How To VMware

How to Install macOS 10.15 Catalina on VMware on Windows PC

Written by John

At the recent World Wide Developers Conference 2019 or WWDC19, Apple Inc. announced the release of a new macOS 10.15 Catalina operating system that is a significant improvement on the more recent one. It is full of plenty of new features, including some related to both security and performance. Another update included with the new operating system allows the user to send any application over to an external display which can be range from iPads to other various connected monitors. This is one of the more talked about features that we can’t wait to try out. And how to install macOS Catalina on VMware on your Windows PC?

What is a macOS Virtual Machine Image?

A virtual machine is something that doesn’t physically exist but instead uses your computers physical resources to act virtually through VMWare Workstation. In this instance, we’re talking about a macOS virtual machine that is running on a Mac OS system. You can also run Mac OS through a virtual machine if you have a Windows Desktop. VMware Workstation Player is like any other application you’d run on your desktop. First, you need to create what is called a macOS Catalina VMware image which in essence is the same type of file macOS users would use to install the Operating System initially. In addition to this, you’ll also need to download VMWare Player itself as an additional Patch Tools file.

Install macOS 10.15 Catalina on VMware on Windows PC

Step 1: Download macOS Catalina Public Beta

You will need a Mac system to download the macOS installer. You can use a Virtual Mac if you do not have one. Once you have downloaded the Catalina installer, you can complete the other steps on your Windows PC.

Download macOS 10.15 Catalina

The good news is that the macOS Catalina app is available as a free download from the Apple Developer Website and enrolled within the Beta Software Program. Open Developer Website and search for "macOS Catalina" Click on "Download," and once the download is complete, the installer will automatically launch. You can find the installer file in the Application Folder.

Step 2: Create macOS Catalina ISO File

If you already have the "macOS Catalina Beta.App", make sure that you move it to the Application Folder. The next thing you need to do is convert Installer files to an ISO using the Terminal. To launch the Terminal go to "Applications" then "Utilities."

# Create a DMG Disk Image
hdiutil create -o /tmp/Catalina -size 7900m -volname Catalina -layout SPUD -fs HFS+J

# Mount it to your macOS
hdiutil attach /tmp/Catalina.dmg -noverify -mountpoint /Volumes/Catalina

# Create macOS Catalina Installer
sudo /Applications/Install\ macOS\ Catalina\ --volume /Volumes/Catalina --nointeraction

# Unmount Catalina Disk
hdiutil detach /volumes/Install\ macOS\ Catalina\ Beta

# Convert the dmg file to a iso file
hdiutil convert /tmp/Catalina.dmg -format UDTO -o ~/Desktop/Catalina.cdr

# Rename and Move to Desktop
mv ~/Desktop/Catalina.cdr ~/Desktop/Catalina.iso

Step 3: Install the VMware Player

If you click the link we’ve provided this is where you can download VMware Player for yourself for free, once downloaded go ahead and install VMware Player before moving on to the next step.
VMware Workstation Player (free): Download

Install VMware Workstation 15 Player

Step 3: Install Patch Tool

Once you have installed VMware Player what we need to do next is to install the Patch Tool. What you’re going to want to do is right click on "win-install" and choose the option Run As Administrator and this will then install the patch tool for you.
New Patch Tool by Donk: Download

Install new Patch Tool for macOS 10.15

Step 4: Create a Virtual machine on VMware

If you have done Step 2 correctly you should fine that you have downloaded and install VMware Player. If that’s correct we’re now going to want to open up VMware Player and in the top left select the option that says "create a new virtual machine".

Once you have clicked "create a new virtual machine" you’ll then find that you have wizard in front of you that will run you through the process. When it asks you to select the Guest OS go ahead and select macOS and then click ‘Next’.

Guest OS and Version

After clicking next you’ll then be asked to name your virtual machine and where you’re wanting it to be stored. Select the “VMX folder” and then click next. For the storage space remain with 100 GB and also select store virtual disk as a single fine. After that click confirm and finish and you have set up your virtual machine.

VMX Folder Location and Catalina Disk Size

Step 5: Edit the Virtual Machine

Now we have created our virtual machine we are now going to want to edit it, go into setting and go onto the memory tab. For the RAM allocation set it at 50% of your machines RAM, so if your desktop has 8GB RAM allocate 4GB of this to the virtual machine.

Catalina Virtual RAM

Set the Processor to 80% of your CPU.

Catalina Virtual Processor

On the CD/DVD tab. Go ahead and click “Browse” button. We’re going to use browse through file explorer to the location where you stored the "Catalina.iso" file before and select that and click finish.

Open Catalina ISO File

Open USB Controller Tab. In USB compatibility, select USB 3.0. Then click "OK".

Enable USB 3.0

Step 6: Editing the VMX File

Open your “VMX Folder” in step 4. We referred to this before and that is the VMX File (VMware virtual machine configuration). This is configuration file essentially for the whole of your virtual machine. Right Click on VMX file, selecting "Open with" and then choose more apps, and from the list of choices select ‘Notepad’.

Open VMX Folder

Open VMX file with Notepad

This will open the VMX file in Notepad. At the bottom;

Add the code: smc.version = "0". Save the changes by clicking on “Ctrl+S”.

Add Command to VMX file

Step 7: Install macOS Catalina on VMware

Turn on your macOS Catalina. When you see the Boot Screen, click VMware "Power Off" to shutdown your Virtual machine. 

Power Off your Virtual Machine

Open VMware, go into Options tab and change Guest OS to Windows and Version to Windows 10 x64. Click "Ok" to save.

Change your Guest OS to Windows 10 x64

Turn on your macOS Catalina, then open Disk Utility.

Open Disk Utility in Catalina

Select your Virtual Disk (VMware Virtual Sata) and format it with APFS partition.

Format Your Virtual Disk

Now, you can install macOS 10.15 Catalina on your virtual disk, it’s time to wait about 10 to 20 min. 

Install macOS Catalina on VMware Virtual Disk

Once your installation has completed, turn off your Virtual machine and change Guest OS and Version is "macOS 10.14".

Change Guest OS and Version to macOS

Step 8: Play macOS 10.15 Catalina in VMware in Windows PC

Next up open up the VMware Workstation Player and select the option that says "Play Virtual Machine" and create a new account for your macOS Catalina.

Create a new account in macOS

Step 9: Install VMware Tool

Open VMware Workstation Player, click "Player", then select “Removable devices” then “CD/DVD” then  click “Setting” and open the “VM Tool.iso” file. Check the “connected” button and click “OK”.
VM Tool: Download

Install VM Tool in macOS Catalina

Next up we are going to want to install the VMware tools. This isn’t a quick process and before hand you will need to enable "System Extensions" which is easy to do, browse to and select "Open Security Preferences" and click "Allow". Click on the Restart button this will restart your virtual machine.

If your VMware tools turn out to not be working on your macOS Catalina, don’t panic, just go ahead and reinstall the VMWare tools. Once they successfully work enter full screen mode which will take about 3 minutes.

Done! macOS 10.15 Catalina on VMware on Windows PC

New System Preferences in Catalina VMware

With VMware, it is possible to run macOS Catalina on Windows PC. This is the best free virtualization software out there. With it, you can run a Mac on the same PC hosting the Windows operating system. This is the solution for people who cannot choose any among the two best operating systems! You can now have both Windows and macOS on one computer. You never have to choose one.

Hopefully now you have all of the knowledge you need including the installer file in order to be able to run macOS 10.15 Catalina through VMWare Workstation on your desktop regardless of whether it is Windows or Mac OS. You will never have to settle for a single operating system and in addition to this you also don’t have to go through the process of trying to locate an ISO installer image for your macOS system as this has already been developed and provided for you by me in order to make the whole process easier.

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ScarecrowRenatoJohnzeddmyusrn Recent comment authors
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When creating the installer with the command
sudo /Applications/Install\ macOS\ Catalina/ –volume /Volumes/Catalina –nointeraction

“/Install\ macOS\ Catalina/” there’s a / (forward slash) where it was supposed to be a \ “slash before Beta.

Fake Pilot
Fake Pilot

Latest beta does not work, keeps restarting during install. Goes back to recovery. Have anyone got it the latest to work?


I am having the same issue with the same beta version


Working great on VMWare Workstation 15 Pro.

Got a pop-up during install “Convert existing virtual disk to newer format?” I selected “Keep Existing Format” You may want to warn your readers about this.

Also while following your steps, I got a message “Boot failed: will sleep for 10 seconds before exiting… type 2” I rebooted. Next I saw a Boot Manager. I select SATA Hard Drive. Later I got the Boot Manager screen again, but this time had the Mac OS X option which I selected.

But, after those minor surprises, all is well. THANK YOU!!


Hi, I’m trying to run beta 3. When I go to step 7 and power on my VM machine I can only see a logo but nothing else. There is no progress bar and the VMWare does not use any resourcess (cpu or HDD). Can You please give some advice? I’ve already tried installing VMWare again.

Many Thanks


i get the same issue and have tried this many times over and using pre-made iso and vmdx for catalina beta from other source and get same result. the 10.14.6 mojave release works fine in the same vmware player environment created using techsviewer instructions for that release. any suggestions on how to get unblocked?


I don’t have a MAC OS X option in VM Ware Player 15, only Windows, Linux & Other..


After reinstalling Beta3 I have noticed that it is much slower than Beta2 used to be. 4300 Geekbench points vs 5500. Has anybody else noticed the slow down of the system, or is it just me?

Mario Muja
Mario Muja

I have exactly followed this page but the system is so slow – not possible to reasonably move the mouse or enter something on the keyboard. Cannot continue at this point and will buy a MacBook 🙂

misa misa
misa misa

Kindly make an updated image for beta 4. Tried updating from beta 3 failed vm was corrupted. Is there a proper way to update then let me now. Thanks, @john for your amazing article

Jan Ehrhardt
Jan Ehrhardt

I updated from beta 1 to beta2 and from beta 2 to beta 3 successfully. But the same procedure failed with the update from beta 3 to beta 4. @john an updated image for beta4 would be really appreciated. Thanks!


Hello, beta3 runs fine on Linux VMWARE, frist part of install has to be done with VIRTUALBOX.
has someone issues with photos app inside the vm, at my installation it crashes since beta1, other apps run well


thanks for the tutorial.
No matter how many times I reinstall VMWare Tools, My graphics performance is still sluggish and I can’t change to a higher resolution. There is nothing to allow in settings. What can be the reason?


I think you can change the settings of your vm, at the display option you can change the resolution and also add more ram memory to your video card for your macOS.


Same problem here. No matter what VMWare Tools I am installing, I can not change resolution.


I had to allow installing VMWare Tools in the Security&Privacy Center before they actually installed. Maybe something worth checking