How to run Windows 10 on Mac for free with VirtualBox for OS X

BY Osas Obaizamomwan

Published 11 May 2015

I haven’t used a Windows PC, willingly, for a few years. Windows 8 is one of the most frustrating operating systems I have come across. However, there is an occasion or two where having Windows would be beneficial. Mac users that may need Windows can install Windows 10 on their devices right now — for free.

How to run Windows 10 on Mac for free with VirtualBox for OS X

Using VirtualBox, Mac users can install Windows 10 onto their devices, without the need to use Boot Camp or install the pricey but popular, Parallels. Unlike Parallels, VirtualBox allows Windows to run inside of the Mac OS X, versus acting like its own separate operating system. Basically, VirtualBox runs Windows like an application, and it can be closed and opened just a you would iTunes. This makes it very convenient for casual use.

Step 1.
Head over to the VirtualBox download page and find the version for OS X. Download and install as you would any application downloaded from the web.

Step 2.
Download the Windows 10 Preview ISO from Microsoft. Take a look at these system requirements to ensure that you can install Windows 10 without any major issues. Simply put, the better specs your computer has, the better Windows 10 will run. After you download the ISO make sure to place it on your Desktop or take note of where it’s saved.

Step 3. 
Run VirtualBox and click “New” in the application sidebar. In the following window, create a name for the new OS you are installing and click Continue.

Virtual Box - New OS

Step 4.
When you hit continue you will be asked to choose the Hard Drive File Type. You can leave this at the default (VDI) unless you have a particular preference for the other options. On the next page select Dynamically allocated and press Continue.

Virtual Box - Hard Drive

Step 5.
Next, select “Create a Virtual hard drive now” and click Create.

Virtual Hard Drive

Step 6.
At the main menu, click Start at the top of the window. Disregard the information at the center of the screen for now.  

Virtual Box - Start

Step 7.
Once you click start you’ll need to select the Windows ISO you downloaded. Click on the folder icon to find your file and select Start.

Virtual Box - ISO

Step 8.
The installation process should start in a few moments. Select your language when prompted and click Next. The normal Windows installation process will begin. Please note that this process may take some time.

Windows 10 Installation

Step 9.
When setup is compete you will be running Windows 10 on your Mac! That wasn’t so bad was it?

Windows 10 - Mac
Running VirtualBox is going to affect your computer’s overall performance since you are basically running two systems at the same time. This method is for a more casual Windows experience. If you want a fully realized interpretation of Windows 10, then you’ll want to use Boot Camp and create a bootable system as a completely separate entity.

We are using the Windows 10 preview, which is the full version of Windows 10 ahead of its official release. This means that once Windows 10 comes out you will need to purchase or download the new version.

You can quit your Windows VirtualBox at anytime by quitting VirtualBox. You can completely delete your Windows 10 with VirtualBox. All documents and files on the OS will also be removed completely.

If you come across any issues please let us know in the comment section. Also, let us know what you think of Microsoft’s new Edge browser. Is it legit or just another failed attempt?