I am new at the QA role, and need to do QA for websites my company builds/maintains/hosts. Need a MAC or a PC laptop that can run as VM running Windows XP, Vista, Windows 7, and MAC OS.

Ideal would be to purchase a laptop that's built for QA job. Would like operating systems to run at the same time, and would wire up a few different monitors so I could see differences in how websites look in different OS/browsers.

Are there any machines that are already built for QA that would allow this ?

  • 2
    There can be no general machine made for QA. If your machine can run your application, you can test it. Oct 3, 2012 at 0:04
  • 1
    Cord, you might be better off asking this in Server Fault or SuperUser. This is really about running multiple operating systems at the same time. It does not have much to do with testing.
    – user246
    Oct 3, 2012 at 0:09
  • Typically I build my own since often what I am testing has differed from company to company and project to project
    – MichaelF
    Oct 3, 2012 at 11:16

2 Answers 2


To achieve what you want you will need a Macbook. You are not allowed under the Mac OS X EULA to run their software on a machine that is not made by Apple.

... you are granted a limited, non-transferable, non-exclusive license:


(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, for purposes of: (a) software development; (b) testing during software development; (c) using OS X Server; or (d) personal, non-commercial use.

In regards to virtualisation software you have three options, Virtual Box, Parallels and VMWare Fusion. Each of them will do the job I personally use Parallels, and haven't used VMWare Fusion.

If you are running virtual Machines, you will need as much RAM and disk as the machine can take. You also have the option of running iOS simulators as well if required, but you will need the Retina Macbook pro to test them at anything close to native resolution.

Personally I now use a fully pimped out 13" Macbook air, and it ticks all these boxes for a very reasonable price.

  • this is some very helpful information. Anything to save us time and get the right decision made. I would like a machine that I could use outside the office. I'm happy to add monitors to give side by side look at, say, 3 operating systems at the same time, and running 2 to 3 browsers each. As for smart phones and tablets, was planning to have the most popular, and run those via wireless network to test applications. Thanks so much for your input. Very valuable for us.
    – Cord
    Oct 3, 2012 at 22:45
  • This is my favored setup as well, though replace Parallels with VirtualBox and the Air with the full size model. Max out the RAM and slap in an SSD. I chose VirtualBox mostly due to easy of imaging/backup/replication of many different types of VMs and consistent support for new versions of Linux. Being able to destroy a machine and recreate it in minutes is pretty handy. Plus, after spending the cash on that MacBook, the low price of free for VirtualBox looks pretty nice!
    – maznika
    Oct 5, 2012 at 17:30
  • I was using a 15" MacBook, and also have access to a 17", and absolutely prefer the Air. I used virtual box for a year but went back to Parallels as it has less sharp edges. Oct 6, 2012 at 12:00

Buy a MAC laptop and put VirtualBox on it.

You can't run MAC OS on a PC, Apple won't license it. But you can run Windows on a MAC, so the choice of hardware is easy. VirtualBox runs on a MAC and supports Windows as a Guest OS.

I don't know if you can buy a MAC that's already configured for this, but VirtualBox is reasonably easy to use.

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