How To Run Windows on a Mac

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For those of us out there who love Macs, but just can’t completely escape from the world of Windows, there are many really good ways to run Windows programs on a Mac. This week, one of our favorites just got better.  Before I explain, let’s talk about how we Windows lovers (or those of us somehow bound to Windows) can run Windows programs on their Mac.

Rule #1, you pretty much have to have a Mac with an Intel processor.  That’s any Mac bought in the last 3 or 4 years, so you’re probably good on that one.

First – Apple’s Boot Camp.  This is a free program, but it’s only included in OS X 10.5 (Leopard.)  If you have an older version of Leopard, you’ll have to upgrade.  Contact us to find out about our upgrade services.  Boot Camp allows you to turn your Mac into a PC, and even switch back and forth.  This is a great solution for those of us that run Windows more than OS X, or who need to harness the full power of their computer when using Windows (gamers, artists, 3D modelers, etc.)

Next is virtualization.  With virtualization, we run a little “virtual Windows” installation inside of OS X.  There’s no rebooting, and you can run Windows and Mac simultaneously – even keeping applications from Windows and OS X open together on the same screen.  This is a very convenient solution, though not quite as fast as Boot Camp (it’s faster to open your copy of Windows, but Windows will run slower.)  The kings of virtualization on the Mac are VMware Fusion and Parallels.  Parallels is the easiest in our opinion, including features to migrate your old PC into your new Mac.  This week, Parallels released version 4, which increases performance by 50% – a huge boost.  If you want help purchasing and installing Parallels, give us a call.

Finally, for the brave of heart, there are programs such as CrossOver which attempt to run Windows programs without Windows itself, using a system called “Wine.”  I wont get into the technical details, but you should know that these programs are pretty experimental and only good for the simplest of Windows applications.

So there you have it – run Windows apps on your Mac – it doesn’t have to be expensive or difficult.  Don’t forget though that you will need to purchase a copy of Windows XP, which is a cost that people often don’t consider.

If you have questions about using Windows on a Mac, just contact us and we’ll give you some more help.

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