How to Install Mac OS X El Capitan on PC on VirtualBox

Written by John

OS X EI Captain is now available for easy download and at present, this new revolution is known to all. This lucrative downloading opportunity is now widely grabbed enthusiastically by the dedicated Mac owners as they can enjoy benefits with the latest version of OS X installed. Apart from Mac, OS X EI captain also offers sudden yet astonishing benefits over PC. However installing MAC OS X on non- Apple hardware is a bit tiresome and complicated. This is an easy guidebook, Install OS X El Capitan on VirtualBox on PC.

What is a VirtualBox? VirtualBox is basically a program, over which you can install and eventually run OS X with Intel-based and AMD processor. You would be happy to know that, this latest technology is free to all. Its current available version is exclusively designed to meet domestic net surfing issues successfully.

When you are planning to run Mac OS X 10.11 EI Captain on VirtualBox and that too on windows, it will kill a fraction of your extra energy but when done it is awesome. So, download Image and install the same and get a first-hand look and feel into the whole virtual set up and how it operates and helps you. Experience is always something worth of experiencing, and OS X on VirtualBox deserves a fraction of your time.

Steps to Use Mac OS X 10.11 El Capitan On VirtualBox on Windows

1. Download OS X  El Capitan from Mac App Store

Apple released Mac OS X El Capitan that many Mac users have been rushing to install on their devices. If you wish to join the crowd, below is a quick guide to help you download El Capitan from Mac App Store. And you need a Mac or Virtual Mac to create a ISO file.

El Capitan is free to download and install. It is available on the Mac App Store. You can open this link with older version (Yosemite). You can't find or open El Capitan link in new macOS Version (Sierra to Catalina).

Read more about this: How to Download macOS Installer in Virtual Machine

2. Create a El Capitan ISO Installer

If you have a "Install OS X El", move it to Application folder. To follow this step. Open Terminal in Application > Utilities.

Mount Installer DMG file to macOS
# hdiutil attach /Applications/Install\ OS\ X\ El\ -noverify -nobrowse -mountpoint /Volumes/Install

Create a DMG Disk
# hdiutil create -o /tmp/elcapitan -size 7900m -volname elcapitan -layout SPUD -fs HFS+J
# hdiutil attach /tmp/elcapitan.dmg -noverify -mountpoint /Volumes/elcapitan

Copy Installer to new Disk
# asr restore -source /volumes/Install/basesystem.dmg -target /Volumes/elcapitan -noprompt -noverify -erase
# rm /Volumes/OS\ X\ Base\ System/System/Installation/Packages
# cp -rp /Volumes/Install/Packages /Volumes/OS\ X\ Base\ System/System/Installation/
# cp -rp /Volumes/Install/BaseSystem.chunklist /Volumes/OS\ X\ Base\ System
# cp -rp /Volumes/Install/BaseSystem.dmg /Volumes/OS\ X\ Base\ System

Unmount DMG Disk
# hdiutil detach /Volumes/OS\ X\ Base\ System
# hdiutil detach /Volumes/Install

Convert Disk to ISO File
# ​hdiutil convert /tmp/elcapitan.dmg -format UDTO -o /tmp/elcapitan
# mv /tmp/elcapitan.cdr ~/Desktop/elcapitan.iso

Step 3: Install VirtualBox

VirtualBox is a free download, open it to install VirtualBox on your Windows PC.

Install VirtualBox 6.0

Step 4: Create and Edit Your Virtual Machine

Open your VirtualBox, click on "New" button to create a virtual machine. In Guest OS and Version, choose "Mac OS X" and 10.11 version. Next is set up your RAM with 60% (3GB to 4GB). With Virtual Hard Disk, set up 100GB with "VMDK" type.

El Capitan Guest OS and Virtual Size

In Storage Tab, find and click on "DVD" icon, then open your "El Capitan.iso". Click "Ok" to save your setting.

Open El Capitan ISO File

Step 5: Add Commands for VirtualBox

First, turn off your VirutalBox. Next step, in Windows Search type: cmd then right on "Command Prompt" and click "Run as Administrator".

Open Command Prompt (cmd)

Replace "Your VM Name" with your virtual machine name in VirtualBox. Then, copy this commands to CMD.

  • VBoxManage.exe modifyvm "Your VM Name" --cpuidset 00000001 000106e5 00100800 0098e3fd bfebfbff
  • VBoxManage setextradata "Your VM Name" "VBoxInternal/Devices/efi/0/Config/DmiSystemProduct" "iMac11,3"
  • VBoxManage setextradata "Your VM Name" "VBoxInternal/Devices/efi/0/Config/DmiSystemVersion" "1.0"
  • VBoxManage setextradata "Your VM Name" "VBoxInternal/Devices/efi/0/Config/DmiBoardProduct" "Iloveapple"
  • VBoxManage setextradata "Your VM Name" "VBoxInternal/Devices/smc/0/Config/DeviceKey" "ourhardworkbythesewordsguardedpleasedontsteal(c)AppleComputerInc"
  • VBoxManage setextradata "Your VM Name" "VBoxInternal/Devices/smc/0/Config/GetKeyFromRealSMC" 1

Step 6: Install El Capitan in VirtualBox

Turn on your El Capitan. Add first boot screen, go to Disk Utility. Format your new virtual disk with "OS X Extended" and "GUID Partition Map".

Open El Capitan Disk Utility

Back to Installation  of OS X screen, then install your El Capitan on new virtual disk.

Install El Capitan on new Virtual Disk

Waiting about 20 min and you have your OS X El Capitan in VirtualBox.

El Capitan on VirtualBox

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April 22, 2020 2:44 am

Whe I try to put in the commands it says “‘VBoxManage.exe’ is not recognized as an internal or external command, operable program or batch file.”

April 5, 2020 6:17 pm

Hi. Thanks for the guide. I was trying to install El Capitan as a VirtualBox guest on my Mac, which I recently upgraded to Catalina. I had an old USB key containing an El Capitan installer, and could regenerate an ISO from your commands from section 2. I did the installation using VirtualBox 6.1.4 : it did not need the commands of step 5 (probably because I am already on a Mac), but I had to first to set back the clock of the guest to 2015, as you suggested in your other post. So, thanks again for your useful… Read more »

January 4, 2020 7:37 pm

Hi. Thanks for this article.
I’m getting an error during the El Capitan installation process. The error is:
OS X could not be installed…
I’m using VirtualBox 6.1

December 8, 2019 6:17 pm

Preparing the installer image seemed to go well. The virtual machine is able to boot off the installer image. I reformatted the “blank” hard drive. I clicked on it in the installer, but after a minute or two of trying to install, I get a message from the installer that says:

Any thoughts on that? I did all of the VMBoxManage commands to the machine before booting off the installer, they all seemed to work.

Alexandru Sirb
Alexandru Sirb
October 3, 2019 6:37 pm

Now my virtual machine doesn’t even start anymore ahahahaha. Previously, without any modification, it would go up to “DSMOS has arrived” and it would just stay there, while the spinning mouse cursor was also there. It never showed the installation screen. I use VirtualBox 6 with extension pack. I will delete the virtual machine and try something else. My motherboard has an incompatible ICH7 SATA controller that I couldn’t get working. I only need osx for a little while. Anyway. Thanks for the guide. Cheers!

October 1, 2019 12:21 am

Hi am getting stuck on adding commands to for Virtual Box, step 5. i have a core i7 dell latitude e7440

October 3, 2019 3:29 pm
Reply to  John

I have tried that, that isn’t the problem I am stuck on step 5 with the cmd with windows.

October 3, 2019 3:34 pm
Reply to  Caden

It is saying VBoxManage is not recognized as an internal or external command, operable program or batch file.

October 5, 2019 9:25 pm
Reply to  John

How would i check the Virtualbox’s location

October 17, 2019 5:02 pm
Reply to  John

Hi, Your Virtual machine’s exact name should be within quotation marks , but the complete command can NOT be in quotation marks !!
I Had the same issue and this is how I did and it worked 🙂

September 24, 2019 9:18 am

When I try to start the machine I get:
Failed to open a session for the virtual machine OS X El Capitan.

Not in a hypervisor partition (HVP=0) (VERR_NEM_NOT_AVAILABLE).

VT-x is disabled in the BIOS for all CPU modes (VERR_VMX_MSR_ALL_VMX_DISABLED).

August 27, 2019 11:50 pm

Hi, I only get the option to reinstall the OS and then it gives me the message “This is not a supported way to install the OS, please run Install “OS X El that you downloaded from the app store” (see pictures). I’ve tried remaking my image to make sure everything was done right and i tried moving the “install OS X El” to the applications folder (the fix according to places on the web) but nothing seems to help. I don’t really understand why i don’t get the OS installer right away like appears to happen in… Read more »

August 28, 2019 7:40 am
Reply to  John

Hi John, thanks for the reply.
I have downloaded the installer and followed the instructions exactly to create the installer but it still always boots into recovery mode and I don’t understand why. Any ideas of what I might be doing wrong to make that happen?

August 28, 2019 12:51 pm
Reply to  John

Although i am still unsure of what i have done wrong. I have solved the problem by creating a separate ISO with only the OS installer on it and using the recovery ISO to copy that to the main virtual disk and starting the installer from there. Then telling it to boot from the correct file once it fails to restart. It has now installed fine.

July 16, 2019 4:33 pm

somebody know if works with Intel Core i5-3340?