Setting up Basilisk II for Windows

(updated September 24, 2020)

(You can also set up Basilisk II for OSX/macOS)

Upgrading from a Basilisk II build from before 22-09-2020

If you are upgrading from an old version of Basilisk II, the best thing to do is to download all files into a new folder and make a fresh start (but you can still use your old disk image and ROM). Most dll (application extensions) files included are needed to run the GUI. The number of dll files may be a bit overwhelming, but the up-side is that it is no longer necessary to install the GTK development kit to run the GUI.

If you kept your Rom file and hard disk image(s) in the old Basilisk II folder, copy them into the new folder. If they are outside your old Basilisk II folder, leave them where they are now.

Next, run the GUI, point to the required Rom and disks in the new folder (or where you kept them outside of the old folder) and adjust the other GUI settings to match what you had before. You can then run Basilisk II.

If everything is OK, you can remove the old folder and its content. If you had the GTK development kit installed to run the old GUI, and it is not used for any other program you have installed, you can remove it too.


Basilisk II emulates up to a 68040 Macintosh. You can install up to Mac OS 8.1 in the emulated machine. This guide focuses on installation of System 7.5.3, which is available for free (and legal) download from Apple.

Installing System 7.5.3 (which can be updated to 7.5.5) is fun and easy! But before getting started, there are a few files that you will need to download:

  • Basilisk II itself. I recommend using the most recent release.
  • You will need a valid ROM file. You can get this from your old Macintosh computer as described here, or you can find one online. We don't link directly to ROM images, but the Internet Archive does have a big collection you can check out. ROMs from Quadra and Performa machines work best.
  • HFVExplorer, a utility that allows you to read Macintosh disk images in Windows.
  • A System 7 Boot Disk. Extract this to your Basilisk II directory before you begin.
  • The System 7.5.3 software, which is available from Apple as a free download. Download these files to a single directory in Windows.

Note: If you experience the infamous “black screen” problem (i.e: when you launch the emulator you see only black), you can try setting up Basilisk II build 142, a much older (but perhaps more stable) version of the emulator.

Getting Started

Download the files above. Extract Basilisk II. Remember to extract the System 7 boot disk to your Basilisk II directory.

First we will create a blank hard disk image that we will later install System 7.5.3 to. Start by running HFVExplorer. Click on “File” and then “Format New Volume.” Give your volume a name and a size of at least 100 MB. Click the arrow beside “Volume File Path of Floppy Selection” and browse to your Basilisk II directory. Give your hard disk image a name (“install.hfv” is used in this tutorial) and click “save” to create the image. See figure one, below. Note that in the future you can create images within the Basilisk II GUI to save time.

Figure one: Creating a blank disk image in HFVExplorer

Now we will copy the System 7.5.3 files to the blank disk image that we just created. Check that the image you just created is listed at the top of the left hand pane of HFVExplorer. If not, click on “File” and “Open Volume” to open it.

Next, within HFVExplorer, navigate to the folder that contains the System 7.5.3 files that you downloaded earlier. Click and drag that folder over to the blank image that you just created. When the “select copy mode” dialog appears, just click “OK.” See figure two.

Figure two: Hit “OK” when the “select copy mode” dialog appears

The Basilisk II GUI

Close HFVExplorer. Run BasiliskIIGUI.exe in the Basilisk II directory. In the “volumes” tab click on “Add…” and select the System 7 Boot disk (system70_boot.dsk) and the disk image you created in the previous step (install.dsk in this case). See Figure three for some help.

Switch to the “Memory/Misc” tab of the Basilisk II GUI. Click “browse” and select your ROM file. To boot the boot disk from this guide, the Mac Model ID should be set to “MacIIci (MacOS 7.x). You can change this later if needed.

Switch to the “JIT Compiler” tab. Deselect “Enable JIT Compiler”. The JIT compiler might improve performance on very old host systems, but it is not needed on modern systems, and can also cause the emulator to crash frequently.

For smoother mouse movements, I recommend selecting “Dynamic” Window refresh rate in the “Graphics/Sound” tab. You might also wish to adjust the width and height in that tab.

Figure three: The volumes tab of the Basilisk II GUI. Two volumes are loaded.

Installing System 7

If your emulated Macintosh has booted successfully, it should look a bit like figure four.

Figure four: The Macintosh desktop after booting the System 7 boot disk

Now we are going to install System 7.5.3. One of the disks on the Macintosh desktop is the one you created using HFVExplorer and that contains the System 7.5.3 installation files. Open that disk. Open the folder containing the install files and locate the file called “System 7.5.3 01of19.smi.” That file should be easy to find - it's got color (see figure six)!

Figure five: After the system files have been verified

You can now install System 7.5.3 in several easy steps:

  • One: Double click on “System 7.5.3 01of19.smi” to get started. Click to agree to the terms and wait for the files to verify.
  • Two: A disk icon named “Sys7.5 V7.5.3 CD Inst” will have appeared on the desktop (see figure five). Double click this icon. In the folder that opens, there will be an icon named “Installer.” Double click this icon. Press “continue” in the dialog box that appears to begin installation.
  • Three: In the upper left-hand corner of the screen that now appears there is a box that says “Easy Install.” Click the arrow in the box to get a drop down menu. Switch to “custom install” from that menu. The window will change to a list of installation options that you can chose from. Click the small arrow beside “System Software” to reveal a list of system options. Click the box beside “Universal Install for Any Macintosh” (see figure seven). Scroll down and click the arrow beside “Networking & Connectivity” then click the box beside “Open Transport” and the box beside “Network Software Selector.” Installing these two components will make it easier to go online within your emulated Macintosh.
  • Four: Make sure that the “destination disk” is the disk that you created earlier and not the boot disk. Click “switch disk” if necessary (see figure six).
  • Five: Click “Install.” Click “Quit” when the installation finishes

Figure six: Click the check-box to install a “Universal System for Any Macintosh.” Scroll down to select Networking Options. Make sure to install to the disk you created at the beginning of the guide

Booting System 7.5.3

Congratulations, you have installed System 7.5.3! But there are a couple things you have to do before you can boot the OS. First, shut down the emulated Mac (click “Special” and “Shutdown”). Now, run the Basilisk II GUI again. In the volumes tab you must remove the System 7 boot disk, leaving only the disk that you created in HFVExplorer (and installed the Operating System on). Click “start” to run the emulator again, booting from your fresh install of System 7.5.3. Once the system is booted, you should keep the original System 7 installation files on your disk image, as they contain additional system software you might want to install at a later time.

Figure seven: System 7.5.3. Beautiful and elegant.

What Else?

You should install Stuffit Expander, which you will need if you want to install any applications on the emulated Mac. Installation is very simple. Just download Stuffit Expander 5.5 to windows. Drag the file into your disk image using HFVExplorer, clicking “ok” (just as before) when asked for a copy mode. Boot your emulated Macintosh and look for “Aladdin Expander 5.5 Installer.” Double click to Install.

Using HFVExplorer to copy Stuffit to your disk image will safely extract the Stuffit Installer. After you have installed Stuffit you can forego the use of HFVExplorer and transfer files directly from your host system after checking the “Enable My Computer” box in the Volumes tab of the Basilisk II GUI.

You may also want to update to System 7.5.5. The update process is very simple. You can get the update here. Download that file to Windows and drag it into your install.hfv disk image using HFVExplorer, or the “My Computer” option (see above). Run the installer.

I've written a few other guides for Basilisk II. You might want to read about getting online, or about some good software for the emulated 68K Macintosh. Check out the articles page for other guides.

64-bit Windows compatibility

NOTE: The Basilisk II builds from 22-09-2020 or later do support reading and booting from real CDs in 64-bit Windows
NOTE: Basilisk II supports networking over a TAP device in Windows.

For users of builds from before 22-09-2020: Both the cdenable.sys driver and the basilisk ethernet driver will not work in 64-bit Windows versions. Therefore you can't access cd-roms and can't make appletalk work on these windows versions. You can, however, make .iso images of your cd roms and add them to the volumes list in the BasiliskII GUI. For internet access you can use the “slirp” option. You can place the cdenable.sys driver in the \Windows\SysWOW64\drivers folder to get rid of the (faulty) error reported about not being able to find the driver in the \windows\system32\drivers folder. The currently available experimental 64-bit GTK package has not been tested with BasiliskII.


We're all done! For more help you should check out our Macintosh Emulation Forum. Big thanks to Gwenole Beauchesne for developing JIT Basilisk II. Thanks also to Marc Hoffman. This is based on a guide he wrote in the late 1990s, which can be found over here.

basilisk_ii_setup.txt · Last modified: 2020/09/24 22:16 by clockwise
Except where otherwise noted, content on this wiki is licensed under the following license: CC Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 4.0 International
Recent changes RSS feed Donate Powered by PHP Valid XHTML 1.0 Valid CSS Driven by DokuWiki