Installing Microsoft Windows on your Mac

Running Microsoft’s Windows on Mac isn’t by far a secret anymore. How dissapointed I was at first I have to admit now it was a strategical and good move of Apple.

For people like me in the sales branche it meant a good pitch immediately from the start. The number pf possibilities and solutions for customers grew and that all resulted in even more invented solutions from Apple.

What I still do notice is that a fair amount of customers does not know how it works. I decided to invest a bit of time to explain what the most common options are.

Why installing Microsoft Windows on your Mac

  • You might own an application which isn’t available for the Mac OS X.
  • You might have invested a large amount of money in the Microsoft Windows version.
  • Gaming, you already own a lot of gaming titles which have been released on PC platform.
  • etc…

This is an important question. The answers listed above for instance are all valid reason why somebody should install Microsoft Windows XP or Vista on his Mac. Otherwise buying a Mac wouldn’t have been an option at all. But there are wrong reasons too!

Why should somebody not install Windows on his / her Mac

  • Not being used to Mac OS X (yet).
  • Feeling more secure.
  • To switch more easily.
  • Simply because the design was the only reason for purchasing a Mac.

The above reasons aren’t valid in my opinion. They don’t tackle an obstacle and even generate more. For instance, some people think that installing Microsoft Windows on a Mac, reinstalling all of their applications, putting back their files and do settings is much easier than start and work with Mac OS X. That’s not true!
Installing Windows on a Mac can be done on two different ways. The two different ways have certain applications to setup and facilitate everything. But for this article I will stick to the most used ones.

  • SWSoft Parallels Desktop for Mac.
  • Boot Camp.
  • Parallels Desktop for Mac in combination with Boot Camp.

Parallels Desktop is one of the better selling resources available. The application gives the user the ability to install Microsoft Windows XP SP2 or Microsoft Windows Vista. The Microsoft operating system gets installed on a virtual volume on the Mac. Within the virtual volume Windows thinks that it is installed on a physical hard drive. Why isn’t the operating system being installed on a real physical volume? And what is the performance of Microsoft Windows using such technique.

Before the release of the Intel Mac’s people had to use Microsoft’s Virtual PC. The application provided a layer of communication between the Microsoft operating system and the Mac’s hardware. The layer was responsible serious slow request completion. With the release of Intel hardware for all the Mac families the problem had solved itself. So the communication isn’t a problem anymore. Not at all. However, you have to realize that there is a limitation. Trying to fully use photo-editing software, movie-editing software and 3D-rendering software can be (way) too much for Parallels.

For gamers the lack of full video performance is a no-go. So why use Parallels Desktop for the Mac then? There are enough consumers who just require to run on or multiple small to medium sized applications. For them it’s a big plus to be able to work in Mac OS X (their default operating system) and use Microsoft’s Windows plus Windows only written applications on the fly.

This brings us automatically to the second available option. Running Microsoft Windows XP SP2 or Vista on your Mac’s hardware. It might sound as something special or different but it’s not. Installing Microsoft Windows on a Mac is very similar to installing Microsoft Windows on a default personal computer. The big advantage for Mac owners is they get taken by the hand, so it’s almost impossible to do something wrong and the drivers are all being installed automatically.

When the first generation Mac’s got tested by magazines and websites they became known as the fastest computers to run Microsoft Windows on. That’s exactly the reason why people might choose to use Boot Camp. In stead of using a virtual partition, emulating the operating system it gets installed directly to a physical partition on your hard drive. When you boot the operating system works directly using all hardware and support guaranteeing a fast and standalone operating system. Yes, just like installing Microsoft Windows on a normal personal computer.

If your Mac comes with Mac OS X 10.5 or you have purchased the retail version of Mac OS X 10.5 you want to find the application called Boot Camp Assistant. This application does a lot of work for you and makes sure everything goes by the books. The assistant puts you in the seat to manage your Microsoft Windows partition including creating new partitions.

After an installation of Microsoft Windows XP SP2 or Vista the first hell people run into is searching and installing all the drivers. Since it’s a Mac and you are dealing with Apple the only thing that needs to be done is inserting DVD (no. 1) or the normal retail DVD and a pop-up appears. All drivers will then be installed automatically. The update manager will also guarantee all drivers and Apple applications (such as iTunes for example) will be updated whenever a new release is available.

Running your Adobe Creative Suite 3, AutoCAD or playing numerous games such as Crysis, Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare becomes all possible with Boot Camp. The only disadvantage you might be facing is the fact that both Mac OS X and Microsoft Windows are two separate operating system. So every time you boot the computer (with the ALT key / Option key) you will have to choose between Mac OS X or Microsoft Windows.

For Power Users the combination between Apple’s Boot Camp and SWSoft’s Parallels Desktop for the Mac might be a warm welcome. Parallels offers the ability to mount a physical partition on which Microsoft Windows XP SP2 or Vista is installed. So now you can access your operating system while running Mac OS X. For Power-Users it’s the perfect mix. It allows them to maintain, edit and install all kinds of content while using Mac OS X as their default. As soon as heavy applications are needed to be run switching to Microsoft Windows XP SP2 or Vista only requires a restart.

So this was a bit of basic information on the subject. How things work. Keep in mind that not only SWSoft’s Parallels is an option. VMWare Fusion also offers such technology. This application also has certain benefits. Go to your local store or visit the links below for more in depth information about the software.

15 thoughts on “Installing Microsoft Windows on your Mac

  1. Thanks alot for the very useful info, this was really greate help as I am an old windows user & new mac user 🙂 and had many concerns regarding installing win on my new macbook pro and how effective would be as I want to make use of my graphic aplication.

    Cheers Kevan

  2. 1. Where do I install parallel or vm? In the bootcamp, or the OSX?

    2. I have large embroidery programs (only microsoft) and quickbooks — do I put them in bootcamp?

    3. Where do I load the files for quickbooks and embroidery? In bootcamp or in OSX?

    4. If I need to load all files & programs relating to microsoft programs into bootcamp, then I need to partition the disk such that the microsoft section has a large amount??

  3. If I tried to install it into a Mac OS X without an intel chip, it would not work, yes? Is there a program written for Macs WITHOUT intel chips?

  4. Wonderful blog you have here but I was wondering if you knew of any forums that cover the same topics talked about here? I’d really like to be a part of community where I can get feed-back from other knowledgeable people that share the same interest. If you have any suggestions, please let me know. Bless you!

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  7. Hi! Do you know if they make any plugins to assist with Search Engine Optimization?
    I’m trying to get my blog to rank for some targeted keywords but I’m
    not seeing very good gains. If you know of any please share.

  8. I don’t know how to get off/ logout of windows. I just want to be on my mac software agian but I don’t know how

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