How to install Windows on your Mac in a virtual machine with VirtualBox — 2022

A week ago we showed you how to install Windows 10 in a virtual machine with Parallels . The problem is that while Parallels is in many ways the best virtual machine app on macOS, its biggest drawback is price. Therefore, as we discussed in that article, today we will show you how to do exactly the same thing but with VirtualBox , which is free.

What is VirtualBox?

VirtualBox , as we have just mentioned, is an application that allows us to create, run and manage virtual machines. This is developed by Oracle , although it has a software version. And what is more important, it is free .

And what differences are there with Parallels? The first difference to note is performance. VirtualBox is an application multi platform , also compatible with Windows and Linux, among other platforms, while Parallels Desktop is specific to Mac. Therefore, it is not surprising that the latter is better optimized , and therefore its performance is higher.

Also, in VirtualBox we lack the simple interface of Parallels, to give way to a more detailed interface, and at first glance, more complicated to handle. Also, VirtualBox does not have the facilities to download and install operating systems , so we will have to manually download and install the operating system.

VirtualBox, a powerful and free virtual machine manager.

How to have Window 10 on macOS thanks to VirtualBox

Let's go to what interests us … How can we do to have Windows 10 on our Mac?

The first step would be download the virtualbox application for macOS. For this we will go to the official Web and we will download the version that says OS X hosts in the section of VirtualBox Binaries .

In addition, as in the previous article, here we must also download windows 10 installer from the official Microsoft store. Once we have the ISO We can now proceed with the creation and installation of the virtual machine.

Creating the virtual machine...

Once we have everything downloaded, the first step is obviously install VirtualBox . To do this we will run the downloaded installer.

VirtualBox installer for macOS.

After following all the steps we will have installed VirtualBox. Once this is done, we will proceed to open the app to create our virtual machine that will host our Windows 10 installation.

VirtualBox application, a great free virtual machine manager.

Once this is done, click on New to create a new virtual machine. Next we will put a name and select the operating system that we want to install. In my case, since I am going to install Windows 10, I am going to leave it like this:

New virtual machine in VirtualBox.

Then the application will ask us for how much RAM we want to assign to the VM ( virtual machine ). This will depend on how much memory our Mac has, but to install Windows it is recommended to put at least 2GB (2048MB). In my case, I have 8GB on my Mac, so I will allocate half of it, 4GB (4096MB).

Main memory that we will assign to the virtual machine.

Next it will ask us for the virtual hard drive . In our case we haven't created any yet, so we'll give create one.

We will create a new virtual hard drive to install the operating system on it.

Once we hit Create it won't ask why virtual hard drive type we want to create. Here any of the options is valid, although the one that works best with VirtualBox is VDI. Therefore, we will select that option.

We select the type of virtual hard disk that we are going to create.

Next you will ask us another question regarding the virtual hard disk. It will ask us if we want it to be dynamically reserved or have a fixed size . I personally usually recommend the first option, because that way we avoid unnecessarily filling our real hard drive.

We select if we want a hard disk of fixed size or reserved dynamically.

Finally, we will be asked about the size of the virtual hard disk. If you have selected Dynamically Reserved, this will be the size limit you can reach. On the contrary, if we select Fixed size, this will be what the virtual hard drive occupies on our computer.

We specify the size of the virtual hard disk.

And that's all, for now! We already have our list virtual machine created . Now all that remains is to install an operating system on it.

Installing Windows 10 on the virtual machine...

Now that we have created our virtual machine, we will proceed to execute it. To do this we will select it in the side list and we will give the button Start . Once this is done, since it is the first time that we run the virtual machine, we will be asked to specify how we want to install the operating system. Since we have it downloaded in a ISO file , we will give the folder button and look for our Windows installer.

We select the disk image of the operating system that we want to install.

Then the virtual machine will be turned on and we will get the windows installer .

Windows 10 installer from ISO image.

Once we have properly configured the language, it will ask us for the installation type what we want to do. Since it is a clean installation, we will select this option (Custom: install only Windows).

Clean install of Windows 10 (second option).

Next, a window will appear to specify where we want to install The operating system. In this step we must delete the only existing partition, and then recreate it with the maximum capacity. In this way we ensure that everything is properly.

We select the partition on which we want to install Windows 10.

In addition, it is possible that in some step it asks us about our license of Windows (it will depend on each case). Once this is done the installation will start of Windows 10. Now all we have to do is wait…

Windows 10 installing...

Once the installation has finished, the virtual machine will restart . When you return, the Windows 10 setup wizard will appear. That is, this process may be different depending on the version of Windows that we have chosen.

The first thing the configuration wizard will ask us is for our language and localization .

Windows 10 initial setup wizard. We select our location (and language in case it asks us).

Next you will ask us about our bill from Microsoft. This is only in the case that we want to log in to our computer with the Microsoft account. If we don't want to do this and want to do it the traditional way (by creating a local account), we'll select the Join domain option.

Account for our virtual machine.

Then it will ask us if we want to use Cortana . Let's remember that Cortana is the virtual assistant of Windows, just like Siri is of iOS and macOS.

Use Cortana in our virtual machine.

Once we are done with the Setup Wizard , Windows will start setting up…

Windows 10 is setting up...

Once this process is finished, our typical Windows 10 desktop will appear ready to use. And ready! We already have Windows 10 on our Mac thanks to VirtualBox!

Windows 10 on macOS thanks to VirtualBox.


As you can see, the installation process of Windows 10 with VirtualBox it's more work than Parallels, but we save the money that Parallels costs. In this way, you will not needformat windows on macwhen you need it, since technically you won't have it installed.

And you? What do you think? What is your favorite virtual machine application? Which method do you prefer to run Windows applications on Mac, virtual machine or Wine?