The right way to Run macOS on Home windows 10 in a Digital Machine

Windows 10 is a great operating system. It has its quirks and annoyances, but which operating system doesn't? Even if you're committed to Microsoft and Windows 10, you can still look around.

macos-windows-10-hackintosh

What better way to do this than from the safe confines of your existing operating system with a virtual machine? This is how you can run macOS on Windows. This is ideal if you only want to use Mac apps on Windows.

Here's how to install macOS in a Windows virtual machine and create a virtual hackintosh that lets you run Apple apps from your Windows computer.

What files do you need to create a macOS virtual machine on Windows 10?

Before going into the "how-to" you need to download and install the essential tools. The tutorial describes how to create with both macOS machines Oracle VirtualBox Manager (VirtualBox) and VMware Workstation Player (VMware Player).

Not sure which one to use? Learn more about the differences between VirtualBox and VMware.

virtualbox-vmware

You'll also need a copy of macOS. Catalina is the latest version of macOS. The download links for macOS Catalina can be found 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 don't have access to AMD hardware, so I can't provide a tutorial.

However, there is the code snippet that anyone using an AMD system needs to start a macOS Catalina with VMware on AMD hardware.

The process of starting the macOS Catalina virtual machine is the same as the Intel version, but uses a slightly different code snippet. The tutorial and code snippet can be found in the section below.

In addition, at the end of the article you will find links to various tutorials for AMD macOS Catalina, Mojave and High Sierra virtual machines.

Download the macOS Catalina virtual image

Use the download links below to download macOS Catalina for VirtualBox and VMware.

If the Google Drive download limit is reached while downloading the image file for the macOS Catalina Virtual Machine, right-click the file and select Copy to make a copy in your own Google Drive. You can then download the macOS Catalina virtual image from there.

You can also use the alternate link in Mediafire if the problem with Google Drive persists.

After the virtual image has finished downloading, right click and extract the file using your preferred archive tool. For example, right-click and then select 7-Zip> Extract from "macOS Catalina".

Please note that these links stop working from time to time. If that's the case, Please leave a comment and i will fix them asap.

Download: MacOS Catalina virtual machine image

(Alternatively, you can use this Mediafire mirror.)

Download: VMware Player Patch Tool

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 contains fixes for USB 3.0 support, mouse and keyboard support, and other useful VirtualBox patches.

Download: VirtualBox Extension Pack for Windows (free)

Scroll down and select All supported platforms Double click to download to install.

Create the macOS Catalina virtual machine

Open VirtualBox. Choose New. Art Mac OS.

VirtualBox detects the operating system as you type and uses Mac OS X by default. You can leave this as it is.

Make the virtual machine name a memorable yet easy-to-type object. You have to enter this name on a series of commands and it is frustrating to enter a complicated name multiple times!

macos Catalina Virtualbox

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 of the host system, the better your experience will be.

Remember, you cannot allocate 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 a system needs?

Now you need to assign a disk which is the virtual image you downloaded earlier. Choose Use an existing virtual disk fileThen select the folder icon. Navigate to the VMDK file and select Create.

macos Catalina Virtualbox assign vmdk

Edit the settings for the macOS Catalina virtual machine

Do not try to start your macOS Catalina virtual machine yet. Before starting the virtual machine, you need to make some changes to the settings. Right-click your macOS virtual machine and select the settings.

Under system, remove Floppy from the starting order. Make sure the Chipset is set to I9.

MacOS Virtual Machine Set RAM

Choose processor Tab. Assign two processors. If you have a power-hungry CPU (e.g. an Intel Core i7 or i9 with multiple additional cores) you should allocate more. However, this is not absolutely necessary.

Make sure, that Activate PAE / NX Check box is activated.

macos virtual machine set processors

Under display, to adjust Video memory up to 128 MB.

macos virtual machine set video memory

Well under campCheck the box next to it Use the host I / O cache.

Finally go to the USB Tab and select USB 3.0, then press OK.

Use the command prompt to add custom code to VirtualBox

It's not time to start your macOS Catalina virtual machine. In the current configuration, VirtualBox does not work with your macOS VMDK.

To get it working, you essentially need to patch VirtualBox before the macOS virtual machine will work. To do this, you need to enter a code at the command prompt. All the details are below.

First, close VirtualBox. The commands will not execute properly when VirtualBox or any of its associated processes are running.

Once closed, press Windows key + X., then choose Command Prompt (Admin) from the menu.

If you only see PowerShell on your menu, enter command in your start menu search bar. Then right-click the best match and select Execute as administrator.

The following code works for VirtualBox 5.x and 6.x.

Use the following command to find the Oracle VirtualBox directory:

cd "C: Program Files Oracle VirtualBox "

Now enter the following commands one after the other. Adapt the command to the name of your virtual machine. For example, my name for the virtual machine is "

Macoscat

"Here are the commands:

VBoxManage.exe modifyvm "macoscat" –cpuidset 00000001 000106e5 00100800 0098e3fd bfebfbff
VBoxManage setextradata "macoscat" "VBoxInternal / Devices / efi / 0 / Config / DmiSystemProduct" "iMac11,3"
VBoxManage setextradata "macoscat" "VBoxInternal / Devices / efi / 0 / Config / DmiSystemVersion" "1.0"
VBoxManage setextradata "macoscat" "VBoxInternal / Devices / efi / 0 / Config / DmiBoardProduct" "Iloveapple"
VBoxManage setextradata "macoscat" "VBoxInternal / Devices / smc / 0 / Config / DeviceKey" "our hard work through these words
VBoxManage setextradata "macoscat" "VBoxInternal / Devices / smc / 0 / Config / GetKeyFromRealSMC" 1

After running the commands and assuming that there were no errors, close the command prompt.

macos Catalina command prompt virtualbox

Start your macOS Mojave virtual machine

Open the VirtualBox again. Double-click your macOS virtual machine to start it. You will see a long stream of text followed by a gray screen.

It may take a moment or two for the gray screen to clear, but don't panic. Once the screen is cleared, macOS Catalina installation begins. When it is resolved, you will be taken to the macOS splash screen.

Macos Catalina Virtualbox virtual machine

From here, you can set up your macOS Mojave virtual machine however you want.

Pro tip: Take a snapshot of your virtual machine as soon as it passes the gray screen. If something goes wrong later, you can go back to the splash screen setup and start the process again.

When you're done macOS setup, take another one so you can jump straight into your macOS installation. Go to Machine> take a snapshotGive your snapshot a name and wait for it to be processed.

How to create a macOS Catalina virtual machine using VMware Workstation Player

Do you prefer VMware over VirtualBox? You can create a macOS Catalina virtual machine with VMware that works just like VirtualBox. And just like VirtualBox, VMware must patch before the macOS Catalina virtual machine works.

This part of the tutorial works for Intel and AMD systems. AMD users must use the second code fragment when editing the virtual machine's VMX file. Read through the tutorial to see what this exactly means.

Patch VMware Workstation Player

In the section "macOS Catalina Virtual Image" is the VMware Player Patch Tool. Download the patch tool before proceeding.

Then navigate to the location where you downloaded the patch tool. Extract the contents of the archive. This process works best when the folders are on the same drive (for example, both the VMware root folder and the extracted archive are on the C: drive).

Make sure VMware is completely closed. Now right click in the Patcher folder Win-Install Select command script and Execute as administrator. The script opens a command prompt window and the patch script runs.

Watch out. The script whizzes by and you have to go to all of them "file not found" Messages.

The most common reason for the "File not found" or "System cannot find the file specified" message is to install VMware Workstation Player in a location other than the default folder and to apply the patch from a different location.

After the patch is complete, you can open VMware.

Create the macOS Catalina virtual machine with VMware

Choose Create a new virtual machine. Choose I will install the operating system later.

Now choose 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 was not installed correctly.

MacOS Virtual Machine VMware choose OS

Next, you'll need to choose a name for your macOS Catalina virtual machine. Choose something that is easy to remember and copy the file path to a convenient location. You'll need it to make some changes in a moment.

On the next screen, stick to the suggested maximum hard drive size, then choose Save virtual hard disk as a single file. Complete the Virtual Disk Creation wizard, but do not start the virtual machine yet.

Edit the settings for the macOS Mojave virtual machine

Before you can start the virtual machine, you must edit the hardware specifications. You also need to tell VMware where the macOS VMDK is located.

In the main VMware screen, select your macOS Catalina virtual machine, right click and select the settings.

As with VirtualBox, increase the memory of the virtual machine to at least 4 GB. You can allocate more when you have RAM available.

MacOS Virtual Machine VMware choose RAM

Under ProcessorsEdit the number of available cores to 2.

Well under Hard disk (SATA)you need to remove the hard drive you created earlier. Choose Remove and VMware will automatically remove the hard drive.

Now choose Add> Hard Drive> SATA (Recommended) > Use an existing hard drive. Navigate 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 contains the final changes you need to make before turning on your VMware macOS Catalina virtual machine!

Close VMware. Go to the location where you saved the macOS virtual machine. The default location is:

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

Navigate to macOS.vmx, right click and select Open with…Choose Notepad (or your preferred text editor). Scroll to the bottom of the configuration file and add the following line:

smc.version = "0"

save up, then quit.

You can now open VMware, select your macOS Mojave virtual machine, and start!

Edit the macOS Catalina VMX file for AMD hardware

This section is for AMD users. As in the section above, AMD users will also need to edit the VMX file before proceeding. The AMD edit is a few lines more than the Intel version, but you can copy and paste the data into the file.

Close VMware. Go to the location where you saved the macOS virtual machine. The default location is:

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

Navigate to macOS.vmx, right click and select Open with…Choose Notepad (or your preferred text editor). Scroll to the bottom of the configuration file and add the following lines:

smc.version = "0"

cpuid.0.eax = "0000: 0000: 0000: 0000: 0000: 0000: 0000: 1011"

cpuid.0.ebx = "0111: 0101: 0110: 1110: 0110: 0101: 0100: 0111"

cpuid.0.ecx = "0110: 1100: 0110: 0101: 0111: 0100: 0110: 1110"

cpuid.0.edx = "0100: 1001: 0110: 0101: 0110: 1110: 0110: 1001"

cpuid.1.eax = "0000: 0000: 0000: 0001: 0000: 0110: 0111: 0001"

cpuid.1.ebx = "0000: 0010: 0000: 0001: 0000: 1000: 0000: 0000"

cpuid.1.ecx = "1000: 0010: 1001: 1000: 0010: 0010: 0000: 0011"

cpuid.1.edx = "0000: 1111: 1010: 1011: 1111: 1011: 1111: 1111"

save up, then quit.

You can now open VMware, select your macOS Mojave virtual machine, and start!

Install VMware Tools on your macOS Catalina virtual machine

You now need to install VMware Tools, a suite of utilities and enhancements that improve mouse handling, video performance, and other useful things.

With the macOS virtual machine running, go to Player> Manage> Install VMware Tools.

The digavsc installation is displayed on the macOS desktop. When the option appears, select Install the VMware ToolsThen allow access to the removable medium. Follow the instructions of the installer, which will require a restart when finished.

vmware player install vmware tools

Troubleshooting

A few things can go wrong when installing the macOS virtual machine in VMware Player Workstation.

  1. If Apple Mac OS X does not appear during the virtual machine creation wizard, you will need to patch again. Make sure that all processes associated with VMware Player are disabled.

  2. If the message "Mac OS X is not supported for binary translation" appears when starting the virtual machine, there is a high possibility that you need to enable virtualization in your BIOS / UEFI configuration.

  3. If you get a "VMware Player Unrecoverable Error: (vcpu-0)" message when starting the virtual machine, you will need to return to the macOS.vmx configuration file to make sure you added the extra line and saved your edit.

  4. If you are using AMD hardware and are stuck on the Apple logo, turn off the virtual machine first. Now go to Settings> Options> General. Change that Guest operating system to Microsoft Windowsand the version too Windows 10 x64. Press OK, and then try powering on the virtual machine again. Once the Apple logo is over, power off the virtual machine and set the Guest Operating System option back to Apple Mac OS X and select the correct version.

macOS Virtual Machines for AMD hardware

Apple uses Intel hardware to power desktops and laptops. Configuring a macOS virtual machine with Intel hardware is easier because the hardware specifications are very similar.

The opposite is the case with AMD. Because Apple does not develop macOS on AMD hardware, creating a macOS virtual machine on an AMD system is more difficult.

Also, I don't have an AMD system for testing macOS virtual machines so I can't give you a detailed tutorial. However, I can point you to several working tutorials for macOS AMD virtual machines that will work as long as you are patient and follow each step appropriately.

  • Mojave AMD Vanilla Guide From Windows through AMD OS X.

  • High Sierra 10.13.1 VM for VMware Player for Ryzen / FX / APU over AMD OS X.

  • Mojave AMD VirtualBox over AMD OS X.

The AMD OS X forum is a great resource for macOS virtual machines. You can also find many more forum threads about AMD macOS virtual machines.

MacOS Catalina virtual machine installation completed

You have two choices for your macOS Catalina virtual machine. Both options are great if you want to try macOS before switching from Windows and want to take advantage of some of the best Apple apps on offer.

You can use a virtual machine to test other operating systems as well. For example, here's how to install a Linux distribution in a virtual machine.

Would you like to learn more about virtual machines?

Check out our VirtualBox User Guide for everything you need to know or our guide on creating a virtual machine on Windows 10 Hyper-V.

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About the author

Gavin Phillips
(605 articles published)

Gavin is the junior editor for Windows and Technology Explained, contributing regularly to the Really Useful Podcast, and was the editor for MakeUseOf's crypto-focused sister site Blocks Decoded. He has a BA (Hons) in Contemporary Writing Using Digital Art Practices Looted from the Devon Hills, as well as over a decade of writing experience. He enjoys plenty of tea, board games, and soccer.

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