Because I’m forced to use Windows. It’s an employment thing. Fortunately, our company is technologically savvy enough that we can run Windows on a Mac so my workday life is not one of pure misery. Here’s another of the many ways to run Windows on a Mac.
Free, To Not-So-Free
There are two free ways to run Windows on a Mac, and two ways that are not-so-free to run Windows on a Mac.
First, there’s Apple’s built-in Boot Camp, which lets you install your copy of Windows on a partition on a Mac and dual boot from OS X to Windows and back.
Second, there’s VirtualBox, a free and Open Source virtualization app which lets you run many versions of Windows, Unix, Linux, Solaris and other operating systems from within a window on your Mac.
Finally, there are the commercial virtualization apps which do much the same thing as VirtualBox, but do it even better. The most popular probably is Parallels, but our company prefers VMWare Fusion which just launched a new version.
Both Parallels and VMWare Fusion work much the same way. Install one or the other, install Windows as you would on a PC, and without restarting your Mac, you can run Windows within a window on your Mac’s screen.
That means you can run Windows applications that do not have a Mac counterpart on your Mac while you’re using your Mac and OS X apps. Think Microsoft Project, Microsoft Access, and Internet Explorer.
The latest version of VMWare Fusion also runs on Apple’s upcoming OS X Yosemite. Keyboard shortcuts make it easy for Mac power users to jump between OS X and Windows (or, whatever OS is running in VMWare Fusion). The latest version seems to drain the Mac’s battery less than older versions.
VMWare Fusion really is a mostly painless way for Mac users to run Windows (I feel your pain), as well as explore other popular operating systems, including Ubuntu Linux, and some that are not so popular, including Windows 8 (and 8.1).
Caveats? Other than having to run Windows? VMWare Fusion merely lets you run Windows. You’ll still need a copy of Windows, plenty of extra disk space, and it all works better on Macs with more RAM and faster CPUs.
Honestly, with some new Windows notebooks breaking wind at less than $200, the price of adding VMWare Fusion and a full, non-upgrade version of Windows 8.1 is almost the same. But it runs on your Mac and that makes it all better.