Moving from PC to Mac? Using Windows only apps? Need to test websites and app development or want to use your Mac for gaming? Whatever the reason for needing to run Windows on Mac we have examined the most successful ways to do this and put together some handy tips.
Once upon a time this used to be Apple’s preferred route for running Windows on Mac. Boot Camp is a feature that is built into OS X and allows you to boot into Windows at start up. With the exception of buying a Windows licence there are no other costs and as Windows is loaded directly onto your hard drive you get access to the full power of your Mac. This is a great option for gamers or for those using powerful graphics apps.
However, its downside is that if you want to move from OS X to Windows or vice versa you’d have to reboot the computer every time and that could get a little annoying.
This is our preferred method and the one that our customers favour. There are a number of products that you can use but our favourite is Parallels Desktop. Parallels allows you to create a virtual machine on your Mac which you then install Windows onto. This can then be run alongside all your normal Mac apps. This is great for users who want Windows only based apps such as Microsoft Access which has never been included in the Office suite of apps.
The big advantage of running Parallels is that you don’t have to reboot your Mac to switch between operating systems. Although, you would need to lease additional software and running a virtual machine will impact on the Mac’s performance to a degree.
This doesn’t technically mean that you are running Windows on Mac but by utilising Microsoft’s free Remote Access tool you can remotely access your Windows PC. You will of course need a Windows PC and need to leave it running so that you can access it remotely but you will get the full benefit of accessing a different system and avoid clogging up your Mac with Windows.
This isn’t really a practical solution and one that may be best to consider if you were just moving from PC to Mac. Besides, whilst Remote Desktop is a great function it can be a nuisance to use and you may spend more time rebooting your PC to regain a connection!
Not the liquid type but rather an open source programme that allows you to run Windows apps on your Mac. Wine inserts a compatibility layer between individual Windows apps and OS X meaning that you don’t have to purchase a copy of a Windows license. This in turn means that you won’t be using up valuable system resources running Windows.
To run Wine on a Mac you will need to install a 3rd party app called WineBottler, which is free, and you will have access to most of the Windows apps. We say most because Wine is not compatible with all of the Windows apps so it is worthwhile to check beforehand to ascertain which apps you will have access to.
Something to consider
When using Windows on Mac it is easy to assume that as you switch between OS X and Windows the multi touch gestures on your Trackpad or Magic Trackpad will remain the same. Unfortunately, they won’t. There are, however, a couple of 3rd party apps that can help solve this problem. Trackpad ++ and TrackPad Extra Magic cost around $20 but will provide the functionality that you want across both platforms.