VMware Fusion Alternatives for Mac (Detailed Guide Offered)

VMware Fusion Alternatives for Mac

Being one of the leading vendors of virtualization solutions, people consider VMware products the best in the market. However, many don’t know that a couple of VMware Fusion alternatives for Mac are also available that do the job pretty well, and in some cases, even better.

In the following sections, you will learn about the best alternative to VMware Fusion. In addition, you will also learn how to use your preferred application to create virtual machines that may have Mac, Windows, or Linux operating systems installed in them according to your requirement.

Alternative 1: Parallels Desktop for Mac

Parallels Desktop for Mac is considered the best VMware Fusion alternative as it tightly integrates with macOS. Furthermore, with Coherence Mode, you can work seamlessly on the guest OS from your Mac desktop screen. Using this feature, you can access the apps installed on guest and host operating systems simultaneously, as if they all are installed on the Mac itself.

The best thing about Parallels Desktop is that while installing Windows on a virtual machine, the entire setup process remains unattended. This means that all you need to do is to define a partition on your Mac hard drive or SSD where you want to install Windows, and Parallels takes care of everything else without having you sit before the computer to provide inputs.

You can follow this step-by-step guide on using Parallels Desktop for Mac to install a guest operating system.

Parallels Desktop for Mac

Alternative 2: Oracle VirtualBox

Oracle VirtualBox is yet another alternative to VMware Fusion. Although the application is free and available for Windows, Mac, Linux, and Solaris platforms, configuring it to install a guest operating system could be daunting for new users.

Now, because the product is by Oracle, you can count on it. However, the version of the app compatible with Mac M1/M2 Silicon chips is still in its Beta phase.

You can learn how to obtain Oracle VirtualBox and create and configure a virtual machine for a guest OS by following the steps given below:

Step 1: Install VirtualBox and Obtain Other Ingredients

Use the link given above to download VirtualBox on your Mac and install the program using the regular installation procedure.

Next, download your preferred operating system that you want to install as a guest OS on the virtual machine.

Note: For Windows 11, you can visit https://www.microsoft.com/software-download/windows11 and download an instance from here.

Step 2: Create a Virtual Machine

Launch VirtualBox from the Applications folder or Launchpad and click New from the standard toolbar at the top. On the Virtual machine Name and Operating System screen of the Create Virtual Machine box, enter a name for the virtual machine in the Name field. Optionally, specify your preferred location for the VM in the Folder field. Confirm that everything else is set accordingly. Click Next to continue.

Note: You can leave the ISO Image field intact for now.

Use VirtualBox to create Mac virtual machine 1

On the Hardware screen, use the Base Memory and Processors sliders to define the amount of RAM and number of CPUs the virtual machine should have respectively. Click Next to proceed.

When the Virtual Hard disk screen appears, click to select the Create a Virtual Hard Disk Now radio button if it is not already selected. Click Next.

Click Finish on the Summary screen.

Use VirtualBox to create Mac virtual machine 2

Step 3: Configure the Virtual Machine for the Guest OS

Back on the main window, ensure that the VM you created is selected in the left pane. Click Settings from the top of the right window.

When the Settings box opens, ensure that the General option is selected from the top. Go to the Advanced tab. Choose Bidirectional from the Shared Clipboard and Drag ‘n’ Drop lists.

Use VirtualBox to create Mac virtual machine 3

Go to the Storage option from the top and click the CD icon from the Storage Devices list in the left pane. Click the CD icon from the right of the Optical Drive field and click Choose a disk file from the menu that shows up. Now, use the navigation box to locate and select the ISO file that you obtained earlier.

Click OK to save the configurations.

Use VirtualBox to create Mac virtual machine 4

Step 4: Install the Guest Operating System

Back on the main VirtualBox window, ensure that the new virtual machine is selected in the left pane. Click Start from the top of the right window. Follow the OS-specific on-screen instructions to complete the installation.

Use VirtualBox to create Mac virtual machine 5

Troubleshooting Note

After starting the virtual machine, if you see the command line interface with the Shell prompt, click Close from the top-left.

Use VirtualBox to create Mac virtual machine 6

Choose Power off the machine radio button, and click OK to shut down the VM.

Use VirtualBox to create Mac virtual machine 7

Next, click Settings from the top of the main window. Select the System option from the top and ensure you are on the Motherboard tab. Uncheck the Enable EFI (special OSes only) box and click OK.

Use VirtualBox to create Mac virtual machine 8

Now try starting the virtual machine again and see if you can install the guest operating system this time.

Comparison – Vmware Fusion vs. Parallels Desktop for Mac vs. Oracle VirtualBox

After going through the above sections and gaining the information from there, if you are wondering which desktop virtualization tool you should use, you can check the following comparison table for a quick assessment.

 VMware FusionParallels DesktopOracle VirtualBox
Compatible withmacOSmacOS, ChromeOSmacOS, Windows, Linux, Solaris
PriceFree (Fusion Player Only)PaidFree
License TypePersonal Use LicenseSubscription BasedNo License Required
Supported Guest OSAlmost All Major OSAlmost All Major OSAlmost All Major OS
Complexity TypeModerateSimpleModerate-to-Complex
Resource IntensivenessModerateMildMild
Supports M1/M2 ChipsYesYesYes – In Beta Phase (Now)

With all the comparison details given above, it would be easier to assess which of the VMware Fusion alternatives for Mac should be best for you. In any case, the paid programs offer trial periods during which you can use the product to see how they function on your PC and then make a decision.


While VMware has a reputation in the field of virtualization solutions, when it comes to home computers, you don’t necessarily need Fusion to install a guest operating system on your Mac PC. Depending on your industry type and the technical knowledge you have, you can choose any of the above VMware Fusion alternatives for Mac to make your user experience convenient.

Michael Yang

Michael Yang

Michael is the founder of ClarifyHow and has also been a test engineer for phones and computers since 5 years ago. He gets various problems while working and fixes most of them by himself or his colleagues, so he would like to share his experience and knowledge.

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