AMD, the opposite is true. Because Apple does not develop macOS on AMD hardware, creating a macOS virtual machine on an AMD system is trickier.
Adding to this, I don’t have an AMD system to test macOS virtual machines on, so I cannot give you a detailed tutorial. I can, however, point you in the direction of several macOS AMD virtual machine tutorials that do work, so long as you are patient and follow each step accordingly.
- Mojave AMD Vanilla Guide From Windows via AMD OS X
- High Sierra 10.13.1 VM for VMware Player for Ryzen/FX/APU via AMD OS X
- Mojave AMD VirtualBox via AMD OS X
The AMD OS X forum is a great resource for macOS virtual machines. You can find many more forum threads regarding AMD macOS virtual machines, too.
macOS Catalina Virtual Machine Installation Complete
You have two options to choose from for your macOS Catalina virtual machine. Both options are great if you want to give macOS a try before making the switch from Windows and enjoy some of the best Apple apps on offer.
You can use a virtual machine to test other operating systems too. For instance, here’s how to install a Linux distro in a virtual machine.
Are you looking to learn more about virtual machines?
Check out our VirtualBox User’s Guide, which teaches everything you need to know, or our guide to creating a virtual machine using Windows 10 Hyper-V.
Read the full article: How to Run macOS on Windows 10 in a Virtual Machine
Windows, macOS – which one do you want to use today? On a traditional setup, you’re stuck with one or the other. But with virtual box, you actually have macOS on a Windows PC.
It’s the freedom that computer users have enjoyed with Linux and other operating systems.
But Apple has made it difficult to install their operating system on anything other than their own hardware. All of that is changing, and Virtual Box is responsible for it and the rise of the Hackintosh.
New to hackintosh? Learn more about it in our what is hackintosh? overview.
Note: A lot of people will be able to get a mac virtual machine one Windows running smoothly, but sound doesn’t seem to work well. That’s really not an issue because you’ll still be able to access all of your apps and software.
I also recommend that you have access to a real Mac. You might be able to find some distributions of the High Sierra ISO online, but there is always a risk when downloading from an unofficial source. Instead, borrow a Mac from a friend, or use your own and download the High Sierra OS from the App Store.
Check out our high sierra installation guide for hackintosh
Everything You Need to Get Started with Installing macOS on VirtualBox
Before we go through the steps on how to install macOS on Virtual Box, let’s get everything together that you’ll need to get started.
- Open up your Mac
- Go to the App Store
- Type in “High Sierra”
You’ll want to search for your desired operating system (we’ll be using High Sierra), and Download it.
Note: You’ll need a decent computer to be able to run Virtual Box. Your computer will need to meet these minimum requirements:
- Dual core processor
- 4GB Ram or higher
If your computer doesn’t meet these requirements, you won’t be able to run macOS properly. You’ll be able to download VirtualBox from the official website. I’m not going to go through the installation process, as the website will have all of the information you need to be able to install VirtualBox.
I do recommend that you read all of the documentation and ask any questions that you have in the community section of the website.
VirtualBox 6.0 was just released, so it’s definitely a great time to get started with your own macOS.
Extract macOS Sierra
Make sure you’ve downloaded High Sierra, and then you’ll want to run a few commands from your terminal . You’ll be able to open the terminal at: Applications > Utilities > Terminal. Once inside of the terminal, you’ll want to run the following commands:
Go to your desktop and rename the file, removing the “.cdr” extension. You need this extension to read “.iso” for it to work properly.
You’ve successfully created your own ISO file so that you can bootup your macOS.
The next step is to copy the file over to your Windows machine (using a large USB drive seems to work best). This file will be mounted in your virtual machine later on in the article, so it’s very important that this step is completed successfully.
Creating a mac Virtual Machine on Windows
You’ll want to create a virtual machine, and this is really easy. You’ll open up VirtualBox and click New. You’ll want to have the following parameters selected or entered before clicking Next.
- Name: High Sierra
- Type: Mac OS X
- Version: Mac OS X (64-bit)
Pay attention when selecting the version because you may find that High Sierra is offered as a version when you go to install it. But if it’s not, you can just choose the settings I listed above and they should work fine.
You’ll then be proceeding through all of the settings.
When you come up to the RAM setting, you’ll want to be generous. VirtualBox requires a minimum of 4GB or RAM to run, but the more the better.
You’ll want to provide at least 4GB to your macOS, or 4096MB to be precise. A general rule of thumb is that if you can spare it, supply more RAM to your virtual machine. RAM will allow the operating system to put more information into memory and retrieve it faster.
For better overall performance, supply as much RAM as you can.
The next steps are also important, and they’ll include:
- Hard Disk: Choose the “Create a virtual hard disk now” setting.
- Choose VDI when choosing the hard disk type.
- Choose Fixed Size instead of Dynamic for added speed.
- Set the size of the drive to at least 25GB.
You’ll now have your virtual machine using the RAM and disk space properly, and you’ll have to work your way through a few screen prompts before having everything setup properly.
Configuring Your VirtualBox to Run macOS High Sierra
We’ve made a lot of progress so far, and now it’s time to configure your virtual machine properly. You’ll see in the main window of VirtualBox that “High Sierra” is listed. Click on this and then click on the “Settings” button.
You’ll want to go to “System” and make sure that the following are unchecked on the Motherboard tab:
Click on the Processor tab and make sure that you have 2 or more CPUs set for your virtual machine.
The next few settings are rather simple:
- Display: Video Memory with a minimum of 128MB
- Storage: Click “Empty” and then click on the CD at the top right. Choose your High Sierra ISO file
Now you’ll need to click “Ok,” and save all of the changes you’ve made. Close out your VirtualBox now.
Apple is very strict on the system that their operating system runs on, so it’s very important that you do your best to configure your virtual machine in such a way that it tricks the installer to thinking you’re on a retail machine.
We’ll now be going into the Windowscommand prompt.
You’ll do this by:
- Clicking the Start Menu
- Typing “Command Prompt”
- Right-clicking on the Command Prompt desktop app
- Choosing Run as administrator
It’s very important to follow all of the following command prompts exactly. Your goal is to run each command, one by one, hitting the Enter button and waiting for the command to complete successfully.
Remember that VirtualBox needs to be closed before running these commands, or it won’t work properly.
You have to make sure that the virtual machine is properly named “High Sierra” for this method to work. If not, you’ll be able to go back and make changes to the name to get everything to work properly.
Once all of the commands are completed, and there are no errors, you’ll then be able to open up your VirtualBox and get macOS High Sierra installed properly on VirtualBox.
It’s a long process, but we’re almost done with your installation.
Running VirtualBox and the macOS Installer
You’ve almost learned how to install macOS on VirtualBox entirely, and we’re on the home stretch. You’ll want to open up your VirtualBox and then click on your virtual machine that you set up earlier.
Now, click “Start.”
Vm Box Mac Os
There will be a lot of information displayed on the screen as everything starts running. I recommend stepping away from the machine and letting it run for a few minutes before coming back. Some errors can hang for 5 minutes or longer.
If you’ve done everything properly, you can be confident that the installer will boot properly.
You’ll eventually be presented with the option to pick a Language. If you’ve reached this point, you’re doing very well and are almost ready to run your macOS.
The next steps can be followed:
- Choose your desired language, and click
- Click “Disk Utility” and then
- Click “View” and then “Show All Devices.”
- Click on your empty virtual drive that has been setup and click “Erase.”
- Choose the following settings:
- Name: Macintosh HD
- Format: Mac OS Extended (Journaled)
- Scheme: GUID Partition Map
- Click “Erase” and close Disk Utility when the process is complete.
- Click “Reinstall macOS.”
- Click “Continue.”
You’ll come up to one point where you’ll be asked to choose a hard drive, and you’ll want to select the Macintosh HD partition that you just created with the Disk Utility.
We’ve successfully copied all of the files on the virtual machine, but we’re not done just yet.
Exit your virtual machine and then go back to your virtual machine’s settings. You’ll need to change up your Storage settings. Click on your ISO for High Sierra in the “Storage Tree.” You’ll click that CD icon just like we did earlier and then choose “Remove Disk from Virtual Disk.”
You need to do this to unlink the ISO from your virtual machine.
Start up your virtual machine and you should come across a black screen with the EFI Internal Shell. You’ll want to look for FS1. If this is listed in yellow, click on the virtual machine and then type fs1: and hit the Enter button.
You should be in the fs1 directory.
Type in the following commands:
- cd “macOS Install Data”
- cd “Locked Files”
- cd “Boot Files”
Now we’ll run the installer by running: boot.efi and hitting enter.
If everything goes well, you’ll come across a graphical installer and will just have to work through the prompts. The virtual machine will reboot eventually and then you’ll need to go through the settings and the rest of the setup process.
Soon enough, you’ll be right inside of macOS, where you’ll be able to start using your mac virtual machine on Windows.
Having a virtualbox mac OS is the easiest method of using mac as and when you need it. In addition, using virtualbox is far less complicated than the dual boot hackintosh method we have looked at previously.