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How to run Windows on a Mac

One question Technical Framework’s Fort Collins & Greeley IT support and consulting team are asked quite often is if it is possible to run Windows on a Mac and if so, how can this be done.
The reality is that each OS, and the hardware it is run on, has its benefits. Many businesses have transitioned to Mac, yet the business world is still dominated by Windows. This often means Mac users run into problems when requiring a Windows only application in some circumstances (and vice-versa). Rather than keep an old Windows based system around for these occasions it is more efficient and just as easy to have Windows running on the Mac.

First you need to work out what you want from your Windows OS on your Mac. Are you going to be using it to run just a couple of Windows applications or do you want the full Windows experience? There are solutions that suit either need.

When you only want to use a couple of particular Windows apps then you may want to try CrossOver, which is able to run these applications without the need to install the full Windows OS. You can check on the CrossOver website to see which applications are compatible with this software.

If you want to have the whole OS at your fingertips, there are a number of different options available. First there is Boot Camp, which is an Apple application. With Boot Camp you can install Windows onto a separate partition of your hard drive. There are also third party virtualization programs available including VMware Fusion, Parallels Desktop 7 and VirtualBox. These all enable you to run Windows just as if it were any other OS X application.

Boot Camp provides the best performance of these four. When you run Boot Camp, your Mac is a dedicated Windows machine but you do have to reboot your system to use it and it cannot be used at the same time as OS X. VirtualBox is free but requires a degree of technical knowledge to set up and doesn’t have all the features of Boot Camp.

If you want to be able to run Windows from your Mac without rebooting and you want all the features then you need either Parallels Desktop or VMware Fusion. Performance-wise these two are indistinguishable. However, for business Fusion wins by a nose. It is slightly cheaper (for the moment), it is easier to install and operate, especially when it comes to its integration into the OS X environment.

Technical Framework’s For Collins IT support and consulting firm know their way around a Mac, and getting Windows to run on it. Though each solution comes with its own benefits and drawbacks, knowing exactly what you need Windows for will help to determine which solution you need. Contact us today to discuss your operating system requirements.

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