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Windows 10 is a great operating system. Sure, it has its quirks and annoyances, but what OS doesn’t? But even if you’re beholden to Microsoft and Windows, that doesn’t mean you cannot shop around. And what better way to do that than from the safe confines of your existing OS and a virtual machine Top 5 Linux Operating Systems You Should Try in a Virtual Machine Top 5 Linux Operating Systems You Should Try in a Virtual Machine Five Linux operating system distributions are particularly suitable for running virtual machines, so let's take a look at them. Read More .

In this tutorial, I’m going to show you how run macOS in a virtual machine, making a virtual Hackintosh. “Hackintosh” is the name given to an unsupported system running any Mac operating system. Unsure if you’d get along with a Mac? 7 Practical Reasons to Start Using a Virtual Machine 7 Practical Reasons to Start Using a Virtual Machine The term "virtual" has been co-opted in so many ways. Virtual reality. Virtual RAM. Virtual schools. But Virtualization in the context of PCs can be confusing. We're here to clear it up. Read More Give this a try and see.

You Need These to Get Started

Before we begin, you need to download and install a couple of things. I’m going to show you how to create virtual machines in both Oracle VM VirtualBox Manager (“VirtualBox”) and VMware Workstation Player (“VMware Player”).

We’re going to need a copy of macOS Sierra, too. Techsviewer has made an Intel version [Google Drive download] available, and you’ll find an AMD version courtesy of AMD OS X.

Unsure what is powering your system? Press Windows Key + X and select System. Check what’s listed alongside “Processor.” Once you’re sure, download either the Intel or AMD version.

windows 10 processor type system info

The download can take a little time. It is a whole OS, after all. When the download completes, extract the contents to a memorable location. This is a Virtual Machine Disk Format (.VMDK) file containing the OS.

Once you’re ready, move onto the next section.

VirtualBox: Create the macOS Virtual Machine

Open VirtualBox. Select New. Type macOS. VirtualBox will detect the OS as you type. It defaults to Mac OS X. However, we need to change this. Under Version, select Mac OS X 10.11 El Capitan.

virtualbox macos el capitan

Next, set the amount of RAM the virtual OS can use. I’d suggest a minimum of 4 GB, but it can only be a share of total RAM available. Finally, we need to assign a hard disk. In this case, we will Use an existing virtual hard disk file.

virtualbox macos allocate memory

Select the folder icon and browse to where you extracted the Virtual Machine Disk Format file. Open it. Ensuring you’ve selected the correct virtual disk, hit Create.

virtualbox select virtual hard disk

Edit Virtual Machine Settings

To make sure our virtual machine is going to function correctly, we need to tweak some settings.

Select Settings, followed by System. Remove Floppy from the boot order. Ensure the Chipset is set to ICH9.

Select the Processor tab. Assign two processors. If you have an i7 with power to spare, consider adding more. However, this isn’t vital.

virtualbox allocate processors

Under Display options, set Video Memory to 128 MB. Hit OK to save the changes. Now, completely close VirtualBox.

Minor Tweaks

Unfortunately, this doesn’t work straight off the bat. We need to essentially patch VirtualBox before the macOS virtual machine will function. This requires us to enter some code in the Command Prompt. Don’t worry though, I’ll guide you through.

Start by pressing Windows Key + X, then selecting Command Prompt (Admin) from the menu. Next, use the following command to locate the Oracle VirtualBox directory:

cd "C:\Program Files\Oracle\VirtualBox\"

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 “macOS MUO.” Here are the commands:

VBoxManage.exe modifyvm "macOS MUO" --cpuidset 00000001 000106e5 00100800 0098e3fd bfebfbff

VBoxManage setextradata "macOS MUO" "VBoxInternal/Devices/efi/0/Config/DmiSystemProduct" "iMac11,3"

VBoxManage setextradata "macOS MUO" "VBoxInternal/Devices/efi/0/Config/DmiSystemVersion" "1.0"

VBoxManage setextradata "macOS MUO" "VBoxInternal/Devices/efi/0/Config/DmiBoardProduct" "Iloveapple"

VBoxManage setextradata "macOS MUO" "VBoxInternal/Devices/smc/0/Config/DeviceKey" "ourhardworkbythesewordsguardedpleasedontsteal(c)AppleComputerInc"

VBoxManage setextradata "macOS MUO" "VBoxInternal/Devices/smc/0/Config/GetKeyFromRealSMC" 1

After the completion of the commands, and presuming you encountered no errors, close the Command Prompt.

command prompt virtualbox commands

We’re Ready to Boot

Reopen VirtualBox. Double-click the macOS virtual machine to start it. You’ll see a long stream of text, followed by a grey screen. The grey screen can take a moment or two to clear — but don’t panic. When it resolves, you’ll arrive at the macOS “Welcome” screen.

virtualbox running macos

From here, you can set your macOS virtual machine up as you see fit.

VMware: Patch VMware Workstation Player

Prefer VMware over VirtualBox? I’ve got you covered. We can use the same VMDK file containing the OS, but the patch process is a different. In this case, you’ll need to download an unlocker (i.e. patcher). We will use the Unlocker created and provided by InsanelyMac.

Download the Unlocker and save it anywhere you want. We’re going to need it in a moment.

Browse to the location you downloaded the Unlocker 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).

Once extracted, ensure VMware is completely closed. Then, right-click the win-install command script, and select Run as administrator. The script will open a Command Prompt and the patch-script will run. Pay attention! The script will whizz by, and you need to catch any “File not found” messages.

vmware player macos patch file

The most common reason for a “file not found” or “system cannot find the file specified” is installing VMware Workstation Player in different location to the default folder, and executing the patch from a different directory as mentioned above.

Once the patch completes, reopen VMware.

Create macOS Virtual Machine

Select Create a New Virtual Machine. Choose I will install the operating system later. On the next screen, select Apple Mac OS X from the drop-down menu. If you do not see the Apple Mac OS X option, the patch hasn’t installed.

vmware player select macos

Next, we need to choose a name for the virtual machine. Choose something easy to remember, then copy the path below to a memorable location — we’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.

Now we have to edit the hardware specifications, as well as tell VMware where the macOS VMDK is.

From the main VMware screen, select the macOS virtual machine, right-click, selecting Settings. Like VirtualBox, bump the virtual machine memory up to at least 4 GB. You can allocate more if you have RAM to spare.

vmware allocate virtual memory

Next, edit the number of available processors to 2.

Underneath, remove the hard disk we created. Immediately select Add > Hard Disk > SATA (Recommended), then Use an existing virtual disk.

Browse to the same VMDK used in the VirtualBox section of the article. Select Open, then Finish. Now, close VMware.

Minor Tweaks

We have to make a small edit to a single file now. Head to location you stored the macOS virtual machine. The default location is:

C:\Users\YOURNAME\Documents\Virtual Machines\YOUR MAC OS X FOLDER

Browse to macOS.vmx, right-click, and select Open with…, selecting Notepad from the “How do you want to open this file” panel. Of course, if you prefer an alternative text editor, use that. Scroll to the bottom of the configuration file and add the following line:

smc.version = "0"

Save, and exit Notepad.

Open VMware, select the macOS virtual machine, and press Play.

vmware player running macos

Troubleshooting

There are a couple of things that can (and probably will) go wrong during the macOS virtual machine installation in VMware Player Workstation. I’ll list a few, and their quick troubleshoot.

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 and ensure you added the extra line and saved the edit.

Try It Out!

You’ve now created a macOS virtual machine in either VirtualBox or VMware Player. Give macOS a try out What's New in macOS Sierra? The New Features Coming to Your Mac What's New in macOS Sierra? The New Features Coming to Your Mac OS X is dead, long live macOS. Read More before you make the switch from Windows 7 Tips for Switching from Mac to Windows 7 Tips for Switching from Mac to Windows You'll be surprised to see how much Windows has to offer. Transition smoothly from Mac to Windows with our advice. Read More , or use it to access some of the best apps Apple has to offer.

What do you use your macOS virtual machine for? Do you prefer VirtualBox or VMware Player? Let us know your thoughts below!

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  1. Dave
    June 24, 2017 at 10:38 pm

    Tried the intel version today with Virtualbox and never get to grey screen. In some kind of a boot loop with the text part of the bootup repeating over and over. Got any idea what might be wrong?

  2. yuri
    June 9, 2017 at 6:21 am

    Hi, I downloaded the AMD version but it is .dmg, not .vmdk, so virtualbox doesn´t allow it. I tried to convert the file but I didn´t find any suitable converter and dmg2img through command line has also an issue, it says the .dmg file is corrupted.

    Do you have any ideas what´s wrong?
    (sorry for my bad english)
    Thanks

  3. Peter
    June 7, 2017 at 8:02 am

    Except, when I download the macOS Sierra file, it is a .dmg file, not a .vmdk. Like what am I supposed to do now?

  4. shekhar
    May 31, 2017 at 7:02 pm

    hey this article was great as t helped me get mac on my dell laptop and it seems to work fine but the only catch I face is the trackpad is not detected and the screen resolution is 1200x768 and because of that most of the screen real estate is black . can anyone help me fix these two issues ??

    • Gavin Phillips
      May 31, 2017 at 7:58 pm

      You can specify resolution in the hardware tab, found in the settings menu. The trackpad is a little more tricky. Which VM are you using, VirtualBox, or VMware?

  5. Tim Cook
    May 31, 2017 at 6:34 am

    Download Quota exceeded for file, could someone post an alternative link for the intel version

    • Gavin Phillips
      May 31, 2017 at 7:48 pm

      Hey Tim,

      I'm not having any trouble with it, and nor are other people I've asked to test it.

      Nonetheless, not wanting to disappoint, I uploaded it here, just for you:

      https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B_iQh-vjlZeVX1pYcDlfeDhqckU/view?usp=sharing

      Hopefully that sorts things out for you.

      Cheers

      • Navan Chauhan
        June 1, 2017 at 2:39 am

        Thanks a ton Gavin, I read the original article and for the black borders there is an isolated file named 'VM Tool's I could send you the link if you want

        • Gavin Phillips
          June 1, 2017 at 11:36 am

          No problem, glad it helped :)

      • Colin
        June 1, 2017 at 11:24 am

        Thanks Gavin, was getting same error as Tim.

        • Gavin Phillips
          June 1, 2017 at 11:37 am

          Ah, strange. But obviously a problem. Glad it helped, Colin.

      • Chris Bidmead
        June 3, 2017 at 10:59 am

        I'm getting "Download Quota Exceeded" too.

        Thanks for that alternative URL.


        Chris

        • Chris Bidmead
          June 5, 2017 at 10:09 am

          Ha! I have the full downloads now (thanks). But I can't get your VBoxManage mods to work.

          > .\VBoxManage list vms
          ...manages to find "macos MUO" (I've given mine the same name as yours.

          But when I run your full command VBoxManage complains that it "Could not find a registered machine called 'macos MUO'"

          Is there some registration process I've missed?


          Chris

      • TonyM
        June 7, 2017 at 3:00 pm

        I have tried the AMD download but the DMG is not bootable in VMWare for me. I even made it available in an older MAC AMD VM but the installer would start but never really get going right. Does someone have the ADM file that will be a good bootable DMG?

  6. Tim Cook
    May 31, 2017 at 6:33 am

    Download quota exceeded for file, could someone mirror it or reply for any other link

  7. likefunbutnot
    May 30, 2017 at 5:22 pm

    I keep a MacOS VM around for making screenshots in documentation. Ironically, I actually do spend some time on Apple hardware, but my setup is customized such that it's not really recognizable.

    • Gavin Phillips
      May 31, 2017 at 7:54 pm

      That is exactly why this article came about. I needed a Mac OS version to test some things for another article, and realised we hadn't covered it. I hope you found it useful in some way.

      Cheers

  8. Doc
    May 30, 2017 at 4:17 pm

    I used TechReviews' Sierra preview (not final) with VirtualBox (Apple does NOT allow you to use anything but Mac OS for uploading eBooks to the iTunes Store! BOO! Make a website to do it, Apple!) and it works somewhat well. Please note that you shouldn't use ALL your CPU cores in your VM, since it will make your Hackintosh unstable...

    • Gavin Phillips
      May 31, 2017 at 7:55 pm

      Aye, that's a really good point, Doc, thank you.