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 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.
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.
After opening your Fusion Pro software on your Mac, select Create a custom virtual machine and then click Continue.
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.
Since Windows Vista is an old system, select Legacy BIOS in the firmware type window and click Continue again.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Click Choose a disc or disc image from the CD/DVD device to add a Windows Vista ISO file to the virtual machine.
Select the Windows Vista Ultimate SP2 x86/x64 ISO file that you downloaded to your computer from this link and click Open.
If you are not going to use a printer on your virtual computer, you can disable this feature by clicking Remove Printer Port.
For system performance, disable Troubleshooting and Side Channel Mitigations in the advanced settings of the Windows Vista guest machine.
After preparing your Vista virtual PC, close the settings window and click the Start button to proceed to the Windows installation.
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.
When your virtual system boots, select Windows Vista x64 Setup on the Windows Boot Manager screen and press Enter.
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.
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.
Select the x64 architecture for the platform of the operating system you will install on the guest machine and click Next.
After reading and accepting the Windows Vista SP2 license terms, click Next.
Since you are installing a system from scratch, click Custom (Advanced) as the installation type.
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.
After selecting Disk 0, click New and then click Apply to confirm the automatically generated disk size.
Click Next to start installing Vista on the primary partition.
Wait while the Vista system files are being expanded for installation.
After the Vista installation is complete, restart your virtual system.
When your guest machine restarts, type a new username for your system and also set your profile picture according to your wish.
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.
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.
Edit the time zone, system time, and date of your virtual system and click Next.
Choose from Home, Work, or Public Location to apply the correct network settings according to the current location of your virtual computer.
After completing the Windows Vista installation, click Start.
When your Vista virtual PC restarts, wait while the wizard checks your computer’s hardware performance.
After installing the Windows Vista operating system, the first desktop view will be as follows.
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.
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.
In Vista VM, press Windows Key + R to open the CMD command prompt, then execute the ping 126.96.36.199 command and check that you can access Google servers. If the connection is successful, you can see the TTL value is 128.
If the ping is successful, check your connection by visiting 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.
After opening the settings of the Windows Vista machine, view the Sharing settings.
Activate the Shared Folder feature and click the + button to specify a location on your Mac.
Click New Folder in the window that opens and create a new folder in a location you want and click the Add button.
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.
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.
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.
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.
After formatting your USB memory to ExFAT file format, create a folder called Backup in your device.
Click Virtual Machine / USB & Bluetooth / Connect (Name of Your USB) in the tool menu to connect your USB disk to the virtual machine.
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.
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.
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.
Accept the license agreement of the Remote Desktop software.
In the installation type window, click Install to install the software in the default location.
When the wizard tries to install the new software on your macOS system, type your user account password and click Install Software.
After installing the Microsoft remote desktop program on your macOS system, close the wizard.
Open Applications and run Microsoft Remote Desktop.
Allow the use of camera and microphone devices on the guest machine to configure the required permissions of the program.
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.
Create your user account password that you can log in to your Windows Vista system at the next login.
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.
After allowing remote connections on the Windows Vista virtual computer, click the Add PC button of the Remote Desktop application.
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.
For easier remote desktop connection from Mac to VM, type your user account name and password and click the Add button.
Right-click / Connect on the virtual machine you added to the remote desktop program and click Continue in the certificate error window that opens.
You can now establish a remote desktop connection from your Mac to your Windows Vista virtual computer.