Even if you’re a Windows fan, you’ve probably thought about trying OS X. Maybe you’d like to test drive OS X before switching to a Mac or building a Hackintosh, or maybe you just want to run one killer OS X app on your Windows machine. Whatever your reason, you can actually install and run OS X on any Intel-based Windows PC with a program called VirtualBox. Here’s how.
You need a Windows computer to run Mac OS X on Windows (of course). The “System Type” of your windows copy needs to be 64-bit because OS X Mountain Lion is a 64-bit operating system. If you have a 32-bit copy of Windows, you can only install Mac OS X Snow Leopard in Virtualbox. You will need at least 4 GB of RAM and a dual-core processor (two cores) or better. Personally, the computer I was using for this had a 4-core processor and 12 GB of RAM, which is much more than enough. You also need about 10 GB of unused hard drive space.
Right-click “My Computer “ on the desktop and click “properties” to check the statistics on your computer. If you do not directly tell how many cores your processor has, look for the model of your processor on Wikipedia or Google. You also want to find out whether your processor is made by “Intel” or “AMD”. Computers with AMD processors will not work with Mountain Lion.
• Virtualbox: This virtualization package is free although it does not officially support Mac OS X, it works quite well.
• iAtkos ML2: Unfortunately, the standard method for installing OS X Mountain Lion on PCs (which uses a paid copy of the Mountain Lion installer) does not work with Virtualbox. Instead, you’ll have to distribute it like iAtkos, which is currently the most popular distro in Mountain Lion. I will not go into details, but you can download these copies from any BitTorrent site using a BitTorrent client (it’s a .dmg file that is about 5 GB in size).
• Multibeast 4.6.1: You will need to use Multibeast 4.6.1, our favorite Hackintoshpost-installation tool, to configure the Mountain Lion virtual machine after the initial installation. Although Multibeast 4.6.1 is an older version designed for Mac OS X Lion instead of Mountain Lion, in our case, it actually works better than the newer versions of Multibeast. Registration is required on the tonymacx86 site for download.
Step 1: Preparation
Download Virtualbox, install and open it. Also, if you want to view USB devices from your OS X Mountain Lion virtual machine, download the Virtualbox extension package and run it before going to Step 2.
Step 2: Create a new virtual machine
Virtualbox lets you run Mac OS X on Windows by creating a virtual machine, which is a program that simulates a normal computer. To create a virtual machine, open Virtualbox and click “New” in the upper left corner. Give your new virtual machine a name and choose “Mac OS X” for OS Type.
If your version of Virtualbox requires you to choose between 64-bit and 32-bit, choose 64-bit. Choosing 32 bits will result in a critical “Guru Meditation” error later.
I recommend assigning 4 GB of RAM to the virtual machine, but you can only allocate 2 GB of RAM. Every time you turn on Mac OS X, that RAM you assign here will be used to run the virtual machine. The RAM will be returned to your normal computer after you shut down VirtualBox.
You will need to create a new hard disk for the virtual machine. VirtualBox will ask you which type of disc you want to create: VDI, VDMK or VHD. VDI is the original format of Virtualbox, while VDMK is the format used by VMWare. If you are considering purchasing a copy of VMWare, you may want to choose VDMK. Otherwise, just choose VDI. I recommend creating a dynamically expandable disk; the only other option, the fixed size storage, will consume your hard drive.
Step 3: Give your new virtual machine on operating system
Your virtual machine will now be created. But do not stop now – you still need to change some settings before your machine actually works. Your new virtual machine will appear in the left column of the Virtualbox home page. Select your Mac OS X virtual machine (single click) on the Virtualbox homepage and open the virtual machine settings. When the settings are opened, go to “System” and uncheck the “Enable EFI” box. This is by far the most important individual setting you will need to change.
EFI, which stands for Extended Firmware Interface, is a feature that helps bootstrap operating systems. Unfortunately, Mac OSX requires ‘special’ EFIs, so the EFI that Virtualbox uses does not work.
After that, go to the “Storage” settings. In the storage tree box, you will see a CD icon named “Empty”. Click on it and click “Choose a virtual CD/DVD disk file”. In the window that appears, choose the .dmg file for iAtkos ML2.
That way, when your virtual machine is started for the first time, it will be initialized in iAtkos.
Step 4: Install OS X Mountain Lion
Start your virtual machine. You will reach the iAtkos startup screen, with a CD icon in the middle.
After a few seconds, the virtual machine will automatically start the Mac OS X installer. (This startup process may take a few minutes.) Eventually you will reach the installer welcome page.
Continue and you’ll come to a page that asks for a “destination” for your Mac Installation. Oh no, the page is blank! We’re gonna have to fix this. To do this, start Disk utility (located in the utilities menu).
Mac OSX can only be installed on a completely clean disk, so you need to use Disk Utility to clean your hard drive from VirtualBox. Click the VirtualBox hard drive in Disk utility and delete it. Do not worry, there’s nothing important about it.
On the Mac OSX installation summary page, the Virtualbox hard drive should now appear, Click the “Customize” button in the lower corner of the summary page. This is where using a distro really comes in handy: iAtkos allows you to install hackintosh extra drivers and kits directly from the OS X Mountain Lion Installer. The “Customize” page essentially does the same thing as Multibeast, although the layout ( and most option names) is different.
The default selection will allow Mac OS X to boot from the virtual machine without any assistance. In addition to this selection, go to Bootloader Options -> Graphics Mode and choose any resolution that best suits your monitor (in my case, I chose “1920×1080”). Selecting this will not really change anything at the moment; however, you will need this for Step 7 when we raise the virtual machine screen.
After selecting the appropriate options on the “Customize” screen, return to the installation summary page and click “Install”. When the installation is complete, Mac OS X will collide with a black screen with white text. This is normal; Mac OS X has been successfully installed. Now proceed to the next step.
Step 5: Initialize
Restart your virtual machine and eject iAtkos from your virtual DVD drive. To eject iAtkos, right-click the CD icon at the bottom right of the Virtualbox window and uncheck the iAtkos file. The mouse cursor will probably be stuck inside the virtual machine. Press the right “Ctrl” key on your keyboard to allow the mouse to escape.
After you eject iAtkos, restart your virtual machine again. Now, on the startup screen, you will see an icon for the hard drive where you installed Mountain Lion (also, your virtual machine’s screen may be larger than before).
After a few seconds, Mountain Lion will boot up and you should be taken to the Mac OS X setup screen. Fill in, then mission accomplished!
This concludes the first part of the guide. However, you are not finished yet! You still need to enable sound on your virtual machine and increase screen resolution.
Step 6: Turn on the sound
By default, your Ethernet (internet) should work on the virtual machine. However, the virtual machine will have no sound and cannot boot from the hard disk without help. To fix this, open Safari and download Multibeast 4.6.1. Although Multibeast 4.6.1 is an older version designed for mac OS X Lion instead of Mountain Lion, in our case, it actually works better than the newer version of Multibeast. Registration is required on the tonymac86 site for download.
Before starting Multibeast, you need to go to the “Security” section of System Preferences in Mac OS X, go to the “General” section and check “Anywhere” in the “Allow applications” section. Once this is done, run Multibeast and install the following options.
That’s all there is to it; restart your virtual machine. Mac OS X can now play audio as usual. Congratulations!
Step 7: Make the screen bigger
Although this step is optional, I still recommend you to do it anyway. Anyway, when you use your virtual machine for the first time, you’ll probably notice one thing: its screen resolution is 1024×768. Because Virtualbox is not “technically” compatible with Mac OS X, there is no official way to change it. But here’s how you can change it anyway.
First, shut down your virtual machine. Open the command prompt in Windows (make sure you are logged in to an administrator account in Windows). You can do this by opening the Start menu and typing “command prompt” in the Start menu search bar. Then, type the following command at the command prompt.
Cd “C:\Program Files\Oracle\Virtualbox”
This command will change the focus of the Command prompt to the program folder to Virtualbox (if you installed Virtualbox somewhere else, then change the command to wherever you have it installed). Then type this command:
Vboxmanagesetextradata “Virtual Machine name” “CustomVideoMode1” “1920x1080x32”
This command enables “vboxmanage”, a command line program included with Virtualbox that allows you to edit the properties of your virtual machine, including its internal resolutions. Replace “Virtual machine name” with your virtual machine name – you can find the name of your virtual machine in the left panel of the main Virtualbox window (in the screenshot below, my virtual machine is called “Mountain Mac 2”). Replace “1920x1080x32” with whatever resolution you are using.
Press the Enter key to send the command. Once this is done, start your virtual machine again.
Installing Mac OS X on a virtual machine is an excellent practice for the reality: install Mac OS X on your real computer. Do not get too comfortable, though. Compared to most computers, Virtualbox virtual machines are very “vanilla”, which means that they are very compatible with Mac OS X in the first place. You cannot count on this luck with a real PC.