I have an HP laptop and I'm thinking about buying OS X and running it inside a virtual machine on the laptop.

Is running OS X inside virtual machine allowed by the license?


Lion is the first Mac OS X to license some virtualization on the non-server OS.

From the 10.7 EULA:

  • (iii) to install, use and run up to two (2) additional copies or instances of the Apple Software within virtual operating system environments on each Mac Computer you own or control that is already running the Apple Software.

Notice the condition, though: it's only allowed on Mac hardware when running Lion as the host OS. There are also provisions for installing it over Snow Leopard macs.

Running it on HP hardware would likely be a violation of the license as written. Check with your lawyer as always when the question of legality is involved since any license has to respect your local laws.

  • Why the downvote without a reason? The answer is absolutely correct. – David Aug 8 '11 at 19:12
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    David, your answer is misleading. The questioner specifically asked if it is allowed for him to run Mac OS X on his HP laptop. The answer to that question is NO! and the way in which you formulated your responses is confusing the issue. In his initial post he formulated two questions, and poorly. Responses should clarify the issue, not confuse it further. – user9290 Aug 8 '11 at 19:12
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    The QUESTION did not mention HP at all, so my answer covered all possible scenarios since other people will come to this question looking for information. Virutalizing Lion is allowed, but under conditions. Having said that, if you think the wording is confusing, that's what editing is for, not downvoting. I've now edited for clarity. – David Aug 8 '11 at 19:13
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    David, I apologize if my reply was harsh. I just want to avoid confusing a newbie. He effectively posed two questions that are really separate issues, but in my opinion he did not realize the implications. Also, I am new to this site and I don't fully understand the editing rules. I will work on improving my "bedside manner". Thanks for your explanation. – user9290 Aug 8 '11 at 19:26
  • I definitely agree with your motivations here. :-) – David Aug 8 '11 at 19:28

No. Apple expressly forbids running any Mac OS on a computer that is not made by Apple, under any circumstances.

What Apple does allow is running multiple instances of Mac OS X 10.7 Lion under a virtual machine on an Apple Macintosh computer that also runs Lion. This would not be of much use to a consumer; it is designed for use by developers and on servers for software testing and network implementation purposes.

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    The EULA wording seems to indicate that the host computer must be running Lion; merely being a Mac is not enough. – David Aug 8 '11 at 18:59
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    I'd wager thousands if not millions of consumers would love to use Lion on their PC's in a virtual environment. – bmike Aug 8 '11 at 18:59
  • bmike, of course they would! But Apple cannot make any money from this, and since the Macintosh and Mac OS X are Apple's products and intellectual property, they will not permit this. Furthermore, conventional wisdom says that it is the tight integration between Apple computer hardware and the Apple operating system that enables it to "just work". Permitting or condoning running Mac OS X on other companies' PCs would degrade the experience. – user9290 Aug 8 '11 at 19:30

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