Running Mac OS X guest OS in VirtualBox

I have plenty of experience using Linux as a host OS and as a guest OS.

I like using VirtualBox for Ruby on Rails development because of its
ability to save snapshots. In my early days, I found this indispensable
for installing Ruby on Rails. I still like VirtualBox for Ruby on Rails
development, because it allows me to save a snapshot of a fresh
installation. When I think I’ve finished an app, I have easy access to
fresh Ruby on Rails installation where I can try out my app and make
that I’ve included all dependencies in the *.gemspec/Gemfile and that
setup procedure in my README file is complete. I’m surprised that using
VirtualBox isn’t standard operating procedure.

I have been learning to develop Ruby on Rails on a Mac (I learned the
way first), and I have installed Linux as a VirtualBox guest OS on my

However, I’ve been unable to install Mac OS X Mavericks in a guest OS on
Mac OS X Mavericks host. I’ve followed procedures I found online for
creating an ISO file from the installation file (which I got by
but not installing the installation file from the Apple store), but OS X
didn’t boot up on the guest system. I just ended up with an empty black

Has ANYONE here SUCCESSFULLY installed Mac OS X as a guest OS? Exactly
what procedure did you follow in creating the ISO file? Or could it be
that the ISO file isn’t the problem, and I missed some critical detail
the boot up process?

Yes, I was so spoiled by Linux.

I’m surprised that using VirtualBox isn’t standard operating procedure.

In fact it has become something of a standard procedure to use
VirtualBox, but implicitly through Vagrant (which is a UI layer on top
of your virtualization platform).

More recently the Docker project is starting to gain traction here as
well (which could appeal to your love of snapshots), although the
technical bar is higher for Docker, and since you mention OSX
specifically, Docker support for OSX is pretty young.

I’d compare and contrast Vagrant and Docker for your needs before diving
deeper into OSX Inception just for the sake of development.


Chris T.
Forge Software
[email protected]
800.875.3048 x1

I followed the instructions for generating the Mavericks ISO file. It
doesn’t work when I try to boot it up in VirtualBox. There’s just a
black screen. Did I miss an important detail?

Some updates:

  1. Seeing screen output when you boot up with the Mac OS X ISO file
    requires going to the Settings -> Display menu and providing enough
    memory. The default setup is virtually no video memory. Setting it to
    full 128 MB of video memory allowed me to see screen output.
  2. During the process of booting up, the screen froze with the last
    message as “hfs: mounted OS X Base System on device root_device”. Going
    the terminal and entering the command “VBoxManage modifyvm MacOSX
    –cpuidset 1 000206a7 02100800 1fbae3bf bfebfbff” (assuming “MacOSX” is
    name of the virtual drive) allowed me to make it past this stage.
  3. When you reach the OS X Installer, you need to go to the Utilities
    and partition your virtual hard drive. Otherwise, the installer will
    recognize it and thus not give you the option of installing OS X on it.

Has ANYONE here SUCCESSFULLY installed Mac OS X as a guest OS?

Yes, I have. Have mavericks running in a Virtualbox VM hosted on
Followed similar internet instructions (link below)… have Virtualbox v
4.3.10r93012 didn’t have to do anything special (I was actually looking
make the BIOS EFI etc., but ddin’t have to do any of that, it just
use DVD section, this will lead you to an iso file, mount .iso file to
virtualbox cdrom, boot from it and you should be good to go.

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