How To VirtualBox

How to Install macOS 10.15 Catalina on VirtualBox on Windows PC

Written by John

Apple recently came out with their newest version of macOS they have called macOS Catalina 10.15. This is by far one of the biggest changes brought about by a macOS release since the previous one. It introduces with it many different new features and changes to the operating system. This OS was announced and launched during WWDC19 or the World Wide Developers Conference 2019 and all of the key points left people fascinated. Some of the newest features include improvements in regards to both security and performance. You can also connect to external monitors or even an iPad.

You may be wondering what more does the macOS 10.15 Catalina have to offer you? Well find out for yourself, you even can in Windows, first you’ll need to learn how to install macOS 10.15 Catalina on VirtualBox on Windows PC. And don’t worry we will instruct you how to.

VirtualBox and a VirtualBox Extension Pack?

VirtualBox is a virtualization program and essentially its purpose is to create virtual machines that can run on Linux, macOS or Windows operating systems on a desktop that is already under the control of another operating system. Using this software you can create a virtual machine, manage and access it with ultimate ease.

Also using VirtualBox, you can also integrate both your Windows 10 and macOS Catalina virtual machines allowing you to share files. There are also an abundance of many other interesting features included in VirtualBox and Mac OS can also affect the performance of your base Windows Operating system.

This new system USB wise will only support USB 3.0. If you install the VirtualBox Extension Pack this can help you in fixing the problem as it has the capability to connect to the VirtualBox which unlike the macOS system can cater for USB 3.0 devices also.

Download macOS 10.15 Catalina ISO Image

If you want to run macOS 10.15 using your VirtualBox virtual machine first and foremost you’re going to need a macOS Catalina image (ISO file). On here are the installation files that you need to install macOS versions 10.15. These images are available online however not all of them guaranteed to work with VirtualBox. In order to help you create a macOS ISO image below. This has been made from scratch, and will help you set up macOS Catalina 10.15 on your Virtual Machine in just a few minutes.

How to install macOS 10.15 Catalina on VirtualBox on Windows PC

Step 1: Download Catalina Final from the Mac App Store

Download macOS Catalina App

The first step towards creating a macOS Catalina ISO file is to download macOS Catalina Final from the Mac App Store.

Download macOS Catalina Final here

This is not possible if you can't access a Mac. If you do not have one, consider borrowing it from your friends or use a Virtual Machine. You will need it for about a 15 minutes. The consecutive steps can be completed on your Windows PC. The installer will launch once the process is complete. You only need the downloaded files. If you want to access the Installer File, you can find it in the Application folder.

Read more: How to Download macOS Installer in Virtual Machine

Step 2: Create macOS Catalina ISO File

Find your macOS Catalina.App and move it to the Application folder. You must use the Terminal to convert the files to an ISO. You can find the Terminal in Applications > Utilities.

# Create a Catalina Virtual Disk Image

hdiutil create -o /tmp/Catalina -size 8500m -volname Catalina -layout SPUD -fs HFS+J

# Mount this Image to macOS

hdiutil attach /tmp/Catalina.dmg -noverify -mountpoint /Volumes/Catalina

# Use macOS Createinstallmedia Tool to create a Installer Image

sudo /Applications/Install\ macOS\ --volume /Volumes/Catalina --nointeraction

# Unmount Volume Catalina

hdiutil detach /volumes/Install\ macOS\ Catalina

# Convert the Catalina.dmg to a Catalina.iso for Virtual Machine

hdiutil convert /tmp/Catalina.dmg -format UDTO -o ~/Desktop/Catalina.cdr

# Move and Rename Catalina Image to Desktop

mv ~/Desktop/Catalina.cdr ~/Desktop/Catalina.iso

Problem with "createinstallmedia" not found, fixes here:
How to Download Full Size macOS Catalina Installer

Step 3: Next install VirtualBox and then install the Extension Pack.

Now that we have unzipped the folder and we now have access to the image, we need to then install VirtualBox and also at the same time make sure that it is the latest version. You're going to want to go ahead and download, and install VirtualBox.

VirtualBox (free): Download

Install VirtualBox 6 in Windows PC

If you remember we mentioned the VirtualBox Extension Pack, well you can download that here. Then open the application and click to install the extension pack on your VirtualBox.

Install VirtualBox Extension Pack

Step 4: Create a New Virtual Machine

Now that you have successfully downloaded VirtualBox and we also have the ISO image ready, we are going to want to create what is called a new Virtual Machine. The first step of this is to go to the top of your VirtualBox window and click "New " button. What happens next is that a wizard will appear that will walk you through the steps of creating a Virtual Machine.

As the wizard guides you through the process of creating a virtual machine you are going to be asked various bits of information:

Name for Virtual Machine: macOS Catalina 10.15.
Type: Mac OS X.
Version: 10.13.
RAM: We usually recommend this be around 50% of your physical RAM availability, so if your computer has 8GB RAM go ahead and select 4GB.

New macOS Catalina and Memory Size

Once you have named your virtual machine and decided upon the RAM Usage it is next going to ask you what Hard Disk you want the Virtual Machine to use. You will see three options, do not add, create or use an existing one. Select "Create a Virtual Hard Disk" with 100GB and browse to where the "macOS 10.15 Catalina.vmdk" file was located and then finally click create!

Catalina Diks and Size

Step 5: Edit the Virtual Machine

We have now finally created the Virtual Machine, however that isn't everything finished, we need to alter a few settings. And to do this, go into settings. From the list on the left select 'System'. There will be three tabs at the top, select 'Motherboard' and tick the box which says 'Enable EFI' and for Chipset from the drop down list select PIIX3.

Change VirtualBox Chipset to PIIX3

Then in the Processor tab tick the box next to ‘Enable PAE/NX’ and increase the amount of core to 2 (presuming that is 50% of your CPU).

Processor Tab

Next up in the settings select 'Display' from the list on the left. The first tab you should see should say 'Screen'. Here you can decide upon the Video Memory of your Virtual Machine, its ideal to set it at 128 MB and Graphics Controller is VMSVGA.

Set up Video Memory with 128 MB

The final part of the settings process is to select USB from the lsit on the left and go ahead and tick the box that says USB 3.0 as if you remember it only supports USB 3.0 natively and not 2.0

Enable USB 3.0 in VirtualBox

Step 6: Add ISO Image and Boot Disk

Open Storage tab, Click on CD/DVD icon and open your "Catalina.iso" image.

Add Catalina ISO image to VirtualBox

Then in the Storage tab, Click on "Add Virtual Disk" button and select " Choose existing disk". Next, you should have your file explorer open, navigate to where your "VirtualBox Boot Disk" is and select the file.

VirtualBox Boot Disk: Download here.

Open VirtualBox Boot Disk

Boot Disk in VirtualBox

Step 7: Use Command Prompt to add the following code to VirtualBox

Close VirtualBox before follow this step, we are going to give you some code to add in to VirtualBox however you're going to need to do this through CMD or Command Prompt. Go to your start menu and type in CMD and you should see the below, if you do, go ahead and right click and click 'Run As Administrator'.

Open Command Prompt (cmd)

Code for VirtualBox (New): Download

Note: replace "Your VM Name" in this commands line with your Virtual Machine Name in step 3, then type in the following code:

  • cd "C:\Program Files\Oracle\VirtualBox\"
  • 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
Add Commands to CMD

Step 8: Install macOS Catalina in VirtualBox

Reopen your VirtualBox and click "Start" in the left-hand corner. This will turn on your Virtual Machine. Once you have seen the macOS Utilities, open "Disk Utility".

Open Disk Utility in macOS Catalina

Select VBOX Virtual Disk and format it as "Mac OS Extended (HFS)"

Format VBOX Hard Disk

Now, Install macOS Catalina on your VirtualBox Disk.

Install macOS Catalina on Virtual Disk

Once it has rebooted up. Turn off your Virtual Machine. Open VirtualBox, then remove "Catalina.iso" in Storage tab.

Remove Catalina ISO image in VirtualBox

Turn on your Virtual Machine, press the ESC button to enter UEFI Shell mode, type in: “install.nsh” and press enter.

Boot with Flags in UEFI

Once you have seen that the macOS Catalina installation has completed, turn off your VirtualBox.

The completion of the installation

Step 9: Run macOS Catalina VirtualBox

If you have followed all of these steps correctly which hopefully you have you can now open your Virtual Machine and start running Mac OS. As you would have to on a normal Mac you'll have to go through the initial set up and set yourself up an account however once this is done you can then use your Mac OS Virtual Machine to its full potential.

Create a New Account in macOS 10.15

Now have you followed all of these steps you should now be able to start using macOS Catalina for whatever purposes you may need it for. Hopefully this guide has made the process of running macOS Catalina 10.15 on your VirtualBox easier than ever.

macOS Catalina VirtualBox

Bottom Line

Now have you followed all of these steps you should now be able to start using macOS 10.15 for whatever purposes you may need it for. Hopefully this guide has made the process of running macOS Catalina on your VirtualBox easier than ever. This now means that you'll never need to settle for running a single OS again, you can run macOS alongside your Windows Operating system with ease.

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@JhonVictoria TruongJohnEsteban RNJonathan Scarce Recent comment authors
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Victoria Truong
Victoria Truong

These instructions worked for me. Thank you so much for your help!

Esteban RN
Esteban RN

Hi there! I’ve follow the tutorial and installed Catalina with almost no problems. On the first language selection (previous to installation) changed to Spanish and then mouse was laggy and keyboard repeats any key I’ve pressed 7/8 times. Can’t continue this way. I’ve finally installed in English, works fine and with no problems. Thanks by the way, excelent tutorial!

Esteban RN
Esteban RN

By the way VB version is 6.0.14 r133895

Joseph j
Joseph j

Hi John,
I tried to install and after initial steps, I got the following error.
ERROR allocating…
Error loading kernal…

And from where I can download Catalina.iso file

please help


Hi John, thanks for the tutorial! Followed all the steps and managed to fire it up to the beginning of step 8, but I have issues with input:
– Mouse pointer is super laggy, making it almost unusable
– Everytime I press a key, the system seems to believe I pressed it for several seconds (or several times), which makes it impossible to navigate or input anything during this step.

I’m running it on i5 – 16 GB – 256 GB

Any ideas what could be the problem, or how I could solve it? Thanks in advance!

Felipe Guaycuru
Felipe Guaycuru

Following a comment from Tomasz I fixed it by changing the chipset from PIIX3 to ICH9 in the settings.

J. Adams
J. Adams

I have the EXACT same problem. In fact when it isn’t running slow (all of a sudden), anything I try to download or install fails. Let me know if it is in fact a tool issue, because I don’t see how it would cause the operating system to fail on installations.


sr after updating my vitural machine now it says install mac os does not appear to be a valid os installer application pls help


I’m getting a corrupted message just 2 min before the installation is completed.
Also, when I try to open the ISO file in my windows machine, it says “File corrupted”

John Fedricks
John Fedricks

I’m facing the same problem. Can you please help?

Mr. John
Mr. John

Hello, I ran into problems after making an ISO file and copying it from the Mac onto my USB Flash Drive… Windows won’t open the drive unless I format it. Apparently, the drive is in RAW mode which is not suitable for Windows computers. I can’t format it obviously and when I use third-party software to try and extract it, I can only see folders instead of my ISO file (which is the only thing on the drive). I followed all the other instructions correctly. What do I do? How do I copy the ISO file to my computer (preferably… Read more »


I wanted to add a note here, for those with AMD processors who still get a black screen after following the steps here, disable nested paging.

Will Stone
Will Stone

No luck on a Dell Precision laptop. After running through all the steps, it gets to the Shell> prompt and then says … \boot.efi is not recognized as an internal or external command, operable program, or script file.