Install Windows on Mac Virtual Machine, Free Virtual Machine – Mac Tutorials

Installing Windows on a Mac seems unnecessary. However, sometimes a user needs certain applications for which Windows needs to be installed. The best way to launch Windows applications on a Mac is to use a Virtual Machine. A virtual machine is an application that imitates a computer, making it possible to launch certain applications in an operating system that commonly do not support these applications, Windows software applications on a Mac computer.

In this article, I’m using free virtual machine software on a Mac. There is very good virtual machine software for a Mac, such as Parallels for Mac and VMWare Fusion. However, in this tutorial, I choose VirtualBox, a completely free alternative to paid Virtual Machine software on a Mac. Do not forget you need a legit Windows iso file to install Windows on your Mac.

Install Windows on Mac for free

The first thing to do is download VirtualBox to your Mac. Open the VirtualBox download webpage, search for “OSX Hosts” and download the latest build to your Mac. Open the disk image file on your Mac.

install virtual machine virtualbox mac

Double click the VirtualBox.pkg file.

install virtual machine mac

Click Continue to install VirtualBox on your Mac.

install virtualbox mac

Once again, confirm with Continue.

virtualbox mac install

VirtualBox takes around 183MB of hard drive space on your Mac, if you would like to change Install location you can do so from here. However, not recommend. Click install to continue VirtualBox installation.

virtualbox administrator authentication

VirtualBox needs to install new software, you need administrator permissions for these operations.
Click the TouchID button on your Mac, or enter administrator credentials to continue VirtualBox installation.

mac virtualbox installing

Wait for VirtualBox to finish the installation.

virtualbox mac installation completed

Installation is completed, click the Close button.

move installer virtualbox

Move the Virtualbox installation file to trash or keep it, you might need it if you want to uninstall VirtualBox. In the disk image is also a uninstall VirtualBox script.

Launch Virtualbox on Mac

Open the applications folder on your Mac, and double-click Virtualbox. You also open Virtualbox with Spotlight, press command ⌘ + Spacebar and type Virtualbox. Launch Virtualbox from the Spotlight results.

virtualbox manager

you are presented with the Virtualbox manager, the virtual manager displays the VirtualBox virtual machine’s that are available to start. However, first, you need to create a new virtual machine, click the New button in the top left.

virtual machine name

Give the virtual machine a name, make sure you identify the Windows version from the name. In the type field, select Microsoft Windows, version depends on the x64 or x86 architecture virtual machine you are trying to install. If you have a Windows 7, Windows 8, or Windows 10 x64 version, select Windows (64-bit). Otherwise, expand the list and search for the Windows version and architecture you are trying to install. Click Continue.

virtualbox memory size

Select the amount of memory (RAM) you want to give to the virtual machine. Everything in the green color is safe to provide to the virtual machine. Virtualbox will recommend a specific amount depending on the Windows version you selected in the previous step. Windows 10, 2048MB is recommended. Click Continue.

virtualbox add hard disk

I recommend to use the Create a virtual hard disk now and leave the disk size at 50GB. If you need more space you can change this later.
Click the Create button to continue.

virtualbox create vdi disk image

Recommended to leave the hard disk file type to VDI (VirtualBox Disk Image). This means the virtual machine is only available for VirtualBox and cannot be used with other virtualization software. Click Continue.

virtualbox hard disk storage type

Leave this configuration on Dynamically allocated, as the Fixed Size is faster you do not want to allocate space you don’t use, right? Otherwise, choose Fixed Size.
Click Continue.

virtualbox file location and size

Enter a name for the virtual hard drive file or leave to default. We set the virtual hard disk space to 50GB, click Create to continue.

virtualbox manager vm main

The virtual machine file is now created but not yet ready for use. Select the virtual machine from the VirtualBox manager and click Settings.

virtual machine storage device add iso

In the virtual machine settings, click the Storage tab, select the Empty device.
In the Optical Drive settings, next to SATA port 1, click the disk icon and open Choose Virtual Optical Disk File.

virtualbox iso file

Find the ISO file you are using to install Windows on Mac with VirtualBox. Click Open to select the ISO file.
Close the storage tab with OK, VirtualBox will save the settings.

There are some additional settings you can change, depending on what you want to do with Windows once it is installed. I do recommend to add another (2) CPU’s to Windows, by default VirtualBox allocates 1 CPU to the virtual machine, this might cause performance issues. Also, for extra security for Windows 8 or Windows 10 enable the checkbox “Enable PEA/NX”.

virtualbox add cpu to virtual machine

In the acceleration tab, you could change the Paravirtualization interface to Legacy, instead of Default. You might want to change this to Legacy if you want to launch applications within the virtual machine that use the CPUID detection to prevent apps from launching in a virtual machine. The Paravirtualization interface – Legacy setting could mislead some virtual machine detections. If you don’t know what this all means, leave the configuration to default.

virtualbox Paravirtualization interface legacy

Click OK to save the virtual machine configuration. In the virtual machine manager, click the virtual machine and press the start button to launch Windows on your Mac with VirtualBox, a free awesome virtual machine software application.

start windows virtualbox - virtual machine mac

Install Windows on your Mac with VirtualBox as you wish. The installation of Windows is the same as on every other device.

install windows virtual machine mac

After you have installed Windows, I do recommend to take a snapshot. The snapshot is a backup of the current state of your virtual machine, this allows you to revert to the snapshot in case of problems occur in the virtual machine. When the virtual machine is running, click Machine from the VirtualBox menu (or press Left command ⌘ + T) to take a snapshot.

virtual machine take snapshot

Give the virtual machine snapshot a recognizable name. In the snapshot description field, you can provide some additional information for yourself or someone else about the virtual machine snapshot. Click OK to save the snapshot.

virtualbox snapshot name and description

Now you have created a virtual machine snapshot with VirtualBox, how do you restore the snapshot?
In the Virtual Machine Manager, click the arrow down in the Machine tools menu. Open Snapshots from the menu.

restore virtual machine snapshot

In the snapshots manager, click the name of the snapshot you took before. Click the Restore button.

virtualbox restore snapshot

VirtualBox will ask you to take a snapshot of the current state of the virtual machine. If you would like to create a snapshot of the current state leave the checkbox enabled, otherwise uncheck the checkbox and click Restore. You might not want to create a snapshot of the current state if the virtual machine is damaged, it’s a waste of hard disk space.

restore snapshot virtual machine

Start the Virtual machine to restore Windows. I hope this article has helped you with the installation and basic use of VirtualBox to launch Windows on a Mac. Leave a comment or ask your question in the comments. Thank you!


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