Installing Mac OS X 10.6 Snow Leopard in a Virtual Machine


This guide was done in OS X 10.7.2 Lion with the newest version of VirtualBox, it should work to install OS X in Windows too.

    • Open VirtualBox and create a new Virtual Machine – make the virtual disk at least 15GB and allocate at least 1GB of RAM to the VM
    • Choose “Mac OS X” and “Mac OS X Server” as the OS and OS Type
    • Select the Snow Leopard DVD, DMG, or ISO as the primary boot drive
    • Confirm the specs, boot disk of and choose “Create”

Create a new OS X virtual machine

    • Now boot the newly created VM by clicking on “Start” and let the Snow Leopard installer load, click through to the “Install Mac OS X” screen
    • Pull down the “Utilities” menu and select “Disk Utility” – this next step is important because without it the virtual drive will not appear in the install menu
    • Select the name of the virtual hard drive on the left side menu of Disk Utility (15GB VBOX HARDDRIVE or something similar) and then click on the “Erase” tab
    • Choose “Mac OS X Extended (Journaled)” and name the hard drive something, then click on “Erase”

Format the virtual hard disk to HFS

    • Now quit out of Disk Utility to go back to the general Mac OS X Installer
    • Select the hard drive name you just formatted and click on “Install”

Installing Snow Leopard in a Virtualbox

  • Let the installer run, this will take a while (30-45 minutes) and just ignore the “Time Remaining” estimate because it’s inaccurate – if it looks frozen or stuck, it’s not, the progress bar just jumps in huge chunks rather than gradual increases
  • After the installation is done and you’re back at the VirtualBox Manager screen, click on on the gear icon for “Settings”
  • In Settings, click on “Storage” and then look under “IDE Controller” to remove the Snow Leopard install DVD, ISO, or DMG – if you don’t do this, the VM will boot back into the installer rather than into Mac OS X 10.6
  • Close out of Settings, select your VM, and click on “Start” to boot the virtual machine

If you see a bunch of error messages with white text on a black screen, ignore all of that and let VirtualBox boot. Soon the familiar Mac OS X Snow Leopard setup screen will load to pick region settings and setup the virtual machine as any other new Mac. Enjoy!
Mac OS X Snow Leopard in a VM on top of Lion


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