How To VirtualBox VMware

How to Upgrade macOS Catalina in Virtual Machine to the Latest Version

Written by John

Operating macOS on a Virtual Machine and you would like to how to upgrade to macOS Mojave and Catalina? If so, that’s a perfect move. I mean, there are several cool features to enjoy with this new release. But how do you go by it? Well, in this guide, we have provided a step by step tutorial to make sure that you upgrade to avoid losing your data and ensure that the upgrade is successful. In this post, we are going to focus on the best 2 available tutorial, upgrade Mojave to Catalina and upgrade Catalina to new version.

Options 1: Upgrade Mojave and Catalina on VMware

Step 1: Upgrade to new VMware Player 15.5.0

If you are running macOS Mojave on Vmware, make sure that you have the latest version. Only this release has enough resources to support macOS Catalina. If you are not running on the newest release, go ahead and download. Here are the step by step instructions.

Install new VMware Player 15.5

  1. Open VMware Player Link and look for free version 15.5.0.
  2. Click on the green download button located on the top right corner of the download page. This will download the installer to your computer.
  3. Once downloaded, double click on the exe.
  4. After your computer starts again, double click on the exe file to finish the installation.
  5. Once the installation is complete, a popup window will appear. Click on Finish to close the installation wizard.
Step 2: Edit VMX File for macOS Catalina

Navigate to virtual machine containing the “Virtual Machine configuration” file. If you didn’t specify, the default location will be Document > Virtual Machine. Once you’ve found it, right-click on it. Select Open the file with Notepad.

Find the code: guestOS = “darwin18-64” and replace it to guestOS = “darwin19-64”. Scroll down to the bottom of texts and add this code: smc.version = “0”

Edit VMX File with Darwin19

Click on File tab then Save the VMX file, darwin19-64 is new macOS Catalina. Open your VMware and you will see VMware player 15.5 now support macOS Catalina.

Step 3: Download and Install a Catalina

Using the steps, explained previously, download macOS Catalina, and configure your virtual machine. With your VMware configured, you can go to the last step and install macOS Catalina.

Upgrade to Catalina

  1. Turn on VMware Player, select your virtual machine then click on Power on the virtual machine.
  2. Download a new version of macOS Catalina from Mac Apps Store.
  3. After the download has completed, the installer will start running.
  4. Go ahead and follow that wizard instruction to install macOS Catalina on your VMware.

Options 2: Upgrade Catalina and Mojave on VirtualBox

Step 1: Customize your VirtualBox with new Boot Disk

Ensure that the installation has completed successfully, you need to turn off your Virtual Machine then open your VirtualBox, and select edit your macOS. In the hard disk tab, click on the "Add" button. And open a new "Update Image".

Update Image: Download Here

New Bootloader for Update

Step 2: Download and install new macOS Catalina

Download macOS Catalina from the App Store/Apple website Once everything is backed up, you can then go ahead with the process. The first thing will be downloading macOS Catalina from the App store and here is the process.

  1. Launch App store using your current macOS Mojave.
  2. On the search bar, type macOS Catalina and press enter.
  3. Once it shows up, click on the install button.
  4. Once the installation is complete, click on "Restart" button.
Step 3: Complete the Installation

You can now go ahead and complete the installation after the boot disk has been added. To do this:

Boot to Bootloader

  1. Once running again, open the UEFI Shell Screen.
  2. And finally type in the following command Type: “update.nsh” to boot to the Catalina installation.

If you were looking for information on how to upgrade macOS Mojave to Catalina in Virtual Machine or upgrade Catalina to new version, this guide will help you with everything there is to know. In case you experience any errors or problems, you can always use the internet or recheck the steps to see where you went wrong. At the end of it all, you will be running on the all-new macOS Catalina. And with it, there are a lot of features that you will be in a position to enjoy. All the best in your endeavors!

Featured Posts

Leave a Reply

6 Comment threads
13 Thread replies
Most reacted comment
Hottest comment thread
7 Comment authors
JohnJakehecateTommyJulian Recent comment authors
newest oldest most voted

With VB, trying to upgrade from Catalina 10.15 to 10.15.2 when I reboot, I press esc; then I type fs1:\update.nsh (after having added the virtual disk to the Virtula Machine). At a certain point I get:

and the shell stops…
I tried both in developer and in non-developer mode.
Any advice?
Thank you!


This worked great and now my Catalina 10.15.1 is running perfectly on VMware Player 15.5. However, after upgrading it, VMware Player no longer shows MacOS as an option to create new virtual machines. Will there be a new…

Thanks for all your awesome work.


I got a error message: “Guest operating system ‘darwin19-64’ is not supported.”

gordon ou
gordon ou

The command did not work.


Hi John,
I use your tutorial to update catalina from 10.15 to 10.15.1 in VMWare 15.5, but it doesn’t work. When the update package has been installed, the system could not show the desktop and quit automatically after reboot. Would you have any other advices? Thx.


Thanks John. Upgrade to vmware 15.5.1 made everything work fine.
However I noticed the following when trying to update a Catalina VM that was using Clover to boot from: Booted via clover on VMware 14.1.7 and 15.1 but skips clover on version 15.5.1. I upgraded the VM on the VMware 15.5.1 installation without any of the settings that were in the clover config as it was skipped during boot – i.e. booted just as if Clover was not installed….
Anyone got any ideas why Clover (version 5033) is not working with VMware 15.5.1?


OK. I think I have solved this one. Looks like VMware 15.5 boots preferentially into macOS with a legacy boot and so ignores the EFI partition on the first drive. It also appears to search SATA drives in their device order. So create another small drive and put only an EFI partition on it along with the EFI data. Make this drive SATA-0,0 and the original one (main 40GB or whatever) SATA-0,1 and it boots into Clover and then onto macOS. Deleting the .nvram file is often required to erase old boot device locations as these seem to also get… Read more »