How To VirtualBox

How to Install Guest Tool on macOS VirtualBox with 128 MB vRAM

Written by John

With no doubt, VirtualBox is perhaps the most popular tool for running macOS Virtual Machine. The problem is, running macOS on VirtualBox comes with its fair share of challenges and bottlenecks. This is often the case if the VirtualBox does not enjoy full CPU support or does not use a graphics card. Consequently, the whole endeavor becomes slow, making it difficult to run operations seamlessly. Fortunately, all these challenges can be diffused by installing a Guest Tool for VirtualBox. The new release of VirtualBox 6.0 which supports a Guest Tool comes with a new VMSVGA feature that automatically emulates a VMSVGA graphics card. With it, you can improve the performance of your macOS and enjoy more processing power.

If you are not aware of what a guest tool is, it is a pack of utilities which enriches the performance of a VirtualBox operating system to improve and streamline its operation. To be specific, it improves mouse performance, enhances graphics operations, and also increases the display and resolution capacity of your macOS by up to 16:9 and 1920x1080 pixels, respectively. So, how can you leverage this revolutionary technology to enjoy a better and smoother macOS? Well, in this tutorial, you are going to learn all that. Have a look!

How to Install Guest Tool on macOS VirtualBox

1. Enable VMSVGA in VirtualBox

Run your VirtualBox, and once the program is up, select the macOS you want to use. After that, click on “Edit” to make changes. This will open a “Display tab”. On it, select VMSVGA then click “Ok” to validate your selections.

Change Graphics Controller to VMSVGA

2. Mount VM Tool to Mac Virtual Machine

With your VirtualBox running, select the VirtualBox menu. Once open, select “Device” then click on “Optical Drive”. Proceed and click on “Choose disk image” . Finally, Open your VM Tool.iso file.
VM Tool: Download

Open VM Tool ISO file

3. Install VM Tool in macOS

After you have downloaded the VMware tool, you just need to select “Install VMware Tool” and the guest tool will get installed.

Install VM Tool

Give it five to ten minutes after which you should get a notification about “System extension”. After you get that, select the “Open Security Preferences” option.

Open Security Preferences

After you get that, select the “Open Security Preferences” option. Click on “Security and privacy” then select “Allow” so that the guest tool can complete its installation process.


Click Allow button to install VM Tool

After ten to twenty minutes, you should get a notification saying that the installation is complete. To complete the installation process, click the “Restart” button so that changes can take effect.

Restart your Virtual Machine

4. Enable System Extension

After restarting the Virtual box, you might a notification saying “System Extension Blocked”. Don’t panic since this is normal. To overcome this, open the “Security Preferences menu” to activate it. The final step is confirming that your virtual box is working well with the guest tool. To do this, head to “macOS” about. If the integration is okay, you should see “Display 128 MB”. If you can’t see this, the installation was not successful. However, you always have the chance of reinstalling the VMware tool.

Enable System Extension

5. Enable Full-Screen Mode

This is as easy as any other step above. Open Terminal in the macOS and put these commands to activate the full-screen display.
# Sudo /Library/Application\ Support/VMware\ Tools/vmware-resolutionset <height> <width>
With <height> and <width> represents your screen’s resolution.

Change macOS VirtualBox Resolution with Terminal


macOS VirtualBox with 128 MB Display

If you are looking for a way to spice up how your macOS runs on VirtualBox, Guest Tool by VM if with no doubt the idealist and most effective add-on to employ. With it, you improve not only performance but also the display capacity of your macOS.

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zester
zester
July 1, 2020 10:30 am

hi, thanks for a great guide. the only missing piece of the puzzle is the resolution setting. i have installed the VMware tools but for some reason the command vmware-resolutionSet is not recognisable in terminal. the vRam is 128mb so i am not sure what is missing.

this is on latest vmbox v6.1.10

jacek
jacek
July 17, 2020 7:40 pm
Reply to  zester

I have vmbox v6.1.12, and have potentially the same problem (cannot change resolution). When I go directly to VMWare Tools folder, I either get
“Unable to find the service.” – when accessing it as a normal user, or
“Superuser privileges are missing to persist the resolution across reboots.” – when I use sudo
Regardless how I invoke vmware-resolutionSet, (sudo or not) resolution is not being changed.

Vinnie
Vinnie
June 8, 2020 10:24 pm

Hi, Thank you for the instructions. How to enable shared clipboard

randomspider
randomspider
May 4, 2020 4:09 am

Great work like a charm thank you very much!!

Virtualbox with macOS Catalina 10.15.4

randomspider
randomspider
May 4, 2020 4:30 am
Reply to  randomspider

Ok thats what I thought, actually it rebooted randomly and now I have my old default resolution 1024×768 . I have no unresponsiveness issues , with 128mb at FHD it works well but this random reset its annoying. Do you guys have any ideas?

BTW: Using chipset ICH9

randomspider
randomspider
May 4, 2020 4:58 am
Reply to  randomspider

Ok so to avoid random reboots I ended up using virtualbox graphics controler and not vmsvga . Also checked option use 3d acceleration. This alternative doesnt increase video memory but mac doesnt reboot and also I uninstalled this tool.

rbr
rbr
May 28, 2020 10:20 pm
Reply to  randomspider

I find that the vmsvga with vmware tools is optimized better, and to avoid the random reboots you can remove or relocate the launch files so that it will not randomly reboot you. Apparently components of the vmware tools install keep trying to restart endlessly according to console and that eventually leads to the reboots somehow. Once I removed them I no longer had unexpected reboots and I could still execute the resolution change as needed, but the effective resolution would be brought down close 2584×1614 instead of 2880×1800… And like I said commands like this still work. sudo /Library/Application\… Read more »

bheemboy
bheemboy
June 5, 2020 11:59 pm
Reply to  rbr

What do you mean by “launch files” is it a folder or a file that I could rename? If so can you provide the path?

lilgeek
lilgeek
April 2, 2020 9:52 pm

Hello, Thanks for the method. It worked fine, but as Phill noted it restarts every 12 minutes or so !
I’m looking forward to a fix. Thankyou. 🙂

lilgeek
lilgeek
April 2, 2020 9:55 pm
Reply to  lilgeek

My processor is i7-8550U

Full Name
Full Name
July 17, 2020 8:43 pm
Reply to  John

Hi John,
Looks like ‘Other 64bit’ is a silver bullet. How do we make that change?
Under ‘General’

  1. we just change ‘Version’ to ‘Mac OS X (64-bit), or
  2. we change ‘Type’ to ‘Other’ and ‘Version’ to ‘Other/Unknown (64-bit)’

With constant reboots, and screen resolution fixed to 1024×768, the system is basically not usable.

EDIT: when used the second option (Type=Other, Version=Other/Unknown (64-bit)’, the system doesn’t boot, so that is not it.

Last edited 17 days ago by Full Name
finally
finally
April 1, 2020 4:46 pm

Use usb 2.0 instead of 3.0 to fix slow mouse/keyboard issue. I wasted half day to find that!

PhillB
PhillB
March 12, 2020 10:49 am

Success!! 🙂 I had to reset the graphics after reading almost the very last message here. The VMSVGA was not set because I had 3D hardware acceleration enabled (which an invalid configuration) and it was not saved. I disabled 3D and then saved. Then everything worked. I have set the EFI resolution so I don’t get the screen until halfway through the boot. But then it all comes good at the logo and progress bar, albeit in 1024×768. I just leave a terminal open with the correct command for resolution 2560×1440 (which is pretty much max. – it cannot do… Read more »

PhillB
PhillB
March 16, 2020 2:16 am
Reply to  John

Further to the issue of rebooting: It seems that
1) The VM reboots every 12 minutes
2) The log show an ACPI reset
3) Removing VM Tools fixes the reset problem (obviously no video switching functions work after that)
4) The machine reaction to mouse and kb slows down, as noted in another post. Then for no reason it speeds up again. There were also some disk controller resets, which abort all in progress transactions, however while these coincidentally occured and resulted in restoring the speed there was no consistent pattern I could see.
Hope this helps.
P

Renzo Castillo
Renzo Castillo
May 4, 2020 4:32 am
Reply to  PhillB

So the solution is to always execute that command after reboot right? Regards

bickabah
bickabah
March 3, 2020 4:25 pm

My macOS Catalina 10.15.3 VBox keeps slowing down to a crawl, even after I run the guest tools command with the Tools installed. it expands to 1920 x 1080 and then it. basically becomes unresponsive. I have verified that it’s using 128 MB Graphics Display. Is there any thing else I can do to fix this issue. I’m using VirtualBox 6.1.4 r136177 with the most recent extension pack.

bickabah
bickabah
March 6, 2020 9:46 pm
Reply to  John

Yes, to “PIIX3” under “System” settings.

Tramline14
Tramline14
January 20, 2020 2:31 am

Does this work in Mac Os Yosemite?

Erald
Erald
December 25, 2019 12:56 pm

Thank you! This made it alot smother :)))