How to Run macOS on Windows 10 in a Virtual Machine

Windows 10 is a great operating system. It has its quirks and annoyances, but which operating system doesn’t? Even if you’re beholden to Microsoft and Windows 10, you can still shop around.

What better way to do that than from the safe confines of your existing operating system with a virtual machine? This way, you can run macOS on Windows, which is perfect when you want to use Mac-only apps on Windows.

So, here’s how you install macOS in a virtual machine on Windows, making a virtual Hackintosh that lets you run Apple apps from your Windows machine.

What Files Do You Need to Create a macOS Virtual Machine on Windows 10?

Before delving into the “how-to,” you need to download and install the essential tools. The tutorial details how to create macOS virtual machines using both Oracle VirtualBox Manager (VirtualBox) and VMware Workstation Player (VMware Player).

Not sure which to use? Learn more about the differences between VirtualBox and VMware.

You need a copy of macOS, too. Catalina is the latest macOS version. You can find the download links for macOS Catalina in the next section.

This tutorial will focus on installing macOS Catalina in a virtual machine running on Intel hardware, using either VirtualBox or VMware Player.

Unfortunately, I do not have access to any AMD hardware, so I cannot provide a tutorial.

There is, however, the code snippet that anyone using an AMD system requires to boot a macOS Catalina using VMware on AMD hardware.

The process to launch the macOS Catalina virtual machine is the same as the Intel version but uses a slightly different code snippet. You can find the tutorial and the code snippet in the section below.

Furthermore, you will find links to several AMD macOS Catalina, Mojave, and High Sierra virtual machine tutorials, at the end of the article.

Download macOS Catalina Virtual Image

Use the following links to download macOS Catalina for both VirtualBox and VMware.

If the Google Drive reaches its download limit, right-click the file and select Copy to create a copy in your own Google Drive. You can then download the macOS Catalina virtual image from there.

Please note that these links may stop working from time to time. If that is the case, please leave a comment, and I’ll fix them as soon as possible.

After the virtual image finishes downloading, right-click, and extract the file using your favorite archive tool. For instance, right-click, then select 7-Zip > Extract to “macOS Catalina.”

How to Create a macOS Catalina Virtual Machine with VirtualBox

Before creating the macOS virtual machine, you need to install the VirtualBox Extension Pack. It includes fixes for USB 3.0 support, mouse and keyboard support, and other useful VirtualBox patches.

Download: VirtualBox Extension Pack for Windows (Free)

Scroll down, select All supported platforms to download, then double-click to install.

Create the macOS Catalina Virtual Machine

Open VirtualBox. Select New. Type macOS.

VirtualBox will detect the OS as you type and will default to Mac OS X. You can leave this as is.

Regarding the virtual machine name, make it something memorable yet easy to type. You’ll need to input this name in a series of commands, and it is frustrating to type a complicated name multiple times!

macos catalina virtualbox create

Next, set the amount of RAM the macOS virtual machine can use. I would suggest a minimum of 4GB, but the more you can give from the host system, the better your experience will be.

Remember, you cannot assign more RAM than your system has available, and you need to leave some memory available for the host operating system. Learn more about how much RAM does a system need?

Now, you need to assign a hard disk, which is the virtual image downloaded previously. Select Use an existing virtual hard disk file, then select the folder icon. Browse to the VMDK file, then select Create.

macos catalina virtualbox assign vmdk

Edit the macOS Catalina Virtual Machine Settings

Don’t try and start your macOS Catalina virtual machine yet. Before firing the virtual machine up, you need to make a few tweaks to the settings. Right-click your macOS virtual machine and select Settings.

Under System, remove Floppy from the boot order. Ensure the Chipset is set to ICH9.

macos virtual machine set RAM

Select the Processor tab. Assign two processors. If you have a CPU with power to spare (such as an Intel Core i7 or i9 with multiple extra cores), consider assigning more. However, this isn’t vital.

Make sure the Enable PAE/NX box is checked.

macos virtual machine set processors

Under Display, set Video Memory to 128MB.

macos virtual machine set video memory

Now, under Storage, check the box alongside Use Host I/O Cache.

Finally, head to the USB tab and select USB 3.0, then press OK.

Use Command Prompt to Add Custom Code to VirtualBox

It still isn’t quite time to fire up your macOS Catalina virtual machine. In its current configuration, VirtualBox doesn’t work with your macOS VMDK.

To get it up and running, you have to essentially patch VirtualBox before the macOS virtual machine will function. To do this, you need to enter some code using the Command Prompt. All the details are below.

Start by closing VirtualBox. The commands will not execute properly if VirtualBox or any of its associated processes are running.

Once closed, press Windows Key + X, then select Command Prompt (Admin) from the menu.

If your menu only shows the PowerShell option, type command into your Start menu search bar. Then right-click the Best Match, and select Run as Administrator.

The following code works for VirtualBox 5.x and 6.x.

Use the following command to locate the Oracle VirtualBox directory:

cd "C:Program FilesOracleVirtualBox"

Now, enter the following commands, one by one. Adjust the command to match the name of your virtual machine. For instance, my virtual machine name is “macoscat.” Here are the commands:

VBoxManage.exe modifyvm "macoscat" --cpuidset 00000001 000106e5 00100800 0098e3fd bfebfbff

VBoxManage setextradata "macoscat" "VBoxInternal/Devices/efi/0/Config/DmiSystemProduct" "iMac11,3"

VBoxManage setextradata "macoscat" "VBoxInternal/Devices/efi/0/Config/DmiSystemVersion" "1.0"

VBoxManage setextradata "macoscat" "VBoxInternal/Devices/efi/0/Config/DmiBoardProduct" "Iloveapple"

VBoxManage setextradata "macoscat" "VBoxInternal/Devices/smc/0/Config/DeviceKey" "ourhardworkbythesewordsguardedpleasedontsteal(c)AppleComputerInc"

VBoxManage setextradata "macoscat" "VBoxInternal/Devices/smc/0/Config/GetKeyFromRealSMC" 1

After the completion of the commands, and presuming you encountered no errors, close the Command Prompt.

macos catalina command prompt virtualbox

Boot Your macOS Mojave Virtual Machine

Reopen VirtualBox. Double-click your macOS virtual machine to start it. You will see a long stream of text, followed by a gray screen.

The gray screen can take a moment or two to clear, but don’t panic. Once the screen clears, macOS Catalina will begin installing. When it resolves, you will arrive at the macOS “Welcome” screen.

macos catalina virtualbox virtual machine

From here, you can set your macOS Mojave virtual machine up as you see fit.

Pro Tip: Take a snapshot of your virtual machine once it passes the gray screen. If anything goes wrong down the line, you can return to the Welcome screen setup and start the process again.

Once you complete the macOS setup, take another one so you can jump straight into your macOS installation. Head to Machine > Take Snapshot, give your snapshot a name, and wait for it to process.

How to Create a macOS Catalina Virtual Machine Using VMware Workstation Player

Prefer VMware over VirtualBox? You can create a macOS Catalina virtual machine using VMware that works exactly the same as VirtualBox. And, just as with VirtualBox, VMware also requires patching before the macOS Catalina virtual machine will work.

This part of the tutorial works for Intel and AMD systems. AMD users must use the second code snippet when editing the virtual machine VMX file. Read through the tutorial to see what this means exactly.

Patch VMware Workstation Player

In the “macOS Catalina Virtual Image” section is the VMware Player Patch Tool. Before commencing any further, download the patch tool.

Then, browse to the location you downloaded the patch tool to. Extract the contents of the archive. This process works best when the folders are on the same drive (e.g., the VMware root folder and extracted archive are both found on the C: drive).

Make sure VMware is completely closed. Now, in the patcher folder, right-click the win-install command script and select Run as Administrator. The script will open a Command Prompt window, and the patch-script will run.

Do pay attention. The script whizzes by, and you need to keep watch for any “File not Found” messages.

The most common reason for a “file not found” or a “system cannot find the file specified” message is installing VMware Workstation Player in a different location to the default folder, and executing the patch from a different directory.

Once the patch completes, you can open VMware.

Create the macOS Catalina Virtual Machine with VMware

Select Create a New Virtual Machine. Choose I will install the operating system later.

Now, select Apple Mac OS X, and change the Version to macOS 10.14. If you don’t see the macOS options, it is because the patch didn’t install correctly.

macos virtual machine vmware choose os

Next, you need to choose a name for your macOS Catalina virtual machine. Choose something easy to remember, then copy the file path to somewhere handy—you’re going to need it to make some edits in a moment.

On the next screen, stick with the suggested maximum hard disk size, then select Store virtual disk as a single file. Complete the virtual disk creation wizard, but do not start the virtual machine just yet.

Edit the macOS Mojave Virtual Machine Settings

Before you can boot the virtual machine, you must edit the hardware specifications. Plus, you need to tell VMware where to find the macOS VMDK.

From the main VMware screen, select your macOS Catalina virtual machine, then right-click, and select Settings.

Like VirtualBox, bump the virtual machine memory up to at least 4GB. You can allocate more if you have RAM to spare.

macos virtual machine vmware choose ram

Under Processors, edit the number of available cores to 2.

Now, under Hard Disk (SATA), you need to remove the hard disk created earlier. Select Remove and VMware will remove the disk automatically.

Now, select Add > Hard Disk > SATA (Recommended) > Use an existing disk. Browse to the location of the macOS VMDK and select it.

Edit the macOS Catalina VMX File for Intel Hardware

This section is for Intel users and it involves the final set of edits you need to make before switching your VMware macOS Catalina virtual machine on!

Close VMware. Head to the location you stored the macOS virtual machine. The default location is:

C:UsersYOURNAMEDocumentsVirtual MachinesYOUR MAC OS X FOLDER

Browse to macOS.vmx, right-click, and select Open with…, select Notepad (or your preferred text editor). Scroll to the bottom of the configuration file and add the following line:

smc.version = "0"

Save, then Exit.

You can now open VMware, select your macOS Mojave virtual machine, and fire it up!

Edit the macOS Catalina VMX File for AMD Hardware

This section is for AMD users. Like the above section, AMD users must also edit the VMX file before proceeding. The AMD edit involves a few more lines than the Intel version, but you can copy and paste the data into the file.

Close VMware. Head to the location you stored the macOS virtual machine. The default location is:

C:UsersYOURNAMEDocumentsVirtual MachinesYOUR MAC OS X FOLDER

Browse to macOS.vmx, right-click, and select Open with…, select Notepad (or your preferred text editor). Scroll to the bottom of the configuration file and add the following lines:

smc.version = "0"

cpuid.0.eax = "0000:0000:0000:0000:0000:0000:0000:1011"

cpuid.0.ebx = "0111:0101:0110:1110:0110:0101:0100:0111"

cpuid.0.ecx = "0110:1100:0110:0101:0111:0100:0110:1110"

cpuid.0.edx = "0100:1001:0110:0101:0110:1110:0110:1001"

cpuid.1.eax = "0000:0000:0000:0001:0000:0110:0111:0001"

cpuid.1.ebx = "0000:0010:0000:0001:0000:1000:0000:0000"

cpuid.1.ecx = "1000:0010:1001:1000:0010:0010:0000:0011"

cpuid.1.edx = "0000:1111:1010:1011:1111:1011:1111:1111"

Save, then Exit.

You can now open VMware, select your macOS Mojave virtual machine, and fire it up!

Install VMware Tools to Your macOS Catalina Virtual Machine

You now need to install VMware Tools, which is a set of utilities and extensions that improve mouse handling, video performance, and other useful things.

With the macOS virtual machine running, head to Player > Manage > Install VMware Tools.

The installation digavsc will appear on the macOS desktop. When the option appears, select Install VMware Tools, then allow it access to the removable volume. Follow the guided installer, which will require a restart on completion.

vmware player install vmware tools


There are a couple of things that can go wrong during the macOS virtual machine installation in VMware Player Workstation.

  1. If you cannot see “Apple Mac OS X” during the virtual machine creation wizard, then you need to revisit the patch process. Ensure every process associated with VMware Player is off.
  2. If you receive the message “Mac OS X is not supported with binary translation” when starting the virtual machine, there is a strong chance you need to activate virtualization in your BIOS/UEFI configuration.
  3. If you receive the message “VMware Player unrecoverable error: (vcpu-0)” when starting the virtual machine, you need to head back to the macOS.vmx configuration file to ensure you added the extra line and saved the edit.
  4. If you’re running AMD hardware and get stuck at the Apple logo, first power off the virtual machine. Now, head to Settings > Options > General. Change the Guest operating system to Microsoft Windows, and the Version to Windows 10 x64. Press OK, then attempt to power up the virtual machine again. Once the Apple logo passes, power down the virtual machine, then set the Guest operating system option back to Apple Mac OS X, selecting the correct version.

macOS Virtual Machines for AMD Hardware

Apple uses Intel hardware to power desktops and laptops. Configuring a macOS virtual machine using Intel hardware is easier because the hardware specifications are very similar.

With AMD, the opposite is true. Because Apple does not develop macOS on AMD hardware, creating a macOS virtual machine on an AMD system is trickier.

Adding to this, I don’t have an AMD system to test macOS virtual machines on, so I cannot give you a detailed tutorial. I can, however, point you in the direction of several macOS AMD virtual machine tutorials that do work, so long as you are patient and follow each step accordingly.

The AMD OS X forum is a great resource for macOS virtual machines. You can find many more forum threads regarding AMD macOS virtual machines, too.

macOS Catalina Virtual Machine Installation Complete

You have two options to choose from for your macOS Catalina virtual machine. Both options are great if you want to give macOS a try before making the switch from Windows and enjoy some of the best Apple apps on offer.

You can use a virtual machine to test other operating systems too. For instance, here’s how to install a Linux distro in a virtual machine.

Are you looking to learn more about virtual machines?

Check out our VirtualBox User’s Guide, which teaches everything you need to know, or our guide to creating a virtual machine using Windows 10 Hyper-V.

Read the full article: How to Run macOS on Windows 10 in a Virtual Machine


7 Practical Reasons to Start Using a Virtual Machine

You’ve probably heard the term “virtual machine” before, but do you actually know what that is? Furthermore, why use a virtual machine anyway?

Let’s look at what virtual machines are used for so you can better understand these important tools. Maybe you’ll even get some ideas for your own usage!

What Is a Virtual Machine?

In case you’re not aware, a virtual machine is an emulated computer system. Virtual machines rely on hypervisors (also called virtual machine monitors), which are pieces of software that handle mapping your computer’s resources into virtual hardware.

As an example, VirtualBox is a popular hypervisor. The software takes care of allocating parts of your CPU, RAM, storage disk, and other components so that a virtual machine can use them to run properly. Once you use VirtualBox to install a copy of an OS onto a virtual disk, you now have a virtual machine that’s fully functional.

The virtual OS thinks that it’s running on a real system, but it runs just like any other app on your computer. If you need more background, check out our full explanation of virtual machines.

Now, what’s the purpose of virtual machines for everyday people? Here are some practical uses for virtual machines you can try.

1. Try New Operating Systems

VirtualBox Home Menu

Let’s say you’ve been a Windows user all your life, but you’re feeling adventurous and want to get a taste of Linux. You have several options for trying Linux, including a dual-boot setup, but virtualization is a great way to try it out with little risk.

On your Windows system, you just need to install VirtualBox (or another hypervisor) and create a new virtual machine. Then take any Linux installation ISO (like Ubuntu or Linux Mint) and install it as a virtual machine. Now you can run Linux (the guest OS) in a window within your Windows system (the host OS) like any other program.

Even if you’re new to this, you can rest assured because the virtual machine acts as a sandbox. If something goes wrong in the guest OS, such as a malware infection or corrupted setting, it won’t affect the host OS.

If the VM won’t boot for some reason, you can simply recreate the virtual machine and reinstall the OS. There’s no worry of crashing your computer just because you tried an unfamiliar OS.

2. Run Old or Incompatible Software

Windows XP Mode Running in VirtualBox

Maybe you switched to using a Mac years ago, but there’s one Windows-only piece of software you miss. Or perhaps you need to run an ancient program that doesn’t run on Windows 10 anymore.

Virtual machines provide a great environment for running software that’s not compatible with your current machine. As long as you have access to the installer, you should have no trouble installing it on a virtual OS.

Plus, running outdated software in this way is much safer because it’s sandboxed inside the virtual machine. Hopefully you don’t have to run Windows XP-only software these days, but the option is there in case.

If you use VirtualBox for this purpose, make sure you install the Guest Additions. Doing so allows you to run apps in seamless mode, which puts them side-by-side with apps from your host OS.

3. Develop Software for Other Platforms

Another important use for virtual machines is simplifying the workflow for testing apps and websites across multiple platforms.

For example, say you’re developing a game that works on both desktop and mobile platforms. You can use emulation to test the various versions right on your computer. Instead of moving installer files back and forth to your phone and other test computers, you can just emulate them.

Virtualization also lets you compile to other executable types. Even if you use a cross-platform framework, you may only be able to compile APP files on Mac and EXE files on Windows. Instead of dual-booting for every build, virtualization simplifies the process.

Sometimes there’s no substitute for running apps on real hardware, as emulation isn’t perfect. But for many uses, emulation is a convenient way to access other OSes without much hassle.

4. Handle Potential Malware Safely

Malwarebytes Windows XP

As we’ve seen, one of the major benefits of a virtual machine is its isolation from your main system. This means you can take security risks that you would normally avoid.

For instance, say you want to download a program but are not sure if the site it came from is legitimate. Or maybe you want to put your antivirus to the test without risking an infection getting through.

Less practically, maybe you’re bored and want to see what a virus does to an operating system. You could even test theories that will break your computer, like what happens if you delete System32 in Windows.

Of course, there’s always a small chance that a piece of malware can detect that it’s running in a virtual environment and try to break out. While the risk is low, you shouldn’t be reckless.

5. Tear Apart Your System

If you’re particularly tech-savvy, virtual machines allow you to explore and experiment with an operating system without fear of the consequences. This can be an interesting way to learn more about an OS.

For example, you can virtualize a copy of Windows 10 within Windows 10 and use the guest version to tinker with the Registry. Maybe you want to learn some Linux commands without fear of accidentally screwing something up.

6. Take Advantage of VM Snapshots

VirtualBox Restore Snapshot

Another excellent feature of virtual machines is the ability to create system-level snapshots that you can instantly restore whenever you need.

Say you want to install a new app that’s untested and possibly unstable. Or maybe you want to uninstall a bunch of software you’ve accumulated over the past few months. Another time, you might want to tweak some system configurations. But in all cases, you’re hesitant due to uncertainty about fixing anything that goes wrong.

Virtual machine monitors allow you to take a snapshot, which is a complete copy of the VM at any point in time. If something does go wrong, you can restore the snapshot and move on like nothing happened. These backups are thus like a more comprehensive System Restore.

Best of all, they’re saved as single files that you can move and store elsewhere on your host machine. With snapshots as a backup, you can try risky procedures in a VM first so you’re prepared to make changes on your main system. And you can copy them to use down the road, too.

7. Clone a System to Another Machine

Since the entire contents of a virtual machine are stored in a few files, you can easily transfer them to another computer and load the VM up without any issues (as long as you use the same hypervisor, of course).

For example, VirtualBox stores VM settings in a tiny VBOX file. The other main component is a VDI file, which acts as a virtual storage disk.

Regardless of which host OS you originally used, you can copy those files and load them into VirtualBox on another computer. This effectively recreates a copy of your guest system that you can use anywhere.

VMware Workstation Player has a related function called vCenter Converter. This lets you take a current non-virtual OS installation and turn it into a virtual image, which you can then load in VMware Workstation Player on another computer.

Now You Know What Virtual Machines Are Used For

Now you don’t have to wonder why you’d use a virtual machine. Hopefully one or more of these reasons has you excited to try one.

Before you dive in, keep in mind that you’ll need a fairly powerful computer for the best experience. If you have a weak CPU, less than 8GB of RAM, or a tiny amount of storage space, your computer will struggle to run the virtual OS in addition to your host OS.

To get started, follow our complete guide to using VirtualBox. Our tips for better virtual machine performance will help, too.

Read the full article: 7 Practical Reasons to Start Using a Virtual Machine


How to Get a Windows XP Download Free From Microsoft, Legally

Want a free Windows XP downloaded from Microsoft? It’s possible using a virtual machine. This article explains how.

Windows XP is old, and Microsoft no longer provides official support for the venerable operating system. But despite the lack of support, Windows XP is still running on 5 percent of all computers around the globe. Why are people still using Windows XP? Mostly due to work, research, or entertainment.

Finding a copy of Windows XP isn’t easy. Finding some hardware to run it on is just as difficult. That’s why the best option is to install Windows XP in a virtual machine so you can keep it on hand at all times. Here’s how you do it!

Is Windows XP Really Available for Free?

Microsoft knows that there are good reasons to jump back into Windows XP. That’s why they supply Windows XP Mode, a full version of XP that runs within Windows 7. However, most of us have long since moved on from Windows 7, making this compatibility fix… well, a little unhelpful.

Luckily for you and me, there’s a relatively easy way to take the Windows XP Mode download and load it up in any virtual machine of your choosing. Before we begin, you need a few things:

  1. Download and install the latest version of VirtualBox.
  2. Download and install a file archive tool.
  3. A copy of Windows XP Mode (see below).

Step 1: Download Windows XP Mode Virtual Hard Disk

Head to the Microsoft Windows XP Mode download page. Select Download. On the next page, select WindowsXPMode_en-us.exe, then hit Next. The Windows XP Mode executable will now download.

windows xp mode download

When it completes, don’t install it yet!

Instead, browse to the executable, then right-click and select 7-Zip > Open archive > cab from the context menu.

extract xp mode archive

This immediately opens the executable in 7-Zip for you to have a poke around. There are three files:

xp mode sources

Open Sources to reveal another three files:

xp mode internal folders

Double-click xpm. This is the XP Mode virtual hard drive folder. It should look the same as the image below:

xp mode virtual hard disk

These are the files you need to create the XP Mode virtual hard disk. Unfortunately, they’re Archive files and not executable files, meaning they’re currently Read-only.

You need to extract these files to a new folder.

Select Extract from the toolbar, then press the ellipsis icon next to the address bar. Browse to where you’d like to extract the files—your C: drive is fine—and select Make New Folder. I’ve called my folder “Windows XP Mode,” but the choice is yours. When you’re ready, press OK, then OK again to start the extraction process. This can take a minute or two.

Head to the folder you created when the extraction process completes. You’ll see the same list of files. The difference is that you can now edit these files as you see fit.

Select the file named VirtualXPVHD. Press F2 to rename. Insert a period between the “P” and the “V,” and press Enter. The file should immediately change into a virtual hard disk, and the icon to boot:

xp mode virtual hard disk gif

Step 2: Install Windows XP Mode in a Virtual Machine

Before we completed the XP Mode virtual hard disk extraction, I asked you to download and install VirtualBox. VirtualBox is a free app that allows you to run operating systems in a window.

We’re going to install the Windows XP Mode virtual hard drive in VirtualBox.

  1. Open VirtualBox. Select New. At bottom of the Create Virtual Machine window, select Expert Mode (if your window shows an option for Guided Mode, you’re already using Expert Mode). Now, give your virtual machine a suitable name. If you include “XP” in the virtual machine name, the Version will automatically change to reflect that. Even so, double-check the Version is Windows XP (32-bit).
    virtualbox select operating system
  2. Assign the virtual machine some memory. Memory is a shared resource, meaning both the host (your PC) and the guest (the virtual machine) use it concurrently. Luckily, Windows XP is old and doesn’t require buckets of RAM to run. I would advise assigning a minimum of 512 MB (but you won’t need more than 2048 MB).
    virtualbox select memory
  3. Finally, we need to assign a hard disk—the virtual hard disk we extracted from the Windows XP Mode executable earlier. Under Hard disk, select Use an existing virtual hard disk file. Then, hit the folder with the green arrow. Browse to the folder we extracted our files to, select VirtualXP, then Open.
    virtualbox select hard disk

When you’re done, your new virtual machine setup should look like this:

virtualbox create virtual machine

Okay? Hit Create.

Step 3: Windows XP Mode Disk Settings

Before you boot up your shiny new Windows XP virtual machine, you need to tweak a few settings.

On the VirtualBox toolbar, press Settings. Head to System. Look at the Boot Order. Uncheck Floppy, and move it down the list. Promote Hard Disk to the top of the pile. Just like your host PC, the virtual machine has a specific boot order. You need the virtual hard disk at the top of the list, so it boots first:

xp mode boot settings

Under Display, increase Video Memory to 128 MB:

xp mode video memory

Windows XP Virtual Machine Network Settings

Next, check the Windows XP virtual machine network settings. Older versions of VirtualBox required a more manual approach to network configuration. The software is smarter these days (read: automated) and usually picks up your network settings without prompt.

For instance, my Windows XP Mode virtual machine works using the default configuration: using NAT, the VirtualBox-specific adapter, and ensuring Cable Connected is checked.

xp mode adapter settings

However, if it doesn’t work (and you’ll realize the good or bad news in a moment when you fire up the virtual machine), you can try an alternative configuration.

  1. Set Attached to: Host-only Adapter
  2. Set Name: VirtualBox Host-Only Ethernet Adapter
  3. Set Promiscuous Mode: Deny
  4. Check Cable connected

Using the Start Menu search bar, type “network,” and select the Network and Sharing Centre. In the left-hand column, select Change adapter settings. Hold CTRL and select both your Ethernet/wireless card and the VirtualBox Host-Only Network. Then, right-click and select Bridge Connection.

bridge network connection

“Combining” the adapters creates a network bridge, allowing the virtual machine to connect to a network even though it doesn’t have direct access to the router (or alternative switch):

network bridge

When you enter the virtual machine, you’ll have to update your network adapter settings:

  1. Head to Control Panel > Network and internet Connections > Network Connections.
  2. Then, right-click the Local Area Connection, and select Properties. Highlight Internet Protocol (TCP/IP), then select Properties.
  3. Select Use the following IP address, and enter an available IP address for your home network. For instance, I will enter Enter your Subnet mask and Default gateway.
  4. Unsure what they are? On your host machine, press Windows Key + R, then type CMD, and hit Enter. Now, type ipconfig /all. You’ll find the information you need listed under your Ethernet or wireless adapter name.
  5. Enter the same DNS server addresses as the host. I use Google DNS, so I’ll enter and
  6. Hit OK.

windows xp tcp/ip settings

Step 4: Run the Windows XP Virtual Machine

You extracted the virtual hard disk. You created a virtual machine, fiddled with the settings, and now you’re ready to hit the power switch.

Highlight your Windows XP Mode virtual machine on the main VirtualBox window. Double-click it and wait for Windows XP to burst into life:

windows xp boot virtual machine

Looks like you made it!

There is a strong possibility that your mouse will not immediately work with the Windows XP Mode virtual machine. Navigate the operating system installation pages using the Tab key, arrow keys, Spacebar, and Enter key.

Complete the installation. You’ll arrive at a completely black screen. Don’t worry! Press Right Ctrl + R to restart the virtual machine.

When it reboots, you can Cancel the New Hardware Installation and Microsoft Automatic Update wizards. Instead, head to Devices > Install Guest Additions CD Image. The VirtualBox Guest Additions CD Image adds some handy functionality to VirtualBox, including custom resolutions and mouse options. Use the default installation location and wait for the setup to complete:

xp mode guest additions

You might encounter warnings that you are attempting to install unsupported software and/or drivers. Select Continue Anyway. Once the Guest Additions installation completes, select Reboot now.

xp mode guest addition install

(If it fails to reboot, restart the virtual machine again.)

And there you have it. A working, fully-featured Windows XP installation to call your own.

What About Windows XP Product Keys?

The Windows XP Mode virtual machine has a temporary license that expires after 30 days.

If you have an old Windows XP license, dig it out and enter it to try to keep the virtual machine alive. I say “try” because the Windows XP activation servers are long offline, but you can try a phone activation.

If you are feeling devious, you could try the old Windows activation loop, whereby you reset the trial license back to its original 30-day counter. However, I haven’t tried that using the Windows XP Mode virtual machine, so you will have to conduct a private experiment.

But the easier solution is to create a snapshot of the Windows XP Mode virtual machine straight after installation. Then, when the license expires, you can revert to your fresh snapshot (but you’ll lose all the data on the virtual machine, so bear that in mind).

Without snapshots, you’ll have to keep reinstalling the Windows XP Mode virtual machine.

Windows XP Is Not Secure

Note that just because you have Windows XP working doesn’t mean you should use it! Windows XP is no longer suitable as a primary operating system because of the security risks. If you are still running Windows XP on your home computer or laptop, you should consider upgrading to a modern operating system. Here’s how you upgrade from Windows XP to Windows 10.

Read the full article: How to Get a Windows XP Download Free From Microsoft, Legally


VirtualBox’s Guest Additions: What They Are and How to Install Them

When working in VirtualBox, you may have seen a prompt or noticed a reference to Guest Additions. But what are Guest Additions, and should you use them?

Let’s take a look at what VirtualBox’s Guest Additions do, why you should install them, and how to activate them.

What Are Guest Additions in VirtualBox?

The VirtualBox Guest Additions are extra pieces of software, included with your copy of VirtualBox, that enable better performance and functionality in virtual machines. You install Guest Additions inside the virtual machine to activate this functionality.

VirtualBox Guest Additions Install

As you probably know, VirtualBox is a hypervisor, which allows you to create and use virtual machines. This means that you can install Windows and other operating systems inside VirtualBox and have them think that they’re running on actual hardware.

Read our full guide to using VirtualBox to get up to speed if you’re not familiar.

However, just because you get a working virtual machine running in VirtualBox doesn’t mean the experience is perfect from the start. There are certain elements of running an OS in an app window that are frustrating.

For example, on your main computer, Windows knows what resolutions it can display using the drivers from your graphics card. A virtual machine can’t do this, though, so it displays in a low resolution (such as 800×600) by default.

The Guest Additions of VirtualBox contain display drivers and other useful tools that make your virtual machine much more usable.

What Do the Guest Additions Do?

Now that we know what Guest Additions are, let’s look at what the VirtualBox Guest Additions actually do for you.

1. Shared Clipboard/Drag and Drop

Chances are that you’ll eventually want to move some content between your virtual machine (the guest) and your actual computer (the host). With the Guest Additions installed, VirtualBox packs a few features to make this easy.

First is the shared clipboard/drag and drop support. This allows you to copy items on one platform and paste them on the other, as well as dragging files between them. To adjust this, select your VM on the VirtualBox home page and choose Settings.

In the General section, switch to Advanced tab and you can choose options for Shared Clipboard and Drag’n’Drop. You can choose Disabled, Host to Guest, Guest to Host, or Bidirectional for both of them.

Unless you have a specific reason to choose something else, Bidirectional is the most convenient.

VirtualBox Clipboard Sharing

Once you have this enabled, both copy/paste and dragging will work across systems.

2. Shared Folders

If you’d rather make folders on your host system accessible in the VM, you can utilize shared folders. This Guest Additions feature lets you mount host folders as “network resources” in the guest OS without actually using a network.

To use it, click Settings on a VM and jump to the Shared Folders section. Select the Add Share button on the right side, then choose a folder on your computer to share with the guest.

Give it a name, choose Auto-mount if you want it to connect automatically, and hit OK.

VirtualBox Shared Folders

Now, that folder will appear as a network drive in the guest OS.

3. Improved Graphics Support

As mentioned earlier, virtual machines don’t support high-resolution graphics from the start. Once you install the Guest Additions, though, you’ll have full control over the resolution options in the guest OS’s settings menu. For instance, if you have a 1920×1080 monitor, you can display the VM in full-screen at 1080p.

VirtualBox Full Resolution

That’s not the only graphical enhancement that the Guest Additions add. Using them, the guest OS’s resolution will dynamically resize as you adjust the VirtualBox window on your computer. This lets you use the VM at any size you like without playing with resolution options.

Finally, with Guest Additions, the guest OS can take advantage of your computer’s graphics hardware. If you’re playing games or using other graphically intensive software in a WM, this makes a huge difference.

4. Seamless App Windows

Another neat benefit of the Guest Additions is a seamless mode. This lets you run app windows from the guest alongside apps from your host OS, so it feels like they’re all part of one system. It’s a lot like how Parallels runs Windows apps on a Mac.

To use this mode, press the Host key + L when your virtual machine is in focus. If you haven’t changed it, the default Host key in VirtualBox is the right Ctrl key.

VirtualBox Seamless Mode

Once you’ve done this, the VM will go full-screen and VirtualBox will remove its background. You’re then free to use its windows with your regular desktop software. Hit Host + L again to turn this off—if it doesn’t seem to work, make sure you select the VirtualBox VM first.

5. Other Benefits of VirtualBox Guest Additions

The above functions are the main features of VirtualBox’s Guest Additions. There are a few other useful perks to installing them, though these are not as generally useful.

One that may affect you, depending on the guest OS, is seamless mouse integration. With most modern OSes, VirtualBox allows you to seamlessly move your mouse between your host and guest system. However, some older OSes require exclusive control of your keyboard and mouse.

If this is the case, your mouse pointer will become “trapped” inside the VirtualBox window after you click inside it. This means that you must hit the Host key (right Ctrl by default) to bring the mouse control back to the host OS.

Otherwise, the Guest Additions bring time synchronization with your host machine, the option for automated logins, and can monitor communications between the guest and host. None of this has much use for the average user.

How to Install VirtualBox’s Guest Additions

It’s easy to install the Guest Additions on your VirtualBox system. In fact, every time VirtualBox receives an update, it includes a new version of the Guest Additions too. You don’t necessarily need to update the Guest Additions every time you update VirtualBox, but Oracle recommends it for best performance.

Keep in mind that the Guest Additions are available for Windows and Linux, but not macOS. You’ll need other workarounds if you’re running macOS in a virtual machine.

Install Guest Additions on Windows VMs

To install the Guest Additions for VirtualBox in a Windows VM, boot into your guest OS as normal. On the toolbar at the top, select Devices > Insert Guest Additions CD Image. This mounts a virtual disc to the VM.

VirtualBox Install Guest Additions

When you do this, Windows will respond as if you’ve just inserted a physical disc. If it doesn’t prompt you to run it, open a File Explorer window and go to This PC. You should see a device in the CD Drive named something like VBox_GAs_x.

VirtualBox Guest Additions CD Drive

Double-click this to open the disc’s contents. Inside, run the VBxWindowsAdditions file (or VBxWindowsAdditions-x86 on a 32-bit VM).

VirtualBox Guest Additions File Windows

From there, simply walk through the steps to install the Guest Additions like you would any other software. After it completes, you’ll be prompted to reboot the VM, which you should do as soon as possible.

Once you’re done, you can go to Devices > Optical Drives > Remove disk from virtual drive to “eject” the virtual Guest Additions disc.

Install Guest Additions on Linux VMs

The process to install VirtualBox’s Guest Additions into a Linux VM is quite similar. Once you’ve booted up, select Devices > Insert Guest Additions CD Image from VirtualBox’s menu bar. Depending on your flavor of Linux, you may see a message to automatically run the CD’s contents.

You can accept this, but if you don’t, you’ll find the CD available on the taskbar in many Linux distros. If it doesn’t appear there, open the file browser and look for VBox_GAs_x on the left sidebar.

VirtualBox Guest Additions Install Linux

On Ubuntu, a Run Software button appears at the top-right of the window. Click this to start the install process, then provide your admin password to continue. A Terminal window will open to keep you updated with its progress.

Once it’s done, reboot the VM and you’re all set. You can then eject the disk using the Devices > Optical Drives > Remove disk from virtual drive option, or by right-clicking it in your OS and choosing Eject.

VirtualBox Remove Guest Additions Disc

Guest Additions Make VirtualBox Even Better

As we’ve seen, the Guest Additions make running virtual machines with VirtualBox much smoother. You should always take a few moments to install the Guest Additions when setting up a new VM, as there’s no drawback to doing so.

If VirtualBox isn’t working for you, check out how VirtualBox compares to other virtualization tools.

Read the full article: VirtualBox’s Guest Additions: What They Are and How to Install Them