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Running Mac OS X on Windows VMware Workstation

DISCLAIMER: This post doesn’t express any warranties. It is provided as-is and you are proceeding at your own risk taking into consideration all license and legal ramifications. This post is meant to show you what is possible to do, not whether or not it is legal or allowed to be done.

Sometimes you just need the ability to test an Operating System.  For these purposes this blog post will show you how to run Mac OS X 10.8 in VMware Workstation for the purpose of testing Mac management with System Center 2012 Configuration Manager.  As a consultant,, I travel constantly, I can’t exactly carry around a Mac mini in my laptop bag, well I probably could but I have no desire to.  I already ditched my heavy laptop for an Ultrabook, rather than my previous Lenovo W520 that had a power supply I could crush most small rodents with.

There are numerous posts with various bits of information, but didn’t see one comprehensive guide. I’ve also seen pre-created VM’s that you can download and import into VMware Workstation, but I prefer to have my own clean VM that I built and don’t need to worry about where it came from. Call me crazy..

Files you will need:

Step 1: Install VMware Workstation on your machine.

Note that you cannot have Hyper-V and VMware Workstation installed on the same box 🙂

Step 2: Run VMware Unlocker 1.1.0.

1) Extract out VMware Unlocker.

2) Run the install.bat that is in the \windows folder. This will configure VMware Workstation to support Mac OS X.

3) You should now see Apple Mac OS X listed in the New Virtual Machine Wizard.


4) Create a new Virtual Machine for Mac OS X 10.8, Mac OS X will need a minimum of 2GB of RAM.

Step 3: Use 7Zip or a similar program to extract out the InstallESD.dmg from the Mac OS X 10.8 installation DVD.

Step 4: Using the dmg2img program, create a ISO of the Mac OS X install.

Example command line:

dmg2im -I "path\installesd.dmg" -o "path\macosxsetup.iso"


MacOSXSetup.iso successfully created.


Step 5: Extract out the to get the darwin.iso from under \payload.


Step 6: Mount the newly created MacOSXSetup.iso with the VMware Workstation VM.


Step 7: Start the VM and launch the Mac OS X Setup from the ISO we created.


1) Select the Disk Utility so we can format the drive before installing the OS


2) Select the disk and then select Erase, the format should be Mac OS Extended Journaled.


3) Select Erase on the prompt.


4) Close the Disk Utility and Select Reinstall OS X.


5) Select Continue.


6) Select Agree.


7) Select the disk and then Install.


8) Installation will start.


All installed!


9) You’ll have to continue through some additional setup and personalization and create your account.


Finally done and we can see our desktop!


Step 8: Install VMware tools.

1) Mount the darwin.iso to the VM, a restart might be required to get it to properly show up in the VM.

2) In order to see the icons on the desktop, go into Finder Preferences, and check the Hard Disks, External Disks, CD/DVD, and Connected Servers boxes.


3) You should now be able to see the VMWare tools DVD.


4) Double-click the VMware Tools DVD.  Double-Click Install VMware Tools.


5) Click Continue.


6) Click Continue.

7) Click Install.

8) Enter your password to install the software.


9) Select Continue Installation.

10) Restart upon completion.


After the reboot, you should see functional VMware tools. The window should resize etc. per standard VMware tools.

Step 9: Take a Snapshot!

It’s a good idea to have a clean slate to revert to if needed.

Step 10: Enjoy!


Dear VMware Workstation, Please Let Me Into The BIOS, I Just Want To Change The Boot Order

One of the frustrating things with VMware Workstation can be trying to get into the BIOS to change the boot order.  Unless you have mad, click, F2 skills, it’s pretty easy to miss the BIOS prompt in the millisecond it actually displays.  By default you can PXE boot a VM the first time, but after an OS is installed, you will have to change the boot order to be able to PXE boot again, or if you want to have the CD-ROM boot first.

Thanks to Paul Newton for the following tips:

To Increase the boot delay, edit your .vmx file and add the line:

bios.bootDelay = "5000"

This will add a 5000 millisecond (5 second) delay to the boot.

Or you can add:

bios.forceSetupOnce = "TRUE"

To make the VM enter the BIOS setup at the next boot.

Hope that helps,



VMware workstation, installing ESX Server or other virtual in virtual situations

Ok, so there are a number of reasons why you shouldn’t do this, however, it does have it’s purposes as well.

Proceed at your own risk and keep in mind performance might not be the best.  I use it for testing mainly. You can use some of the information below to either install a test ESX environment inside VMware workstation on your physical machine, or you can also attempt to install VMware workstation inside a ESX based host.

Getting around Installation errors 

So if you try to run either the vmware workstation or vmware server install, you will receive the following error message.


Well i say “boo” to that because i want to test a few things, and sometimes a virtual machine is just an easier/better way to test things.

First we need to extract out our main .exe and create an administrative install we can work with.  You can do this using the /a command and then specifying the directory to install:

image image

Once you have your install, you will need to install Orca from the SDK if you don’t already have it, found here:

Once you have Orca installed, you will want to right click on the MSI and click edit with Orca:


Once inside Orca, you will want to browse to the InstallUISequence Table:


Once there, find the VM_CheckVM action:


We want to delete this row:


Then we want to save and exit:



Now the next time you run the setup, you will be able to install either vmware workstation or vmware server on your ESX based virtual machine.

Setting the CPU on the virtual machine

It is recommended that set the CPU on the virtual machine to Intel-VT or AMD-VT

Picking the OS for the virtual machine (creation wizard)

I’ve seen recommendations for picking Red Hat Linux for your OS in the template, but i haven’t verified that is a “must”.

 Editing .vmx files

Once you have vmware workstation installed, you will have to modify your virtual machine after you create it in order to power on the vm.

Open the new virtual machine’s .VMX file in a text editor and make sure the following lines are present for each connected Ethernet adapter. ethernet0.present = “TRUE”

    ethernet0.virtualDev = “e1000”

    ethernet0.connectionType = “bridged”

    ethernet0.addressType = “generated”

You’ll need to add the following lines in the .VMX file in your “host” VM (modify the ESX .vmx if your host is on ESX) and your VMware Workstation .vmx if you are installing ESX inside of VMware workstation:

For Intel-based CPUs:

monitor_control.restrict_backdoor = “TRUE”
monitor_control.vt32 = “TRUE”

If the processor is AMD-based, replace the line monitor_control.vt32 = “TRUE” with monitor_control.enable_svm = “TRUE”