How to easily create a macOS virtual machine – for free

“Recently the folks behind the useful but expensive Parallels Desktop virtualization app released Parallels Desktop Lite, which is available in the Mac App Store,” Keir Thomas writes for Mac Kung Fu.

“Although it requires an in-app purchase if you want to install Windows as a virtual machine, Parallels Desktop Lite is entirely free of charge if you just want to install Linux or macOS as a virtual machine,” Thomas writes. “It’s also quick and easy to use – a far cry from other methods up until now that have been complicated, time-consuming and of dubious legality.”

Thomas writes, “Here are the steps required to create a macOS virtual machine using Parallels Desktop Lite…”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: Easy!

BTW, for what it does, giving you two (or more) computers for the price of one, Parallels Desktop for Mac is not “expensive” ($99.99 via Amazon).


  1. The last Parrallels I bought was v9. It stopped working as of Sierra. I have been keeping a VM of Mac OS X since 2011. I went so far as to virtualise Mac OS all the way back to 10.4.x, but Tiger will not work on any of my current Macs, as it requires a Core 2. The Core iX, caused Tiger to KP. I still have the VM, if some day it make work again under different circumstances.

    I use VirtualBox for Linux. And VMware Fusion for Windows. I completely migrated my VMs off Parrallels to either VBox or VMware. The annual $49 upgrade to the current version of Parrallels, turned me off. VMware, not much better, has a slower cycle and actually does X.5x releases. VBox has a very high update cycle, for dot releases, but being free, keeps me going.

    I am frustrated with the VM industry, but the benefits are amazingly valuable. I am waiting for the right opportunity to buy into Parrallels again. I will check this new version out, but might decide to pass, if it’s not up to my standards. If lite really means reduced features, I my just pass on it. If it just means no Windows, then I will keep it until a I find something compelling with the full product.

  2. Finally! I’ve been using Fusion for along time just to keep a virtual web server running OpenBSD. Always wished one of these companies would release a “lite” version for those that do not need or want to run Windows. Yes, I know there are other virtualization applications out there, but none of them worked quite as easily as Fusion and Parallels.

  3. For gamers, the VMs available are increasingly frustrating as none of them supports DirectX 11 or 12, which are required for the latest 3D games. There is not an iota of a sign of hope that this is going to change ever. I’ve been back and forth with Parallels about this for years and it’s the same old story: They’re working on it, wait and see. Years later… nothing.

    BTW: Parallels 11, the previous version, runs great on Sierra. If you can find anything in Parallels 12 that helps you, then get it. Meanwhile, Parallels 11 is all you need on Sierra.

  4. Veertu makes for especially compact and robust VMs, and you can use it for free. Veertu uses the new Hypervisor.framework in macOS, so it runs without installing kernel extensions, improving security and greatly reducing the application’s footprint.

  5. One reason to do this is if you have ancient software that people still need to run. I have a couple folks that need to run Now Contact and Now Up To Date every so often as well as really old versions of Word so they can look at ancient documents. I.e. They’re running on old version of OS X in Parallels and within that version of OS X they’re running Classic OS 9. It’s actually far faster than it ever was on the PPC.

    1. Why? other then for dev testing.. osx server is pretty useless..
      just install *nix and put on some big boy pants.

      osx has so many broken pieces in it on that layer.. its better to stay linux and remain compatible with the rest of the server community.

  6. It can be useful…I run a super lightweight linux install via VirtualBox to look at flash sites. Takes up about 1Gb, but a lot more secure than using it on my real machine.

  7. I use Virtualbox on OS X. If Linux was my primary OS, I would use Virtualbox there too. When my trusty 2011 MacBook Pro dies, Linux will be my primary OS. I’m just not sure whether I’d go with Debian or Ubuntu – though, I’m leaning towards Debian right now because it seems to run smoother.

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