How to run Windows 10 on a Mac with VMware Fusion

Learn how to create a Windows VM, install Windows, and run it alongside macOS with the option to switch between them (without needing to restart your Mac).

Introduction

Sometimes, even Mac users need to use Windows, whether it be for browser testing, cross platform development, or to run an app that’s only available on Windows. This tutorial will show you how to create a virtual machine with VMware Fusion*, and how to install Windows on it.

Before we begin, you’ll need to:

The following steps have been tested on a MacBook Pro (2017 with macOS Mojave) and VMware Fusion Pro 11.5*.

Let’s begin

There are two options when installing Windows on VMware Fusion. There’s an easy option, where VMware Fusion does everything for you, or an adanced option, where you need to install Windows like you would on normal hardware.

We’ll begin be demonstration the easy option, then I’ll show you the advanced option, and we’ll finish by installing VMware Tools.

Install Windows 10 on VMware Fusion (Easy Install)

Open VMware Fusion, click + and then New…

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Drag the Windows ISO from the download location on your Mac to the Install from disc or image box.

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You will be presented with the create a new virtual machine screen and the Windows ISO should be in the list. Click the Win10_*.iso and then click Continue.

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Tick the Use Easy Install checkbox, enter a username and password, your product key (if you have one), select the OS version then click Continue.

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If your using the trial, click Continue Without Key.

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Choose the type of integration you want Windows to have with your Mac and click Continue.

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Choose a location on your Mac to save the virtual machine, give it a name and click Save.

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Wait for the installation to complete.

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Login to Windows.

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That was was easy. You’ll notice VMware Tools is already installed and there’s not much left to do, other than Windows updates, and you may want to edit the privacy settings.

Now let’s take a look at the advanced option.

Install Windows 10 on VMware Fusion (Advanced Install)

Open VMware Fusion, click + and then New…

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Select Create a custom virtual machine then click Continue.

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Select Microsoft Windows, then Windows 10 x64 and click Continue.

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Leave boot firmware on UEFI then click Continue.

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Select Create a new virtual disk then click Continue.

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Click Customize Settings.

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Select a location on disk and give the virtual machine a name then click Save.

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Since we clicked Customize Settings in the previous step, we are presented with the virtual machine settings screen. We can use this screen to attach the Windows ISO and disable the network adapter.

Click on CD/DVD.

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Click the Connect CD/DVD Drive checkbox and use the dropdown to select the Windows 10 ISO located on your Mac then click Show All to be taken back to the settings screen.

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In older versions of Windows 10, you couldn’t install the OS using a local account unless the machine was disconnected from the internet. It might not still be the case, but I disable the network adapter anyway, until the installation is finished.

Click on Network Adapter.

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Un-tick the Connect Network Adapter checkbox then close the settings screen.

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Click Play to start the virtual machine.

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Quickly press any key to load the Windows installer.

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Wait for the installer to load.

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Select your language and keyboard settings then click Next.

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Click Install now.

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Enter your product key or click I dont have a product key to use the trial.

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Select the Windows version and then click Next.

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Tick the checkbox to accept license terms and then click Next.

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Click Custom: Install Windows only (advanced).

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Select the unallocated Drive 0 and then click Next.

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Wait for Windows to install.

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Windows will restart.

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Wait for the initial configuration screen to load.

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Confirm your region by clicking Yes.

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Confirm your keyboard layout by clicking Yes.

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Click I don’t have internet.

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Click Continue with limited setup.

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Enter a username then click Next.

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Enter security questions and click Next.

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For the following nine screens, I usually select No or reject to most features for privacy reasons. Work through the options deciding what you want enabled and then we’ll install VMware Tools in the final step.

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Wait for the initial configuration to finish.

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You should now be logged into the Windows desktop. We’re now ready to install VMware Tools.

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Install VMware Tools on Windows 10

You may notice the screen resolution is not very good after first installing Windows 10 on the virtual machine. This is because we need to install the display drivers which are part of VMware Tools.

Click Virtual Machine then Install VMware Tools.

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Click Install.

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Wait for the VMware Tools installation media to be connected to the DVD Drive, then click DVD Drive (D:) VMware Tools.

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Click Run setup64.exe then follow the instructions in the installation wizard.

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After VMware Tools has finished installing, restart the machine and you’ll see the resolution is much higher and the VM should be quicker.

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If you disabled the network adapter, you can now re-enable it and perform Windows updates etc.

Conclusion

In this tutuorial we demonstrated how easy it is to get a Windows 10 virtual machine up and running on a Mac using VMware Fusion*.

We looked at the easy install feature of VMware Fusion that automates most of the installation and we looked at the advanced option that allows you to customise virtual hardware etc.

Final thoughts

I like VMware Fusion because its fast, supports nested virtualization, and has features like snapshots that make testing easier for developers by allowing changes to be rolled back.