Tip: before reading the rest of the article, it’s recommended to navigate to the Required File section of this post and download macOS Catalina 10.15 then you’ve time to read the item until the downloading gets complete.
Steps to Install macOS Catalina on VirtualBox on Windows
- Download macOS Catalina ISO
- Install VirtualBox on Windows PC
- Install & Update VirtualBox Extension
- Create a New Virtual Machine & Customize it
- Run VirtualBox Code via Command Prompt
- Start the Virtual Machine
- Create macOS Catalina Bootable Disk
- Perform a Clean Installation of macOS Catalina
Before we get started, make sure your system can support Virtualization Technology (VT), and it is enabled from BIOS so that you should be able to run Virtualization software like Virtualbox or VMware. Also, you should have a 64-bit Windows operating system with at least 2 GB RAM and 20 GB of free storage. We recommend you 4 GB of RAM or higher and more room so you can store more files and install more apps on macOS Catalina disk.
Furthermore, if you have an SSD, it’s highly recommended to use it as storage because SSD is much faster then mechanical hard drive (HDD) and macOS run on SSD very smooth. Anyway, it is not 100% compulsory but if you have don’t hesitate to use it.
Download the Prerequisites
All the necessary files are linked in the article below, and you should be able to download them without any issues.
- Download macOS Catalina ISO
- VirtualBox Code
- Virtualbox 6.1.10 Setup (Direct Link)
- Download Virtualbox 6.x Setup
- Download Virtualbox Extension
Step 1: Download macOS Catalina ISO
You’ve to download macOS Catalina ISO from the link provided. If you’ve not downloaded, you should download the macOS Catalina ISO image. We’ll be using the ISO image of macOS Catalina in this guide. Please read the guide step by step. If you miss any step, then the installation might not work. So read all the steps because all of them are important.
Recommendation: It’s highly recommended to create a new drive on your Windows PC and install macOS Catalina on a separate drive.
Step 2: Install VirtualBox on Windows PC
From the “Required File” section of this post, you should have downloaded VirtualBox and if you didn’t, download VirtualBox latest version and install it on your Windows system. If you’ve already installed VirtualBox, then you can skip this step. Other than that, follow the steps below.
- On the welcome Wizard page, click Next.
- Keep the default setting on the Custom Setup page and click Next.
- Again Click Next to accept the default options unless you want to change something.
- On the warning Network interface page, just click Yes to process with Virtualbox installation.
- Click the Install button to install VBox. Again click Yes if required.
- While installing VBox, you might a security warning about “Oracle Corporation”. You need to click Install on this page to process with the installation. If you click Don’t install, the installation process will be terminate here and you can’t go ahead. If you see the security warning again click the Install button.
- Finally, click Finish.
Step 3: Install & Update VirtualBox Extension
This step is not 100% necessary but it’s highly recommended to do this step because macOS Catalina might not be compatible with VirtualBox and for this reason, it might cause problems during the installation. Go to the Virtualbox download page. Under VirtualBox 6.1.10 Oracle VM VirtualBox Extension Pack section, click All supported platforms to download the latest version of Virtualbox Extension Pack.
Once you’ve downloaded the Extension pack. Now, Follow the steps below to update the Virtualbox extension pack.
- Open up VirtualBox, navigate to Tools>Pereferences>Extensions.
- Click on Plus (+) icon and select VirtualBox extension which you’ve downloaded at the beginning of this section. Click Install or Upgrade and then Agree to the terms and conditions. Click the OK button.
Finally, you should see something like the screenshot below.
Step 4: Create a New Virtual Machine & Customize it
Creating a virtual machine for macOS Catalina is kind of the same as you create a virtual machine for the Windows Operating system or Linux but with some minor changes. In this post, I’ll show those changes. Follow the steps below to create a new virtual machine for macOS Catalina using ISO file.
- Open up your VirtualBox application and click New.
- Click Expert Mode and select the following options then click Create.
- Type a suitable Virtual Machine Name.
- Virtual Machine Location (a separate drive is recommended).
- Type (Mac OS X).
- Version (Mac OS X 64-bit).
- Memory 4 GB (recommended 8 GB or higher).
- Hard Disk: Select Create a virtual disk now.
- On the create virtual hard disk window, choose the following options.
- Disk Location: The default location should be fine unless you want to change to a new location.
- File Size: You can specify the disk size here.
- Hard disk file type: Select VHD (Virtual Hard Disk) format.
- Storage on physical hard disk: Select the Dynamically allocated option. However, if you want to have a better performance disk then choose a fixed disk. Fixed disk, will allocate the specified size from your host machine immediately. Read more about the dynamic vs fixed-size disk.
- It’s time to edit the virtual machine to make it works. Select macOS Catalina VM and click on Settings. Now, bring the following changes to macOS Catalina VM.
- Under System>Motherboard, increase the Base Memory to 12281MB. However, you can use a bit lower memory if your system doesn’t have this much RAM.
- Uncheck Floppy from the Boot Order section.
- Under the Processor tab, increase the processors to 4 or higher.
- On the Display window, increase the Video Memory to 128MB.
- From the Storage section, click on the Empty>DVD icon. Click on Choose a disk file. You should select macOS Catalina ISO which you’ve downloaded from the “Required Files” section of this post. Finally, click OK to close the macOS Catalina Settings window.
Step 5: Run VirtualBox Code Via Command Prompt
Once you’ve created and customized your virtual machine, it’s time to run some codes in order to install macOS Catalina on VirtualBox.
First, you should notice your virtual machine name because later on, we will use it. Open the VirtualBox code which you should have downloaded from the Required File section of this post. If you’ve not downloaded doesn’t matter. Just use the following code.
Note: Before, you execute the code by command prompt. You should read the following steps.
cd "C:\Program Files\Oracle\VirtualBox\" VBoxManage.exe modifyvm "VM Name" --cpuidset 00000001 000106e5 00100800 0098e3fd bfebfbff VBoxManage setextradata "VM Name" "VBoxInternal/Devices/efi/0/Config/DmiSystemProduct" "iMac19,1" VBoxManage setextradata "VM Name" "VBoxInternal/Devices/efi/0/Config/DmiSystemVersion" "1.0" VBoxManage setextradata "VM Name" "VBoxInternal/Devices/efi/0/Config/DmiBoardProduct" "Mac-AA95B1DDAB278B95" VBoxManage setextradata "VM Name" "VBoxInternal/Devices/smc/0/Config/DeviceKey" "ourhardworkbythesewordsguardedpleasedontsteal(c)AppleComputerInc" VBoxManage setextradata "VM Name" "VBoxInternal/Devices/smc/0/Config/GetKeyFromRealSMC" 1
- When you opened VirtualBox code via notepad or any other text editor, use the replace function of the program to Replace the “VM Name” with your virtual machine name. See the picture below to get an idea of how to do it.
- Now, you’ve two choices. First, if you want to fix your macOS Catalina screen resolution in the first place. You should also execute the following code. You have to change “VM Name” with your virtual machine name and HxV with a screen resolution such as “1280×720“. For more supported screen resolution on VirtualBox and detailed guide, visit fix macOS Catalina screen resolution on VirtualBox.
Important Note: We highly recommend to quit the VirtualBox program before executing the code. If you don’t do it, your virtual machine might not proceed to the installation step.
VBoxManage setextradata "VM Name" VBoxInternal2/EfiGraphicsResolution HxV
- Once you replaced the “VM Name” with your virtual machine name, then run the code one by one via command prompt (CMD). You can open the command prompt by pressing the Windows+X key in Windows 10 and select Command Prompt from the list. Or simply press Windows key and type CMD. Click Run As Administrator and click Yes.
Step 6: Start the Virtual Machine
Starting macOS Catalina with the older version of the Mac Operating system was a bit different, but with new macOS Catalina still, it’s easy to set it up.
#1. Open the VirtualBox app then click the Start button. A black screen with a few yellow & white text will appear on the screen.
#2. Once you’ve started your virtual machine, you might have to choose which ISO to select. If you’ve attached only one ISO image. You probably not see the window below. Just make sure, you’re using the right macOS Catalina ISO.
Step 7: Create macOS Catalina Bootable Disk
- Once you start your VM, a whole bunch of code will run on the screen, but you should not be worried about it. Wait for a few minutes, and you should see the macOS Catalina Language window. Select your Language and click Continue arrow.
- Now, you’ll see macOS Utilities Window. From the list, select Disk Utility and click Continue.
- Select your main VHD Disk and click the Erase button. Choose the following options and again click Erase.
- Name: Catalina Disk (You can type any name you want)
- Format: APFS (If you get an error, select Mac OS X Extended Journaled)
- Scheme: GUID Partition MAP
- Now, close the Disk Utility window.
- From macOS Utilities, select Install macOS and click Continue.
- Click Continue on Install macOS Catalina screen.
- Agree to the macOS Catalina License agreement.
- Select macOS Catalina Disk and click Install.
- Now, wait for 3 minutes and your VM will restart. macOS Catalina will be installed on your Disk. Next, you should not do anything. You’ll see another 29 minutes installation window.
Step 8: Perform a Clean Installation of macOS Catalina
- Once you’ve passed the step #9. You’ll see the macOS Catalina Welcome window. Select the following options. You can change most of the settings later on, so don’t worry about it for now.
- Select your Country and click Continue.
- Choose a Keyboard Layout and click Continue. If you’re not happy with default settings, you can customize the Settings.
- On the “Data & Privacy” window, click Continue.
- Select Don’t transfer any information now.
- Click on Set Up Later then Don’t Sign In. Click Skip. You can add your Apple ID later.
- Click Agree to the Terms and Conditions and click Continue.
- Fill out the Full name, Account name, Password, and Hint then click Continue.
- If you want to customize Express Set Up, you can click on Customize Settings otherwise click on Continue.
- On the Analytics window, click Continue.
- On-Screen Time, click Set up Later.
- Do not set up Siri for now. Just skip it.
- Select an appearance theme and click Continue. You can choose between dark mode or light and Auto mode.
- Wait a few seconds that your macOS should be set up.
- Close Feedback Assistant for now and close mouse & keyboard window.
- Well done 👌 you’ve successfully installed macOS Catalina on VirtualBox using the ISO image.
Related: If you want to install macOS Catalina using VMDK file then visit “how to install macOS Catalina on VirtualBox on Windows using VMDK”.
Fix Common Errors
The issue regarding “[EB|#LOG:EXITBS:START] (AND CURRENT DATE/TIME)”. Use the command below.
VBoxManage modifyvm “VM Name” --cpu-profile “Intel Xeon X5482 3.20GHz”
Please comment your problem and solution if you’ve then we will add in this section for other visitors.
Basically, in this article, I’ve shown you the step by step pictorial guide on how to install macOS Catalina on VirtualBox on a Windows computer. After reading and following this guide, you should have done the following;
- Download macOS Catalina ISO
- Install VirtualBox on Windows
- Installed & upgraded VirtualBox extension
- Created a new virtual machine for macOS Catalina
- Customized macOS Catalina VM
- Executed the VirtualBox code via CMD
- Start the Virtual Machine
- Create macOS Catalina Bootable Disk
- And finally performed a clean installation of macOS Catalina.
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