Installing macOS 11 Big Sur on VMware ESXi 7 Update 1 - VMscrub (2022)

Since Apple's new macOS Big Sur dropped a little over 2 weeks ago, some of you may want to tinker around with the new OS in your homelab.

Below I'll list out the steps I used to get this up and running in my lab environment.

More...

This guide is primarily written for an Intel based machine running a Type 1 bare metal hypervisor.

For AMD machines. Please refer to the comments at the end of this guide for any workarounds. One of my readers named Vince Whistonfound a solution to his AMD issues using VMware Workstationhere.

02/01/2022 - This guide has been updated below.
Installing macOS 12 Monterey on VMware ESXi 7 Update 3

Quick Navigation

Prerequisites

macOS 11 Big Sur ISO

Download macOS 11 Big Sur ISO

Mount Installer then Convert to ISO

Clean Up

Transfer ISO to Datastore

macOS Unlocker Install

Download the Unlocker

Upload to Datastore

SSH into ESXi Host to Install Unlocker

Install Unlocker Patch

Validate Successful Patch Install

macOS 11 Big Sur VM Install

Create New Virtual Machine

Install macOS 11 Big Sur

Prerequisites

  1. macOS 11 Big Sur ISO
  2. VMware ESXi 7 Update 1
  3. macOS Unlocker

We'll need these items above to complete this entire process. Don't worry, I'll walk you through all the steps in obtaining these items.

Installing macOS 11 Big Sur on VMware ESXi 7 Update 1 - VMscrub (1)

Ok first off we'll need the macOS 11 Big Sur iso. Throughout the vast interwebs, you can search and find the Big Sur ISO all over the place to download.

So go get it! But...

(Video) Installing macOS 11 Big Sur on VMware Workstation\ESXI 2021!

...if you do go this route, make sure you look up how to validate the SHA1 and MD5 hash values of the iso before using it.

I, for one, like to create it myself using another macOS native machine like a Macbook. I know some of you don't have access to a dedicated macOS environment and it's probably the reason why you are following this guide. 🙂

I just like to know that the iso is clean and not injected with anything malicious.

With this...Can I use iCloud, iMessage, etc...?

Download macOS 11 Big Sur ISO

  • On your macOS dedicated device, navigate to download the Big Sur official release here.
  • Once you've clicked the link, the App Store App will open prompting you to Get Big Sur.

Installing macOS 11 Big Sur on VMware ESXi 7 Update 1 - VMscrub (2)

Once you've clicked on the Get button. Continue downloading Big Sur which sits at roughly 12.18 GB. Depending on your network connection the download time may vary.

DO NOT CLICK CONTINUE!

Installing macOS 11 Big Sur on VMware ESXi 7 Update 1 - VMscrub (5)

Once the download completes, you'll be prompted with the install window to Continue. Instead of continuing, simply click on Command + Q to close the window.

Installing macOS 11 Big Sur on VMware ESXi 7 Update 1 - VMscrub (6)

You'll now have the Big Sur App listed under your application folder. This is what we'll use to convert it into an iso in the next step.

Installing macOS 11 Big Sur on VMware ESXi 7 Update 1 - VMscrub (7)

Mount Installer then Convert to ISO

Next we'll need to run a series of commands to mount the installer to ultimately convert to an iso to be used by ESXi.

Launch terminal and run the following command.

sudo -i

This command will then prompt you for the administrator password for your specific device. Once you enter it in, you'll be logged in as the root user which is the account we'll use to execute the rest of the commands.

Installing macOS 11 Big Sur on VMware ESXi 7 Update 1 - VMscrub (8)

From the root# prompt, enter the following command.

 hdiutil create -o /tmp/bigsur -size 12900.1m -volname bigsur -layout SPUD -fs HFS+J

*Update 06/17/21* - A few of my readers in the comments below suggested changing the size of the image to 12900.1 & 13100.1 to account for all the current OS updates as this guide was written for the initial release of Big Sur. So please ignore the screenshot below that has a volume size of 12700.1m and follow the command above.

This will create the directory /tmp/bigsur.dmg

Installing macOS 11 Big Sur on VMware ESXi 7 Update 1 - VMscrub (9)

Next we are going to mount the dmg using the following command.

hdiutil attach /tmp/BigSur.dmg -noverify -mountpoint /Volumes/BigSur

This should result in the following output below.

Installing macOS 11 Big Sur on VMware ESXi 7 Update 1 - VMscrub (10)

Then we'll create the install media from our mount with this command.

sudo /Applications/Install\ macOS\ Big\ Sur.app/Contents/Resources/createinstallmedia --volume /Volumes/bigsur --nointeraction

The output below is what you should see while making the disk bootable.

Installing macOS 11 Big Sur on VMware ESXi 7 Update 1 - VMscrub (11)

Afterwards, eject the attached disk using the command below

hdiutil eject -force /volumes/Install\ macOS\ Big\ Sur

This should result in the disk being ejected.

Installing macOS 11 Big Sur on VMware ESXi 7 Update 1 - VMscrub (12)

(Video) Running a MacOS 12 Monterey VM on VMware ESXi

Then finally we need to convert the image to a .cdr with the following command. A .cdr is essentially a macOS version of an .iso. Not to be confused with a Compact Disc Recordable.

Installing macOS 11 Big Sur on VMware ESXi 7 Update 1 - VMscrub (13)

hdiutil convert /tmp/bigsur.dmg -format UDTO -o /Users/erickdimalanta/Desktop/BigSur.cdr

Make sure you change the /Users/erickdimalanta/Desktop/BigSur.cdr to your own username for the path you are working in. Once you run the command below you should see a BigSur.cdr file on your desktop which sits at about 13.32 GB.

Installing macOS 11 Big Sur on VMware ESXi 7 Update 1 - VMscrub (14)

Installing macOS 11 Big Sur on VMware ESXi 7 Update 1 - VMscrub (15)

Now all we need to do is simply rename the file to .iso. I like running the mv(move) command in place below to essentially do a rename of the file.

mv /Users/erickdimalanta/Desktop/BigSur.cdr /Users/erickdimalanta/Desktop/BigSur.iso

Don't forget to change the username path to your own username. Or you can simply rename the actual file by:

  1. Select file
  2. Press Return/Enter
  3. Rename .cdr to .iso
  4. Confirm the change to Use .iso

Installing macOS 11 Big Sur on VMware ESXi 7 Update 1 - VMscrub (16)

Clean Up

I hate leaving trails of data all over the place. So let's cleanup after ourselves. If you remember initially we created the bigsur.dmg in the following path /tmp/bigsur.dmg. Let's clean up this directory with the following command.

rm -rf /tmp/bigsur*

This command force removes everything in the directory specified without prompting for confirmation. So we are removing everything in the /tmp folder with anything that begins with bigsur.

Installing macOS 11 Big Sur on VMware ESXi 7 Update 1 - VMscrub (17)

Transfer ISO to Datastore

Next we need to navigate to the VMware homelab environment and transfer the newly created BigSur.iso to either a datastore or Content Library if you are running a vCenter. For purposes of this guide, I'll simply upload it to a datastore.

  1. Login to your ESXi host
  2. Navigate to Storage and select the Datastore you want to place the .iso in.
  3. Click on Datastore Browser
  4. Select the Datastore if not selected already
  5. Select the folder you'll place the .iso in. I'll use the ISO folder.
  6. Then click on Upload

Installing macOS 11 Big Sur on VMware ESXi 7 Update 1 - VMscrub (18)

Navigate to the directory of the BigSur.iso we created. Select the BigSur.iso and click on Open.

Installing macOS 11 Big Sur on VMware ESXi 7 Update 1 - VMscrub (19)

Review the Recent Tasks then monitor to completion.

Installing macOS 11 Big Sur on VMware ESXi 7 Update 1 - VMscrub (20)

Now that the .iso is in the datastore, it's time to prep the host to be able to run macOS in a VM. There is an unlocker written in python that modifies the vmware-vmx file to allow macOS to boot. Without this unlocker, it simply doesn't work and just does a boot loop. It'll show the Apple Logo loading screen and then ultimately displays an error.

Your computer restarted because of a problem. Press a key or wait
a few seconds to continue starting up.

Installing macOS 11 Big Sur on VMware ESXi 7 Update 1 - VMscrub (21)

Installing macOS 11 Big Sur on VMware ESXi 7 Update 1 - VMscrub (22)

Disclaimer:This unlocker should not to be run in a production environment. This workaround is only to personally evaluate and have a macOS environment for purposes of testing.

Installing macOS 11 Big Sur on VMware ESXi 7 Update 1 - VMscrub (23)

Download the Unlocker

You'll first need to download the unlocker zip file here if you didn't do a git clone.

Installing macOS 11 Big Sur on VMware ESXi 7 Update 1 - VMscrub (24)

I ran the git clone to obtain the esxi-unlocker-301.tgz file.

However, if you simply downloaded the unlocker zip file, your downloaded file should be named esxi-unlocker-master.zip

Upload to Datastore

Once you've obtained the esxi-unlocker-301.tgz oresxi-unlocker-master.zip. Upload this to the same location we uploaded the BigSur.iso in the steps above.

(Video) Run macOS on VMware ESXi: How to make a macOS ISO and Build a VM

esxi-unlocker-301.tgz

Installing macOS 11 Big Sur on VMware ESXi 7 Update 1 - VMscrub (25)

esxi-unlocker-master.zip

Installing macOS 11 Big Sur on VMware ESXi 7 Update 1 - VMscrub (26)

SSH into ESXi Host to Install Unlocker

SSH into your host and navigate to the unlocker location. Once there, unzip the unlocker using the following command.

For esxi-unlocker-301.tgz

tar xzvf esxi-unlocker-301.tgz

Installing macOS 11 Big Sur on VMware ESXi 7 Update 1 - VMscrub (27)

Uhh...the heck is a TAR or .tgz file?

For esxi-unlocker-master.zip(skip if you've done the above step)

unzip esxi-unlocker-master.zip

Installing macOS 11 Big Sur on VMware ESXi 7 Update 1 - VMscrub (28)

Install Unlocker Patch

Now that we've extracted the archive, we can run the install patch. There is actually a validation checker to make sure the patch is successful when installed. Let's do that first. Run the following command to validate.

./esxi-smctest.sh

Installing macOS 11 Big Sur on VMware ESXi 7 Update 1 - VMscrub (29)

We see the result obviously shows false since we've not yet installed the patch. Now let's do that. Run the following command to install the patch.

./esxi-install.sh

Installing macOS 11 Big Sur on VMware ESXi 7 Update 1 - VMscrub (30)

For the esxi-unlocker-master.zip version, you'll need to navigate down to the extracted folder using the below command. From here you'll be able to view all the above files to run the patch.

cd esxi-unlocker-301/

Installing macOS 11 Big Sur on VMware ESXi 7 Update 1 - VMscrub (31)

Before running the patch you may receive a "Permission denied" error. Simply navigate back one level using the command "cd .." (without the quotes) and run the following command against the root folder to grant permissions to the folder and all the files recursively within.

chmod 775 -R esxi-unlocker-301/

After running the permissions command, we can navigate inside the folder again using "cd esxi-unlocker-301"

Once we've run the install "./esxi-install.sh", we'll need to now reboot the server for the configuration changes to take effect. In the same command window, you can simply type reboot then hit Enter.

reboot

Installing macOS 11 Big Sur on VMware ESXi 7 Update 1 - VMscrub (32)

Validate Successful Patch Install

Once the ESXi host is back up, ssh into the host and navigate to the same location where we unzipped the Unlocker file. We are going to want to run the validation command again to see the result.

./esxi-smctest.sh

Now we see the result is quite different. It now shows that smcPresent = true. We should now be able to install macOS without running into that boot loop.

Installing macOS 11 Big Sur on VMware ESXi 7 Update 1 - VMscrub (33)

Yey we're almost there.

Installing macOS 11 Big Sur on VMware ESXi 7 Update 1 - VMscrub (34)

Now that the unlocker has been installed and verified, let's now continue on to install Big Sur.

(Video) How to Install macOS Monterey in VMWare

Create New Virtual Machine

Let's navigate to the Virtual Machine menu item on the left then click on Create / Register VM.

Then select Create a new virtual machine and click on Next

Installing macOS 11 Big Sur on VMware ESXi 7 Update 1 - VMscrub (35)

Next type out a name for your new VM. Select the following options from the drop down menu for the rest of the categories. When finished, click on Next.

Installing macOS 11 Big Sur on VMware ESXi 7 Update 1 - VMscrub (36)

From here, you'll want to select your storage on which datastore to place your machine.

Installing macOS 11 Big Sur on VMware ESXi 7 Update 1 - VMscrub (37)

The next option is to configure the hardware specs of the VM.

So set your CPU, Memory, Storage size, type of provisioning, Network, and most importantly configure your CD/DVD Drive to boot from the BigSur.iso we've created. Remember, this is located on the datastore we've uploaded it to in an earlier step. Once done, click on Next.

Installing macOS 11 Big Sur on VMware ESXi 7 Update 1 - VMscrub (38)

Then finally validate your settings, then click on Finish when complete.

Installing macOS 11 Big Sur on VMware ESXi 7 Update 1 - VMscrub (39)

Power On VM & Format Hard Disk

Finally, let's power on our newly created VM to see if it bypasses the boot loop since applying the Unlocker patch.

Installing macOS 11 Big Sur on VMware ESXi 7 Update 1 - VMscrub (40)

Woot! Success! No more boot loop. 😀

Installing macOS 11 Big Sur on VMware ESXi 7 Update 1 - VMscrub (41)

Ok so let's continue on with the install. Choose your language of choice and click on the bottom right arrow.

We'll need to format the newly provisioned disk so that macOS can recognize the disk to install itself to.

Select the Disk Utility and click on Continue

Installing macOS 11 Big Sur on VMware ESXi 7 Update 1 - VMscrub (42)

Highlight the VMware Virtual SATA Hard Drive Media and click on the Erase button.

Installing macOS 11 Big Sur on VMware ESXi 7 Update 1 - VMscrub (43)

Enter the Name for your Disk and keep the defaults for Format - APFS & Scheme - GUID Partition Map

Once done, click on Erase

Installing macOS 11 Big Sur on VMware ESXi 7 Update 1 - VMscrub (44)

The formatting process will begin. Once complete click Done.

Installing macOS 11 Big Sur on VMware ESXi 7 Update 1 - VMscrub (45)

Now quit Disk Utility by navigating to the top menu and selecting Disk Utility > Quit Disk Utility

Installing macOS 11 Big Sur on VMware ESXi 7 Update 1 - VMscrub (46)

Install macOS 11 Big Sur

From here click on Install macOS Big Sur then click on Continue.

Installing macOS 11 Big Sur on VMware ESXi 7 Update 1 - VMscrub (47)

Click Continue here

Installing macOS 11 Big Sur on VMware ESXi 7 Update 1 - VMscrub (48)

Click on Agree twice to Accept the Software License Agreement.

Installing macOS 11 Big Sur on VMware ESXi 7 Update 1 - VMscrub (49)

Select the newly formatted HDD then click on Continue.

Installing macOS 11 Big Sur on VMware ESXi 7 Update 1 - VMscrub (50)

Big Sur will now start to install...

Installing macOS 11 Big Sur on VMware ESXi 7 Update 1 - VMscrub (51)

Don't be fooled by the initial time it tells you the install will be done by. In reality it took over an hour or so.

Installing macOS 11 Big Sur on VMware ESXi 7 Update 1 - VMscrub (52)

Anyway, install complete. I won't go through the rest of the self-explanatory setup.

You now have your macOS 11 environment to play around in. Enjoy! 🙂

Installing macOS 11 Big Sur on VMware ESXi 7 Update 1 - VMscrub (53)

(Video) Installing macOS Monterey in VMWare

**Credits to shanyungyang's github and everyone else involved that helped me put this simple guide together and making this work.**

FAQs

Can I install macOS on ESXi? ›

macOS Unlocker Installation. Once the . iso is finally uploaded to the datastore, it's now time to prep our ESXi host with the ability to run macOS in a VM. The unlocker is written python that modifies the vmware-vmx file to allow macOS to boot.

Can you run macOS in VMware? ›

You can install Mac OS X, OS X, or macOS in a virtual machine. Fusion creates the virtual machine, opens the operating system installation assistant, and installs VMware Tools. VMware Tools loads the drivers required to optimize a virtual machine's performance.

How install macOS Big Sur on Windows VMware? ›

So this installation is going to be done on a windows 10 pc. So i have windows 10 and i've installed

Is macOS Big Sur 10.16 or 11? ›

macOS Big Sur started reporting the system version as "11.0" on all Macs as of the third beta release. To maintain backwards compatibility, macOS Big Sur identified itself as 10.16 to software and in the browser user agent.

What is the latest macOS version? ›

The current major version, macOS 12 Monterey, was announced on June 7, 2021 at WWDC 2021 and released on October 25 of that year; the latest version of macOS 12, macOS 12.6, was released on September 12, 2022.

Is there a vSphere client for Mac? ›

A native mac client to connect to vSphere is available at hxxp://vclient.top , it provides functionality to connect to both esx and vcenter, having the ability to go through inventories, favorite vms, open VM screen, start/suspend VMs, etc.

What OS can I use with VMware? ›

Supported Operating Systems
Supported Operating SystemsConverter Standalone SupportSource for Virtual Machine Conversions
Windows Server 2012 (64-bit)YesYes
Windows 8.1 (32-bit and 64-bit)YesYes
Windows Server 2012 R2 (64-bit)YesYes
Windows 10 (32-bit and 64-bit)YesYes
17 more rows
31 May 2019

Can macOS run on virtual machine? ›

To boot and run macOS in a VM, you must first install a macOS image onto the new VM. Installing macOS in a new machine requires the following steps: Obtain a restore image. Set up a compatible VM configuration.

Can macOS be virtualized? ›

As mentioned, you can virtualize not only macOS but Linux as well. In macOS Ventura, Apple is introducing support for the EFI boot loader, which is able to discover any virtual device attached to a VM from which to boot.

Does VMware support macOS Big Sur? ›

After installing macOS Big Sur with VMware, you need to install VM Tools in order to use your guest virtual system in full-screen resolution and more performance. For macOS guest machines, you do not need to download the VM Tools ISO file from anywhere. Because when you use the Unlocker tool, the VM Tools (Darwin.

How do I create a macOS Big Sur virtual machine using VMware Workstation player? ›

Installing macOS Big Sur in VMWare - YouTube

How do I get the Mac Big Sur on Windows? ›

How to Install macOS Big Sur Using VirtualBox on Windows
  1. Install the VirtualBox software on your computer. ...
  2. Clicking on the extension pack will open VirtualBox on Windows with a pop-up prompting you about the installation. ...
  3. You've successfully installed the extension pack. ...
  4. Here, give a valid name for your virtual machine.
15 Jul 2021

Is macOS Big Sur better than Monterey? ›

If you're looking for the best Mac OS for your device, Big Sur may be the better choice. Nonetheless, Monterey is faster in general and Big Sur may be the best option for some devices. While Big Sur's UI overhaul was largely unchanged, Monterey has added some refinements and settings that make it more functional.

How many GB is macOS Big Sur? ›

After installation, macOS Big Sur takes up at least 14.94GB of storage. Remember that the operating system needs at least 5-10GB of extra space at minimum to function well during routine use. Unless your Mac isn't compatible, you may want to skip Big Sur and update directly to macOS Monterey.

Which Macs can run Big Sur? ›

These Mac models are compatible with macOS Big Sur:
  • MacBook (2015 or later)
  • MacBook Air (2013 or later)
  • MacBook Pro (Late 2013 or later)
  • Mac mini (2014 or later)
  • iMac (2014 or later)
  • iMac Pro (2017 or later)
  • Mac Pro (2013 or later)
24 Mar 2021

How do I install Big Sur on unsupported Mac? ›

NEW 2022! Big Sur on Unsupported Macs [2008-2013 ... - YouTube

What is the latest macOS version 2022? ›

macOS Monterey will be succeeded by macOS Ventura, which was announced at WWDC 2022 on June 6, 2022. Apple Inc. High powered meets "Hi everyone." The operating system is named after Monterey Bay, continuing the trend of releases named after California locations since 2013's 10.9 Mavericks.

Is vSphere client free? ›

Yes that client tool, VMware vSphere Client, is free and runs on a Windows computer. The link is included on that webpage that your ESXi box is running. Download VMware vSphere Client and install it.

What is VMware remote console? ›

VMware Remote Console is an application that adds remote console functionality to the vSphere Web Client. It enables the vSphere administrator to access virtual machines from remote clients and perform console and device operations.

Does vSphere work with Linux? ›

x, vSphere Web Access, a subset of vSphere Client functionality, can be used from Linux systems. For more information about vSphere Web Access, see the vSphere Web Access Administrator's Guide. In vCenter Server 5. x, the vSphere Web Client (Flex/Flash) can be used from Linux platforms as well.

Which VMware supports macOS? ›

Supported host operating systems for VMware Fusion and VMware Fusion Pro (2088571)
OS CodenameOS Release
CatalinamacOS 10.15.x
MojavemacOS 10.14.x
High SierramacOS 10.13.x
SierramacOS 10.12.x
13 more rows
2 Feb 2022

Is ESXi an operating system? ›

ESXi is a Type 1 hypervisor, meaning it runs directly on system hardware without the need for an OS. Type 1 hypervisors are also referred to as bare-metal hypervisors because they run directly on hardware.

What is latest version of VMware? ›

Releases
  • On March 10, 2020, VMware announced vSphere 7.0.
  • On September 15, 2020, VMware announced vSphere 7.0 Update 1.
  • On March 9, 2021, VMware announced vSphere 7.0 Update 2.
  • On August 30, 2022, VMware announced vSphere 8.0.

Are virtual machines legal? ›

Using a virtual machine is perfectly legal. However, you might run into issues if you don't have licensed versions of the operating system or software you're running within the virtual machine.

Can I install macOS on a PC? ›

Wondering if you can install macOS on Windows PC? Yes, you can. You just need a fresh copy of macOS, a USB drive, free tools Unibeast and Multibeast and compatible PC hardware.

Can I run a Mac VM on a Mac? ›

Yes, you can run macOS Monterey in a VM on Mac with Intel and Apple M1 Chip. One of the first things I do when an OS that I am interested in releases a new beta version is to install it in a virtual machine (VM) in Parallels® Desktop for Mac.

How install Mac OS on Windows VMware? ›

How do I emulate a Mac in Windows 10?
  1. Install VMware and download unlocker file from GitHub.
  2. Get a macOS image in . cdr format.
  3. Create a macOS virtual machine in VMware with the macOS image.
  4. Modify the macOS configuration file.
  5. Perform macOS installation process.
11 Aug 2022

How can I install macOS on VMware? ›

Install macOS
  1. Click Disk Utility in the menu, then click Continue.
  2. Select VMware Virtual SATA Hard Drive Media under the Internal section.
  3. Click on Erase in the top menu.
  4. Leave the default Name, Format, and Scheme in the pop-up. ...
  5. Click Done on the progress bar pop-up once complete.

How can I run Mac OS on Windows? ›

If you have a Windows 10 system, there are very few ways you can run Mac apps on your device.
...
Here's how you run Mac apps on your Windows 10 machine for free.
  1. Step 1: Create a macOS Virtual Machine. ...
  2. Step 2: Log Into Your Apple Account. ...
  3. Step 3: Download Your First macOS App. ...
  4. Step 4: Save Your macOS Virtual Machine Session.

How do I install macOS Catalina on VMware workstation 16 pro? ›

Install macOS Catalina on VMware [New Update] - YouTube

Videos

1. How to Install macOS Ventura in VMWare (2022)
(GEEKrar Guides)
2. How to Install Windows 11 on VMware - Build your Own VM on ESXi
(Emilio Aguero)
3. Install macOSX Mojave 10.14 on VMWare ESXi 6.7 - part 1
(Iqbal Maskatiya)
4. How to Install VMware Fusion 12 on macOS Big Sur 11 | SYSNETTECH Solutions
(SYSNETTECH Solutions)
5. How to Install Windows 11 onto a Mac (using VMware Fusion)
(Emilio Aguero)
6. Before I do anything on Proxmox, I do this first...
(Techno Tim)

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