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Issues to create Macos guest under VmWare-Fusion

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Hi there,

usually VmWare provides install procedure very nicely: download Macos installer .app from AppStore, then create new VM and drop it into.
This works on some Mac, but seems not to work on all Mac's, for some reasons only Apple knows.


I had such case with an older MacBook Pro, and wanted to describe the procedure below.

After some search in the Web I found a nice article about same issue with Mojave, so I took this as base.
Since I'M on Catalina, I had to make some changes.

Here are the steps in compressed form:


Create VmWare Macos guest from ISO (Catalina)

  • Web        : Search "Update Macos Catalina" (or the OS you'll want), to find the right entry in the AppStore
  • AppStore: Download "Install Macos Catalina.app" from AppStore.
                     After download: Cancel the auto-start of installation on the host.
  • Host       :  /Applications not always usable, as this is a special protected folder.
                     Move "Install Macos Catalina.app" from /Applications to /Documents folder.
  • VmWare  : Select “Apple OS X” and then select “macOS 10.15” and Continue.
  • VmWare  : Choose “Create a new virtual disk” and continue.

                            Either Finish or Customise Settings of the virtual machine. (e.g. 4 CPU, RAM 4GB, no 3D acceleration, Use full retina display, HD 60GB, etc.)

                            The VM is prepared now, its needed to create a OSX Catalina ISO file.


  • Host       :  Prepare a OSX Catalina ISO file from the installer.
  • Terminal :  Create a temporary virtual disk file in your tmp directory.

                            hdiutil create -o /tmp/Catalina.cdr -size 12000m -layout SPUD -fs HFS+J

                            Wait until finished

                            created: /tmp/Catalina.cdr.dmg


  • Terminal : When done, attach and mount the virtual disk

                          hdiutil attach /tmp/Catalina.cdr.dmg -noverify -mountpoint /Volumes/install_build

                          Wait until finished
                          /dev/disk3              Apple_partition_scheme             
                          /dev/disk3s1            Apple_partition_map                
                          /dev/disk3s2            Apple_HFS                          /Volumes/install_build


  • Terminal: [Optional] Check all available mountpoints

                          diskutil list


  • Host     : Rename the installer, to be compatible with the following scripts, e.g. by Finder.

                         ren  "~/Documents/Install Macos Catalina.app"  ~/Documents/MacosInstaller.app

                         Installer is available now under the path:


  • Terminal : Extract and create an installable image from the download (with elevated rights).

                        sudo ~/Documents/macOsInstall.app/Contents/Resources/createinstallmedia --volume /Volumes/install_build


                        Wait until finished
                        Ready to start.
                        To continue we need to erase the volume at /Volumes/install_build.
                        If you wish to continue type (Y) then press return: y
                        Erasing disk: 0%... 10%... 20%... 30%... 100%
                        Copying to disk: 0%... 10%... 20%... 30%... 40%... 50%... 60%... 70%... 80%... 90%... 100%
                        Making disk bootable...
                        Copying boot files...
                        Install media now available at "/Volumes/Install macOS Catalina"


  • Terminal : Move the contents of the virtual disk into a .dmg file on your desktop

                        mv /tmp/Catalina.cdr.dmg ~/Documents/InstallSystem.dmg


  • Terminal : Detach the virtual disk (installer)

                        hdiutil detach /Volumes/Install\ macOS\ Catalina

                        Wait until finished
                        "disk2" ejected.


  • Termnal : Convert the newly created “InstallSystem.dmg” into an .iso file.

                         hdiutil convert ~/Documents/InstallSystem.dmg -format UDTO -o ~/Documents/InstallSystem.iso


                         Wait until finished
                         Driver Descriptor Map (DDM : 0) read …
                         Apple (Apple_partition_map : 1) read …
                         (Apple_Free : 2) read …
                         disk image (Apple_HFS : 3) read …
                         Time:  1m 39.113s
                         Speed: 121.1M Byte/s
                         Reduction: 0.0 %
                         created: /Users/Rollo/Documents/InstallSystem.iso.cdr


  • Host    : Change the filetype of the file “InstallSystem.iso.cdr” in your documents, e.g. with Finder.

                       Select the file and hit enter, now rename the file to “InstallSystem.iso” (with prompt);      
                       Select “Use .iso”


  • VMware : In virtual machine manager right click the newly created VM (see above).

                          Choose settings.

  • VMware : Choose “CD/DVD (SATA)”

                          Next GoTO the pull-down menu and browse to the “InstallSystem.iso” file just created.
                          Check “CD/DVD (SATA)” connect checkbox


  • VMware : Boot the new machine and follow Apple installation instructions.



These steps worked well for me, and are maybe useful for somebody else too.
Maybe in the new VmWare installer provide the Drag'n'Drop for all images flawlessly, in the future, and this won't be necessary any more.


Edited by Rollo62
  • Like 1

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