What you should know before
Before using Windows applications on a Mac, different aspects of relevance must be taken into account. This is because Windows programs are not designed for macOS and may cause some conflicts at first. Next, we explain in detail the ‘risks’ that may exist.
Possible performance issues
We must always bear in mind that when we are going to do this process, we will always be trying to run a program on an operating system for which it is not intended. But we should not just stay with the software, since in many cases developers also create a program thinking about hardware that is not available in macOS, and is only on PC.
That is why almost always when you go to use a Windows program on Mac you will have performance problems. This is something quite serious, since the experience is completely muddied, although it is quite logical. In this way, you have to keep in mind that if you want to use Windows programs, it is best to have a PC. In this way, before buying a Mac you should always evaluate the programs that you are going to have to use. Because if you are thinking that the experience will be the same, you could be disappointed.
This is something that can happen especially in those programs that occupy a great amount of resources. For example, we must refer to those options whose mission is to edit video or image. In this case, it is necessary to have full access to system resources and this is something that cannot be achieved with virtualization or disk partitioning.
Compatibility problems in its use
Despite the use of programs to use specific Windows software on macOS, compatibility gaps may still be present. We mostly mean hardware incompatibility. Developers work a lot on processors with a specific architecture that is not shared by MacBooks. If we talk about M chips with an ARM architecture, it should be known that Windows as such is not adapted to this type of hardware and it may generate some incompatibilities.
In this case, when the program is opened, it may start without a problem. But when you are using it it can always lead to unexpected shutdowns. Although the doubt may arise that we are facing a failure related to the virtualization or partition program, it may be the compatibility itself. In these cases, as we have previously commented, each of the programs should always be used in the environment for which it has been developed.
The ways that exist to use Windows apps on Mac
Once all the inconveniences and precautions are taken into account when using Windows programs on Mac, it is time to talk about the different ways there are to use them. We are going to highlight the use of classic methods such as virtualization in addition to the use of very specific applications.
Using Windows on a Mac is possible in a comfortable way performing a virtualization. That is, you will not perform a native installation at any time in a part of your storage unit. While you are using macOS you can also have access to Windows thanks to virtualization. In the network you can find many programs such as Parallels or Virtual Box to be able to load a Windows disk image. In this way when you are using Windows you will be able to install those programs that you want to use on your Mac and start using them, although obviously with some limitations.
It must be taken into account that when performing a virtualization and executing the specific program, different configurations will have to be made. Choose the processor cores that you are going to dedicate or the storage that you want to reserve for virtualization. Obviously, the full potential of the hardware is not being used, creating some of the performance or compatibility problems that we have previously discussed.
Create a partition
Beyond virtualization, another way you have to install Windows on your Mac and make use of its programs is the partition. In this case the installation is always done on the internal storage unit. In this way, the great part of the power that the hardware has is used, although it considerably reduces the space available on your computer natively. In order to carry out this process, the following points must simply be followed:
- Download the Windows image that is available on the official Microsoft website.
- Access the Boot Camp application (whenever available).
- Follow the steps to allocate space and specify boot from previously downloaded disk image.
- Once the installation is complete, you can access the partition at any time by pressing Alt when the Mac starts.
Obviously, this presents as a limitation that you will not be able to use the two operating systems simultaneously as with virtualization. You should always choose if you want to use Windows or if, on the contrary, you want to use macOS. This is one of the great disadvantages that obviously should always be taken into account.
Wine is one of the most used applications to be able to execute any type of program on a Mac. Obviously we are always talking about programs that are developed for Windows and that therefore end with the characteristic .exe. In this case we can talk about a program that performs virtualization but does not require virtualizing an entire operating system as we have previously commented. In this case, it is greatly simplified by focusing only on the applications, saving resources to focus on the execution of the software.
In order to use this function, the first thing you must do is download Wine. It is important to always do it from the official website and make sure that it is compatible with the version of macOS you have installed. Obviously when a specific program is going to be virtualized it is vital that it integrates with the operating system you have on your Mac. Once you have it installed, you simply have to follow the following steps:
- Navigate to the files for the .exe program that you want to run on your Mac.
- Press the right of your mouse on it.
- Scroll down to ‘Open with’.
- Choose from the list of possible applications with which to run it that of Wine.
There is absolutely nothing else to do to be able to use this Windows program. It may take a while at first to execute as virtualization must be initialized. And this is obviously not a process that is immediate by requiring steps that are intermediate.
Proton, the gamer option
Beyond work programs, you may also want to virtualize video games. It is a fact that in the macOS environment there are not the large number of games that can be found in Windows. One of the biggest platforms is Steam and if we take a look it can be clearly seen how almost all games are only compatible with Windows. This is mainly due to the fact that it is not entirely profitable for developers to develop on macOS since there is not a high market share rate as the normal Mac user is not a gamer.
But if you still want to run some exclusive Windows games on your Mac, you can do so thanks to Proton. This is an exclusive program for the gaming world as it integrates with Steam itself and it will try to run all the games on your Mac so that you can start enjoying the gamer world. This is something really curious without a doubt and it is one of the great incentives that can be sought when it comes to virtualizing a program.
In this case we are talking about a tool that is official from Steam itself. That is why when it is installed, you will simply have to buy a game that is for Windows and among the options choose the Steam Play option. In this case, you can run it with Proton 5.1, which will be in charge of running the game and virtualizing it. But obviously it will not be without problems even if it is official from Steam itself.