A Mac’s Adventure into Windows

A lot of people might be apprehensive about adding a Windows emulator on their Intel Mac. I was too.

My wife received a promotion at work and needed the capability to be able to work remotely. We had purchased a MacBook Pro to replace my trusted 1.67GHz PowerBook G4 15”. It’s still a great machine and more than enough for what we needed it for down in the living room: checking email, surfing the web, family calendar, recipe database, and such. Unfortunately, her work is Windows-based. We started discussing getting a Windows laptop now so she can work at home.

Really? Let’s step back a second here.

I never really investigated running Windows on a Mac; I never needed to. So I talked to a few guys here at OWC about which method they prefer. Virtual machines? Parallels or Fusion? Perhaps Boot Camp is the way to go?

I turns out it was easier than I realized.

Thinking about how my wife was going to be using it, I realized that rebooting to switch between the different OS’s was going to be too cumbersome. How about and application that you can put on your machine and just launch, right from the dock? That sounded great!

We sell both of the major emulators and have them loaded on computers here for comparison purposes. After trying both, while VMware’s Fusion was nice, I decided Parallels was going to be the better choice for us. You can share files between the two as well as run Windows programs. It is customizable and has several choices on how you see the Windows virtual machine, a separate window or integrated into your Mac desktop.

I bought a copy of Windows, bought our Parallels 5 and set off into PC land.

I have to tell you, it was super simple. Load the Parallels application like any other Mac application out there. Launch it and it prompts you to load a Windows OS disc, no sweat.

After it was done, you open a virtual machine and—boom—right there on my Mac: Windows. I loaded up the needed software for my wife to work from home and it works like a charm.

The lesson here is not to be afraid of the big bad Windows. With a little research and a little time you too can run a parallel world on your Intel Mac.

Now, I just have to get a few of those cool Windows games…


  • Yes, what version of Windows OS did you use in Parallels? DId you have to partition your hard drive for keep the Windows isolated from the Mac? Thank you for your time and attention. I am really considering this too.

  • Hello OWC Alan,

    Thanks for the great review. I am from Parallels and would be interested in hearing more about your experience. Can you e-mail me at ashley@parallels.com? I look forward to hearing from you.


  • I second virtual box. I run Windows, Linux, and other VMs (virtual box can open prebuilt downloadable virtual machines, such as the Vyatta router. Seems to be a little lighter resource wise than either parallels or Fusion.

  • I run Windows XP in Parallels on my 2008 MacBook Pro. I use it whenever I need quick access to a Windows box (like remotely connecting to work). I also run Windows 7 64 bit in BootCamp for when I need native access to all ports and peripherals. Sometimes virtual machines don’t play well with certain port connections. It’s basically the best of all worlds in a single place – my trusty Mac.

    PS – I spend most of my time in OSX. The others are just there if I need them.

  • The only other thing I would recommend to anyone thinking about running Windows on a Mac is to ensure you have enough memory. On 2GHz MacBooks, for example, I’ve found that a minimum of 6GB of memory is necessary for smooth operation of big Windows apps like QuickBooks and Raiser’s Edge in Parallels on top of Mac OS X.