Sometimes it’s fear. Sometimes it’s necessity. Other times it’s curiosity. Whatever the reason for running Windows apps on a Mac, putting Windows on a Mac to run a few Windows PC applications is a time consuming management issue with a healthy price tag. There must be a better way. Maybe there is.
Windows Apps Without Windows
Mac users have choices when it comes to running Windows apps. None of the choices are free, some get overly expensive, and all require babysitting and typical maintenance issues that come with Windows.
The latter two solutions are free. The former have price tags. All solutions require you to have a licensed version of Windows before you can run Windows apps on your Mac. Wait. There’s yet another solution with a smaller price tag than an app that runs Windows or the price of a Windows license– and this solution does not require Windows to run Windows apps.
CodeWeavers’ CrossOver has been around a few years. What it does is rather simple. It lets you install Windows PC apps to run within CrossOver on your Mac but without licensing or installing Windows.
Once you’ve installed CrossOver to your Mac, use it to download and install apps for Windows PCs.
How does all this work? CrossOver runs as an app on your Mac which has the capability to run many, but not all Windows applications.
While CrossOver’s solution isn’t as expensive as buying a license to run Windows on your Mac, there are a few notable caveats that might impede your efforts. CrossOver uses a proprietary version of the popular Wine source tree which emulates Windows’ code so Windows apps can run without Windows being installed.
That means most Windows applications will not run well on CrossOver, though many thousands do, and many important apps. CrossOver rates Windows apps with stars for compatibility. More stars, more compatibility.
For example, Microsoft Word and Excel and the Office suite run well on CrossOver, while some versions of Internet Explorer do not. Quicken does. So does World of Warcraft. If you have specific Windows games or applications you’d like to run on your Mac, CrossOver may be a good solution, and you can trial it before you buy it.