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This is the virtualization section of the osx86project wiki. Here you will be able to acquire information about tools for running virtual x86 machines inside of Mac OSx86, and how each method reacts with your hardware.

Virtualization lets users create completely self-contained virtual machines on a single PC. Virtual machines can be created to run anything that will run natively on x86 hardware, including the entire Windows family, Linux distributions (such as Mandrake, Red Hat and SUSE), OS/2 and FreeBSD.

"Host" means the OS that the virtualization program runs on, OSx86. "Guest" means the OS running inside the virtual machine, like Windows or Linux.

Quick Comparison

Notes: Guest tools improve performance of the virtualized system and can allow useful things like drag-and-drop or shared folders between guest and host.

Product Type Price Guest Tools 64-bit guests Multiprocessor guests Extras
Parallels Desktop Commercial $80 Windows only No No Coherence, Boot Camp integration
VMware Fusion Commercial unknown Windows, Linux, Solaris, FreeBSD, Novell Yes Yes upcoming 3D acceleration, maybe other unannounced stuff?
Q Open source free none ? ? ?

Parallels Desktop

You can download it from the official site.

CPU Requirements

Every Intel Mac (Except Mac Pro & Xserve) uses CORE CPUs wich are intel VT enabled (or not? see update below). OSx86 thanks to some patches works with Intel and AMD CPUs alike, infact every CPU with at least SSE2 (through SSE3 -> SSE2 Emulation).

On the Windows and Linux Versions of Parallels you can either enable or disable VT via Checkbox, because of course not every "PC CPU" supports it. Parallels for OSX however requires VT, as any LEGAL hardware it runs on supports it, that could be a problem for your Frankenstein Box unless you plan on using a VT enabled Intel CPU.

UPDATE: I've bought Parallels and I'm using version RC2 on a Celeron M which does not have VT. Mac version also has a VT enabled checkbox.


Parallels Workstation virtualizes a full set of the standard PC hardware including:

  • CPU Pentium or AMD Duron
  • Generic motherboard compatible with Intel i815 chipset
  • RAM up to 1500 Mb
  • VGA and SVGA with VESA 3.0 support
  • 1.44 Mb floppy drive (mapped to a physical drive or to an image file)
  • Up to four IDE devices
  • AC97 compatible sound card
  • 104-key Windows enhanced keyboard
  • PS/2 wheel mouse

More information on this page

Guides, Hacks and Tips

Here we have developed some guides, hacks and tips which can better your experience with Parallels Workstation. Please feel free to add any info that can better our experience with this software.

CD-ROM Issues

If you are using Parallels and it don't recognize your CD, try closing Parallels and ejecting the CD. Then put the CD in again and start Parallels. Check if you can use the CD.

If that doesn't help you, you can make an ISO of your cd and then use it in Parallels. For this go to Applications -> Utilities -> Disk Utility. Select your cdrom and then go to New Image and select Master DVD/CD, type a name for it and make the image. This way you'll have a file ending with .cdr. Rename the .cdr to .iso and mount it in your Parallels virtual machine.

Install Parallels on AMD64

  • 1) Download it
  • 2) Mount the image
  • 3) Launch Parallels.pkg... Ta-daaan! XD It says that you haven't a compatible system, in italian it says "Parallels non può essere installato in questo computer. Assicurati che il tuo sistema possieda i requisiti necessari.", in english "Parallels cannot be installed on this computer. Make sure that your system meets the requirements."
  • 4) Copy Parallels.pkg on your desktop
  • 5) Right click on it and choose "Show package contents"
  • 6) Right click on "Contents", show informations and under "Ownership and permission" make you owner of it with a read/write access
  • 7) Apply to enclosed items...
  • 8) Open "Info.plist" with TextEdit and delete the follow:
  • 9) Save and exit
  • 10) Go to Resources folder and delete InstallationCheck and pkmkshellutility
  • 11) Exit and launch your modified Parallels.pkg
  • 12) Install it!

Installing Windows XP in Parallels

  • First get a copy of windows xp handy.
  • If the copy is in iso form, then great you're a step ahead.
  • If you have a physical XP CD then it is recommended you make an ISO to use with parallels. Parallels seems to handle ISO files better then mounting physical discs. [NOTE: With new beta, CD/DVD support is working much better. Make sure there is a CD/DVD in the drive before launching the program and it works fine.]
Setting Up Virtual Machine
  • This part is actually pretty straight-forward... just click the "New" button at the bottom and follow the prompts. Their website has a FAQ and a support forum for your use.

VMware Fusion

Download the free beta from the official site (requires registration).


VMware originated virtualization on x86 hardware in the late 1990's. With Apple's move to x86 hardware, they could make a Mac program. Fusion uses the same disk format as other VMware products so you can move between them. Free preconfigured virtual machines.

Fusion is still in beta, the current version is build 39632.

Common Problems and Solutions

Read the release notes and check out the forums (requires registration). Many (all?) of these will be fixed in future updates. Be careful about the forums, they don't like FrankenMac owners posting (reading looks OK).

CD-ROM Issues

Make sure it's connected (CD-ROM icon should have a green circle). Usually works, but making an ISO of the disk is more reliable. To do this:

  1. Run /Applications/Utilities/Disk Utility
  2. Select the CD you want to image
  3. Select File > New > New Disk Image from Device
  4. Choose DVD/CD master, no compression, no encryption
  5. Rename the .cdr file to .iso (optional)

Mouse or Keyboard doesn't work

Definitely being worked on. The following things are known to cause problems:

  • Wacom (tablet) drivers
  • USB Overdrive
  • (Dis)connecting mice/keyboards (some Bluetooth devices do this without telling you, also KVMs)
  • Quicken Scheduler, CheckPoint SecureClient

Bridged networking doesn't work over wireless

Definitely being worked on. Use a wired network or NAT setting.

Host-guest networking doesn't work

Definitely being worked on. Use NAT and port forwarding.

Help! Trapped in full screen

Command-Enter toggles full-screen. Or, move the mouse up to where the menu bar should be and it'll appear. Then you can use the "Toggle Full Screen" option.

Moving a Parallels VM to Fusion

There's a nice guide with pictures on the forums. Basically use VMware Converter.


Download from Apple. {someone needs to add more information about this}

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