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

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

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

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

On January 30, 2007, Microsoft released the Windows Vista operating system, which is developed to increase the user experience. Offering a more visual user interface with the sidebar feature, the company ended the extended support of this system on April 11, 2017, after a long time.

Using Windows Vista on today’s computers is not recommended for the security of user data. Therefore, using newer distributions such as Windows 10 is beneficial for both system and personal information protection.

When you want to examine and experience old Windows operating systems, it is recommended to use virtual machines on your host, that is, your physical computer. Because when you decide to delete an operating system that you will install on virtual machines, you will not cause any damage to your host system.

You can virtually run old or new Windows systems using VMware Fusion software, which allows you to create more detailed virtual machines on Apple Mac computers.

After installing VMware Fusion on your macOS system, all you need to do is to prepare a new virtual computer. Then, after adding a Windows or Linux ISO file to the VM you created, you can do the system setup.

How to Create a New Virtual Machine for Windows Vista

When you choose to prepare a custom virtual PC with Fusion, you configure some hardware settings manually. When you configure the settings of the VM you created to install old Windows systems, you can use your system stable and performance.

   Step 1

After opening your Fusion Pro software on your Mac, select Create a custom virtual machine and then click Continue.

Choosing a Virtual Machine Installation Method

   Step 2

To select the operating system you want to install on the guest machine, first select Microsoft Windows, then Windows Vista x64 Edition and click Continue.

Choosing an Operating System

   Step 3

Since Windows Vista is an old system, select Legacy BIOS in the firmware type window and click Continue again.

Legacy BIOS

   Step 4

Since you will be installing Windows from scratch, you must create a new virtual disk. If you have backed up the virtual disk of a virtual system you have installed before, you can add it at this stage.

Creating a New Virtual Disk

   Step 5

To better configure the hardware settings in the summary window of the virtual computer, click Customize Settings, and then click Save to continue without changing the default location in the window that opens.

Configuring the Installation Location

   Step 6

After viewing the Windows Vista virtual machine’s settings, you must first configure the number of virtual processors and virtual memory size based on the hardware performance of your host computer.

Configure 4 virtual processors and 2 GB RAM size for Vista virtual PC. If you are going to use any virtualization software on the VM, you can enable the hypervisor feature. You can also enable the IOMMU feature for a faster virtual system by mapping virtual memory addresses to physical memory addresses.

Configuring Virtual Processor and Memory Settings

   Step 7

You can see that Share with my Mac is enabled by default in the network adapter settings of the virtual machine. With this option, you can connect your guest machine to the Internet with NAT protocol.

When you choose Ethernet, you can get an IP address from a DHCP server in your local network and see your guest machine as an additional computer in the local network.

Selecting the Adapter Type

   Step 8

You can change the bus type of the virtual disk to SCSI or SATA as you wish. If you want to use the SATA bus, edit the settings in the Bus Type section and then click the Apply button.

Configuring the Bus Type of the Virtual Disk to SATA

   Step 9

Click Choose a disc or disc image from the CD/DVD device to add a Windows Vista ISO file to the virtual machine.

Adding a Disc or Disc Image

   Step 10

Select the Windows Vista Ultimate SP2 x86/x64 ISO file that you downloaded to your computer from this link and click Open.

Adding the Windows Vista ISO File

   Step 11

If you are not going to use a printer on your virtual computer, you can disable this feature by clicking Remove Printer Port.

Deleting the Virtual Printer Port

   Step 12

For system performance, disable Troubleshooting and Side Channel Mitigations in the advanced settings of the Windows Vista guest machine.

Disable Side Channel Mitigations

   Step 13

After preparing your Vista virtual PC, close the settings window and click the Start button to proceed to the Windows installation.

Running the Virtual Machine

How to Install Windows Vista

After making the settings of the virtual computer correctly, you can now start the Windows Vista installation. When you boot the VM with the installation media you added to your virtual system after starting the VM, you can follow the next steps as if you were installing on a real PC.

   Step 1

When your virtual system boots, select Windows Vista x64 Setup on the Windows Boot Manager screen and press Enter.

Windows Vista x64 Setup

   Step 2

Select the system display language, time, and format you want to use in your virtual system, as well as your host’s physical keyboard layout as the input method.

Windows Setup Wizard

   Step 3

After making the necessary system settings, you can immediately start the Windows installation on this screen. If you have installed Vista before and have encountered various system errors, you can also repair your system from this screen.

Windows Repair Screen

   Step 4

Select the x64 architecture for the platform of the operating system you will install on the guest machine and click Next.

Windows Vista Ultimate

   Step 5

After reading and accepting the Windows Vista SP2 license terms, click Next.

Accepting License Terms

   Step 6

Since you are installing a system from scratch, click Custom (Advanced) as the installation type.

Advanced Windows Setup

   Step 7

Since you are creating a new virtual hard disk during the virtual PC creation phase, you need to configure the unallocated disk space. Or in this step, you can automatically edit the virtual disk by clicking the Next button directly.

Click Drive Options to view advanced disk settings.

Editing Disk Space

   Step 8

After selecting Disk 0, click New and then click Apply to confirm the automatically generated disk size.

Creating a New Partition

   Step 9

Click Next to start installing Vista on the primary partition.

Installing Windows on the Primary Partition

   Step 10

Wait while the Vista system files are being expanded for installation.

Expanding System Files

   Step 11

After the Vista installation is complete, restart your virtual system.

Restarting the Virtual PC

   Step 12

When your guest machine restarts, type a new username for your system and also set your profile picture according to your wish.

Typing a Username and Choosing a Profile Picture

   Step 13

Different from other computers in your local network, type a computer name according to the system you have installed and also select your desktop background and click Next.

Typing a Computer Name and Choosing a Background Image

   Step 14

If you want Windows updates to be installed automatically and make your system more secure, click Use Recommended Settings to install important and recommended updates.

Use Recommended Settings

   Step 15

Edit the time zone, system time, and date of your virtual system and click Next.

Configuring Time and Zone Settings

   Step 16

Choose from Home, Work, or Public Location to apply the correct network settings according to the current location of your virtual computer.

Selecting the Current Location of the Computer

   Step 17

After completing the Windows Vista installation, click Start.

Start Windows

   Step 18

When your Vista virtual PC restarts, wait while the wizard checks your computer’s hardware performance.

Wait While Windows Checks Your Computer's Performance

   Step 19

After installing the Windows Vista operating system, the first desktop view will be as follows.

Windows Vista Ultimate Desktop Display

How to Install VMware Tools

You may get some errors when you try to install VMware Tools after installing old version Windows operating systems with Fusion. So you have to use one of the older versions of VMware Tools.

   Step 1

While the Windows Vista guest machine is running, you will get an error like the image below after clicking Virtual Machine / Install VMware Tools from the tool menu. This is because you are using one of the most recent versions of the Fusion software.

Because the Fusion 12 version no longer offers support for older Windows systems. To fix such incompatibilities, you need to download and install the old version of VM Tools installation media.

Setup cannot continue. This program requires that you have Windows 7 Service Pack 1 (SP1) or greater installed in this virtual machine.
For details, refer to the following VMware Knowledge Base article 75163.

VMware Tools Installation Error

   Step 2

Version 11.0.6 of VMware Tools runs smoothly on Vista virtual machine. To download the old version, visit and download the ISO image to your computer.

After downloading VMware Tools 11.0.6 to your host, click Virtual Machine / CD/DVD (SATA) / Choose Disc or Disc Image on the guest machine to add it to the VM.

Adding Legacy VMware Tools ISO File to the Virtual Machine

   Step 3

Go to the location where you downloaded the VMware-tools-windows-11.0.6-15940789.iso image and click Open after selecting the image file.


   Step 4

If the VMware Tools installation wizard does not start automatically, click Computer and double-click the ISO image from the removable devices.

Starting the VMware Tools Wizard

   Step 5

When the VM Tools wizard opens, click Next to start the installation and continue.

VMware Tools Installation Wizard

   Step 6

If you plan to use your Windows Vista machine in other VMware products in the future, choose Complete from the installation options.

Choosing the Complete Installation Type

   Step 7

Click Install when the wizard is ready to install VMware Tools.

Starting VM Tools Installation

   Step 8

Wait while the drivers for the video and other devices of the virtual machine are installed.

Installing Drivers for Video and Other Devices

   Step 9

Do not restart your VM after installing virtual machine drivers! If you restart your guest system, Fusion will automatically start updating VM Tools on the next boot.

Shut down your Windows Vista Ultimate virtual computer as normal.

Bypassing Restarting Virtual Computer

   Step 10

Go to Home / Virtual Machines, where your virtual computer is installed by default, and right-click on your VM and click Show Package Contents.

Open the Windows Vista x64 Edition.vmx file from the listed files in the virtual machine’s content with a text editor and find the value ( tools.upgrade.policy = “upgradeAtPowerCycle” ).

tools-upgrade-policy = "upgradeAtPowerCycle"

   Step 11

After manually changing the tools.upgrade.policy value, close the vmx file, and start your virtual system. VM Tools will no longer be automatically updated by Fusion.

tools-upgrade-policy = "manual"

   Step 12

After installing VMware Tools on Windows Vista, check the operability of full-screen resolution.

Controlling the Full Screen Resolution

   Step 13

You can also drag and drop files between your Mac and Vista virtual computer.

File Transfer between Host and VM with Drag & Drop

How to Check Internet Connection

It is recommended to check your Internet connection after installing Windows Vista with VMware Fusion on macOS. Therefore, you can test your connection by pinging any website using the ping command on the CMD on the guest machine.

   Step 1

In Vista VM, press Windows Key + R to open the CMD command prompt, then execute the ping command and check that you can access Google servers. If the connection is successful, you can see the TTL value is 128.

Checking Internet Connection with Ping

   Step 2

If the ping is successful, check your connection by visiting the Google homepage with Internet Explorer.

Viewing the Google Homepage with Internet Explorer

How to Configure Shared Folder

The easiest way to transfer files between virtual machines on your Mac is to enable and use the Shared Folder feature. In this way, you can quickly transfer files or applications to your virtual PC.

   Step 1

After opening the settings of the Windows Vista machine, view the Sharing settings.

Opening Sharing Settings

   Step 2

Activate the Shared Folder feature and click the + button to specify a location on your Mac.

Enabling Shared Folders

   Step 3

Click New Folder in the window that opens and create a new folder in a location you want and click the Add button.

Creating a Shared Folder on Mac

   Step 4

After creating a folder named WinVistaVM on the desktop of your Mac, you can access the public folder on the guest machine with the Shared Folder shortcut.

Checking the Public Folder Between Mac and VM

How to Use USB Flash Memory

Another file transfer method between the virtual machine and the host is the use of USB flash memory. However, you cannot use an NTFS formatted flash disk on macOS. So you need to convert your USB flash drive to ExFAT file format first.

   Step 1

After you insert your flash drive into your Mac, when the Fusion program asks you where you want to mount your device, first connect it to your Mac.

Connecting USB Flash Drive to Mac

   Step 2

Open the Disk Utility tool and right-click / Erase on your USB memory in the External devices section. In the disk formatting window, change the format of your USB memory to ExFAT and click the Erase button again.

Converting Flash Memory from NTFS to ExFAT

   Step 3

After formatting your USB memory to ExFAT file format, create a folder called Backup in your device.

Creating a Folder on a Flash Disk

   Step 4

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

Connecting Flash Disk to Virtual Machine

   Step 5

When you check the contents of your device after connecting your flash memory to the Vista guest machine, you can see the folder named Backup that you created.

Viewing Contents of USB Memory in VM

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

When you want to connect from your Mac to your virtual computer via LAN or WAN, you can use Microsoft’s Remote Desktop application.

   Step 1

After downloading the Microsoft Remote Desktop application from the App Store, double-click the setup file with the PKG extension and start the installation. Click Continue at the beginning of the installation wizard and continue.

Microsoft Remote Desktop Setup

   Step 2

Accept the license agreement of the Remote Desktop software.

Accepting the License Agreement

   Step 3

In the installation type window, click Install to install the software in the default location.

Determining the Installation Type

   Step 4

When the wizard tries to install the new software on your macOS system, type your user account password and click Install Software.

Starting Installation

   Step 5

After installing the Microsoft remote desktop program on your macOS system, close the wizard.

Closing the Software Wizard

   Step 6

Open Applications and run Microsoft Remote Desktop.

Running the Microsoft Remote Desktop Application

   Step 7

Allow the use of camera and microphone devices on the guest machine to configure the required permissions of the program.

Allowing the Use of Camera and Microphone Devices

   Step 8

After opening Computer Management, click Local Users and Groups / Users under System Tools.

Right-click on the user account you created for Vista, and then click Set Password. Then click Proceed in the window that reports the security warnings.

Creating a New Password for User Account

   Step 9

Create your user account password that you can log in to your Windows Vista system at the next login.

Confirming Password Mapping

   Step 10

To allow remote desktop connections on the guest machine, click Remote Settings in My Computer Properties, then select the “Allow connections from computers running any version of Remote Desktop (less secure)” option in the System Properties window and click OK.

Allowing Remote Connections in Vista

   Step 11

After allowing remote connections on the Windows Vista virtual computer, click the Add PC button of the Remote Desktop application.

Add PC

   Step 12

Type the IP address of your Vista virtual system in the PC Name field and expand the options in the User Account section and click Add User Account.

Typing the IP Address of the Guest Machine

   Step 13

For easier remote desktop connection from Mac to VM, type your user account name and password and click the Add button.

Typing the User Information of the Guest Machine

   Step 14

Right-click / Connect on the virtual machine you added to the remote desktop program and click Continue in the certificate error window that opens.

Connecting to Virtual Computer

   Step 15

You can now establish a remote desktop connection from your Mac to your Windows Vista virtual computer.

Checking the Remote Connection Session


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