5 ways to run Windows on Mac

Running Windows on Mac sounds like something of a “heresy” to some Apple system enthusiasts. The Mac is recognized as a robust, reliable and even a little “elite” system for many, so thinking about putting a system that many think is inferior on hardware as superior as a Mac may seem strange to the more “ purists”. However, despite the computers with the macOs system having a thriving software ecosystem, some of the most popular and used programs in the world still only support Windows.

The macOS operating system on your Mac is powerful, reliable and easy to use. It comes with access to powerful free apps like GarageBand and iMovie and works seamlessly with your other Apple devices. But many people still choose to install Windows on their Macs.

In fact, so many people use Windows on their Macs that Apple has created a utility dedicated to helping them do that: Boot Camp. This lets you partition your Mac so you can run Windows on one side and macOS on the other. If you want to use commercial software or play Windows PC games, there are many ways how to run Windows on Mac, but Boot Camp is the most recommended.

In addition to it, some other methods can be done and are similar to the ways you can install Windows software on Linux or run Windows programs on a Chromebook. Virtual machines, dual boot, Wine compatibility layer and remote desktop solutions are all included here in how to run Windows on Mac.

So, let's talk here what are the most common reasons for someone to use Windows on a Mac and what methods to do that.

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How to run windows on mac
How to run Windows on Mac?

Quick FAQ

Can you use Microsoft Windows on a Mac?

You can enjoy Windows 10 on your Apple Mac with the help of Boot Camp Assistant. Once installed, it allows you to easily switch between macOS and Windows by simply restarting your Mac.

Is it worth putting Windows on a Mac?

Installing Windows on your Mac makes it better for gaming, lets you install any software you need to use, helps you develop stable cross-platform applications, and gives you a choice of operating systems.

Is it free to run Windows on Mac?

Mac owners can use Apple's built-in Boot Camp Assistant to install Windows for free. The primary wizard makes installation easy, but be warned that you'll need to restart your Mac every time you want to access the Windows version.

Does running Windows make your Mac slow?

If there is a lot of memory allocated to Windows, Mac OS X can slow down, which can cause Windows programs to slow down because they are running on Mac OS X. If, on the other hand, there is too much memory allocated for Windows Mac OS X, Mac OS X applications may work fine, but Windows programs may be slow.

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Can I uninstall Windows on Mac?

You must use Boot Camp Assistant to remove Windows or a partition that was created with Boot Camp Assistant from your Intel-based Mac. WARNING: Do not use any other utility to remove Windows or a partition created with Boot Camp.

Why Run Windows on Mac

Windows has more games with better performance

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You don't have to look far to find people promoting the benefits of PC gaming over consoles like Xbox ou PlayStation. With a PC, you get better graphics, higher frame rates, less lag, and a wider selection of games and mods.

But most PC benefits apply only to games on Windows, not macOS.

While you can still download Steam to buy new games, you'll find that only a small fraction of what's available actually works on your Mac. The Mac games market is so small that most developers don't bother to build macOS versions. This leaves Windows gamers with a wide variety of options.

For games that work on your Mac, you'll often find that they don't work as well as they do on Windows. In fact, if you installed Windows on Mac to run the same game without changing any hardware, you will likely experience a performance boost.

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In part, this is due to the limitations of macOS and in part because most developers design their PC games with Windows in mind. If you plan to play on your Mac, it's worth installing Windows first.

Some apps don't work on macOS

PC games aren't the only types of software that favor Windows. Many engineers, researchers, architects, and other experts find themselves locked into Windows because of specific industry-standard software that is not compatible with macOS. This is likely to become less of a problem as computers Mac continue to grow in popularity.

Every year, the Macs gain a larger share of the world PC market. This is gradually encouraging more developers to make their software work with macOS. But while some popular apps already work on both platforms – such as Microsoft Word or Adobe Photoshop – there are still many that only work with Windows.

Fortunately, there are a few ways to install Windows on your Mac that allow you to run any software you like. If performance is your priority, you should use Boot Camp to boot your computer with dual boot. Otherwise it is much more convenient to install a virtual machine.

A virtual machine runs Windows inside macOS; usually appears in a floating window like any other application. This puts more pressure on your computer as it needs to run two operating systems at the same time, but it also allows you to use Windows and macOS applications at the same time.

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Developers need to test projects on Windows

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Software, in general, is tested on Windows

Developing software, applications and websites is hard work. One of the most frustrating and time-consuming aspects of the job is testing your project to find bugs, errors, or other issues that you need to fix.

If you want your software to work well on macOS and Windows, take the time to test it on both operating systems. Sometimes an application works perfectly on one operating system and barely works on another. If you don't spend time testing it, you won't find out until you release it to the public.

The easiest way to do this - if you don't already have separate Windows and macOS computers - is to install Windows on your Mac. This allows you to use a single computer to test your projects on whatever operating system you need.

There's no reason to stop at Windows either. If you want to develop software for all operating systems, you can also install Linux on your Mac.

The same goes for web developers. If you want to make sure your website works in all popular browsers, you need to test it on Microsoft Edge and Apple Safari, as well as common cross-platform applications. That means you need access to Windows and macOS.

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Macs are some of the best Windows computers

Os Macs are thin, light and durable. They feature high definition screens and great speakers. Apple made some mistakes in the department of Mac in the past, but in most cases they are incredibly well made computers.

In fact, Macs they are often rated as some of the best computers on the market. Even if you're a die-hard Windows user, the hardware of a Mac can be hard to beat.

What's more, Apple offers world-class customer service and supports your decision to install Windows on your Mac. Apple cannot troubleshoot Windows itself, but it can certainly help you install the operating system in the first place.

By choosing to run Windows in a Mac, you can still switch to macOS if you need to. To get the same versatility on a Windows laptop, you need to create a Hackintosh. This often means replacing specific components, which is problematic and expensive.

One of the main reasons many people run Windows in a Mac it's because it's your operating system of choice, with the best hardware available.

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Using Virtual Machines

How to run windows on mac

A virtual machine is one of the best ways to run Windows on a Mac. They allow you to install Windows and other operating systems in a window on the Mac desktop. Windows will think it's running on a real computer, but, it's actually running inside software on your Mac.

You also don't need to use the Windows program in the virtual machine window – many virtual machine programs allow you to interrupt Windows programs from the virtual machine window so they can appear on the Mac desktop. However, they still are running on the virtual machine in the background.

You will need a Windows license to install Windows on a virtual machine. If you already have a product key, you can download Windows installation media for free and install it into a virtual machine program.

PriceBest seller #1

Popular virtual machine programs for Mac include Parallels and VMware Fusion. Each of them is a paid program, so you will have to buy a Windows license and a copy of the virtual machine program of your choice.

You can also use VirtualBox for Mac completely free and open source, but its support for 3D graphics and integration with the Mac OS are not so good. Parallels and VMWare Fusion offer free trials, so you can try all of these programs and decide which one is best for you on how to run Windows on Mac.

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Note: We don't often recommend paid software, however the integration with macOS is incredibly well done and the speed of VirtualBox is amazing. In the long run, the price is worth it.

There's one big downside to virtual machines: 3D graphics performance isn't amazing, so this isn't the best way to run Windows games on your Mac. Yes, it might work – especially with older games – but you won't get the better performance, even in an ideal situation. Many games, especially newer ones, cannot be played. That's where the next option comes into play.

Using Boot Camp

How to run windows on mac
Boot Camp

Apple's Boot Camp lets you install Windows alongside macOS on your Mac. Only one operating system can be running at a time, so you'll have to restart your Mac to switch between macOS and Windows. If you've ever dual booted Linux on your Windows PC, that's how it is.

Installing Windows as a real operating system on your Mac is the best idea if you want to play Windows games or use demanding applications that need all the performance possible. By installing Windows on your Mac, you will be able to use Windows applications with maximum performance. Your Mac will perform as well as a Windows PC with the same specs.

The downside here is that you cannot run macOS apps and Windows apps side by side at the same time. If you just want to run a Windows desktop app alongside your Mac apps, then a virtual machine is probably ideal. On the other hand, if you want to play the latest Windows games on your Mac, Boot Camp is ideal.

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As with virtual machines, you will need a Windows license to run Windows on Mac.

Using Wine

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Wine originates on Linux. It is a compatibility layer that allows Windows applications to run on other operating systems. Essentially, Wine is an attempt to rewrite the Windows code that applications depend on so they can run on other operating systems.

This means that Wine is far from perfect. It will not run all Windows applications and will have bugs in many of them. O Wine AppDB can give you an idea of ​​which applications are supported, although it focuses on Linux support.

However, Wine is a way of running Windows on Mac. Because it doesn't require you to actually use Windows, you don't need a Windows license to use Wine. It's completely free. Just download Wine or WineBottler for macOS and see how it works for your app.

Using CrossOver Mac

Croosover Mac
CroosOver Mac

O CodeWeavers CrossOver Mac is a paid application that runs Windows programs on the Mac. It uses Wine's open source code to do this, but CrossOver provides a nice graphical interface and focuses on official support of popular programs. If an officially supported program doesn't work, you can contact CodeWeavers and expect them to do the work for you.

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CodeWeavers contributes its improvements back to the open source Wine project, so paying for CrossOver Mac also helps the Wine project itself.

CrossOver offers a free trial, in case you want to try it first on how to run Windows on Mac. You can also see a list of which programs work well in CrossOver before purchasing. Although CrossOver focuses on compatibility, it is still based on Wine and doesn't work with everything.

Also check out:

Most people will probably be happier with a virtual machine program and a Windows license. With CrossOver, you don't need to run a Windows virtual machine – but if you run a Windows virtual machine, you can run almost any Windows program with less risk of bugs.

CrossOver theoretically allows you to run Windows PC games on a Mac with better performance than a virtual machine, but you run the risk of encountering bugs and unsupported programs. Boot Camp may still be a better solution for this.

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Through a Remote Desktop

Remote Desktop
Remote Desktop

If you already have a Windows system, you can completely skip running the Windows software on your Mac and use the remote desktop software to access the Windows machine from your Mac desktop. Organizations with enterprise software running on Windows they can host Windows servers and make their apps available to Macs, Chromebooks, Linux PCs, iPads, Android tablets and other devices.

If you're just a home user who also has a Windows PC, you can set up that Windows PC for remote access and connect to it whenever you need a Windows application. Keep in mind that this is not ideal for visually intensive applications like PC games.

If you're a Chrome user, you can even use Chrome Remote Desktop to connect to a Windows PC running Chrome from your Mac running Chrome.

How to Run Windows on Mac

All these tricks of running Windows on Mac obviously require more work than simply installing a Windows program on a Windows PC. If you have a Mac, you should focus on using Mac software whenever possible. Windows programs will not be as integrated or will work as well.

You may have to purchase a Windows license for your Mac for best compatibility, whether you're using a virtual machine or installing Windows from Boot Camp. Wine and CrossOver are good ideas, but they're not perfect.

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Now, let us know if you missed any information. Did you have any questions? Talk to us and also take the opportunity to read more about Microsoft Windows e Apple iOS on our website.


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Paulo Fabris is a journalist, writer, RPG player, gamer, cosplayer, nerd and fan of anime since the time of TV Manchete.