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Mr_M's avatar

I understand one can run PC programs on a MAC. Any PC program? Any MAC? Do you have to buy something extra?

Asked by Mr_M (7591points) March 22nd, 2009

Is it a pain to do this on the MAC or is it seamless? What versions of Windows? I never used a MAC. Can someone explain? Why should anyone ever buy a PC then?

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12 Answers

Staalesen's avatar

You have to use either windown and install it, or a virtualization app like crossover or VMware..

Mr_M's avatar

@Staalesen , with due respects, I don’t know what those are.

missingbite's avatar

Yes you can run Windows on a Mac. There are a few options for doing this. I use Boot Camp which comes standard on new Macs. If you have a Mac with an Intel processor you can partition the hard drive and run windows on one and OSX on the other. You can purchase programs that also let you run both at the same time. I know XP works fine and I think VIsta works fine as well but I haven’t tried. VMware and Parrallels are two programs that let you run without re-booting.

Mr_M's avatar

So why buy a PC if a MAC can do any PC program AND any MAC program? Or would I need an enormous hard drive?

Staalesen's avatar

A virtualization app is a bit of software that emulates a operating system inside another OS.
It tells the software that the it is a windows based PC insted of a mac in this case, wich allows you to use it…
Well Just to emulate a pc on a pc takes a lot of hardware, so the performance will drop… if you install it directly in the macs harddrive it will run at native (almost) speed, but you need to reboot everytime you want to change OS..

Mr_M's avatar

Is using a MAC this way something MAC users recommend? Or is it just a promotion gimmick?

Staalesen's avatar

I use it like that, not that there is much I use windows for but yes I like it very much.

jrpowell's avatar

I use Parallels to run XP, Windows 7, and Ubuntu. They run a bit slower since both Operating Systems are running at the same time but it works pretty well.

edit :: I should add that I have an external monitor hooked up to my iMac. So I can run OS X on my iMac and the other OS on the external in fullscreen mode. I can just drag the mouse back and forth. It is like using to computers the seamlessly share files and keyboard and mouse. It is pretty nifty.

missingbite's avatar

I know people who run their business on a Mac on the windows partition and when they get home they use the Mac partition for everything else. You don’t need a huge hard drive unless you would need one anyway. I have my 250 GB hard drive partitioned with basically 240 GB as Mac and 10 GB as Windows running XP. I don’t need much for XP. I could have given the Windows side as much or as little as I wanted.

Mr_M's avatar

So it’s not gonna do ALL my WIndows programs. If I have a lot of Windows programs, best to keep a PC?

jrpowell's avatar

It will do all your Windows applications if you have the hard drive space. I would suggest using BootCamp if you play games. You just have to Reboot into Windows if you want to run them fullspeed.

cwilbur's avatar

Okay, there’s a lot of confusion and misinformation so far.

If you have a Mac with an Intel processor, there are a couple ways to run Windows programs.

One way is Boot Camp. Each time you reboot, you decide whether your Mac will run Windows or OS X. If you’re running one, you need to reboot to use the other. The Boot Camp software comes with the Mac, but you need to buy (or otherwise obtain, but I won’t advise you on how to do illegal things) a copy of Windows. You also need to figure out how much disk space to give each OS.

Another way is virtualization software. You need to buy VMWare Fusion or Parallels, or download the (open-source, but not as feature-rich) VirtualBox, and buy a Windows license. You run that program, and it allows you to run Windows (or any other PC operating system) as a separate application on your computer. All three of them have modes where you see your Windows (or Linux, or whatever) desktop as a window on your Mac; VMWare Fusion and Parallels also have modes that let you intermix windows from the virtualized operating system with Mac windows, and cut and paste back and forth. Also, you get to say how much disk space the virtualized operating system thinks it has, but it only takes as much disk space as the stuff you actually store.

And a third way is to use something like Crossover Office. This is a set of programs and libraries that interpose themselves between your Windows program and your Mac, and translate Windows system calls into Mac system calls. This grew out of the WINE program on Linux; for things that have been tested extensively with them, such as Microsoft Office, they work fairly well, but for odd and unusual things, all bets are off.

It’s not just a gimmick—it’s tremendously useful. I use VMWare Fusion because I prefer the Mac by a long shot but occasionally need to test something in Windows. And the question asked in this quip is one of the things that’s keeping Dell and HP upper management awake at night. Microsoft isn’t terribly concerned yet, because people running Windows on Macs are still buying Windows licenses.

(And it’s Mac, not MAC—it’s short for Macintosh, not an acronym.)

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