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[Guide] Simple steps to create macOS Installer for Vmware on Linux or Windows


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Simple steps to create macOS Installer for Vmware on Linux or Windows

 

This guide describes how you can create a Vmware image (vmdk) for installing macOS in Vmware. Most tutorials about this topic require an ISO installer file that was typically created in macOS or you have to download some preinstalled image file from unknown source. None of them are ideal. But if you follow the steps below, you will not need to access macOS and will use official and trusted sources.

 

  1. First of all download gibMacOS from here and set up
    https://github.com/corpnewt/gibMacOS
     
  2. Run the script to download the full macOS installer:
    on Linux:
    gibMacOS.command
    on Windows:
    gibMacOS.bat

     

  3. Install qemu-img converter

    on Linux (Debian or Ubuntu):
    install qemu-tools package

    on Windows use this installer:
    https://qemu.weilnetz.de/w64/
    when you run the installer, it is enough to select the "tools" and "dll library".
     

  4. Convert the downloaded BaseSystem.dmg to Vmware image

    run the following commmand in that directory where BaseSystem.dmg was downloaded (somewhere here: gibMacOS-master/macOS Downloads/publicrelease/061-44387 - 10.15.3 macOS Catalina)
    on Linux:

    qemu-img convert -O vmdk -o compat6 BaseSystem.dmg recovery.vmdk

    on Windows:

    c:\"Program Files"\qemu\qemu-img convert -O vmdk -o compat6 BaseSystem.dmg recovery.vmdk

     

  5. Use the previously created image to install macOS in Vmware

     

    I assume you have a patched and working Vmware already. If not, find another guide but in nutshell:
    - confirm the VT-x is supported on your Intel machine (if you are on AMD you may not able to virtualize macOS or you need to do more work)
    - install VMware Workstation or VMware Workstation Player (free for non-commercial use)
    - use an unlocker to patch the Vmware to support macOS guest
     currently this works well: https://github.com/BDisp/unlocker/
     

    So when you are here you have a patched Vmware and a Vmware image (recovery.vmdk).
    Run Vmware and create a new virtual machine by choosing macOS guest. But add another hard disk as well with selecting to use an existing virtual disk. Browse the recovery.vmdk. You will get a warning about the image is not in the latest format but choose to keep the existing format.

    After you installed the macOS, install the vmware tools as well.

     

Tested on Windows 10 with macOS Catalina 10.15.3 in Vmware 15.5 Player

 

Comments are welcome.

 

Edited by tlac
  • 2 weeks later...

Thanks for this guide, I am having some trouble with the last step, when the recovery.vmdk is created its size is only 1,3 gb for Catalina, is this the correct size ? Because from some videos I've seen before that size should be much larger (around 7GB ?). Any way I tried to start the VM with that recovery.vmdk but it hangs at the first apple logo and nothing happens, I tried to wait for 20 minutes but still nothing. If someone can help to point me in what I might be doing wrong I would be grateful.

Yes, the size is correct. It contains only the recovery tool but it will download the full installer on the fly.

 

Do you have any progress bar under the Apple logo?

What operating system and vmware do you use?

Edited by tlac

Thanks for what you did, sounds very useful. :) And probably was lots of work.


For me, I historically use various macOS VMs for over 7 years now, on lots of VMware Workstation versions released by VMware over the years, I recall using version 10.x, and probably older too. :)

So, a long time ago I got the 10.7 version VMware VM, and then after that as years go by I usually simply upgrade to the newer one - of course, keeping OLD one too, as I need to test software for my work in ALL supported macOS versions! :)
(and sometimes I download files from strange persons that share them, did not get any issues with that until now..)

There was no progress bar, and I'm using win 10 with VMware 15.0 but I figured it out, it was the VMware version, I was using the 15.0 VMware version and the mac operating system that was offered went only up to  10.14 now I found a more update version of VMware 15.5 and it offers the Catalina version as well 10.15. Everything works now. Thank you for taking the time to write me :)

  • 1 month later...
On 3/1/2020 at 4:25 AM, tlac said:

Yes, the size is correct. It contains only the recovery tool but it will download the full installer on the fly.

 

Do you have any progress bar under the Apple logo?

What operating system and vmware do you use?

I can reach to this screen but there are no more progress indicator. I have waited a night but no hope. Please help!

 

Screenshot from 2020-04-20 16-45-11.png

8 hours ago, phonix said:

I used version 15.5.1 build-15018445.

I installed https://codeload.github.com/BDisp/unlocker/zip/3.0.3

My CPU is Intel. And I my host is Ubuntu 19.1.

Thanks for your support. I can launch a macOSX now using an vmdk 

Thanks!

 

Great! Thanks for letting us know you found a way to make it work. :) You are welcome.


I think with this VMware Workstation version, and this Unlocker version you are using you should be fine updating your macOS Catalina to latest version, as of now - 10.15.4(I assume this download you used is not the latest version)

Just in case, first please create a snapshot of the VM, as well as copy the VM folder files someplace safe, should anything wrong happen with/after the update to latest macOS Catalina version. :)

Please let us know how it goes.

Thanks for writing this great guide!

I am trying to install Catalina on Windows 10 machine. gibMacOS downloaded 11 files totaling 8.13GB.

The install starts but its downloading the file from internet.

 

How do I use the existing downloaded files to install the macOS instead of installer re-downloading all the files again?

 

6 minutes ago, tlac said:

Unfortunately you cannot do that. The full installer is in more complex format. The simple "quemu-img convert" trick does not work on it.

Thanks for the reply.

I am looking into https://guide.hackintoshisfun.ml/#/offline-installer-guide/offline-part-1/

 

Although this is for a USB full installer and I dont have a USB handy. But I am trying to see if I can replicate these step coupled with your VMware guide:

"Click on your USB and go to macOS Base System (or OS X Base System)/Install macOS xxx.app/Contents"

"Drag and drop the prepared SharedSupport folder here"

 

I will let you know how it goes.

 

15 minutes ago, tlac said:

I'm not sure what you want to achieve. Why don't let the installer download again the files in vmware?

Their python script created a "shared support" folder with 7.18GB of InstallESD.dmg.

But I can see that's not enough for offline installer.

 

My internet goes down randomly. So trying my hands on creating an offline installer.

But even that is not going smooth. So few more tries and then I am off trying my luck with internet installer  :)

Edited by yellowharry
19 hours ago, phonix said:

I used version 15.5.1 build-15018445.

I installed https://codeload.github.com/BDisp/unlocker/zip/3.0.3

My CPU is Intel. And I my host is Ubuntu 19.1.

Thanks for your support. I can launch a macOSX now using an vmdk 

Thanks!

 

This is what I wanted to avoid. Using unknown image file.

Anyway I experienced similar problem on Linux with Vmware 15.5 Player. I think this version is buggy. But it works on Windows.

So on Linux I could get through the language selection, the diskutility and disk selection. But the progress bar stuck at last step, before the welcome screen. If I click and press random characters, I hear the macOS sounds but the screen is not visible.

Perhaps we should try an older version.

  • 1 month later...

I tried this following your steps exactly but get a constant boot loop when powering the machine with the converted recovery.vmdk

 

  • Arch Linux Kernel 5.6.15
  • Intel G3258 Anniversary Edition (Haswell) dual core 3.2GHz (VT-x enabled)
  • Workstation 15.5.5 build-16285975
  • unlocker 3.0.3 from the codeload links from the Workstation 15 thread:
    https://www.insanelymac.com/forum/topic/340416-unlocker-vmware-workstation-155/?page=3#comment-2725260 (I commented there as well)
  • Workstation appears to be patched fine, can choose OS 10.16 even
  • gibMacOS downloaded 001-12336 - 10.15.5 macOS Catalina successfully
  • recovery.vmdk got converted successfully
  • created the disk with UEFI, 150GB main hard disk, added a second hard disk using the existing recovery.vmdk, kept formatting, did not add any config options manually

 

It won't even begin to load the bar at all, the apple just appears briefly and then it reboots.

The vmware.log just says:

2020-06-08T12:29:04.459-05:00| vcpu-0| W003: DarwinPanic: panic(cpu 0 caller 0xffffff800d8c2b52):  initproc exited -- exit reason namespace 2 subcode 0x4 description: none
2020-06-08T12:29:04.460-05:00| vcpu-0| I005: Chipset: The guest has requested that the virtual machine be hard reset.

 

  • 4 weeks later...
  • 4 weeks later...

Actually I wrote that comment for Deridjian.

 

But which step did you stick at the logo? Is it the very first before the language selector?

And how much time did you wait?

  • 3 weeks later...
  • 2 weeks later...
On 8/15/2020 at 10:31 PM, xilex said:

Do you know how to convert recovery.vmdk so it is compatible with ESXi host? The file works fine in VMWare Workstation. I'm going to install inside Workstation then export it, but would like to know if we can easily convert. I tried to use this (https://communities.vmware.com/thread/472934) but did not seem to work. Thanks.

 

no idea, never used ESXi

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