I previously wrote about converting your Windows PC to a virtual machine and installing a fresh copy of Windows in a virtual machine, but what if you have a Mac and want the same benefits from running OS X in a virtual machine?
As I mentioned earlier, running another copy of the operating system in a virtual machine can help you in two ways: protect your privacy and protect yourself from viruses / malware. Starting with OS X Lion (10.7), you can install an operating system on a virtual machine as many times as you want, as long as it is on the same hardware.
Therefore, if you have a MacBook Pro with OS X El Capitan installed, you can install as many copies of El Capitan on virtual machines on the same computer. In this article, I’ll walk you through how to install OS X using VMware Fusion. There is a free program called VirtualBox, but it has some drawbacks.
VMware Fusion is not free, but it has more features and is generally more powerful and easier to use than VirtualBox. VirtualBox requires the use of terminal commands to install OS X. In addition, it does not work correctly even with the latest version of OS X.
Note that there are two ways to install OS X on VMware fusion: download OS X from the App Store and use it to install, or use the recovery partition to reinstall OS X. I will explain both methods in this post. P>
Download OS X
You can install OS X Lion, Mountain Lion, Mavericks, Yosemite, or El Capitan in a virtual machine on your Mac. Before proceeding with the download method, you need to obtain a copy of the OS X installer from the App Store.
To do this, open the App Store and download your version of OS X. In my example, I’m using El Capitan, so that’s what I’ll download. It is listed on the right in the list of links.
Click the Download button and the installer application will be downloaded to the Applications folder in OS X. The download will be several GB in size, so the download may take some time.
Install OS X in VMware Fusion
Please note that you will need to install VMware Fusion 8 if you want to install El Capitan. You can always check the Compatibility Guide to see which operating systems are supported by different versions of VMware software. Just scroll through the Product Release Version list and select your version of VMware Fusion.
Now open VMware Fusion and click File and New to start creating a new virtual machine.
A window will appear where you can install from disk or image, or choose one of several other options.
Here we can go in two ways. If you downloaded OS X from the App Store, you will need to select Have Disk or Image. If you just want to use the recovery partition on your Mac, select Install OS X from the Recovery Partition.
Install from disk or image
Install from disk or image
Select this option and click Continue. Now you need to select a drive or image to proceed with the installation. Go ahead and click the “Use another disk or disk image” button at the bottom of the screen and navigate to the installation location of the OS X application, which should be in the Applications folder.
Click “Open” and it should appear in the list. Now you can select it and click “Continue” to start the installation.
The final screen of the wizard will give you a summary of all settings.
If everything is ok, click Finish to start the virtual machine. You will be prompted to save the virtual machine, give it a name and choose a location. Click Save and the virtual machine should start in a few minutes. Then you will see the Apple logo and a progress bar.
When finished, you will see a screen where you select your language. Click the arrow and you will see the OS X Utilities screen.
Select Install OS X and click Continue. The installation screen for your version of OS X appears. Click Continue to begin the installation.
Agree to the license agreement, and then select the hard drive you want to install OS X on. It must be Macintosh HD and the size you set for the virtual machine.
Click Install and OS X will be installed. The virtual machine will restart and you will see the Apple logo with a progress bar again. Once the installation is complete, OS X should boot and you can log into your desktop. Wow! This is a fairly long process, but quite simple.
Install from recovery partition
Install from recovery partition
If you choose the Install from Recovery Partition option, the procedure is much the same. First, it will load a screen that looks for a recovery partition, and if it finds one, it will display a dialog box to save your virtual machine. Give the virtual machine a name and location and click Save.
Then you will see the same Finish setup screen as shown above where it gives you a summary of the virtual machine settings. Click Finish and the virtual machine window will open.
Then the Apple logo appears with a progress bar. Again, you will see a screen where you need to select a language, and then the OS X utilities screen. The only difference here is that you choose “Reinstall OS X” instead of “Install OS X” as in the previous method.
You will now see the same OS X installation screen, so click the Install button to continue. However, for this method, you need to download OS X from Apple servers. Thus, you will receive a message that your eligibility for the program must be confirmed. Click “Continue”.
Accept the license agreement, and then select the hard drive you want to install OS X on. Click Install, which will open a screen that requires you to enter the Apple Store.
At this point, OS X will be loaded and it may take a while depending on your internet connection.
Once completed, the virtual machine will reboot and the Apple logo and progress bar will appear. OS X will install and you can log in after the installation is complete. Setting up OS X in a virtual machine is quite time consuming but works well.
After you finish and boot your virtual machine, you need to click on “Virtual Machine” and then “Install VMware Tools”. This will install the OS X virtual machine tools that allow you to increase the resolution to HD and make the virtual machine run smoother.
Hope this article helps you get OS X running properly in a virtual machine on your Mac. OS X can be installed on a PC, but it is illegal and much more complicated, especially with the latest versions of OS X. If you have any questions, feel free to comment. Enjoy!