GarageBand is a fully equipped digital audio workstation developed by Apple. Mac users love this product due to its versatility and a large number of instrumental effects available. It also provides MIDI keyboard support and multiple tracks making it an all-round workstation for both beginners and expert composers. However, there has to be a catch right? Sadly, Garageband for Windows PC is not available, as it was made only for Mac OS like most Apple products.
Windows users, if you are desperately searching for a way to download this onto your device, look no further. Because there isn’t one. Any website that provides a “working” copy of Garageband on Windows is simply trying to scam you or install bogus software onto your PC.
Instead, you should check out the amazing list of Garageband alternatives that do in fact work on Windows. However, if you’re really keen on using Garageband, there is a slightly difficult workaround. It can be done by using software known as VirtualBox.
What is VirtualBox?
VirtualBox is a “general-purpose full virtualizer for x86 hardware”. Sound complicated? Don’t worry, all this really means is that VirtualBox allows you to virtually run another operating system inside of Windows itself. VirtualBox is a great way to test out operating systems such as Linux distros and Mac OS before you permanently install it onto your device. You can also select the amount of RAM and processing power you want to dedicate to the virtual operating system. Hence, in order to run Mac OS virtually on your PC, you’ll need to meet the following specifications/requirements.
Minimum Requirments to Run Mac OS on VirtualBox
- Dual-Core Processor
- 4GB RAM
- 64 bit
- A copy of macOS
How To Install Garageband For PC?
If you don’t meet these requirements, you’ll find that when running a virtual OS, the performance will be very slow, and may even cause your computer to freeze. Also, you’ll need a copy of macOS available. In our examples, we’ll be using macOS Sierra, an older, yet stable version. Obtaining a macOS bootable .iso file copy isn’t an easy task. You’ll need to borrow a mac book from a friend and follow the instructions in the next section.
How to Create Bootable Copy of macOS Sierra
First, obtain an Apple mac book and follow the instructions below to get a working copy of Sierra:
- Startup the Apple mac book and open up the App Store.
- Search for ‘macOS High Sierra’ and select download.
- After downloading, close the installer by pressing command+Q.
- Open up mac Terminal by going to Applications>Utilities.
- In the terminal run the following commands one by one in this exact order:
1. hdiutil create -o /tmp/HighSierra.cdr -size 7316m -layout SPUD -fs HFS+J 2. hdiutil attach /tmp/HighSierra.cdr.dmg -noverify -nobrowse -mountpoint /Volumes/install_build 3. asr restore -source /Applications/Install\ macOS\ High\ Sierra.app/Contents/SharedSupport/BaseSystem.dmg -target /Volumes/install_build -noprompt -noverify -erase 4. hdiutil detach /Volumes/OS\ X\ Base\ System 5. hdiutil convert /tmp/HighSierra.cdr.dmg -format UDTO -o /tmp/HighSierra.iso 6. mv /tmp/HighSierra.iso.cdr ~/Desktop/HighSierra.iso
And there you have it. If done correctly, you should now have a bootable High Sierra ISO file on your desktop. Copy this file onto your Windows PC using a USB or any other means. Now you can finally get, mac OS running on your virtual box and install GarageBand.
How to Install VirtualBox and Setup macOS
As you can see, downloading GarageBand isn’t so straightforward. There are some prerequisites you need such as VirtualBox, a decent PC, and a copy of macOS. If you’ve got all of these things and are ready to go, let’s get started. Just follow the step-by-step instructions below:
- Download and install VirtualBox (Select ‘Windows Hosts’)
- Open VirtualBox and select ‘New’
- Input the name, type, and version as shown in the image below and select Next.
- Now you have to enter the amount of RAM to allocate to macOS. We recommend you allocate about 4GB (4096MB) of RAM or more. Click next.
- Select create a virtual hard disk.
- Then you will want to select the mode of storage on your hard drive. Dynamic storage will use up space as you use the virtual OS. We recommend a fixed size, it will take longer to create the partition but will be faster to use. Select next.
- Your virtual machine ‘High Sierra’ should appear in the start-up window.
- Open Settings(yellow gear), in the motherboard tab, uncheck Floppy. Now click the processor tab and make sure there are minimum 2 processors available.
- On the left-hand side of the settings, click the Display section. Ensure that video memory is set at 128MB minimum.
- Now we will add, the macOS file copy we created earlier. Select the Storage tab and select the ‘Empty’ CD. Double click it and find the macOS iso copy and select OK.
- You can exit VirtualBox for now and open Command Prompt (type cmd in search bar, right-click and run as administrator).
- In Command Prompt you will need to enter the following command lines in the exact order, one by one:
1. cd "C:Program FilesOracleVirtualBox" 2. VBoxManage.exe modifyvm "High Sierra" --cpuidset 00000001 000306a9 04100800 7fbae3ff bfebfbff 3. VBoxManage setextradata "High Sierra" "VBoxInternal/Devices/efi/0/Config/DmiSystemProduct" "MacBookPro11,3" 4. VBoxManage setextradata "High Sierra" "VBoxInternal/Devices/efi/0/Config/DmiSystemVersion" "1.0" 5. VBoxManage setextradata "High Sierra" "VBoxInternal/Devices/efi/0/Config/DmiBoardProduct" "Mac-2BD1B31983FE1663" 6. VBoxManage setextradata "High Sierra" "VBoxInternal/Devices/smc/0/Config/DeviceKey" "ourhardworkbythesewordsguardedpleasedontsteal(c)AppleComputerInc" 7. VBoxManage setextradata "High Sierra" "VBoxInternal/Devices/smc/0/Config/GetKeyFromRealSMC" 1
Finally, you now can now run macOS on your Windows PC. Open up Virtualbox, select High Sierra and press the green arrow Start button. You should now be taken to the MacOS setup page. Set up macOS and you’re well on your way to install GarageBand.
Downloading and Installing GarageBand
If you’ve come this far, you must really love GarageBand. All you have to do now is open up the app store on your virtual machine and download GarageBand. Please note, you will need an Apple ID to download software from the App Store.
- Open up the app store and make sure you perform any updates necessary.
- Search for and download Garageband.
- Open and enjoy Garageband.
Alternatives To GarageBand For Windows PC:
In order to save you from going through the trouble of what we just went through. We recommend you simply install one of these great alternatives listed below. Most of all, these are all free!
orDrumbox is a freeware drum set software which allows you to mix and compose different drum sounds. It has a large variety of instrument inputs and a huge database of sounds to choose from.
2. Cubase LE
Cubase LE is a slimmed-down version of the Cubase Pro. Like Garageband, its suitable for entry-level digital music composers. It provides an easy and efficient way to edit, mix and produce tracks.
Audacity is feature-rich and has the functionality comparable to premium digital audio workstations. The only downside is its user interface, which new users may find a little difficult to get used to.
As you can see, downloading GarageBand for PC can be a pain. However, this is the only legitimate way to do it. You definitely shouldn’t listen to any websites that are providing alternative methods to install Garageband.
All in all, if you found the download process difficult, we recommend you choose from one of the alternate digital audio workstations provided.