I know this title doesn’t make the majority happy, including me. Its like taking your new Ferrari out for farming as does a tractor. But then you have to agree there are countless applications only available on the windows platform. Usually people with custom developed ERP apps are looking to enjoy their Macs and have the ability to use those apps also. And until Microsoft Office 2011 comes out in October, there are many people I know who cannot use the current Mac version of the office program. They only install a virtualization product, which we are going to discuss below, to run windows version of Office.
Virtualization products have been out there for Macs allowing you to run Windows and other operating systems from within Mac OS X. It was only when Apple introduced Boot Camp, which allows you to natively install Microsoft Windows on your Mac, the real attraction started for Macs. People who were reluctant switching to Mac earlier, were now more appreciative of their purchases.
Right from Apple’s site:
Have a Windows application you need to use once in a while? No problem. Every new Mac lets you install Windows XP and Vista and run them at native speeds, using a built-in utility called Boot Camp.
Setup is simple and safe for your Mac files. After you’ve completed the installation, you can boot up your Mac using either Mac OS X or Windows. (That’s why it’s called Boot Camp.)
People involved with high performance applications such as 3D and appreciative of Mac hardware usually use Boot Camp to run Windows as native. But if you want to enjoy both the worlds and hate rebooting to switch back to Mac OS, you better try one of the following apps.
Wine Bottler, a free application which lets you run Windows applications in such a way that they run right in the native OS X environment. Its based on the famous Wine project on nix platform. Its not click and run ideally, requires a bit of getting things done but nothing unachievable. There is an excellent article on Mac.Appstorm on using Wine Bottler.
Similar in functionality like Wine Bottler but with more intuitive usage and support, CrossOver Mac allows you to install many popular Windows applications and games on your Intel Mac. Once installed, your application integrates seamlessly in OS X. Just click and run your application directly from the OS X Finder. Not all applications are available for installation, but the current available list is pretty decent. The pro version costs $57 ($12 discount).
Moving on, if you want a more realistic experience where you are not bound to run a select list of applications, then look beyond Wine Bottler and CrossOver. VMware Fusion is a very decent application rightfully providing the juice to run your most demanding windows applications. This is what VMware has to say:
Run the most demanding Mac and Windows applications side-by-side at maximum speeds without rebooting. With more than 80 new features in VMware Fusion 3, including 5X better 3D graphics performance and 35% faster end-to-end performance in version 3.1, it’s never been easier to run Windows on your Mac.
At a discounted price of $61.99, its a very good purchase to fulfill your needs.
If you want to really enjoy the best of both worlds keeping your Mac running at best, look no further. Parallels Desktop 5 for Mac is the best option out there. This is what they have to say about their products:
Mac OS or Windows? Parallels Desktop 5 for Mac lets you seamlessly run Windows and Mac OS X side-by-side, drag-and-drop your files between operating systems, and run Windows software on your Apple computer without rebooting.
• Run Windows 7 with Aero
• Enjoy Snow Leopard
• Use 1000s of Windows applications
• Share files between Mac and Windows
• Use Windows apps like Mac apps
• Connect your favorite USB devices
• DirectX 9.0c/9Ex with Shader Model 3
• All the security you need for Windows
• No compromise on performance or speed
Parallels Desktop 5 for Mac is available at a discounted price of $59.99 ($20 off).
I would recommend trying out 30 day trials of the app you like before going for the purchase. I have tested all of them and would recommend Parallels Desktop 5 for Mac as it beats the competition with so much to offer. Now, I can run Visio instead of look a likes.