macOS is Apple‘s operating system, a system known primarily for its security, stability and performance. However, unlike Windows or Linux, this system cannot be installed on any computer. To use it, you need to buy and use a Mac, the computers that Apple sells. This makes many users want to try this operating system. Luckily, thanks to virtual machines, anyone can use this operating system and enjoy its advantages without having to spend money buying a Mac.
A virtual machine is a computer generated by a computer program on which we can install any operating system as if it were a real computer. There are many programs to virtualize operating systems, although the best known are VMware , as a professional option, and VirtualBox , as an OpenSource alternative.
Although we can install Windows, Linux and many other operating systems on these virtual machines, when trying to install macOS on Windows or Linux we find a lot of inconveniences. Apple puts many impediments to macOS (especially in the kernel and drivers) to prevent its operating system from being installed on computers that are not its own. Therefore, we either resort to techniques such as hackintosh , or we must find other ways to do it.
VMware and VirtualBox do not give official support to install macOS for legal reasons. But with some patches and some special configurations it is possible to do so. And although it is a fairly long process, following these steps we can have macOS running on Windows 10 in a few minutes.
- Requirements and preparation
- Preparing the virtual machine with VMware
- Start up macOS in Windows 10
Requirements and preparation
This process can be performed on virtually any operating system, with any hardware and with any virtual machine hypervisor. But we are going to do it on Windows 10 (specifically the latest version of the operating system), and using VMware Workstation Pro, since we have been able to verify that it is the one that best (and easiest) makes macOS work.
The first thing we need is to have VMware Workstation 15.5 (or 15.5.1) installed on our computer. Older versions may cause problems installing macOS. And in the newer ones we may not be able to apply the patch that we are going to see next.
In addition, of course, it is necessary to have at least 8 GB of RAM (recommended 16 GB), a high-end processor with several cores and threads (with AMD Ryzen we have not managed to operate this virtual machine, only with Intel). And it is advisable to have an SSD so that the performance is excellent.
Patch VMware to install macOS on Windows
In order to install and run the Apple operating system in a virtual machine, we must patch both VMware and VirtualBox. And the process is not exactly simple. Especially in VirtualBox. Therefore, we will use the entire VMware process.
To do this, the first thing we will do is download an “unlocker”. This small patch will do the following in the virtual machine:
- Patch binaries and vmware-vmx processes to boot macOS.
- Patch the vmwarebase files (.dll or .so) to be able to choose “Apple” when creating a new virtual machine.
- Download the latest versions of VMware Tools for macOS.
We can find several patches that allow us to do this. All of them safe, reliable and published on GitHub. Although our favorite is Auto-Unlocker . This patch allows us to do it simply by executing the “Unlocker.exe” that we obtain by decompressing the Auto-Unlocker. So we have only to trust the program and wait for it to finish modifying the files and download the necessary elements.
This is where one of the problems begins to be able to install macOS from Windows, a vicious circle that is repeated over and over again. And in order to install macOS in VMware we need an ISO image. And to generate this ISO image we need to use macOS. Although many macOS ISO images circulate on the network, many are outdated, and others do not work. The only way to make it work is to create it ourselves. And this is a problem if we don’t have a Mac.
To save time and simplify the process a lot, we recommend you download the latest version of macOS 10.14 “Mojave” from the following link . From this page we can download a virtual hard disk VMDK with macOS already installed and ready so that, when it starts, it starts the initial configuration of the system. We do not recommend installing macOS 10.15 “Catalina” on Windows 10 due to problems with this version. But the process is the same, and we can download the VMDK from the following link .
This is the fastest and easiest way. But, if we want, we can do the same by generating our own ISO. Even trying to download it from the Internet, although this will give more problems than solutions.
If we have access to a macOS computer, we can generate our own ISO image, both of Mojave and Catalina, or the version we want to install. To do this, the first thing we must do is download the installers of the version we want:
When the download is finished, it will start, but since we are not interested in installing it right now, we can close the wizard. What interests us is the installer, which can be found in the programs folder.
Once we have the installation app, we transfer it to the applications folder. In this way we will extract the necessary files and create the ISO image we are looking for. We must do this by executing the following commands on a macOS end (we must change “mojave” and the directories for what corresponds to our team):
- hdiutil create -o / tmp / mojave -size 7900m -volname mojave -layout SPUD -fs HFS + J
- hdiutil attach /tmp/mojave.dmg -noverify -mountpoint / Volumes / mojave
- sudo / Applications / Install / macOS / Mojave.app/Contents/Resources/createinstallmedia –volume / Volumes / mojave –nointeraction
- hdiutil detach / volumes / Install / macOS / mojave
- hdiutil convert /tmp/mojave.dmg -format UDTO -o ~ / Desktop / mojave.cdr
- mv ~ / Desktop / mojave.cdr ~ / Desktop / mojave.iso
When the whole process is finished (which will be quite slow), we will already have an ISO image of macOS. We can already install it in VMware, if we want, from it.
Preparing the virtual machine with VMware
The first thing we will do is open VMware, after applying the patch and downloading all of the above. And once we have the main window in sight, we will create a new virtual machine.
We will see the typical assistant to create a new virtual machine. We must choose that we want to create a machine of the “Custom” type, in order to customize the process. In the next step we will choose compatibility with VMware 15.x hardware.
We continue with the assistant and it will be time to choose whether or not we want to mount an image to install the operating system. We must choose in this step the option to install the operating system later.
We continue with the assistant and reach the point where we will have to choose the type of operating system. Thanks to the patch we have installed, the Apple Mac OS X option will appear. We will choose the version of macOS that we will use. We, for example, choose macOS 10.14 , “Mojave”.
In the next step we must give the name we want to our virtual machine and choose where we want it to be saved. We must memorize the route where the virtual machine will be stored, since later we will have to go to it.
Next we must choose the number of processors and cores that we want our virtual machine to have. As long as our hardware allows it, we must configure 2 processors and 2 cores. We continue and in the next step we will configure the RAM that the virtual machine will have. Although it should work with 4 GB , we do not recommend giving it less than 8 GB.
The next step will be to configure the network. We configure it as NAT and continue. We leave the I / O controllers as is, in LSI Logic. And the kind of hard drive, in SATA.
In the next step, the wizard will ask us if we want to create a new virtual hard disk, or use an existing one. If we are going to install macOS on Windows 10 from an ISO image, we must create a new virtual hard disk, with a size of at least 25 GB. However, we are using the VMDK that we have downloaded, so we will choose the “use an existing virtual disk” option, and choose the directory where we have downloaded it (and unzipped it). When loading the hard disk we must choose the option “Keep existing format”, so as not to convert or modify it.
Finally we will have our virtual machine created. We can see a summary of your options in the last window of the wizard. Although we are not done yet.
Edit the VMware configuration to enter the macOS code
Before running the virtual machine, we must make a manual change in the configuration file. Without this change, trying to boot macOS will return a keric panic and we will not be able to use Apple’s operating system.
To do this, we must go to the folder where we have saved the virtual machine (the one we indicated in the first steps of the wizard), and locate the file finished in “.vmx”. We open this file with the notebook to edit it (since it is a normal text file) and we will add the following line at the end (as it appears in the capture, with single quotes (shift + 2), do not copy and paste):
smc.version = “0”
We save the changes and go. Now we have our macOS virtual machine ready to start working.
Start up macOS in Windows 10
We have everything ready. Now we just have to go to the virtual machine within the VMware interface, and choose the option to start the virtual machine.
The first startup may take a while, as the system will be prepared for installation.
When loading, what we will see will be the typical macOS installation wizard, which we must follow until the end to start our virtual machine. Among others, the most important aspects that we must take into account are: choose Spain as a region, Spanish keyboard with ISO distribution and log in, if we want, with an iCloud account to use the App Store and other Apple services. We must also create our user account.
We will choose the theme that we want to use in our macOS, and we will continue with the assistant until the end. When finished, we can see the macOS desktop, and we can start using it. Although, first of all, let’s see some additional and recommended settings.
Put macOS in Spanish
By default, Apple’s operating system will be in English. But if we want, we can put it in Spanish very easily. To do this, we only have to open the system preferences, enter the ” Language and region ” section, and change it from here.
We must add a new language by clicking on the “+” button that appears in the new configuration window that has appeared. macOS will ask us if we want to use this language as the default for the system. We say yes, and that’s it. Our system will automatically be in Spanish. Although we will have to restart the system for the changes to be applied correctly.
When macOS starts again , we will have it in perfect Spanish.
Install the VMware tools
Once we have macOS running in the virtual machine, and we have put it in Spanish, the next step will be to install the VMware Tools so that the program starts working. By default, VMware does not have its Tools section for macOS, although we can use them because, when using the Unlocker at the beginning, it would download the latest version of these tools to be able to install them and take full advantage of the macOS image.
To install them, the process is the same as in any other system. The first thing we will do will be to mount them from the VM menu of the virtual machine, choosing the option ” Install VMware Tools “.
In macOS we will see a drive similar to if we had inserted a CD into the reader. We double click on ” Install VMware Tools “, and we will follow the wizard that will appear until the end.
At some point we may get a macOS security warning that indicates that the system extension has been blocked. If this error message does not appear, then we should not worry, since the installation will finish itself.
If we encounter this error, what we must do is allow its execution manually. To do this, from the error message itself, we will open the macOS security and privacy panel, and allow the execution of this component.
Once this is done, we must re-run the VMware Tools installation wizard, and this time it will go smoothly to the end.
We restart macOS to complete the installation and voila. When you reboot the system we can see how many features already work correctly, and we can, among other things, change the resolution (screen size) of the virtual machine.
Create a snapshot in case something goes wrong
We already have our macOS installed and configured. From this moment we can start using it. However, we may be interested in creating a snapshot. These are like restore points at the virtual machine level. In this way, in case something goes wrong, or we break macOS, we can restore its operation simply by restoring the snapshot. This will save us having to repeat this whole process from scratch.
To do this, we will turn off the virtual machine and, once turned off, we will click with the right mouse button on it. In the menu that appears we will choose Snapshot > Take Snapshot.
We will give you the name we want and that’s it. We already have our macOS snapshot created in Windows 10.
If we ever want to restore the virtual machine to the current state (when we create the snapshot), what we must do is use the “Revert to Snapshot” option and restore it. All the changes we have made since then will be erased and, by magic, our macOS will be just as it was at the time of creating the Snapshot.
Upgrade to macOS “Catalina” from Windows 10, or install the latest versions of macOS
At this point we can already use macOS from Windows 10 in the virtual machine as if we had a Mac. But surely what scares us most is to install any update, both at the level of security patches and new versions. That’s right.
At first, nothing would have to happen to install the new versions of macOS in the virtual machine. We would only have to reinstall the VMware Tools when the new version is installed and that’s it. Same as if we update a VM with Windows 10 or Linux. However, if something goes wrong, we have the previous Snapshot. Simply restore it and everything will return to normal.
To update macOS to the latest version, what we need to do is access the App Store and search the ” macOS Catalina ” store. We will see the related results about this version of macOS. We enter the macOS Catalina file, click on “Get” or “Get”, and let the system search for only new versions and programs.
We will see the latest version of macOS available in the store. What we must do is click on ” Update now ” and arm ourselves with patience.
The update process may take a long time. What we have to do is wait until the new version has just been downloaded, installed in the virtual machine and that’s it. When it restarts, we will complete the initial configuration wizard of Catalina and, in a few more minutes, we will have the system ready to use it. It is recommended to reinstall the VMware Tools so that everything works perfectly.
We have already installed macOS on Windows and we have the latest version of Apple’s operating system. And all thanks to virtual machines. To enjoy this operating system and discover everything it offers us.