[Guide] Install OS X 10.9 Mavericks on VMware Workstation with Windows 7 or Windows 8

This guide shows how to install fresh OS X 10.9 Mavericks on VMware workstation with Windows 7 or Windows 8.  Mavericks is the latest desktop & laptop OS from Apple with full of new features. After it has been released officially, it can be download from Apple site (or from any torrent sites).

By any chance you like to try latest OS X 10.9 on VMware virtual machine with Windows 7 or Windows 8 host, you can follow these steps. Basically, the OS is available as an app. So, it has to be used with existing Mac OS X and installed on the different partition with dual boot. This way doesn’t work in the virtual environment due to bootloader and disk issues with VMware and VirtualBox.

Latest Update: Upgrading this 10.9 version to Yosemite 10.10 works fine on VMware workstation. The performance would be poor on 10.10 compared to 10.9 after the upgrade. This could improved in next version of VMware workstation. Anyhow, I will be trying any solutions to fix the issue. Highly recommended to take a snapshot before upgrading to OS X 10.10, also increase the RAM size and processor cores. Refer this guide how the upgrade went on my PC.

Update: If you like to use OS X 10.9 Mavericks with pre-installed VMware image without trying fresh installation as shown below, you can click here to see our simple guide.

To continue our normal steps,  we will be making a virtual bootable hard disk from OS X 10.9 DMG, and boot the new virtual machine from it. Creating bootable VMDK file is slightly a lengthy processor and I’m sure the below each step will be good enough to explain it.

Earlier this guide was made with DP version of Mavericks, but you can follow the same steps to do the installation of final retail version.

What you Need to Make Bootable OS X 10.9 VMDK in VMware

1) Running OS X (10.8 or 10.7) in VMware

2) OS X 10.9 Mavericks DMG file

3) Sysprobs Lion Files

4) Latest darwin.iso file


Part 1 – How to Make Bootable Hard disk (VMDK)

1) Make sure to have a running Mac OS X virtual machine in VMware Workstation.

2) Attach a new hard disk VMDK file (single file, no split) size of 10GB. The virtual machine should be powered off to add a new virtual hard disk.

Install OS X 10.9 Mavericks on VMware Workstation

3) Transfer (copy) the OS X 10.9 Mavericks DMG file inside the virtual machine. I have used USB disk for this.

4) Once you have started the virtual machine with the newly added hard disk, you need to initiate the disk and create a partition.

Name the partition, and select correct format and type.

  • Name – 109installer
  • Format: Mac OS X Extended
  • Partitions: Single partition – Apple Partition Map
  • partition disk

Apple partition map

Press apply to create partition and format.

5) Double click OS X 10.9 Mavericks DMG file and let it mount. A new volume ( ‘OS X Mavericks 10.9 DP1” as of now) will appear under volumes once it’s mounted.

We need to open (mount) InstallESD.dmg file now. You can run the following terminal command from inside OS X Mavericks 10.9 DP1.

open installESD

6) Mount BaseSystem.dmg which is inside the volume mounted in the previous step.

Run the following command from inside newly mounted volume called ‘OS X Install ESD’.

open basesystem.dmg

Wait for some time to get over of mounting BaseSystem.

7) It’s time to restore BaseSystem content to newly created partition (VMDK disk).

Open Disk Utility under utilities.  Set the source and destination correctly as shown below. Press the Restore button to start the process.

disk restor

Remember: The above process will overwrite the destination volume and its name. So, to get the same name (‘109installer’ in this example), you need to rename the volume again after the above restore process had been completed.

8.) Let’s copy the packages from original location to new installer disk.

copy packages

Make sure to follow correct volume names in your scenario.

9) I’m not sure whether this step is required, but still, I’m following it to mark as OS X server version.

touch server version

That’s it, we have completed the major part of installing OS X 10.9 on VMware workstation, which is preparing bootable disk.

Shutdown the existing Mac OS X virtual machine and safely remove the second 10GB VMDK file. I recommend taking a copy of this file.


Part 2 – How to Boot OS X 10.9 Mavericks on VMware workstation with Windows 8 or Windows 7

10) Better to have the latest version of VMware Workstation.

Unlock VMware workstation for Mac OS X guest support in Windows host. Check our earlier guide how to use VMware workstation 8 or 9 unlocker.

You must see Apple Mac OS X support in guest OS area after applying the patch,

11) Download Sysprobs lion files from here and extract it where you have enough disk space for 10.9 installations.

Open pre-configured virtual machine VMX file from extracted location, it will be opened by VMware workstation by default.

vmware config file

Modify the hardware settings as you like depending on the physical computer hardware resources.

12) Attach the bootable VMDK file which we created in earlier steps. Make sure to add it as the first disk of SCSI controller of the virtual machine.

attach bootable disk

13) Power on Mavericks OS X 10.9 virtual machine now. If the unlocker patch and bootable hard disk (VMDK) worked fine, then you will be seeing the installation screen.

first boot screen

As you could see in above screen, there is no install button to start installation straight away. No worries, start the terminal as mentioned.

14) Use installer command to start ithe nstallation by specifying destination volume. By default ,the new disk (destination disk) will be named ‘Macintosh’. If you are not sure about disk name, you can use ‘Disk Utility’ to see the correct name.

Use below command to start.

installer command

Installation process will take some time. Nothing may appear on screen for some time, do not worry and let it run until you see the final message.

complate installation

15) Once installation completed, shut down the virtual machine and remove bootable VMDK file.  Start up the Mavericks virtual machine and I’m sure you will be landing on initial configuration and personalization screens. Complete them and enjoy.

This method is completely for testing and learning purpose only. You can’t use OS X on VMware workstation for full utilization of all features.

Install VMware Tools on OS X 10.9 Mavericks

16) Download latest darwin.iso from here. The correct available version as of now is here.

Attach darwin.iso to virtual machine’s CD drive. Once it’s mounted, run install VMware tools to start the installation.

install vmware tools

VMware tools will slightly improve the video performance and mouse integration. Even full screen option will be enabled.

But the overall display performance is very poor as OS X machine can’t access the physical hardware resources directly.

Here is the working OS X 10.9 Mavericks on VMware workstation with Windows 8 ( full screen view enabled).

full screen mode of OS X 10.9 in Vmware workstation


Dinesh is the founder of Sysprobs and written more than 400 articles. Enthusiast in Microsoft and cloud technologies with more than 15 years of IT experience.

46 thoughts on “[Guide] Install OS X 10.9 Mavericks on VMware Workstation with Windows 7 or Windows 8”

  1. I just installed os mavericks using vmware station but after rebooting it shows blue screen, I’ve just uninstalled it and now it works charm!

  2. Does your site have a contact page? I’m having a tough time
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  3. Hi,
    i have this constallation:
    – Windows 7
    – Vmware 8
    – OS X Mountain Lion
    Everything runs fine. Than i upgreaded inside the vm to maverick and now everything is stopping in the
    grey mac stating screen. i only see the grey apple and a rotating circle.
    Can someone help how to get it run again?

    • I had the same problem and I found out it was because I had the OS set to 10.6, so I used the vmware workstation mac unlocker (you can find it via google) which allowed me to set the OS to 10.9 and now it works

  4. I have followed you directions multiple tomes and when I removed the 10GB partition and when restart I still get Mountains Lion. My original VM. Using windows 7 guest and VFM workstation 10. Any help would be appreciated.

  5. Thanks a lot for this well detailed guide. I am now successfully running mavericks and enjoying it. Thanks a lot for this wonderful guide.

  6. I tried the steps mentioned in the post and got an error at final stage where I run the installer command in the terminal. The error is as follows:
    Error trying to locate volume at /Volumes/Macintosh/

    I re-opened the VMDX file and found that no Macintosh volume is present in the volume folder. We can only find 109installer volume.

    Please help.

    And also anyone can confirm me that when the installation is successful than will there be a new instance on VM running the OS 10.9.3 or will it update the SysProbsLion VM instance.

  7. Thanks for the steps shared. They are proving a lot helpful.
    But when I tried them I got an error while executing the installer command on the terminal, which is as follows:
    “Error trying to locate volume at “/Volume/Macintosh/”

    Find the screenshot at following link:

    I listed the contents in volumes dir. and couldn’t find Macintosh but 109installer. I tried that too, but no success.
    Please help.

    And also can anyone confirm that on a successfull installation on Mavericks does the VM instance in Sysprobs Lion get upgraded or a new VM instance is created.

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