Ever wanted to play one of your favorite games and you discovered macOS does not support it. Or you have finally switched to macOS only to find out that you might still need some windows applications to do something. Well, you don’t have to start thinking of buying another PC. In this article, we are going to give you a step-by-step guide to run Windows apps on macOS.
Unfortunately, we won’t guarantee that it’s a seamless and easy process. It’s not as straightforward as most tutorials and you’ll have to use some virtualization and emulation tools to help you. Do not be alarmed since we have provided the necessary links and steps to guide in running the applications on macOS.
We have categorized the steps into two broad categories. The first step is setting up a virtual windows system that will help you run all the windows applications. Secondly, you could use a unique type of software that lets you run some of the windows applications as a sought of emulation.
Pros and cons of emulation and virtualization
Before we dive into how to run windows apps on macOS, It’s important that you know running a virtual windows system is more costly compared to using software tools such as wine. Moreover, you end up using more disk space and more resources of your system to sustain the virtual windows operating system.
Emulation on the other hand is free, works with fewer system resources, and runs faster compared to virtualization.
Why run Windows on macOS?
You’re probably wondering about the pros and cons of running windows on macOS. Well here are a few options to help see if it’s truly worth it to run windows applications on macOS.
Some programs are only supported by Windows. If you need these programs to help you perform a certain task then it’s advisable to have the two operating systems. This means that you won’t have to buy a new computer to use these programs. Moreover, your work is made easier since you won’t be required to switch from computer to computer each time you want to complete a task that requires a Windows program.
Now that we’re done understanding all the pros and cons, let’s head on to how you will be able to run Windows programs on macOS.
How To Run Windows Apps on macOS.
Let’s start with emulation since it’s the cheaper option and gives you better performance compared to using a virtual windows system.
1. Through the wine bottler.
Wine, which stands for Wine is not an emulator is an open-source and free software that loads a program into memory. It imitates their action, parses them, provides an API translation, and allows application software to run on Unix operating systems. To install the wine bottler ;
1. Go to your web browser and search for wine bottler.
This works with any web browser that you have. If you’re having issues getting the correct download page, Then here is a link to Wine bottler.
2. Click on the first web page option that appears on your PC.
This will lead you to the home page of the wine bottler page.
3. Click on download the wine bottler stable version.
Downloading the stable version is a better option since the wine bottler development is still under development and might have newer versions coming that will require you to update the application frequently.
When you click on the download button, a bunch of ads will appear afterward. You can cancel the ads and wait for a few seconds till the dmg file is downloaded.
4. After downloading, select the wine and wine bottler options and paste them to the applications folder.
This will allow the wine bottler to be installed into your mac operating system.
5. Open the application folder and open the wine bottler application.
You will receive a notification asking you if you want to open the app since it came from the internet. Click on open which will take you to a new page on the app. This will give you options to download Windows applications such as Firefox and other applications that only run on Windows such as MS paint.
6. Choose the application you wish to download.
You will be required to choose where you want to store the newly downloaded application. You can always go with your desktop or any other location you’re comfortable with. Once you open the just downloaded application, it will open on Wine on your macOS.
It’s important to note that wine works with a limited number of Windows applications so apps like Notepad ++ might not be on the list of apps you could work with. However, you can still be able to get such apps through the steps below.
1. Go to the advanced option.
This option is found on the wine application.
2. Select the .exe file you wish to open.
You can get this by going to the official website of the application such as Note pad ++ and installing the latest version of the application together with its installer.
3. Open the application via the wine bottler.
You then have to use the wine application to open the windows app. The process might be tedious and long but here is a video by ProgrammingKnowledge2 to help you.
Through using playOnMac.com.
This is an application that allows you to run and use Windows applications on your macOS.You will however be required to have the windows.exe file you wish to run when using playOnMac.To use this application;
1. Download the applications through play mac.com.
You can download this through the official websites by searching for play on mac.com on any of your web browsers.
2. Go to downloads and double click the dmg file that has just been downloaded.
Once it has opened, move the playOnMac to your applications folder.
3. Open playOnMac on the application folder.
When opening the application you might get messages on whether or not to open the file since it’s an unverified installer, press ok.
4. Go to install a program.
This will allow you to open the Windows application.
5. Click on install a non-listed program.
Click on ‘next’ once the next pages appear till you get to the installation page. You will have to install the program on a new virtual drive and you can name the program and click on ‘next’.
6. Pick the windows installation for your virtual drive
You could either choose the 32-bit or 64-bit and click on ‘next’ to save all the configuration information for your virtual machine.
7. Pick the install file to run.
This is where you get to choose the.exe file you had on your PC. This will install and run the Windows software that you wish to run on macOS.
If the steps look complicated and tedious, here is a video byTacticalTech that might help you with all these steps.
3. Using a virtual machine
A virtual machine allows you to not only install other operating systems to your macOS but also run windows programs seamlessly. You can do this by running parallel desktops, using VMware fusion, or using a VirtualBox. You however need to know that the virtual machines may not support many windows functionalities in comparison to using a dual boot configuration.
When using any virtual machine, you will be required to have a Windows license to install the operating system to your macOS.If you already have access to the product key then you can download the Windows installation media and use it to run Windows applications on your PC.
These virtual machines are usually paid for so you’ll not only have to have a Windows product key but also a copy of the virtual machine program such as parallels or the VMware Fusion.
They however have a free trial period to help you make the decision on choosing the perfect program that works for you .
Below are the steps you can use to run the virtual machine ;
Using the parallel desktop to run windows apps on macOS
You will have to start with a few downloads so let’s get right into it.
1. Download and install parallels desktop.
You can do this by opening your safari browser and typing in parallels.com.
2. Click on download free trial
Click on download free trial and then’ download now’ to save the Installer on your macOS. You will be able to find the application on your download folder and install the parallel desktop from the dmg file.
Click ‘ok’ to the subsequent prompt messages to allow the application to install all the necessary files needed to run the Windows applications on Your macOS.
3. Type in the administrator password
Once everything has been downloaded, you will be prompted to put in your administrator password. After typing in the passwords, Click ok to initialize the parallel desktop.
4. Click on the link to the windows download
Once the parallel program has finished initializing you’ll be taken to a page where you’ll have a link to the windows insider to be able to download the windows operating system you desire.
5. Install Windows operating system.
You’ll have to be a windows insider to be able to use the affiliated links that come after. Windows insider is like a beta program that’s super easy to join and it’s free. You can search for the windows insider program and click on learn more to be able to set up the windows for arms programs. However, you can also use this link to download Windows 20 for the ARM program.
6.Log into your Microsoft account
This will give you access to downloading the windows operating system. It’s important to have enough free disk space on your PC since this might take a few gigabytes.
7. Configure Windows 10 to parallel.
Click on the install windows for another OS. You will also be required to offer access to your folders and documents to find the right installers.
8. Configure the settings
You can choose to configure the settings at this exact moment or save it for a later time. You also have the option of choosing to use windows primarily for gaming or productivity. Pick on productivity and head on to the next page and check the customize setting box at the bottom. Once that’s done you’ll be able to configure windows 10 with the virtual machine. Configure the processors and CPU accordingly to help you run the applications.
9. Install Windows 10
Click on continue to start the windows installation. This might take some time to complete but let it finish for you to continue.
10. Sign in to a parallel account.
Signing into your parallel account gives you a 14-day free trial enabled. You will however be required to purchase a license if you wish to run Windows apps on your macOS for a long time.
11. Run windows updates
Run windows updates to help you get all the necessary settings to help you run windows on macOS.Restart your windows after the windows updates are complete and install all the parallel tools.
Using this virtual machine gives you access to so many windows programs including the Microsoft store which lets you download any app that you might require.
To help you with this process, here is a video prepared by 9to5Mac to help you with the steps.
Running Windows apps on macOS is not as difficult as it seems though it might require a bit of patience and some good internet connectivity to help the process to be a bit bearable.
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