[Guide] How to Boot OS X 10.8 Mountain Lion DMG on VMware Workstation with Windows 7

This article explains how to create a bootable (Mac) OS X 10.8 mountain Lion image (and ISO) for VMware workstation on Intel based Windows 7 computer. Recently I have mentioned about official 10.8 developer preview download and torrent download of latest OS from Apple. The original DMG file can not be booted on any hackintosh methods. But, by using this guide we can prepare a bootable image of Mountain Lion OS X and start the installation on VMware workstation as guest virtual machine.

This guide is nothing to do with Hackintosh on physical computer. I have tested on desktop virtualization software VMware workstation only. So, it will be useful to run the developer preview version of OS X 10.8 without disturbing your physical Operating Systems.  Also, it is very safe, easy and possible to use with multiple Operating Systems simultaneously.

OK, let’s come to our point. Here I’m explaining how to prepare the OS X 10.8 image and ISO which can be booted on VMware workstation with Intel based Windows computers. Usually the official dmg file should be used inside an existing Mac OS machine to install it in different partition (dual boot) or update the existing OS X. So, starting the installation on fresh virtual machine with same dmg file is not possible without doing few modifications.

This method is exactly same which we used earlier to prepare Lion OS X 10.7 bootable image. Since I already explained each steps with Lion OS X earlier, I’m not going to repeat the same instructions here. Anyhow, keep reading…..


What You Need?

1) A working Snow Leopard or Lion OS X virtual machine on VMware or VirtualBox.

More information available on how to install Snow Leopard on VMware, VirtualBox and Lion OS X on VMware, VirtualBox.

2) Mountain Lion DMG file (Click here to read more)


Summary – What We Are Going to Do?

1) We will attach a new virtual hard disk (5GB) to existing Mac OS X virtual machine.

2) Mount the Mountain Lion dmg file inside virtual machine.

3) Restore the BaseSystem and packages (from downloaded dmg file) to newly attached virtual hard disk from virtual machine. Also few modifications.

4) Now we can attach the ‘prepared’ 5GB virtual hard disk to new virtual machine to boot and start the installation.

That’s it. Its very easy. But please follow the instruction correctly.


Steps to Create Bootable OS X 10.8 Mountain Lion DMG on VMware Workstation

1) Attach a 5GB new virtual hard disk to working Mac OS X  virtual machine. In this example, I’m doing it with Lion OS X (10.7) VM on VMware workstation, my host is Windows 7 32 bit.

added disk

2) Start the VM. Initialize the disk and format the newly added 5GB external hard disk with following configuration.

Single partition with ‘Mac OS X Extended (Journaled)’ and ‘Apple Partition Map’ type which is available under Options in below screen.

create new partition

3) Now, we need to mount the 10.8 installation file. As you are aware OS X 10.8 installation file is in DMG format which will not work directly with VMware workstation. I tried to convert the DMG file to ISO on Windows 7 host as mentioned earlier in Sysprobs, but for some reasons it failed.

So, I have directly copied mountain Lion dmg file (using USB disk) into working Lion 10.7 virtual machine. Then mounted by double clicking the dmg file.

mounting dmg file

4) Make sure its mounted properly. Check the listed volumes as shown below.

mounted disk

Above screen shows the mounted OS X 10.8 dmg file as ‘Mac OS X Install ESD’ and my new hard disk which I formatted in Step 2 as ‘bootablelion’.

5) We are ready to start the restore and copy important packages process from mounted dmg file to new hard disk.

As I said, the further steps clearly mentioned with screen shots earlier for Lion OS X (10.7).

Please click here to visit the previous guide and follow the steps carefully.

Also, you can create Mountain Lion bootable ISO file using the same method, which is clearly mentioned by these videos ( Click here)



In previous guide, the new hard disk named as ‘LionInstaller’, but in this new example it is named as ‘bootablelion’. Also, when you restore the BaseSystem image, it may overwrite the partition name and you will get a new name as ‘Mac OS X Install ESD 1’. So, either rename the partition again before continue next steps or type the new name correctly on appropriate places while typing the commands.

6) After new disk created properly, it can be attached to new virtual machine and start Mountain Lion installation. Please make sure, you have already applied VMware unlocker to be able to run Mac OS X guest virtual machines on Windows platform. Check our earlier guide on VMware 8.0 and 8.0.1 unlocker.

Here is the first screen booted by ‘prepared’ 5GB hard disk on VMware workstation 8.0.1 on Windows 7 32 bit host.

I will provide the step by step guide and additional required installation for Mountain Lion OS X 10.8 on VMware workstation in coming days.

first screen

I’m sure this guide will be helpful to prepare the bootable image of Mountain Lion for VMware workstation and VM Player. Mostly this should work with Oracle VirtualBox too, but we need to find out the correct boot loader for that. I will keep searching for that and update in this blog later.

Have fun!

40 thoughts on “[Guide] How to Boot OS X 10.8 Mountain Lion DMG on VMware Workstation with Windows 7”

  1. Thanks for the guide. However you are very vague about which steps we are to follow from your previous tutorial. PLEASE make this more apparent!?

    • Right I followed your guide to the letter but I get the following error : “Virtual CPU has entered shutdown state” – What’s this about…?

      • Jimbo – Check the CPU settings in your host system’s BIOS for an intel virtualization option. This has to be enabled in order for vmware to share the processor. It was disabled on my board by defaut, turning this on solved the issue for me.

    • Sorry, but You really get all too vague around the end here… Actually, I think the problem starts around IMPORTANT NOTE…

      I updated my Workstation with the unlocker (all good). Now I need to create a new VM attach the bootablelion disk (as the only harddrive?) Do i also need to boot from the ‘mtn lion dmg’? or is the VM supposed to boot from the bootablelion drive?

      Also, choosing Workstation version v7 compatible or v8 ?
      How about when choosing Mac OS X version? Do I choose 10.6 or 10.7 64-bit or ?

      Screenshots of settings would be appreciated

  2. Agree with everyone else. I was able to get Snow Leopard and Lion installed under VMware Player with the instructions on this site, but have not been able to get Mountain Lion DP2 or DP3 to even start to install.

    Any chance of a fully dedicated post that does not cross-reference other posts?

  3. hi all ,
    i have successfully created the bootable vmdk but i cant use mouse or keyboard in it , i tried to install directly from it earlier but no luck . :S :/ please help me

  4. I have the same problem with mouse and keyboard. I tried to use created boot disk on two computers with VMWare’s, in both cases no keyboard and mouse (clicked many times didn’t help). Maybe, someone have ideas about this problem. Thanks

    • Unfortunately, I have the same issue as Yura. No amount of “clicking” or keyboard in the first install screen is giving me mouse or keyboard access to the VM. I’ve tried several different approaches, but it simply won’t work. I am able to use a downloaded 10.8 DP4 VM just fine, but attempting to create my own using the 10.8 GM and the instructions in this post (thanks a bunch for, btw! 🙂 get me to the first page of the install — but leave me with no way to interact with it.
      Yura and I will be quite grateful for any helpful insights here. 😉

      • I got it: I minimized the window to the taskbar, and then brought it back. The mouse/keyboard started working. However, after the install, it failed to reboot, and then failed to boot back up after I had to kill it.

        I’ve actually taken a different route to success, though. I did an upgrade of a downloaded 10.8 DP4 VM using the 10.8 GM I got from the Apple Developer program. Worked perfectly.

  5. I must be doing something incredibly stupid, because all I get is “FATAL: No bootable medium found! System halted” on the new Virtual Box machine that has the 5GB hard drive attached. Any clues or ideas on what I could be missing? I’ve done the steps 3 times already, always with the same result.

  6. Hi, it´s a nice tutorial and i see the first screen on my VM, but i can´t take an input with my keyboard or mouse.
    The mouse cursor is moving arround the screen, but i can´t click on a option. What´s wrong? Can you help me please? Greetz Chris

    • OMG… i´m a little bit stupid… 😉

      Utkarsh solution is working fine. Just click many times in the start screen and it will work *g*.

      Greetz Chris

  7. I’ve got to the first screen too. I can move the mouse pointer INSIDE the VM, but I cannot click anywhere. I’ve clicked like a trillion times in the start screen but nothing happends… Anyone have any idea how to solve this issue?

  8. Hi,
    I followed your steps to create the bootable installer for VMWare (previous guide) and it worked.
    But one question: Why open the BaseSystem, restore and then copy kernelcache and Packages and edit the com.apple.boot.plist?
    You can simply open the InstallESD.dmg and restore. You don’t have to copy kernelcache and packages or edit the plist file. You just have to restore and create the ServerVersion.plist. Thats it. Works like a charm for me!

    • Do you mean just to restore the InstallESD.dmg to the virtual harddisk? If I do so, it results in kernel panic right after booting. It says “Unable to find driver for this platform: …”. Never had this Problem?

      How do you boot? EFI enabled?
      I’m booting with “Hackboot”, might this be the difference?


  9. Hi everyone,

    I confirm it worked for me on VortualBox, running on Win XP Pro SP4 laptop.

    I am now running a Mountain Lion VM, which I installed from a 5Gb Hard Disk, onto an existing Lion VM.

    I also have installed the following Boot Loader : MultiBeast v4.6.1 (from http://www.tonymacx86.com/) and I now have a bootable 10.8 Mountain Lion VM running on my XP Pro without having to use anyother loader.

    Thanks to sysprobs.com for this tutorial 😉

    • Hi, ive trying to make a bootable version on ML on Virtualbox but i have not succeded, can you plese give us more details about how you make it? did you use some bootable ISo like iboot? or just making the vdi hard drive with the steps from this tutorial and then runing into a new machine worked for you? thanx in advance

  10. I managed to do an upgrade of a 10.8 DP4 image to the retail version of Mountain Lion, but when MacOSX boots up, i have the same keyboard / mouse issue that other people are having in the installer. No amount of clicking, button pressing, minimizing or closing of VMWare fixes it. The cursor moves but clicks don’t seem to register. Even using a different keyboard / mouse doesn’t work, nor does passing the device directly to the VM. Any ideas?

  11. I have followed all the steps … my hdd (5gb) is not booting the vm it is stuck at EFI … i think checking for the bootable media over the network.

    following is the vmware configuration:
    VMware 8.0.3 (unlocked)
    New VM with Apple Mac OS X (Guest Operating System) and Mac OS X 10.7 (Version)
    40GB HDD
    5GB HDD (Installer disk)

    MAC Image: InstallESD.dmg

    When i power up the above vm it doesn’t boot and says unsuccessful and wait at EFI …

    Please help me understand that @ what step i might be wrong.

  12. For anyone having the issue where you can’t click on anything when the install starts:

    Try plugging in an external USB mouse. I was setting this up in VMWare WS 8 on my laptop and couldn’t get the mouse to click on the OSX setup. As soon as I plugged in an external mouse it worked.

  13. For those who can’t get the VM to grab input, try going to VMware Workstation’s Preferences (menu bar > EDIT > PREFERENCES), then go to the INPUT section and UNCHECK the three options under the Cursor section and change “optimize mouse for games” to Never.

    I’m not sure what combination of those worked, but immediately on the first try after doing all 4 things, did the VM recognize my mouse and keyboard.

    Another thing I did was plug in a USB keyboard right before trying the changes (the keyboard alone didn’t work).

  14. Works fine but booting the VM machine takes about 30-50 minutes each time!
    Is this normal?

    Lion was fine as long as you didn’t use the Mac Software Updates. It boots now in 30 minutes.
    It’s probably one of the updates that slows everything down. Of course that “patch” is probably
    included in Mountain Lion and slows down the VM for the same reasons.
    Any clue???

    • I had the 50 minute boot issue with Lion after enabling File Vault. Even after disabling, it still took forever to boot. When I installed Mountain Lion, I did a fresh install and now I boot in a minute or so.

      The log files suggest a www connection to apple is failing, I suspect either iCloud or File Vault attempts to access the network before VMWare establishes the connection so it waits, tries again and waits and then finally either gives up or succeeds. Since I was able to solve this with a fresh install of ML, I never dug deeper.

      You might try disabling iCloud and see if that helps… else re-install and don’t use File Vault.

  15. I did a fresh ML install and never actually setup iCloud or File Vault. So I doubt that it connects to Apple.
    The only thing that seems ot be set ON by default is the software update. So I turned it off but still, 50 minutes to boot.
    Ok, I will try a new clean machine tonight.
    To make things clear, did you proceed as follows?
    1- use Fusion on a Mac, not Workstation under Windows
    2- clean ML install
    3- turn off all automatic connections (iCloud, FileVault, software update)
    4- install the kext files?

    If I try to install the kext files, I can’t click anymore anywhere, the mouse doesn’t move at all.

  16. good tuto but i wish that you have an article about install mac os server in a windows 7 using vmware 9 or 8 or better give me a link for vmware image if you have
    i am a student for apple technology i have my laptop hp pavilion dv6 and i dont waste my mony for bying a mac
    if you have a solution dont be lazy to show me hhhh

  17. Just like Steve J, the system works but it takes almost an hour to boot!
    No difference with (virtual) network cable disconnected.

  18. Hey everyone,
    im still wondering how you created the bootable image. Where do you get the mach_kernel from? Its not mentioned in the articel https://www.sysprobs.com/create-bootable-lion-os-installer-image-vmware-windows-intel-based-computers. And if i copy the mach_kernel from the InstallESD image, the installation program starts, but tells me either that the install medium is damaged or that the system can’t be installed on this computer.

    I’m trying to virtualize with Virtualbox.

    So if someone has some further hints, I would be glad.


  19. I’ve gotten the bootable drive installed, when I try to run the installer it reboots. It seems like a timeout (?), I can either leave it sitting at the ‘choose language’ selection and it reboots, or I can get as far as selecting ‘rebuild os’ and then it reboots. I followed the Lion guide closely (checked for verification of console commands), the image seems to be okay because the reboot happens regardless of whether I actually do anything with the wizard or not. Any thoughts?

    • Forgot to clarify, VMware 9, used a Leopard VM to create an 8gb vmdk that I’ve attached to a new Mountain Lion VM. I edited the serverversion file to fool it into thinking I was using Snow Leopard, then followed the guides on this site.

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