Windows and VMWare Fusion

macOS & Mac Apps

Hi Everyone,

I hope you are all well. :)
I installed VMWare fusion yesterday and am now wondering how I install Windows into VMWare Fusion. Currently it is using the free trial.
I know I can use the OEM and I plan to get that from Amazon or any other website that is reasonable (because Microsoft only sells Windows 8 now and I am familiar with 7).
If anyone can explain to me the steps or direct me to a podcast/guide on here that would be great. I've seen information about VMWare Fusion but not what I am looking for specifically.



Submitted by Tristan on Monday, June 9, 2014

HI Christina,
Setting up a Windows virtual machine is relatively easy and painless. Once you have the ISO image of your Windows OEM, load this into Fusion by going to the menu bar (vo+M), file, then 'New'. This can also be accomplished by hitting command+n. You'll be presented with a dialogue that has the option to install from disk image. Do this, then browse for the ISO file. After this, set up is very straightforward. You'll be asked for a username, account, and VMware will ask you most of the obligatory questions required for a Windows setup, including the serial number you were given when you purchased Windows. Once this is done, Windows will begin setting itself up without any necessary input from you. This process is relatively silent for the most part, so if you have sighted assistance to tell you what's on the screen, or can scan with an OCR application, this would be the best solution. Without these solutions, Windows does install, and makes the startup sound when complete. If the installation runs into any problems, however, you will not know.
Once it's installed, you can use command+ctrl+shift+f (that's what I use. I'm almost sure there are other ways to do this) to direct your input to the VM. To stop directing input, press command+ctrl. You'll want to turn off VO with command+f5 once you get a screen reader working on your VM, because it will intercept a good chunk of your commands thinking you're trying to interact with Voice Over.

Feel free to ask any more questions.

Submitted by Christina on Monday, June 9, 2014

In reply to by Tristan


Thank you. That is very helpful.
I just have a couple more questions:
Does this require a certain percentage of RAM? (I plan to run JAWS, MS Excel and possible Internet Explorer).
Do I need to make any partitions on my mac hard drive?
In posts I've read people have mentioned partitioning the hard drive however I am unsure if that only applies when using BootCamp.
Thank you.

Submitted by Chelsea on Monday, June 9, 2014

Partitioning the hard drive is only required for Boot Camp. That is one of the nice things about having a virtual machine. Be aware, that Jaws will only work in demo mode in a virtual machine. Better to go with a free screen reader or something like an VDA.

Submitted by Christina on Tuesday, June 10, 2014

In reply to by Chelsea


That is good to know. I wonder why that is. The thing is, I'm not sure how well my mac would handle partitioning the hard drive. Also, I have no idea how much of my RAM that using the Virtual machine or using BootCamp would take up. I would like to run a screen reader in Windows (preferably JAWS because it, from what I have heard, works best with Excel in comparison to NVDA), Excel and possibly the Internet.
I also have thought of another question:
How do I get NVDA or JAWS and the other Microsoft programs over to Windows if I do not have a web browser in Windows? Can I transfer a download file from the downloads folder on my mac?
Sorry for all of the questions, I'm new to this so I really am not sure and I have not found any specific and very detailed information that was helpful.
Thank both of you so far.

Submitted by rdfreak on Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Hi there,
I have also taken note of this thread as I would love to try doing this myself but it has always appeared too technical for me.
So can I go one step further. Where would I get windows 7 from? And VM fusion from the app store? I know nothing about this.
Oh, and the steps you provided above, these can all be achieved without sighted help?
Thanks all for answering my questions as well. :)

Submitted by Christina on Tuesday, June 10, 2014

In reply to by rdfreak

It can be downloaded from their website:
Click the free trial link so that you do not have to pay for it for thirty days (I think it said download trial.
Link to downloads page:
To get past everything just use VO keys +F and type Fusion in the box, then go over and you will see the download links choose the third one (not download product or download tools and drivers (though we may need the second one later, not really sure, bookmark the page just in case). The third one is download trial.
About how to get Windows:
You can get it off of Amazon (either buy the CD or OEM whichever you prefer (or is cheaper). There are other websites too you can find it on probably as well. If you go through Microsoft they will only have Windows 8 so if you want 7 go with Amazon or somewhere else.
That is all I know so far (plus what is already mentioned).
Hope that is all helpful.

Submitted by Chelsea on Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Hi Christina,
Your questions are good ones. I'll try to parse them out.
There are major differences between working with boot camp and working with a virtual machine. With boot camp you need to partition the hard drive and restart your system between swapping oses. This method makes all of your hardware available to windows, but you do not have any access to your Mac whatsoever. It is useful for it you are running something very performance heavy or are going to be in windows for a considerable amount of time.
With a virtual machine, your flexibility increases with a slight performance hit. I think the statistic is windows gets ninety percent of the hardware resources. You can easily run a screen reader and an office program in this configuration on any modern Mac. You also have access to your Mac's file system, and can transfer things between systems easily. Fusion will also let you specify the vm's maximum resources on setup. This is useful if you just need to do a quick thing in windows.
You mentioned excel a few times. I am a slight spreadsheet guru. Have you tried the latest version of apple's numbers? It works great with formulas, not so great with graphs. Just throwing it out there.
Hope this helps. Oh, before you go partitioning hard drives, be sure to have a clone or at least your use your data backed up. Even if you partition with free space, something could still go wrong.

Submitted by Matthew C on Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Hello Christina. I am running a macbook air with 8 gigs of ram. I am using the default of 2 gigs for the vm. It was mentioned to me that more would not be necessary. You can run jaws on it fully. You do however have to set the virtual machine to the way you like it first. If you change anything like the amount of ram used after authorizing jaws it will think it is a new machine so will not allow it to be used. So once you get that set up you will be fine.

Jaws is running perfectly on mine. One thing you can do is use narrator until you install either jaws or NVDA. This can be done with the command windows u for it. Also one other thing to consider is the jaws or NVDA key. This can be done by googling a program in windows called short keys. Someone did a very good podcast on here on how to set it up. It shows you how to switch the caps lock key with another of your choice. I use the right option key. Macs for some reason i forget now will not let you use the caps lock key for this so you need to switch it to that. Your basically telling it to switch the caps lock key to the other key of your choice and the same said key as caps lock. I hope this helps.

Submitted by Jonathan Candler on Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Hello all, I am using a windows 7 VM even as we speak! and I would just like to give you my sense on this... I don't like using boot camp sense I have to boot into windows if I really want to use it. I love using windows on a VM because then I could just swop between the two with out any problems. Lol. I would also, like to talk about how I optimize my mac to run with it smoothly. Say for instance, you have 4 gigs of ram on your mac. you would go into your settings into your VM and split that ram usage in half. so, you would have 2 for your VM and 2 for your mac's resources. Same for if you have 2 gigs of ram. I upgraded my ram to 8 so you all who have that much ram don't really have to play with it that much if you don't want to. Also, I set my processers to use 2 cors. not one as it will up the speed of the running of the VM. I hope this makes sense as I am kind of in a rush to write this. but hope that gives you all some tips on the subject.

Submitted by Tristan on Tuesday, June 10, 2014

I run a VM of Windows 7 with JAWS 15 on a MacBook Air, and to be quite transparent, it runs better than any Windows laptop I've had does. I allocate 4 gb of my 8 GB ram to the VM, and I haven't lagged or stuttered at all.

There is a pretty great program, called KeyRemapper4Macbook that allows one to remap the capslock key to the VO key, lets' you use a numpad with the FN key, and also let's you use capslock in VMware. I'm not sure if this works as well on Desktops, but a podcast was posted on AppleVis a few years ago on how to set this up.…
I had to modify a few of the steps, but this worked for me, and I love it.
Here's a link about Bootcamp VS Virtual Machines -- for the most part the previous poster was correct…
One thing that they forgot to mention is that if you set up a Bootcamp partition, you can access that partition with VMware to Virtualize your bootcamp inside of OS X. Bootcamp gives the best of two worlds, but also has a few very large cons, such as not being able to resize the partition once you set it up(You could have a lot of space just sitting unused on your HDD).

Submitted by Christina on Tuesday, June 10, 2014

In reply to by Chelsea

I thank you for this information.
I will not be using many Office programs at once, mainly Excel and this is only for a couple of classes I have to take for my major. You can correct me if I am wrong but I've heard NVDA support for Excel while it exists is not very great.
I am glad that I can run JAWS in full version mode though because having to restart every forty minutes would be annoying.
What order do I take these steps in? I saw the first post about how to get the OEM into the VM but do I set the preferences for RAM and things prior to putting windows into the VM, I am thinking so but just want to make sure I do this with the smallest possibility of mistakes.

Submitted by Tristan on Tuesday, June 10, 2014


You should be given an opportunity after filling out the required information that I mentioned. I believe it is a button in the wizard…advanced settings or some such. If it does not give you that option, you can easily configure it after installing Windows (do this prior to registerring JAWS, as it will change your machine's footprint and deauthorize JAWS). You can get to your Virtual Machine's preferences by going through the toolbar, or hitting command+comma.

Submitted by Christina on Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Thank you.
Everyone has been very helpful.
If I think of any other questions, I will post here but if other people have questions or comments as well that would be helpful post them as well. I just want to be sure I get as much information as possible and that this can be helpful to other people too.

Submitted by KE7ZUM on Tuesday, June 10, 2014

In reply to by rdfreak

I believe you all are making this way way way too complex.

  1. If you have a cd chose that when setting up your vm
  2. Let it go through the install process.
  3. you will hear the start up music
  4. Start narrator and configure windows. Remember the clip boards are interchangeable so copying and pasting the key will be a snap.
  5. Install nvda. You can do with by going to the nvda site and downloading it or running the exe from a flash drive. You can also install it from a ninite set up if you have multiple things such as firefox and everything else you want.
  6. restart your vm. This is done in the vm itself or through the menu bar in fusion

Your windows will now be set up. Just activate your windows and you are good to go. I don't know where you got told jaws won't run in full mode in vmware fusion as I did not when I was using jaws 4 years ago have that issue.

Submitted by rdfreak on Wednesday, June 11, 2014

I appreciate all these comments, Christina, Chelsea and all; thanks from me also.
Sarah, I have a mac book air I'm afraid so no access to the CDs, so I would download VM Fusion, download windows from somewhere and install it through fusion?

Yes. You want an ISO image file of Windows. Microsoft surprisingly still has Windows 7 ISO images available via the Windows 7 downloader; you'll just have to purchase a product key from somewhere like Amazon.
Alternatively, if you have a newer Mac and another computer with a disk drive, you can use remote disk. This will just make the other computer act like the disk drive, and the Mac will wirelessly read from the CD.

Submitted by Tristan on Wednesday, June 11, 2014

You can download VMware from here…

Keep in mind that this is a 30-day demo. After the demo is up, I believe it's about $60 to purchase a full copy of Fusion. Definitely and totally worth the money, however. It's really a phenomenal piece of software. I run Windows concurrently with Mac, and the Windows OS is smoother than any other high -performance PC I've owned.

Submitted by KE7ZUM on Wednesday, June 11, 2014

The only trouble you might hve though is if you have to run a cerial cable like I do. I have a baofeng uv5r and the rt systems software, and it will not connect no matter what I do. How ever I tried it on someone else's computer and the software connects fine and dandy. and it can read the data from my radio. Just letting those of you know who want to know. lol!

I was surprised when someone wrote JAWS could only be used in demo mode but I am glad that is not the case.
Does anyone know if there is an OEM ISO that can be downloaded (meaning so I do not have to put it on a CD or thumb drive). I tried to find one but I have only found CD's.

Submitted by splyt on Wednesday, June 11, 2014

See ..,, we wont go deeply into jaws details but tkere are some ways of authorizing jaws that uses a machine footprint to make sure it is authorized in the machine it should be authorized. What happens is that changing characteristics of a viertual machine is easier than doing the same thing ina physical machine. You can add / remove hard disk space, add and remove memory, add and remove processors, do several things by making one or more commands. But, as far as the windows OS and JAWS can see, they are running on a physical machine and not on a vm so in their conception the machine footprint changes each time you do a customization.
This may break the authorization process so make sure you have the machine set up the way you klijke before making the authorization process.

Submitted by Christina on Thursday, June 12, 2014

Thanks Mary. I have never heard of digital river but I will see what I find. :)
Everyone has been extremely helpful.

Submitted by rdfreak on Thursday, June 12, 2014

a wealth of knowledge that's for sure! :)
So, some people have said here that we can purchase just a windows key from Amazon; is that right? I can use the CD to install (thanks to a super drive that a mate will lend to me) but just need to purchase the windows key.

Submitted by Christina on Thursday, June 12, 2014

Hi Mary and All,

I could not find the OEM download from Digital River. I could not find any download links related to Windows actually.

Submitted by Tristan on Thursday, June 12, 2014

Here's a third party that has the links to the Digital River ISO images. Note that the ISO images are not named conventionally; click the link that corresponds to your specific version/architecture.…

Doing a quick search of Amazon and the genuine windows Microsoft website seems to show that you must buy a retail DVD. (Do a search for "Windows 7" on the amazon site and google "Windows 7 product key") Amazon used to sell standalone keys, but it seems this is no longer the case. My apologies for the misinformation.
You can probably find a third party dealer, such as Best Buy who can provide extremely good deals on this sort of thing, and is local to most people.
It might not be worth saying that product keys are not always necessary. This isn't illegal either -- you'll just lose some functions of Windows after 30 days of use, like Windows updates. Depending on your situation, updates may not be entirely necessary if you're using this as a second resort Virtual Machine.
Hope this helps.

Submitted by ftealucard on Friday, June 13, 2014

Hello all
Love reading this discussion since I am currently fiddling around with windows 7 on my macbook pro. I currently have a 200gb partician for bootcamp. If I virtualize it in VmWare, will it creat a 200gb image for VmWare to use? So I'd be taking up 400gb? Or will VM be able to use the bootcamp partician with out creating it's own virtual disk?

Submitted by KE7ZUM on Friday, June 13, 2014

It uses the boot camp partition. This is how you will set up windows and change options as well. O Someone wrote an exceoent guide on how to do this about a year or so ago.

Take care

Submitted by helmuth on Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Hi together,
I have just read all the possitive comments on this topic here and it seems that a lot o has changed: I have a macbook air newest generation, 8gb ram and installed win7 x64 in vmware 8 pro on osx el capitan newest version. Jaws crashes most of the time or doesn't even start after windows has booted. My bluetooth braille display doesn't get found rapidly and so on. Any simmilar experiences or solutions around here? Thanks in advance, Helmuth

Submitted by KE7ZUM on Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Contact freedom scientific with the info and they might be able to help. As that version is recently released they still have some bugs to work out.

Submitted by helmuth on Monday, December 14, 2015

Don't think they will care as apple is their competitor. Just in case someone has an idea plz let me know. Best regards and thx for the info, Helmuth

Submitted by Serena on Monday, December 14, 2015

hi. it would seem that the info as to NVDA and it's support for excel is old as well. as this has been worked on quite a lot in the last few versions. it is, from what i know, pritty good now. so perhaps try that, before messing with jaws in a vm.
I personally, would probably go for the bootcamp first, and vm that if you want to be running both. that way, if you want / need to, you can in fact then use the bootcamp for heavy windows use. because, if you use a vm, then decide later that you wish to use a boot camp, you will have to install a new windows to bootcamp, or remove your vm version's key, and reuse that for bootcamp. seems to me that it would be simpler to start with bootcamp, and vm that, so you have the best of both.

Submitted by shuteye on Thursday, August 11, 2016

I've installed VMWare fusion 8, using a windows 10 virtual machine, and I've set up the successor to KeyRemap4MacBook or whatever it was called, its now called Seil. I used Seil to remap the caps lock key on the mac side to "f13", nonexistent on the mac laptop keyboard layout. I then went into windows, downloaded sharp keys and mapped the "f13" key to the caps lock key in windows. But it doesn't seem to be working and giving me the caps lock functionality I need. Can anyone shed any light on this? What am I missing?

Submitted by Gareth.N.Smyth on Sunday, January 24, 2021

In reply to by Chelsea

Hi there.

I'm new to posting on these forums. I have a MacBook Pro and have installed and got windows 10 up and running in a trial of VMware Fusion. I'm trying out windows 10 on it which is working but I need to install NVDA to use Windows as Voiceover doesn't seem to work inside the win 10 window environment. I was wondering if anyone would be able to advise me on how to go about doing this. I have already NVDA file downloaded to the Mac. The sound card seems to be working in the vm but I was wondering if there is even a way to turn on Narator or something? Thanks so much for reading and I hope to hear from someone soon. God bless, Gareth