How to Install Windows 7 on VMware Fusion in macOS/Mac

In this article, we will examine how to run Windows 7 on a new virtual machine using VMware Fusion 12 Pro on macOS operating system on a Mac computer.

How to Install Windows 7 on VMware Fusion in macOS/Mac

How to Set Up Windows 7 on a Virtual Machine on Mac using VMware Fusion 12 Pro

The operating system that has left the biggest impression on users from past to present is Windows 7. This operating system, which Microsoft released on October 22, 2009, was quite ambitious compared to previous systems in terms of both performance and security.

With the increase of emerging system vulnerabilities and malicious software, Microsoft always offered new updates to keep its users safe. However, it ended the Windows 7 version on January 14, 2020, as it started developing Windows 8x versions.

Users who still use Windows 7 on their physical computers should update their systems to newer versions for safer computing.

Users who are curious about Microsoft’s old versions or want to experience nostalgia can run Windows 7 on virtual machines. Thus, they can achieve a more secure experience by isolating the VM’s Internet connection and its connection to the host.

If you have an Apple Mac computer and you plan to use this system in a VM, you can use the VMware Fusion virtualization program. Any operations you do on a Windows operating system that you run in a virtual machine on your Mac will not affect your host system.

So when you want to experience old versions of Windows or Linux, you can run them in virtual machines and delete them whenever you want with peace of mind.

You can also use the Boot Camp software, an integrated feature of the macOS operating system, to install Windows 7. However, when you want to switch to a system you have installed with Boot Camp, you will always have to restart your system.

We recommend using VMware Fusion software, which makes it easy for you to run a virtual operating system in a VM without rebooting.

How to Create a New VM for Windows 7

After installing VMware Fusion on your Mac, you can drag and drop the ISO file onto the program to quickly create a virtual computer. But it is recommended to use the custom option to create a more professional virtual PC.

   Step 1

After running Fusion Pro, select Create a custom virtual machine in the installation method selection window, and then click the Continue button.

Choosing an Installation Method

   Step 2

In the operating system selection window, you need to select the platform and version of the virtual operating system you will run on macOS. If you are going to run the x64 architecture of Windows 7, select Microsoft Windows / Windows 7 x64 and click Continue.

Choosing a Guest Operating System

   Step 3

Configure the virtual computer’s firmware type as Legacy BIOS and continue.

Selecting Firmware Type

   Step 4

If you have a disk of a virtual operating system that you have installed before in the virtual disk selection window, you can add it with the Add an existing disk option. Or you can create a new virtual disk and continue to install Windows 7 from scratch.

Selecting a Virtual Disk

   Step 5

In the summary window that shows the configuration information of the virtual machine, click Customize Settings to better edit the virtual hardware settings and click the Save button to confirm the default installation location of the VM.

Configuring the Installation Location

   Step 6

Click Processors & Memory in the settings of the Windows 7 guest machine and increase the number of virtual processors depending on the hardware performance of your host computer. Also, configure the virtual memory size in accordance with the RAM capacity of your host so that it does not force your system.

In addition, if you are going to use hypervisor virtualization software on your virtual computer, tick the Enable hypervisor applications option. You can also tick IOMMU for a better system experience by converting virtual memory addresses to physical addresses in the VM.

Increasing the Number of Virtual Processors and Memory Size

   Step 7

In Network Adapter hardware settings, select Ethernet to connect your VM to your host’s local network. When you choose Ethernet, your virtual PC will get an IP address from the local DHCP server. This way you will be able to see your VM as an additional computer in your local network.

Selecting the Ethernet Network Adapter

   Step 8

The bus type of the virtual disk of the Windows 7 guest machine is SCSI by default. You can choose to use the SCSI or SATA bus type according to your personal purposes. If you are going to use SATA, you can select SATA instead of SCSI in the pop-up window from the Bus Type section and click the Apply button.

Configuring the Bus Type and Size of the Disk

   Step 9

To add the ISO image to the Windows 7 machine, click the CD/DVD (SATA) device and click Choose a disc or disc image from the pop-up window.

Adding Windows 7 ISO File to Virtual Machine

   Step 10

Select the Windows 7 x64 Ultimate ISO image you downloaded to your computer from the table below the article and click the Open button.

Adding Windows 7 ISO File

   Step 11

To use USB 3.0/3.1 devices in the virtual machine, open the USB & Bluetooth settings and click Advanced USB Options and change the USB Compatibility value to USB 3.1.

Changing USB Controller

   Step 12

If you are not going to use a printer on your Windows 7 machine, click the Printer device and then click Remove Printer Port / Remove.

Deleting the Printer Port

   Step 13

To improve system performance in the advanced settings of the virtual machine, change the Troubleshooting property to None and disable Side Channel Mitigations.

Disable Side Channel Mitigations

   Step 14

Run the virtual computer that you prepared to start the Windows 7 installation.

Running the Virtual Machine

How to Install Windows 7

After you create a virtual machine with Fusion on your Mac computer, run it and open the Windows wizard, you can continue as if you were installing on a physical PC.

   Step 1

Select your system language, keyboard layout, and time format in the Windows 7 setup wizard and click Next.

Windows 7 Setup Screen

   Step 2

In this window, you can repair your system or click the Install Now button to start the Windows installation.

Install Windows Now

   Step 3

Continue after reading and accepting the license terms of the Windows 7 Ultimate Service Pack 1 operating system.

Accepting the License Agreement

   Step 4

In the installation type selection window, click Custom as you will perform a clean system installation.

Choosing the Advanced Installation Type

   Step 5

You need to edit the virtual disk for installation, so click Drive Options.

Viewing Driver Options

   Step 6

Click New to configure the unallocated disk space on the guest machine, and then click the Apply button to confirm the automatically determined disk size. Click OK in the window informing you that additional fields will be created for Windows features to work correctly.

Configuring Unallocated Disk Space

   Step 7

After partitioning the virtual disk, select the Primary partition and click Next.

Installing Windows on Primary Partition

   Step 8

Wait while expanding Windows files for installation. At this stage, your virtual system may restart several times, so do not shut down your system.

Expanding Windows Files

   Step 9

Type a different user and computer name to distinguish your guest machine from other computers in your local network.

Typing a Username

   Step 10

If you do not want unwanted users to access your virtual system, create a strong and memorable password.

Creating a Password for the System

   Step 11

Type your Windows 7 x64 Ultimate product key and continue. If you do not have a product key, leave the relevant field blank and click Next.

Typing the Windows 7 Product Key

   Step 12

If you want to automatically install important and recommended updates, click on Use Recommended Settings.

Use Recommended Settings

   Step 13

Configure the time zone according to where you live and click Next after checking the system time.

Configuring the Time Zone

   Step 14

Configure the current location of the guest machine as Home, Work, or Public network.

Determining the Current Location of the Computer

   Step 15

Wait while your Windows 7 desktop environment and required system settings are configured.

Preparing Your Desktop

   Step 16

After installation, the Windows 7 desktop screen will be in the default view as below.

Windows 7 Desktop Display

How to Install VMware Tools

After installing Windows 7 with VMware Fusion on macOS, you need to install VMware Tools in order to use the virtual computer with better performance or to transfer files between the host and the VM.

However, when you try to install the latest version of VMware Tools on the Win7 guest machine you installed with Fusion 12 Pro, you will get the following errors and the installation will not complete. So you can fix these problems by installing version 11 of VM Tools.

  • Setup failed to install the Memory Control driver automatically. This driver will have to be installed manually.
  • Setup failed to install the VSock Virtual Machine Communication Interface Sockets driver automatically. This driver will have to be installed manually.
  • Setup failed to install the Host-Guest Shared Folders driver automatically. This driver will have to be installed manually.

   Step 1

Click on to download VMware Tools 11. Then, click Virtual Machine / CD/DVD (SATA) / Choose Disc or Disc Image in the tool menu to add the downloaded ISO file to the virtual machine.

VMware Tools Installation

   Step 2

Select the VMware-tools-windows-11.0.0-14549434.iso file and click Open.

Adding VMware Tools 11 ISO File

   Step 3

If the installation wizard does not start automatically, open My Computer and double-click the VMware Tools image file.

Preparing VM Tools for Installation

   Step 4

Click Next to continue in the VMware Tools setup wizard.

VM Tools Installation Wizard

   Step 5

If you plan to use your Windows 7 virtual computer in other VMware products in the future, select Complete and click Next.

Selecting the Complete Type

   Step 6

If we have any changes to make, you can go back or click the Install button to start the installation.

Starting Installation

   Step 7

After installing VMware Tools on Windows 7, do not restart your virtual system and close your virtual system completely from the Start menu.

Choosing to Restart the Virtual Computer Later

   Step 8

When you restart your virtual computer after installing the old version of VM Tools, the Fusion software will try to install your virtual system’s tools automatically. Therefore, you need to edit the VMX file of the guest operating system to manually configure the automatic update process.

If you have installed your VM in the default location, click Home / Virtual Machines in the Finder and right-click / Show Package Contents on the guest machine.

You can see multiple virtual disk files and configuration files in the content of the guest machine. Right-click / Open With / TextEdit on the Windows 7 x64.vmx file.

Opening the Windows 7 x64.vmx File

   Step 9

When you open the Windows 7 x64.vmx file, you can see that the tools.upgrade.policy value is upgradeAtPowerCycle. If you do not change this option, the Fusion software will automatically update VMware Tools when you start your virtual system.

tools.upgrade.policy = "upgradeAtPowerCycle"

   Step 10

Change the tools.upgrade.policy value to manual in the VMX file and close the text editor. Then run your virtual computer and check that the VM Tools update wizard is not started.

tools.upgrade.policy = "manual"

   Step 11

After successfully installing VMware Tools, you can transfer files between your Mac and guest machine by drag and drop.

File Transfer Between Host and VM

   Step 12

You can also click View / Full Screen to use the virtual machine in full-screen resolution.

Testing Virtual Machine Screen Resolution

How to Install USB 3.0/3.1 Driver

You can transfer files faster using your USB 3.0/3.1 devices in a Windows 7 VM. If you have changed the USB compatibility to 3.1 from the USB & Bluetooth settings of the Virtual PC, you need to install the USB drivers.

   Step 1

After downloading the USB 3.0/3.1 drivers for Windows 7 x64 from the table at the bottom of the article to your computer, right-click My Computer and click Manage.

Click Device Manager in the Computer Management window and check the Universal Serial Bus (USB) Controller device under Other Devices, and you can see that the drivers are not installed automatically.

Double-click the USB device and click the Update Driver button from the pop-up window. In the Update Driver Software window, click Browse my computer for driver software.

Universal Serial Bus (USB) Controller Driver Installation

   Step 2

To specify the location of the USB driver folder, click Browse, select the USB 3.0 Driver folder, and click OK.

Selecting Driver Location

   Step 3

After clicking Next to install the USB drivers from the specified location, you can see the Intel(R) USB 3.0 eXtensible Host Controller installed successfully.

Intel (R) USB 3.0 eXtensible Host Controller

   Step 4

In Device Manager, Unknown Device appears because the USB Root Hub driver is not installed. To install the Root Hub driver, select the USB 3.0 Root Hub in the folder and click OK.

Intel(R) USB 3.0 Root Hub Driver Installation

   Step 5

After installing the Root Hub driver, you can start using your USB 3.0/3.1 devices on the Windows 7 guest machine.

USB 3.0/3.1 Device is Ready to Use

How to Use USB Flash Memory

You may want to consider transferring files on your Mac using a USB 3.0 supported flash drive in your Windows 7 virtual system.

   Step 1

After enabling USB 3.0/3.1 support, plug your flash disk into your Mac. When the Fusion program asks you where you want to connect your USB stick, connect it to your Mac first.

Connecting Flash Memory to Mac

   Step 2

Before you can use your USB device on macOS, you need to change the file format. After opening Disk Utility, right-click on your device and then click Erase.

Changing the File System of a USB Device

   Step 3

Click the Erase button again to format your USB 3.0 flash memory with ExFAT file format.

ExFAT File Format

   Step 4

On your Mac, create a new folder called Backup on your flash drive.

Creating a New Folder Inside the Flash Disk

   Step 5

Click Virtual Machine / USB & Bluetooth / Connect (Name of Your USB) in the tool menu to connect your USB stick to the guest machine.

Connecting Flash Disk to Virtual Machine

   Step 6

You can now use your USB 3.0 flash disk on your Windows 7 machine without any problems.

Viewing the Contents of Flash Disk in Virtual PC

How to Configure Shared Folder

Another method of file transfer between your Mac and your virtual machine is the Shared Folders feature. Thanks to this feature, you can use a folder that you specify or create as a shared folder between the host and the VM.

   Step 1

After opening the settings of the Windows 7 guest machine, click Sharing.

Shared Folder Configuration

   Step 2

Enable Shared Folders and then click the + button. After selecting the relevant option, you can see that the VMware Shared Folders shortcut has been created on the desktop of your virtual system.

Locating the Shared Folder

   Step 3

Create a folder named Win7VM in the desktop location of your macOS system.

Checking the Public Folder on Mac

   Step 4

Create a new folder in the Win7VM folder and check that you can access that folder on a Mac and guest machine.

Checking the Contents of the Shared Folder on Mac and Guest Machine

How to Check Internet Connection

After installing a Windows or Linux operating system in the virtual machine, it is useful to check that your network connection is OK. Therefore, on Windows guest machines, you can test your connection by pinging any Internet site using the CMD command prompt.

   Step 1

After pressing the Windows Key + R, execute the cmd command in the Run window. Test your connection by pinging the Google homepage using the ping command at the command prompt.

Checking Internet Connection with CMD

   Step 2

Also, check your connection by visiting Google using Internet Explorer or another web browser.

Visiting Google using Internet Explorer

How to Connect to a Guest Machine from a Mac using Microsoft Remote Desktop

You can manage your work over LAN or WAN by making a remote desktop connection from your macOS computer to the VM. On Mac systems, you can configure remote connections using the Microsoft Remote Desktop application.

   Step 1

After downloading the Microsoft Remote Desktop software from the App Store, double-click the setup file.

Microsoft Remote Desktop Setup

   Step 2

Read and accept the license terms of the remote desktop application.

Accepting the Software's License Terms

   Step 3

In the window that states that the program will use 145 MB of disk space on your virtual computer, click Install to start the installation.

Starting Installation

   Step 4

To continue the installation, type your user account password and click Install Software.

Typing User Password

   Step 5

After installing the Microsoft Remote Desktop program on your macOS system, close the wizard.

Closing the Setup Wizard

   Step 6

Open Applications in Finder and find and run Microsoft Remote Desktop.

Running Microsoft Remote Desktop

   Step 7

After running the program, allow access to use your computer’s camera and microphone device for remote connections.

Allow Camera and Microphone Device

   Step 8

Open Computer Management on your Windows 7 machine and click Local Users and Groups / Users, then right-click / Set Password on User from the listed user accounts.

Click the Proceed button in the warning window that informs you to log in to your system with the password you created in the next session.

Creating Password for User Account

   Step 9

In the password creation window, type the same password in both text boxes and click OK.

Setting a New Password

   Step 10

To allow remote connections in Windows 7, open My Computer properties and click Remote Settings, then select Allow connections from computers running any version of the Remote Desktop option and click OK.

Allowing Remote Connections on the Guest Machine

   Step 11

Click the Add PC button in the Remote Desktop application.

Add PC

   Step 12

Type the IP address of your virtual computer in the PC name field and view the options in the User Account section and click Add User Account.

Typing the PC's IP Address and Adding User Information

   Step 13

Type your Windows 7 system login credentials and click the Add button.

Adding User Account

   Step 14

Right-click / Connect on the virtual system you have added to the Remote Desktop application. Click Continue when you receive a certificate error while connecting to the remote machine.

Remote Access to Windows 7 VM

   Step 15

After establishing a remote connection from your Mac to the Windows 7 VM, you can continue with your work.

Remote Desktop Connection to VM


Download Windows 7 and USB Drivers

Windows 7 x64 Ultimate EN
USB 3.0/3.1 Driver


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