Running Windows on a Mac

If you have a PowerPC Mac – forget it! Windows needs Intel to work.

But if you a spangly new machine that has Intel processors, then you’re in luck.

There are 3 options

  • Apple’s Boot Camp
  • Parallels Desktop
  • VMWare Fusion

Boot Camp
This comes free with OSX Snow Leopard, so cost isn’t a worry. However, it does require you to set up a separate partition on your hard disc, and allocate it to Windows. And if you boot to WIndows and then want to use OSX, you need to restart your computer. If this isn’t an issue for you, then perhaps this is the solution for you.

Parallels Desktop/VMWare Fusion
These are commercially available software packages that you can install on your Mac, and which allocate disk and memory space for you ‘on the fly’. You don’t have to worry about it. Plus, they run within OSX which means you can effectively switch from Windows to OSX and back without restarting your machine.

Important note
Whichever option you choose, you’ll need a Windows operating system disc in order to get Windows installed on your Mac. That’s an additional expense.

Is it worth it?
Only you can answer this question. I use Microsoft Project a lot and this product only runs under Windows. Some time ago I maintained a PC to run MSP, but this became a real pain, so now I use Parallels and it’s a lot easier. I have to say that Parallels ran pretty slowly until I fitted a lot of memory to my Mac, and now it runs beautifully. So if you’re going to run the Parallels/Fusion course, budget for adding shedloads of memory to your Mac otherwise you will grow old waiting for things to happen.

Useful links
Apple’s own introduction to Windows on a Mac
Parallels Desktop
VMWare Fusion