Picture the scene, you’re a full time Mac user, it’s the perfect computer and does everything you need it to, but what happens when you’re working on a new project and you need a piece of software that only runs on a Microsoft Windows operating system? Do you shell out for a new Windows Laptop? It’s a possibility but you can run Windows straight from your Mac should you need to.
1. Boot your Mac up with Windows
The Mac OS X Snow Leopard (version 10.6 and above) come pre installed with a nifty piece of software called Boot Camp.
This lets you to boot up your Mac with Windows instead of Mac OS. Of course there is one downside in that you will need to restart your Mac each time you want to use Windows. But the advantage is that Windows can use all your Macs processing power.
So if you’re planning on using memory heavy programs like video editing and photo editing suites then this is the best route for you. Naturally, you’ll need a copy of Windows to make this work. You can find out more about Boot camp here on the Apple website.
2. Use Virtualisation Software
Virtualisation basically means that you can run a “virtual” copy of Microsoft windows. By installing a simple piece of software you can then install Windows and switch between the 2 operating systems freely which means no reboots like the Boot camp method.
For this type of software to work you need an Intel processeor, which fortunately all Macs from 2008 onwards come fitted with.
You also need to be running OS X Version 10.4.6 or higher. If you need to check the version you are running then click the apple in the top left hand corner of your monitor and select “About this Mac”.
This method also requires two pieces of software, you will need your own copy of Windows. And them some virtualisation software, the best choices are either VMware Fusion and Parallels Desktop. You can try them both for free.
Top Tip: If you are a gamer we’d recommend using Boot Camp as Virtualisation might not give you enough power to run graphic intensive games to their full potential.
3. A slightly more technical method
If you’re a little technically minded and don’t own you’re own copy of Windows nor want to download Virtualisation software then there is another method using the open source Wine project.
This tool lets you run some (please note, not all) windows applications, and you will have to buy each individual application (only if they cost money in the first place of course). It can be quite tricky to master however and you need knowledge of running a terminal. It’s not for the faint hearted but if you’re willing to learn it could be a worthwhile exercise.
There is a program call Winebottler that is designed to make using the Wine Project easier, so that’s worth a shout if you’re looking to make things a little simpler.
There you have it, 3 ways to run Windows on a Mac. It all depends on what you’re going to be doing; should you just need some lightweight windows applications then virtualisation is easily the best method, but if you’re gaming then we’d suggest using Bootcamp.