VirtualBox for Mac: Complete Virtualization Guide

VirtualBox is an open-source virtualization software created by Oracle that allows you to install different operating systems on your Mac. It has become an essential tool for those who need to test applications and configurations or use software designed for Windows, such as Power BI. In this article, we will explore the features of VirtualBox for Mac and show you how to get started with virtualization.

What is VirtualBox (Oracle VM VirtualBox)?

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Oracle VM VirtualBox creates a virtual environment that simulates a complete computer, allowing us to install and operate different operating systems and applications as if they were running on a real Windows operating system. Specifically for our interest in running Power BI on a Mac, VirtualBox enables us to run Windows in a virtual machine within our macOS. This allows us to switch between both operating systems as needed, without the need to restart the computer.

Normally, a virtual machine is displayed as a window on your computer’s desktop. Depending on which of the various user interfaces of Oracle VM VirtualBox you use, the VM may be displayed in full-screen mode or remotely on another computer.

Advantages and Disadvantages

  • Advantages: VirtualBox is free and open source. You can run multiple operating systems on a single machine. No need to restart to switch between installed operating systems.
  • Disadvantages: Configuring and managing virtual machines can be complex and time-consuming. Some users may encounter performance or compatibility issues.

What VirtualBox is used for

  • Testing and Development: VirtualBox is a useful tool for testing applications on different platforms without the need for multiple physical machines. It allows developers to create virtual machines and test their applications without damaging their main development machine, saving time and resources while improving application quality.
  • Educational Purposes: In educational settings, VirtualBox can be used to teach students various applications and platforms. It can create a virtual lab environment where students can practice their computer skills without the need for physical hardware, saving money for educational institutions and providing a better learning experience.
  • Running Legacy Software: It provides a solution for running old software that is no longer compatible with recent versions of Windows. It can support older versions of the operating system, allowing the use of obsolete applications that are no longer compatible with newer guest operating systems. This is especially beneficial for businesses that rely on older critical software systems.
  • Cross-Platform Compatibility: It allows the use and installation of multiple operating systems on a single host or machine, making it easier for virtual computers to run software that is not available on the host or user’s primary operating system, such as Oracle or another system. For example, a Windows user can create a virtual machine with Linux installed to run specific Linux software.
  • Cloud Computing: VirtualBox can be used to create and manage virtual machines in the cloud. Cloud service providers like Amazon Web Services (AWS) and Google Cloud Platform (GCP) offer VirtualBox as an option for their cloud computing services. This can save companies the cost of acquiring and maintaining physical hardware.
  • VirtualBox for Mac: With VirtualBox, users can install and run multiple operating systems on their Mac simultaneously, allowing them to test and use different platforms without having to reboot their computer. This application is a popular choice among developers and IT professionals who need to access different operating systems for their work projects.

Supported Host Operating Systems for Oracle VM VirtualBox

Oracle VM VirtualBox is compatible with the following host operating systems:

  • For Windows (64-bit): Includes versions from Windows 8.1 to Windows 11 21H2, as well as Windows Server 2012, 2012 R2, 2016, 2019, and 2022.
  • For macOS (64-bit): Supports macOS 10.15 (Catalina), 11 (Big Sur), and 12 (Monterey). Intel hardware is required.

Performance of VirtualBox

To achieve the best performance with VirtualBox, you can follow these tips:

  • Sufficient RAM and storage space.
  • A processor capable of supporting virtualization.
  • The latest version of macOS.
  • Download and install VirtualBox Guest Additions Guest Additions provide additional functionality and performance improvements for virtual machines.

If you encounter performance issues, I recommend checking out the optimization section of this tool by following the link provided.

Technical Limitations to Keep in Mind

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The macOS installer packages for VirtualBox 7 do not include the Internal Network feature found on other platforms. It is recommended to continue using VirtualBox 6.1 if you depend on this functionality.
Poor performance when using VirtualBox and Hyper-V on the same host. Certain Windows features need to be disabled, and the host must be restarted.
NX functionality only works on 64-bit hosts and requires enabled hardware virtualization.
– Limited guest control on Windows: Processes started may not display a graphical interface unless the user account is currently logged in with a desktop session.
– Processors: Set the number of virtual CPU cores the guest operating system can see. Oracle VM VirtualBox allows up to 32 virtual cores per virtual machine. It is not recommended to configure more virtual cores than physically exist, including real cores without hyperthreads.
– Execution Cap: Limits the time a host CPU dedicates to emulating a virtual CPU. The default setting is 100%, with no limitations. A setting of 50% means a virtual CPU can use up to 50% of a host CPU. Limiting the time can cause timing issues in the guest system.

How to Install VirtualBox on MacOS

Here I provide you with a brief explanation of the key steps:

Download and Install VirtualBox for Mac

VirtualBox Download
  • Download VirtualBox from the official website: VirtualBox Downloads.
  • Open the downloaded VirtualBox-(version)-OSX.dmg file.
install virtualbox powerbimac
  • A window will open, prompting you to double-click on the VirtualBox.pkg installer file displayed in that window.

This will start the installer, which will allow you to select where to install Oracle VM VirtualBox. An Oracle VM VirtualBox icon will be added to the Applications folder in Finder.

Create and Configure a Virtual Machine with VirtualBox

Once VirtualBox is installed, you can create a virtual machine where you will install Windows.

  1. Launch VirtualBox from the Applications folder.
  2. Click on “New” to create a new virtual machine.
  3. Configure the virtual machine by selecting the operating system. Allocate the amount of RAM you want to assign to the virtual machine and create the virtual hard drive.
download windows iso pbimac

Download and Install Windows

After creating a virtual machine, it is necessary to install an operating system on it. You can use a CD or DVD, an ISO image file, or a network installation to install an operating system.

Steps to install an operating system using an ISO image file:

  1. Download the ISO image file of the operating system you want to install. In our case, it will be Windows.
  2. In VirtualBox, select the virtual machine you have created and click on the “Settings” button.
  3. In the Settings window, select the “Storage” tab.
  4. Click on the “Empty” CD/DVD drive, and then click the “Choose a virtual optical disk file” button.
  5. Select the downloaded ISO image file and click the “Open” button.
  6. Start the virtual machine by clicking the “Start” button.
  7. Follow the on-screen instructions to install the operating system, such as selecting the language, accepting the license terms, choosing the installation drive, etc.

Once these steps are completed, you will have Windows running on your Mac, and your environment will be ready to install Power BI.

Download and Install Power BI Desktop on VirtualBox for Mac

Now you can download and install Power BI Desktop on your virtual machine and enjoy all the benefits of this business tool on your Mac.

powerbimac download

Optimize the performance of VirtualBox on MacOS

To optimize the performance of VirtualBox on MacOS, there are several key steps you can follow. First, ensure you allocate enough RAM to the virtual machine for it to run smoothly. You can also enhance performance by assigning more CPU cores to the VM, enabling hardware virtualization in the BIOS settings, and installing the VirtualBox Guest Additions.

Additionally, keeping your VirtualBox and MacOS software up to date with the latest versions can help improve compatibility and performance. By following these optimization tips, you can enhance the performance of VirtualBox on your MacOS system.

VBoxManage: Automating the Management of Oracle VM VirtualBox Instances

vboxmanage virtualbox macos

VirtualBox management tools help to simplify the process of managing multiple Oracle VM VirtualBox instances on MacOS. These tools automate tasks such as creating, configuring, starting, and stopping virtual machines, making it easier to efficiently manage a large number of virtual environments. With VBoxManage, users can save time and effort by running commands to control their VirtualBox instances without the need for manual intervention.

This type of tool is especially useful for developers, IT professionals, and system administrators who regularly work with virtual machines and need a more streamlined way to manage their VM instances.

How to Update or Uninstall VirtualBox

Before updating or uninstalling Oracle VM VirtualBox, you should shut down any running virtual machines and exit the Oracle VM VirtualBox or VBoxSVC applications.

  • To update Oracle VM VirtualBox, simply run the installer for the updated version.
  • To uninstall Oracle VM VirtualBox, open the disk image file dmg and double-click the uninstallation icon displayed.

If you have used the Alternate Generic Installer (, run the installer as follows:

sudo ./ uninstall 

As a root user, you can use the following command:

./ uninstall 

You can uninstall the .run package as follows:


To manually uninstall Oracle VM VirtualBox, follow the installation steps in reverse order.

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Answers to Frequently Asked Questions About VirtualBox Mac

What is VirtualBox used for? VirtualBox is a desktop virtualization tool that allows users to install and run multiple operating systems on a single machine without the need for separate hardware.

Is VirtualBox still free? Yes, VirtualBox is still free and open-source software.

Is VirtualBox better than VMware? This is a matter of personal preference and depends on individual use cases. VirtualBox and VMware offer similar features and performance, but VirtualBox may be more appealing to users who prefer open-source software and a more customizable experience.

Is VirtualBox safe and free? Generally, VirtualBox is considered safe, but it’s important to ensure that the virtual machine is properly configured and secured. As mentioned before, VirtualBox is free and open-source software.

Are virtual boxes legal? Yes, the use of virtualization software like VirtualBox is legal, as long as it is used for legitimate purposes.

What are the disadvantages of using VirtualBox? Some potential disadvantages of using VirtualBox include slower performance compared to running the operating system natively, as well as limitations on available resources such as memory and processing power.

What is VirtualBox used for? VirtualBox is used for the installation, creation of guest operating systems, and management of virtual machines, allowing users to run multiple operating systems on a single machine.

Is VirtualBox free for Mac? Yes, VirtualBox can be downloaded and used for free on Mac operating systems.

How to install VirtualBox on Windows 10? To install VirtualBox on Windows 10, simply download the installer from the VirtualBox website and follow the installation instructions.

What is Oracle VirtualBox used for? Oracle VirtualBox is used for virtualization, enabling users to run multiple operating systems on a single machine.

Is VirtualBox free? Yes, VirtualBox can be downloaded and used for free.

Is Oracle VirtualBox legitimate? Yes, Oracle VirtualBox is a legitimate and widely used virtualization software.

Is it safe to use this version of VirtualBox? Yes, this version of VirtualBox is safe to use, but it is essential to keep the Windows version updated with the latest security patches.

What is the difference between Oracle and VirtualBox? Oracle is the owning company and developer of VirtualBox, which is one of the many distributions of its products.

Is it legal to use and install VirtualBox as a guest machine? Yes, it is legal to use and install VirtualBox as a guest machine as long as it is used for legitimate purposes.

What is the difference between a virtual machine and VirtualBox? A virtual machine, Oracle, is a software environment that simulates a physical computer, while VirtualBox is a virtualization tool used to create and manage virtual machines.

What is VirtualBox, and do I need it? VirtualBox is Oracle’s virtualization software that allows users to run multiple operating systems on a single machine. Whether you need it or not depends on your specific use case and whether you require Oracle to run multiple operating systems on your computer.

Key Ideas about VirtualBox

VirtualBox is a versatile and effective tool for Mac users who need to access Windows-based applications like Power BI. Its user-friendliness, cross-platform compatibility, and cost-effectiveness make it an excellent choice for developers, educators, and businesses. With VirtualBox, compatibility challenges are easily overcome, enhancing efficiency and productivity.

Alternatives to VirtualBox That Might Interest You:

  • VMware Fusion: Otra opción popular para ejecutar Windows en Mac.
  • Parallels Desktop: Allows running Windows on Mac.
  • Boot Camp: Built-in utility on Mac for dual booting with Windows.
  • CrossOver: Runs Windows applications on Mac without a full Windows installation.