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Mac emulator for Windows

Which is the best Mac emulator for Windows? How to install a macOS virtual machine on PC? In this post, MiniTool Partition Wizard gives you a step-by-step guide on how to install a macOS virtual machine on PC via VMware.

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Best Mac Emulator for Windows

For many years, Mac and Windows PC have been two incompatible camps. Apple Mac series computers have always been niche products, and fewer people use them. In general, under the same configuration, Mac computers are almost twice as expensive as Windows computers.

However, comparing Windows PCs, the Mac PCs have a more beautiful design and are easier to use. If you don't want to buy an Apple computer but want to try this operating system, you can choose to either use hackintoshes or install a macOS virtual machine on Windows.

However, installing hackintoshes is very complicated. If your PC's specs are not very bad, installing a macOS virtual machine is recommended. Then, which is the best Mac emulator for Windows? Most people will choose between VirtualBox and VMware. I am of no exception.

At first, my choice is VirtualBox, because many people recommend using this software. I follow steps in these posts to install the macOS virtual machine, but the installation fails with no exception.

The reason may be that installing a macOS virtual machine on VirtualBox needs a file named "VirtualBox Boot.vmdk". I see this process in many videos but unfortunately many posts don't mention this step. In addition, if you want to get this file, you must download it from some posts that are some private websites full of ads. I don't like that, so I choose to try VMware.

Fortunately, my colleague in technical department has ever succeeded in installing a macOS virtual machine with VMware. Thanks to him, this post can be completed smoothly. So, in my mind, VMware is the best Mac emulator for Windows, although this judgment is a little subjective.

VMware vs VirtualBox, Which Is Better For You

Preparatory Work

To run Mac on Windows smoothly, you should make sure your PC meets the following requirements:

  • CPU: 4th Intel i5 or higher (if you AMD CPU, you will encounter more errors and bugs)
  • RAM: at least 8GB
  • Storage: more than 100 GB free space
  • OS: 64-bit Windows 7 or later

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If your PC doesn't meet the above system requirements, the macOS VM will freeze frequently. Then, you should get the following thing prepared:

  1. VMware software and unlocker file.
  2. A partition specialized for the macOS virtual machine (optional).
  3. A macOS image in .cdr format.

1. Install VMware and Download Unlocker

Both VMware Workstations Pro and VMware Workstation Player (the free version) are OK. You just need to install one of them. The installation process is very simple. You just need to download this software from its official website and install it normally. If you have VMware installed already, you can skip this step.

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Then, you need to download the unlocker file that is the key file making VMware allow you to install macOS virtual machine. The unlocker file is released on GitHub, an open-source project hosting platform. On this platform, the developer will publish the source code of the unlocker file. Therefore, in my mind, the unlocker file is reliable. Please follow the steps below:

Step 1: Go to the website: https://github.com/paolo-projects/unlocker and click Release. Then, download the latest unlocker.zip file.

download unlocker file

Step 2: Close VMware software. Then, right click blank area of the Taskbar and choose Task Manager. In the Processes tab, right-click and end any tasks related to VMware.

end any task related VMware

Step 3: Extract the unlocker.zip file. Open the extracted folder to find win-install.cmd file. Right click this file and choose Run as administrator. Then, this file will run to get some tools for VMware. All you need do is to wait for the window to shut down automatically.

run win-install.cmd file

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2. Make a Partition

This step is recommended, because the virtual machine file will become larger and larger. Placing all virtual machine files into one partition is in favor of centralized management. To make a partition, you can use the shrink volume feature in Disk Management. But MiniTool Partition Wizard can help you make a partition more easily.

Free Download

Step 1: Launch MiniTool Partition Wizard (free edition) and go to its main interface. Right click a partition and choose Move/Resize. This will open a window.

choose Move/Resize

Step 2: In the window, drag the arrow to resize the partition. If you drag the whole partition block, you can change the location of the partition. Through this way, you can make unallocated space on the location you want. Click the OK button to continue.

move or resize partition

Step 3: Right click the unallocated space and choose Create. Just keep everything in default and click the OK button.

create a partition

Step 4: Click Apply button to execute the pending operations.

click Apply button

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3. Get a MacOS Image in .cdr Format

Where to get macOS .cdr image? You can create it by yourself or download it online. If you want to create by yourself, here is the guide:

Step 1: Download a macOS installation package (for example, Install macOS Catalina. app) from the Apple Store into the apps directory.

Tip: All of these operations are performed in macOS system. Therefore, if you have no macOS product, downloading macOS .cdr image online directly is recommended.

Step 2: Open the terminal and perform the following commands:

  • hdiutil create -o /tmp/Install\ macOS\ Catalina -size 8300m -layout SPUD -fs HFS+J (* This command will create an empty .dmg disk image with a size of 8300m under /tmp The .dmg image should be at least 500M larger than the macOS app file. In addition, Install\ macOS\ Catalina is the name of the .dmg disk image, you can replace it accordingly.)
  • hdiutil attach /tmp/Install\ macOS\ Catalina.dmg -noverify -mountpoint /Volumes/Install\ macOS\ Catalina (* This command will mount the .dmg image that you created just now to directory /Volumes/Install\ macOS\ Catalina.)
  • sudo /Applications/Install\ macOS\ Catalina.app/Contents/Resources/createinstallmedia --volume /Volumes/Install\ macOS\ Catalina (* This command will write the macOS app file into the .dmg disk image you mounted just now. Then, you need to enter password and wait for the writing process to complete.)
  • hdiutil detach /Volumes/Install\ macOS\ Catalina (* This command will unmount .dmg disk image.)
  • hdiutil convert /tmp/Install\ macOS\ Catalina.dmg -format UDTO -o ~/Desktop/Install\ macOS\ Catalina (* This command will convert the .dmg image into .cdr image and save it into desktop with the name "Install\ macOS\ Catalina". Wait until the process to complete and then you can find the .cdr file on your desktop.)
  • rm /tmp/Install\ macOS\ Catalina.dmg (* This command will delete the .dmg image in the tmp folder to free up space.)
Note: Don't convert the .dmg image into .iso image with UltraISO or dmg2iso tool, because I read a post saying the converted iso file can't be read by VMware.

create a macOS .cdr image

How to Create a MacOS Virtual Machine with VMware

Now you can install Mac on Windows with VMware, the best Mac emulator for Windows. Here is the guide:

Step 1: Open VMware and click File > New Virtual Machine. Choose Typical and click Next.

Step 2: Choose Installer disc image file (iso) and click Browse. This will allow you to choose the macOS image file. But please note that you can see the .cdr image only if you modify the file type to All files. Then, click Next.

choose macOS .cdr image in VMware

Step 3: Choose Apple Mac OS X and pick the right version. Then, click Next.

Note: My VMware can only support macOS version up to 10.11. The reason may be that my VMware version is 12, not the latest version. If you want to install slightly newer macOS versions, please install more recent VMware versions.

choose macOS version

Step 4: Check the name and the location of the macOS virtual machine. Then, click Next. Specify disk capacity. Please make sure the max size is at least 40 GB and then click Next. Then, click Finish.

check location and specify disk size

Step 5: Go to VM > Settings. In the Virtual Machine Settings window, you can change the macOS hardware settings. I recommend you to change the Memory to at least 4GB, otherwise the macOS virtual machine will not run smoothly. Click OK to save changes.

customize VM settings

Step 6: Then, you need to modify the configuration file, otherwise you will get VMware unrecoverable error when booting the macOS. First, please navigate to the location of the macOS virtual machine in your PC. Right click the macOS virtual machine configuration file (.vmx) and open it with notepad.

open macOS vmx file with notepad

Step 7: In the notepad, scroll down to find the code line: smc.present = "TRUE". Under this code line, add the following code line: smc.version = "0". Then, save and exit. Now, you can start the macOS virtual machine and it should open smoothly.

add extra code line

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Step 8: Follow the on-screen wizard until you are asked to choose a disk for installing the macOS. In this case, go to Utilities > Disk Utility. Click the VMware Virtual SATA Hard Drive Media in the left panel and click Erase. Follow the wizard to rename and erase the disk. After completing this process, exit Utilities tool and choose the disk you just renamed to install macOS on it.

Step 9: Follow the wizard to customize settings and then you can use the macOS on your PC.

Do you want to run Mac on Windows? Installing hackintoshes on PC may be complicated. You can try using a Mac emulator for Windows. This post gives you a step-by-step guide on how to install a macOS virtual machine on Windows PC via VMware.Click to tweet

Bottom Line

Is this post useful to you? Have you encountered problem when following the above steps to install macOS virtual machine? Do you know other good Mac emulators for Windows? Please leave a comment in the following zone.

In addition, if you have difficulty in moving/resizing partition, please contact us via [email protected]. We will get back to you as soon as possible.

Mac Emulator for Windows FAQ

Can you emulate Mac on Windows?
Yes, you can. As I know, you can emulate Mac on Windows with VMware and VirtualBox. But to make the macOS run smoothly, your PC needs to meet some requirements.
Is it legal to run macOS on PC?
Apple doesn't authorize any end user to run Mac OS on non-Apple machines. It's illegal to install macOS on anything but a genuine Macintosh computer.
How do I emulate a Mac in Windows 10?
  1. Install VMware and download unlocker file from GitHub.
  2. Get a macOS image in .cdr format.
  3. Create a macOS virtual machine in VMware with the macOS image.
  4. Modify the macOS configuration file.
  5. Perform macOS installation process.
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