When it comes to running Microsoft’s Windows on a Mac there are three big dawgs in the hunt for your business. New Macs can run Windows out of the box with the Boot Camp utility and a licensed copy of Windows. It also means your Mac can be setup to dual boot– OS X and Windows. There are two other ways that may be better.
Parallels and VMWare Fusion let you run Windows on a Mac while you’re running Mac OS X. Each utility treats Windows as an app, running Office or any other Windows app in a window alongside your Mac apps. Here’s the problem with all three Windows-on-a-Mac solution.
In each case you’ll need a licensed version of Windows to run on your Mac, and with Parallels and VMWare Fusion you’ll have to by their middleware app.
What if you want to run Windows apps on a Mac but can’t afford Windows? Enter CrossOver, a relatively inexpensive utility which lets you run Windows apps but doesn’t install Windows on your Mac. Crossover runs on your Mac so there’s no need to reboot to a licensed version of Windows, or run a virtual machine app like Parallels or VMWare Fusion.
What’s the catch?
CrossOver claims to have thousands of Windows apps that can run but ‘thousands‘ is a bit misleading because over 100,000 apps are available for Windows. A large number of popular games for Windows will run in CrossOver for Mac, as does Microsoft Office 2010, Intuit’s Quicken for Windows, OneNote, Evernote, and many others. Oddly enough, recent versions Microsoft’s Internet Explorer browser are listed as among the more common Windows apps that have problems on CrossOver.
You might get lucky, though, and find a Windows app that works perfectly for you, saving you the cost of Parallels or VMWare and a license for Windows itself. The CodeWeaver folks also have a 25-percent discount for NoodleMac readers. Simply add the code ‘NoodleMac‘ when you choose a CrossOver version.