OS X in Virtualbox

By | 2010/06/22

Edit: Virtualbox 4.x is now out! And most all hackintosh these days is being done via tonymacx86. So this article may be slightly dated. Tune in for updates on virtualbox + OS X soon!

How do I install OS X inside Virtualbox?


You will need:

– Virtualbox 3.2 or higher
– Intel CPU of Core 2 Duo or better
– Empire EFI boot CD ( http://prasys.info/osx86hackint0sh/ )
– Retail OS X 10.6 DVD
– Coffee

Setup a Virtualbox instance as OS X 32bit.

Change these things:

System: UNcheck Enable EFI

USB: UNcheck USB(!)

Hard disk should be on IDE (ICH6)

UNcheck USB only for install:


Now boot the Empire EFI CD, then it’s like installing on a hackintosh as normal.

At the Empire CD boot screen, swap out the disc with a retail OS X DVD, and continue OS install as normal.


At the end of the install it will either say ‘Installation FAILED’ or kernel panic. This is normal. Shut it down, and reboot with the Empire CD. At the Empire boot screen, choose the hard disk to boot from, and continue to Mac desktop.

At the desktop, run the post-install utilities from the Empire Boot CD.

After reboot, shutdown and go back to CHECK USB on. Otherwise keyboard/mouse may not work.


Any weird issues?

– When powering off, machine gives a kernel panic screen. Seems that it does shut down OK, just can’t power off.


– Clicking Apple > About this Mac crashes / resets to desktop

– CPU performance is true virtualized to match your CPU, but entire desktop is a little quirky. You have to click twice with the mouse at times. Sometimes mouse action or window action jumps. It is somewhat frustrating to use if you are picky about having a 100% native smooth OS X experience. My machine is an i5 750 with 8GB of ram and OS X is still a little quirky virtualized on this box.

Does it update?

Yes! I just applied the latest 10.6.4 update from software update and it works.

8 thoughts on “OS X in Virtualbox

  1. ganthor

    it seems that Oracle replace ICH6 whit ICH9 virtualization, whit that, OSX installer dont recognize any hard disc to install the os. Anyone have a solution for this in virtualbox 4.x?

  2. scott Post author

    If you can find a 10.6.3 retail DVD, that works in Virtualbox 4.x with the tonymacx86 method.

    But then after updating to 10.6.6, it is hosed somehow and cannot boot. :/ I think it’s an smc / fakesmc issue of some kind.

  3. Perry

    When you say “At the Empire CD boot screen, swap out the disc”, what do you mean? Do you right-mouse click on the VB CD-Drive icon in the lower-right of the screen and uncheck the empireEFIv1085.iso?

  4. scott Post author

    Yep – eject the Empire Boot CD (or iso) and select the OS X install DVD with virtualbox. Check out tonymacx86 ( http://tonymacx86.blogspot.com/ ) for lots of general hackintosh goodness. 🙂 I typically use his boot cd instead of the older empire one these days.

  5. Perry

    I took your advice and used the tonymacx86 iBoot boot loader and that got me farther. I now boot into the MacOS (using a burned ISO image from my retail 10.6.3 CD) and walked through until I get to the Install screen. It displays no storage device on which to install the OS. I created a virtual storage device off of my SATA controller (20 GB). Thoughts on why it does not recognize my virtual storage device?

    1. scott Post author

      Hm try running disk utility at the top of the OS X install screen (before installing).

      Utilities -> Disk Utility

      And make sure there is a formatted disk for OS X. If not, make one partition there.

      10.6.x should work in Virtualbox 4.x with tonymac’s ‘easybeast’ install option once you get there.

      I have not had that much time to experiment,


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