Many people usually use tools like Parallels or VMware to manage virtual machines (VMs) on their Macs. VirtualBox is a great and free alternative to doing this. Plus, you can install and set it up in just a few minutes.
The VM can run any operating system (OS) currently available. Whether it’s for disaster recovery, code testing, or just a fun experiment, you can use VirtualBox for free to simulate any Windows OS, including 98, 95, or even 3.1.
Install VirtualBox on macOS
First, download the latest version of VirtualBox for macOS. Click “OS X Hosts” and the download will start automatically.
Open a new DMG file, and then double-click “VirtualBox.pkg” to open the installer. You will also find the User’s Manual here, as well as the Uninstall tool.
Click “Continue” to proceed through the installer.
If you want to change where and how to install the VirtualBox application, click “Change Install Location.”
When everything is as you wish, click “Install.” If asked, type the password for your Mac.
If you haven’t given your Mac permission to install a program from Oracle before, chances are that the installation will fail at this stage.
To give permission, click the magnifying glass in the upper right, type “Security,” then press Enter. Or, you can click Applications> System Preferences> Security and Privacy. Near the bottom of the General tab, you will see some text that says software from Oracle America, Inc. is blocked. Click “Allow,” then reinstall.
Note that this option is only available for 30 minutes after installing the new VirtualBox. If you don’t see this text, open the “Applications” folder and drag the VirtualBox icon to Trash to uninstall it.
Delete all remaining files, reinstall a new copy of VirtualBox, and then immediately reopen the “Security and Privacy” menu to see this option.
Installation now complete. Click “Close” and “Move to Trash” because you no longer need the installation file.
Install Windows 10 on VirtualBox
Now that you have installed VirtualBox on your Mac, it’s time to load your Windows 10 virtual machine. Open the Virtual Box (through the “Applications” folder or through Spotlight Search).
In VirtualBox, click “New.”
You can name your new operating system whatever you want. If you type the name of an available OS (such as “Windows 10”), the “Version” field automatically switches to that OS. You can choose a different “Machine Folder” to save the VM.
When you are ready, click “Continue.”
In the following screen, select how much RAM (the amount of memory) you want to allocate to your VM, and then click “Continue.” Remember if you set this too high, your Mac won’t have enough memory to run.
The default recommendation is 2,048MB, which is enough to run most installers. Heavier code or applications may require at least 2 GB. You can always change it later in “Settings.”
Now, you have to decide the size of the hard disk for your VM, or if you want. Because this is probably the first VM that you set on this machine, click the radio button next to “Create a Virtual Hard Disk Now,” and then click “Create.”
Next, you have to decide what type of hard disk to create. The default is “VDI (VirtualBox Disk Image),” which is Oracle’s container format.
However, you installed a Microsoft product, so you have to choose the format it uses, which is “VHD (Virtual Hard Disk).” Click the radio button next to that option, and then click “Continue.”
On the next screen, if you want a faster setting, select “Dynamically allocated.” If you want faster performance (which we recommend), select “Fixed Size,” and then click “Continue.”
Finally, you must decide where to store your VM, and how much storage is needed. If you selected “Fixed Size” on the previous screen, click “Create.” VirtualBox will start allocating space.
Now you have successfully installed VirtualBox and Windows 10 VM. However, just like other physical machines, you have to set the Windows 10 OS.
You can download Windows 10 disk images for free directly from Microsoft. Save the ISO file to your computer, return to VirtualBox, then click “Start.”
If Windows 10 ISO is already on your computer, VirtualBox might try to identify and select it automatically.
Otherwise, a new window opens so you can do this manually. Click the folder with the green arrow.
In this window, click “Add.” Select the ISO file, click “Open,” then click “Start.”
Your Windows 10 VM is now ready to use on your Mac! If you want to change one of the settings, right-click the VM, then click “Settings.”
Now that you have run and run it, be sure to check out some of our other guides about VirtualBox and VM. You can also refer to the Oracle User’s Guide to VirtualBox if you have questions.