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How To Use GarageBand in Windows

Posted by Jamie on December 14, 2018

GarageBand is an Apple audio program that has been used by some household names to produce music. It is one of the most popular audio programs out there but it is only for Apple. There is no Windows version of the program, and there’s only one way that I know of to make it work on Windows.

GarageBand was apparently named for the many now-famous bands who began making music in their garages as amateurs. Fittingly, the program enables you to begin making music whether you can play an instrument or don’t even own one. With many music stars professing to use GarageBand, it’s no wonder others want in on the act.

If you search for ‘GarageBand for Windows’ then you will likely see lots of websites offering Windows versions of this program. To my knowledge, these are all fakes. There are no Windows versions of GarageBand and I suspect these downloads are bogus and full of adware or malware. I would stay away from such websites for the safety of your computer if you find yourself contemplating trying out one of these supposed “Windows versions” of the program. There are smarter risks you can take in life.

Use GarageBand in Windows

The only legitimate way to use GarageBand in Windows is to create a Mac virtual machine. I run MacOS Sierra within VirtualBox and it works flawlessly. If your Windows PC has the resources to run a VM version, then this is the only way I know to be able to run GarageBand on a Windows machine.

I’ll talk you through creating a Mac virtual machine and then load GarageBand onto it.

You will need a copy of MacOS Sierra and a copy of VirtualBox to make this work. The linked copy of MacOS Sierra is stored on Google Drive and was created by TechReviews. It is safe and I have used it multiple times in the past.

  1. Download and install VirtualBox onto your computer. Set up VirtualBox and install it onto a drive with lots of free hard disk space.
  2. Download a copy of MacOS Sierra onto your computer and extract the contents.
  3. Open VirtualBox and select New to create the VM.
  4. Give it a meaningful name.
  5. Set the Guest OS as Apple Mac OS X and the version as Mac OS X 10.11 or 10.12.
  6. Allocate as much memory as you can and select Create a virtual disk now.
  7. Select Create.
  8. Select the new virtual disk and select Settings.
  9. Remove the Hard disk and select Use an Existing Virtual Disk.
  10. Navigate to your download of Sierra and select the Sierra.vmdk file.
  11. Navigate to Documents\Virtual Machines in Windows Explorer and right click the VMX file.
  12. Paste ‘smc.version = “0” ‘ to the end of the file and save it.
  13. Select the System tab in Settings and make sure that Floppy is not checked.
  14. Select the Acceleration tab in System and check the box next to Intel VT-x.
  15. Select OK to leave Settings and select the green Start arrow to load the VM.

Loading may take a while depending on how fast your computer is; you’re asking it to do a lot right now. Be patient and have a coffee or something if it is taking a long time. The Sierra image is good and I have built several of these, so it does work and shouldn’t be the cause of any issues that might crop up. You will see the Apple installation screen at some point where you will need to set your time zone, set up an account and password, and set up components. This is all normal.

If you see errors loading the virtual machine, or any VM, check your BIOS to ensure Intel VT-x is enabled. This is an essential virtualization function that is required for VMs to work. If you see the Apple boot logo and the VM keeps resetting, go back to VirtualBox Settings and change the Version under the General tab to either a newer or older Guest and try again.

So now you should have a working copy of MacOS Sierra running in a VM within Windows. Now, there are still a couple of things to do before we get GarageBand up and running.

  1. Open Terminal within your Apple VM
  2. Type ‘./vmware-resolutionSet 1920 1080’ to set a usable resolution.

Now your Apple desktop should be much more usable. Now you can purchase and download a copy of GarageBand from the App Store.

  1. Open your MacOS Sierra VM and select the Apple icon in the top left.
  2. Select App Store and perform any system updates listed there.
  3. Search for GarageBand and select Get. Let it download and install onto your computer.

You will need an Apple ID to be able to download from the App Store. You don’t have to own a legitimate Apple device to get an Apple ID. Select Create Apple ID and go through the motions, then log in using that Apple ID and select Install App. GarageBand will now download and install onto your Apple VM and you can begin using it right away.

2 thoughts on “How To Use GarageBand in Windows”

Alex says:
I have clicked on the download link for mac os but it appears that the file was removed? is there another reputable source for this.
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John says:
Does VirtualBox handle audio better than VMWare? I’m running El Capitan on VMware and the recorded audio in Garageband is distorted.
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