[Guide] How to Install Mac OS X Snow Leopard in VirtualBox with Non Apple, Intel PC

After several days of attempts and findings, finally, I managed to install Mac OS X  Snow Leopard in VirtualBox 3.2 in non-Apple Intel PC.  This guide explains step by step methods involved in how to install snow leopard in VirtualBox 3.2.

This method is completely for testing and learning purpose.  Do not use for permanent or production use. Please buy the original Mac OS and Apple hardware. Oracle VirtualBox 3.2 officially supports Mac OS X as the guest on Apple hardware only. But still, it’s possible to install Mac OS X on non-Apple hardware with different bootloaders


UPDATE – 17-02-2011

Intel i-series processor users- Check this other guide with three methodssuitable for Intel i3,i5 and i7 processors.
Check this post – This same guide re-written with several major issues fixed and how to update to 10.6.5
When you updating to latest 10.6.6, make sure to check few considerations at end of this guide.

The good thing is, you do not require any hacked Mac OS X installation DVDs or ISO files. Use your original Snow Leopard retail DVD or ISO file.

Required Products to Install Mac OS X Snow Leopard 10.6.3 on Oracle VirtualBox 3.2

1) Oracle VirtualBox 3.2 ( Read more and download from here)

2) Mac OS X 10. 6 Snow Leopard Retail DVD or ISO

3) EmpireEFIv1085.iso for Intel Processors (This is the boot loader we will be using to boot Mac, download the correct version here)
Updated- EmpireEFI Boot loader for AMD processor

4) VT Checker (Read more here and make sure Hardware Virtualization is enabled is Host BIOS)

5) Sound driver (Mentioned under sound)

Demonstration PC configuration

1) Intel Core2Duo 2.66GHz (VT Enabled, 64 Bit Architecture supports)

2) 3GB RAM

3) Intel P35 Chipset

4) Windows 7 32 Bit

Step by Step Installation of Mac 10.6.3 on VB3.2

1) Create a Mac OS X Virtual Machine with following configuration ( If you have latest VB, then select Mac Server version)
More information on installing SL on VB 3.2.6

install Mac os x Snow Leopard on VirtualBox

Memory – Minimum 1GB
Processor Cores – 1 or more (Change it to one core if you face any issues. Two cores worked for me)
Enable PAE/NX, VT-x,
Nesting Page – Enabled
Enable IO APIC and Enable Absolute pointing device.
Remove Enable EFI. Built-in EFI loader may work with Apple hardware only.

install Mac os x Snow Leopard on VirtualBox

Enable 3D Acceleration under display and setup maximum video memory.
Storage Controller type ICH6 and create a 20 GB Hard disk.

2) Mount empireEFIv1085.iso to CD drive. Make CD ROM as the first boot device. Keep your Snow Leopard DVD or ISO file ready.

3) Start the virtual machine. When the following screen appears, eject loader ISO and load Mac installation DVD or ISO.

To do it, right click on CD drive and select drive or ISO image.  Wait a bit, Press F5 and ENTER Key when DVD loaded.

install Snow Leopard on VirtualBox 3.2

4) Wait for some time. If you see the installation screen, you are almost done. Go through the installation process.

Go to disk utility and create a partition if you can’t see installation disk.

5) I got the following warning message at end of the installation. It’s not an issue, just restart the Virtual machine.

Note – Shutdown and Restart will not happen normally, you have to do it manually from VirtualBox console. You have to load empireEFI ISO again to load from installed hard disk.

install Mac os x Snow Leopard on VirtualBox

6) This time, select mac hard disk by right arrow key and press Enter to boot. I’m sure after several initial configurations you will land on Snow Leopard desktop successfully.

Let’s Check and Fix Some Issues in Snow Leopard in Oracle VirtualBox 3.2

1) Network worked out of the box. NAT and Bridged type worked without any patches.

install Snow Leopard on VirtualBox 3.2

2) 10.6.3 Update in VirtualBox Mac OS X Guest Yes, it worked. I downloaded combo update and successfully updated.
updated- 10.6.4 update also worked nicely with this method.

install Snow Leopard on VirtualBox 3.2

3) USB Support It worked well. Somehow data transfer is a little slow but manageable.  It detected my USB hard disk and flash drive.


4) The sound in Mac OS X Guest Sound is a little issue here but worked. I’m sure you are not going to connect 5.1 speakers, watch movies and listen to songs. So follow these steps to install Sound drivers. For me it worked, one side speaker worked with little distraction.  Something is better than nothing.

install Mac Snow Leopard 10.6.3 in Oracle VirtualBox 3.2

Updated- Try this driver for easy installation through pkg file.

If you are not happy with it then try manual method.

Download this driver file; extract the AppleAC97Audio.kext file on Snow Leopard desktop.

Open Terminal, (/applications/utilities/terminal.app) Type sudo -s in terminal then your admin password following this, now you should be root.


 sudo mv /users/(YOUR USERNAME)/desktop/AppleAC97Audio.kext /system/library/extensions

At this point, the file AppleAC97Audio.kext should have disappeared from the desktop.


sudo chmod -R 755 /System/Library/Extensions/AppleAC97Audio.kext


sudo chown -R root:wheel /System/Library/Extensions/AppleAC97Audio.kext

Now, CLOSE TERMINAL, then go to /system/library/caches/com.apple.kext.caches/ and trash Extensions.mkext (This cache will regenerate automatically on boot with the current kext library) Reboot and enjoy sound support! Original Source is here.

5) Screen Resolution and Screen Size Follow the steps to adjust the screen size. Widescreen size didn’t work for some users.

6) Shutdown and Restart We can’t shut down or restart Mac VM normally. You may see messages showing ‘CPU halted’ (for Shutdown) or ‘MACH Reboot’ (for restart), this means nothing will happen after it. Power off or reset virtual machine from VirtualBox console. Here is the working Snow Leopard Guest on VirtualBox 3.2.


7) Update 1

Install Boot Loader permanently and some fixes

To avoid attaching empireEFI ISO every time and boot OS X virtual machine, you can install bootloader permanently on mac local hard disk. This method will install Chameleon bootloader, and some other drivers and fixes.

Go to Empire EFI CD, which already mounted an open Post Installation folder. Take a snapshot before doing anything at this point. Run myHack Installer Package.

Select Customize in Installation Type. install Mac Snow Leopard 10.6.3 in Oracle VirtualBox 3.2

Read each package description and select if it requires for your hardware. I recommend to not deselecting anything, which selected by default. Press the Install button to continue. install Mac Snow Leopard 10.6.3 in Oracle VirtualBox 3.2

After successful installation, remove empireEFI ISO. Start the virtual machine, it should boot from the hard disk as shown below. install Mac Snow Leopard 10.6.3 in Oracle VirtualBox 3.2

If this doesn’t work, restore VM to the last snapshot and install Chameleon bootloader from separate installation file in Post Installation folder. After this installation, bootloader worked and I can see good performance in OS X virtual machine on my Intel Core2Duo PC.

8.) Update 2

Some fixes for booting issues

a) Mac DVD reading error EBIOS read error: Error 0×0c Block 0×1ed48a Sectors 0 This is due to accessing data from Mac retail DVD to VB. Convert DVD with some cloning software to ISO. More people faced the same issue and solutions are suggested here.

b) Booting errors after installation. Try with verbose or Boot Ignore Caches. In empireEFI bootloader, go to mac disk by pressing the right arrow key. Once it’s selected, press down arrow key that will bring more options. Select and press Enter. install Mac Snow Leopard 10.6.3 in Oracle VirtualBox 3.2

c) Change Boot Loader For old type processors, select legacyempire_efi1085.iso, which will be in the same folder.

if this bootloader and method don’t work on Intel processor then try this method with different iboot loader.

9) Shared folder between mac guest and Windows host, read this post ( Point 3) Network required.

10) Update 3 ( 17-02-2011)

  • USB disks access gives trouble with the same guide in Oracle VirtualBox 4. Snow Leopard virtual machine crashes when trying to explore USB storages such as flash disk and external hard disk.  If you face the same problem, then check this guide on how to fix this issue.
  • IOUSBFamily.kext and IOUSBMassStorageClass.kext files should be replaced to older version immediately after the software or manual update to 10.6.5 or 10.6.6 before the restart. If not, USB mouse, keyword, USB storage devices may stop working after the update. Read this guide on fixing USB issues after the update.


Again, this method is just for learning and testing purpose. Feel free to share your comments and issues you face. I’m not a Mac or VB expert, but I will try my best to help you.

Have Fun.

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.

425 thoughts on “[Guide] How to Install Mac OS X Snow Leopard in VirtualBox with Non Apple, Intel PC”

  1. Great work frnd………………….. worked great i like it thnx………………………………………..

  2. My processor does not support VT. So is it possible that I can install snow leopard as a virtual machine?

  3. i have a 64bit version of windows7 and a new i7 with asus p8z77-v motherboard and 8 gis of ram, and a 2 tb hard drive will this work on the 64bit version or just 32bit version?

  4. Thank you so much for this guide on how to install MAC OS snow leopard on a virtual machine. I was kind of getting up on hope on the idea on how to do this. And when I download the EFI Boot loader for AMD processor. Will I have a 369WM-2000 HP with 2CORES and AMD 1.65 GHz and 4.0GB of Ram. Thanks again:)

  5. I was getting the EBIOS read error when switching to the physical Mac OS X DVD in the bootloader, and found that selecting ‘passthrough’ in the Storage settings for the VM fixed it.

  6. Tried the install a few times and then read your instructions slowly, and then everything worked. Not keen to have a Mac, but wanted to demonstrate to a few ‘Mac Freaks’ a Mac caged inside Windows. But on the upside, I can now get to know Mac and am in a position to consider the alternative economically. Thanks.

  7. JUst wanna say thanks for your tutorial. Following your instructions to the tee, I was able to install and run Mac OSX on my Virtual Box and it happened EXACTLY how you have it pictured here but after configuring, It runs flawlessly. Thanks again

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