Running qemu-system-m68k with system 7 or 8 guests in Windows

(Guide created March 9th, 2021)

NOTE: this version of qemu is not yet available


Qemu-system-m68k can emulate the Quadra 800 machine and can run the 68k versions of Mac OS 7.1 up to 8.1.

The status of various guests based on the latest builds available from the forum:

Guest Default build Specific arguments Remarks
Mac OS 7.1 OK none none
Mac OS 7.5 OK none none
Mac OS 8.1 OK none none


  • Qemu program
  • A Quadra 800 rom file
  • Disk images for the m68k versions of Mac OS you want to install

Assumptions in this guide

This guide assumes you are installing Mac OS 8.0 on a 2gb file that will act as your hard disk for Mac OS.
The CD image you install from is called MacOS8.0.iso and the hard disk is called MacOS8.0.img

Installations of other versions of Mac OS (roughly) follow the same path.

Preparing to install Mac OS

  • Go to xxxxxx and download our latest build from the official Qemu source.
  • Create a folder for Qemu-related files and unpack the download. Put your Mac OS disk images in this folder.
  • Create an empty disk image to install Mac OS on.
  • Create a pram disk image to hold information about the system, such as screen resolution.

Open a command prompt and navigate to your Qemu folder.

Note: If you create a disk image larger than 2Gb, you will have to partition the disk so the first partition is 2Gb or less in size. Otherwise Mac OS will not boot after installation.

qemu-img.exe create -f raw -o size=2G MacOS8.0.img 
qemu-img.exe create -f raw pram.img 256b

Open your favorite text editor and create a file called qemu.bat with the following content:

qemu-system-m68k.exe ^
-L pc-bios ^
-M q800 ^
-bios Quadra800.rom ^
-boot d ^
-drive file=MacOS8.0.iso,format=raw,media=cdrom ^
-drive file=MacOS8.0.img,format=raw,media=disk ^
-drive file=pram.img,format=raw,if=mtd 

Save qemu.bat

Starting qemu-system-m68k to install Mac OS

  • Double-click qemu.bat. This starts Qemu and boots the MacOS8.0.iso installation CD image.
m68k-qemu-on-windows.txt · Last modified: 2021/03/28 21:35 by cat_7
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