Installing OS-X Snow Leopard in VirtualBox 4.1.8

Installing OS-X Snow Leopard is reasonably trivial once you have the right guide. There is a lot of mis-information out there regarding the installation process and it’s taken me a long time to find one that works. I used this one and it works perfectly.

The latest versions of VirtualBox have good EFi support and no longer need Hackintosh or bootloader hacks to get OS X installed.


  • VirtualBox
  • Apple Mac OS-X 10.6 image of DVD (retail only costs $39, go get it!)
  • ~20 gig free space
  • Intel Core 2 CPU
  • 2 Gigs of RAM
  • An ISO creation tool

This method uses VirtualBox 4.1.8 (I’m using 4.1.8 specifically).

It is important to make an ISO of the OS-X DVD or you will get boot errors.

Be aware that if you intend to use the iOS SDK, you will need at least 20 gigs just for the OS, X-Code and iOS SDK installation.


1. Create an ISO of the OS-X DVD.

2. Run VirtualBox.

3. Create a new virtual machine.

4. Select “Mac OS-X” for the Operating System and “Mac OS-X Server” for the version and push “next”.

5. Give the image at least 1 gig of RAM and push “next”.

6. Check the “Boot Hard Disk” box and select “Create new hard disk” and push “next’.

6.5 Choose the native VirtualBox image format.

7. Select “Dynamically expanding storage” (you may chose to do otherwise depending on your needs) and push “next”.

8. Select a location for the file and give the drive at least 20 gigs then push “next”, then “finish”.

9. Push “finish”

10. Select the Virtual Machine and push “Settings”

11. Select the following values:

System > Motherboard:

  • Ensure CD/DVD-ROM is above Hard Disk in the boot order.
  • Check “Enable IO APIC”
  • Check “Enable EFI”

System > Processor:

  • Select ONLY 1 CPU, if you select 2 you will get a kernel panic from AppleIntelCPUPowerManagement.kext
  • Check “Enable PAE/NX”

System > Acceleration:

  • Check “Enable VT-x/AMD-v”
  • Check “Enable Nested Paging”

Display > Video:

  • Set the amount of VRAM you wish to dedicate to OS-X.
  • Enable 3D acceleration


  • Ensure the Hard Disk is listed as IDE and not SATA.
  • Select the “Empty” IDE drive and then change the “Attributes” in the right-hand panel so that the CD/DVD drive is pointing to the original OS X iso on your hard-drive.

The rest of the default values should be acceptable.

12. Accept the values and close VirtualBox.

13. Run the following commands to edit the virtual machine’s XML file configuration (for some reason direct editing results in the changes being dropped):

  • <VirtualBox install dir>\vboxmanage.exe modifyvm “<VM Name>” –firmware efi64
  • <VirtualBox install dir>\vboxmanage.exe setextradata “<VM Name>” VBoxInternal2/EfiGopMode 4
  • <VirtualBox install dir>\vboxmanage.exe setextradata “<VM Name>” VBoxInternal2/SmcDeviceKey “ourhardworkbythesewordsguardedpleasedontsteal(c)AppleComputerInc”

Change the EfiGopMode value 4 to the resolution you prefer

  1. 800 x 600
  2. 1024 x 768
  3. 1280 x 1024
  4. 1440 x 900

14. Run the virtual machine, it should boot OS-X and begin installation.

15. Once installation is complete, remove the OS-X from the CD/DVD drive in the Storage tab of the virtual machine’s settings.

16. On first boot of OS-X go to:

  • Apple -> System Preferences -> “Energy Saver”
  • Set “Computer sleep” and “Display sleep” to Never.

Without this, the virtual machine will freeze with the spinning beach ball if you leave it un-attended.

To share files:

  • Go to Finder -> Go -> “Connect to server”
  • Type “smb://”

BAM! You’ve got OS-X Snow Leopard running!

Edit: Added some .5 steps to clarify.  Also changed the VirtualBox version from 3.2 to 4.1.8 and modified the XML configuration as direct editing no longer works in VirtualBox 4.1.8.


One Response to “Installing OS-X Snow Leopard in VirtualBox 4.1.8”

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