[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. A good tutorial as always 🙂
    Btw, why you have stopped writing on dailyblogmoney.com?
    It is an inspiration for budding bloggers, it is my humble request to you to keep that blog alive.

  2. Everything worked except the last part where in you use the terminal to start the installer. For me the installer was not in the root directory, but inside /PAckages directory, so i had to change the command accordingly. See screenshot below.


    But the rest worked just fine. Great guide. Thanks

  3. Sorry Sir But The Command You Tell Us To Write in The Terminal (For Installing OS 10.9) is Not Working It appear a massage about wrong location of OS X Installer
    Can you please tell me where the exact location is??

  4. Ok so first of thank you very much for your write up. I would not have got this working with out this.

    How ever. With the new final/public release of OSX 10.9 this does fall down short a little bit.

    1. When building the Bootable VMDK disk you need to choose GUID not Apple Partition calling it Untitled.
    2. if you put the OSX 10.9 installer .app file back into the Applications directory and then open terminal and run this command it will make a fully bootable and usable disk:

    sudo /Applications/Install\ OS\ X\ Mavericks.app/Contents/Resources/createinstallmedia –volume /Volumes/Untitled –applicationpath /Applications/Install\ OS\ X\ Mavericks.app –nointeraction

    Right from here you do not need the Sysprobs files at all. As long as you have the latest VMware Unlocker too (this is now setup for OSX 10.9) Create a new VM with the specs you want and selecting Apple VM OS type 10.9.
    Attache the Boot VMDK like you say and boot it will boot as a normal install boot disk you can then initialise and partition the VM disk and you can run the installer just like it was a normal real Mac.

    As I said with out your guidance I would never have got through this but there are some small changes to the document now that OSX 10.9 is live.

    Thanks again and very good job with the guide it is very clear and easy to follow.



    • @Kris, Thanks a lot.
      Your comment is valuable.

      I’m sure other readers also will read it. I may update my post according to your comment after some time.

    • Hi Kris,

      I tried your command but i have the following error message :

      “You must specify both the volume and install application path.”

      Any idea?

      Thank you.

    • Sorry i missed a bit about the command there please not.

      *** For the command to work the new drive must be calls Untitled and the OSX 10.9 install app file must be in the application folder ***

    • Hi,

      actually, the command should be:

      sudo /Applications/Install\ OS\ X\ Mavericks.app/Contents/Resources/createinstallmedia -–volume /Volumes/Untitled -–applicationpath /Applications/Install\ OS\ X\ Mavericks.app -–nointeraction

      two – before volume, applicationpath and nointeraction.

      Still not finished, so no clue if this works.

      • Yes – that works – it takes you back to the install screen – but this time the new option “Install OSX” is available:

        sudo /Applications/Install\ OS\ X\ Mavericks.app/Contents/Resources/createinstallmedia -–volume /Volumes/Untitled -–applicationpath /Applications/Install\ OS\ X\ Mavericks.app -–nointeraction

        I encountered a whole lot more pain, but I was able, using terminal and SSH, to re-copy a new install tree (after doing a mount -o rw /) and get it going that way… so if you somehow missed an earlier step like I guess I did, you can still recover 🙂

  5. I can’t get the video drivers working, when I install VMsvga2_v1.2.5_OS_10.9.pkg finder keeps crasing and after a while everything i crashing.

    Any solution for the video problem? now I have a small 1024×768 screen 🙂
    and I can’t change this.

    Thanks in advance.

  6. hello everyone. i’ve found this images thepiratebay.sx/torrent/9086005/OS_X_Mavericks_10.9_bootable_USB_for_Intel_PCs_(13A603) but it comes with a .raw file. Does anyone know how should i get this working with the images and wouldn’t mind to share please? thank you

  7. .raw file is same as an ISO file only from a different software.
    Just google on “.raw file” and you will see.

  8. I cannot encrypt System Disk with FileVault. When I trying turn on FileVault in “System Preferences -> Security & Privacy -> Turn on FileVault ..”. Maybe for FileVault need Recovery HD ? How I cat create this partition after the installation by this instruction?

  9. When I’m doing the step 13 ( 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.), the VM Ware shows a message error:

    ” A fault has occurred causing a virtual CPU to enter the shutdown state. If this fault had occurred outside of a virtual machine, it would have caused the physical machine to restart. The shutdown state can be reached by incorrectly configuring the virtual machine, a bug in the guest operating system, or a problem in VMware Workstation. ”

    How Can I solve this problem?

  10. Hi,
    I followed the steps and have the Mac to boot. But am not able to install vmware tools. I mounted darwin.iso to cdrom and installed tools. It recognized the iso and installed tools onto the machine. But after restarting it wont resize to fullscreen.
    Please help in fixing this issue.


  11. please help i want xcode on my pc.
    i did all right. mac os x mavericks keeps restarting on grey apple logo then vmware again and apple logo again this …
    help me.

  12. Hey guys,
    I am in serious trouble. i tried installing this, but as soon as i created a new virtual disk, and tried to startup my working mountain lion, it just won’t work. i don’t know what i did wrong, but somehow the ML files were in the mavericks folder. it asked me to “take ownership” but thats not working.
    I don’t really care for the installation, but is there a way to recover the files in it. any help greatly appreciated.
    thank you.

  13. Yeah, it works fine.
    But I’ve got a probkem with the size… It is increasing rapidly… I couldn’t find a way to shrink it…
    Any ideas?

    • First – remove any snapshots,
      Next, zero out the underlying sectors that OS/X has written to, but is no longer using:-
      dd if=/dev/zero of=/tempfile bs=8225280;rm /tempfile
      Finally, shutdown and use the vmware GUI in the host to shrink the disk.

      * Hint – I generally create a stack of giant null files using “dd” in my root folder, using almost all my disk. If I ever need more space, I erase a few. This way, it stops the disk growing too big in the 1st place.

  14. hey how much space i require to install in it.
    in windows insatllation stops and then vm stop working. i have to force close it.
    so what to do ??

  15. Hey, I have HP Probook 4530s i3 second generation laptop with 4GB RAM. Will this method work smoothly on my laptop? I really want to enjoy OS X on my laptop.

  16. 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.

    what is the difference between both dmg? App store only download IntallESD I guess

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