Windows computers have come a long way in the last few years, but Macs still have some lure that may be difficult to replicate. Between the high-quality hardware ( MacBook keyboard problems ), easy-to-use software and easy-to-access customer service through the Genius Bar, some people just prefer Apple's desktop computers.
But it's still a Windows world, and once you have to live in it. Maybe you need a Windows machine for the only work-related application, or you want to play some games that are not available for macOS. Whatever the reason, there are some easy ways to run Windows on your Mac. Here's how it works.
Dual Boot vs. Virtualization
There are two main ways to run another operating system on your computer: you can double start the two systems, share your hard drive into two partitions and run one operating system at a time, or you can virtualize one of them, so you can run a system inside the other at the same time. There are advantages and disadvantages to both options, so you have to choose the right one for your needs.
Double booting is good because it gives all operating systems the full computer resources. When using macOS, your computer only runs macOS, and you have the full CPU and RAM at your disposal for optimum performance. When you want to run Windows, just restart to Windows, and Windows also has 100 percent of the resources available for Windows. Restarting can be a problem, but this is good for games, video editing or other resource-intensive tasks where you need all the power you can get.
On the other hand, virtualization allows you to run both operating systems at the same time, which is much more convenient if you just need to run a single program of work with your other Mac apps. However, when you do, you have to split the computer's CPU and RAM between both operating systems, which means that everything will run a little slower while both are booted. Of course, if you have a powerful iMac compared to a low powered MacBook Air, you will notice the slowdown less.
Dual booting is always idle, while virtualization can cost money depending on what you use. In this guide we will show you a free option – VirtualBox and a paid option, known as Parallels. Parallels can also double boot and virtualize the same Windows installation, giving you the best of both worlds. Note that you also need a Windows license for both options, which can cost you money if you don't already have a lie. You will enter your key during installation or shortly thereafter to enable Windows.
If you do not have a Windows disc handy, you can download the latest version with Microsoft Media Creation Tool right now for free. Just follow the on-screen instructions, select to download an ISO when prompted, and save it somewhere safe before going through the following steps.
How to start two-start with start-up battle
Apple's simple Boot Camp guide goes through you the whole process of dual booting your system. I strongly recommend that you back up your system now, because you do not lose important data when partitioning the devices. When you're ready to start, press Command + Space to launch Spotlight and type "Boot Camp Assistant." Press Enter to start the wizard.
Boot Camp's attitude should be quite obvious and the standard options should work for most people. When prompted, just select the ISO that you downloaded earlier and the Boot Camp Assistant writes it to a USB memory stick along with the necessary drivers. However, you must decide how to divide your hard drive. Windows requires at least 32GB of hard disk space but you definitely want to give it more space for programs, documents, and any future Windows updates it downloads. I give my 60 GB space, which is tight but useful.
When you are ready to split your device, Boot Camp Assistant will launch your Mac and enter the Windows setting. From there you can go through the guide just as you would on any other computer. When you are asked where to install Windows, select the "BOOTCAMP" partition, click the Format button and click Next. Be careful not to format your Mac partition, which is probably the named "Drive 0 Partition 2".
Your computer can restart a few times during the installation process, but when you are in Windows, it will ask you to install drivers for your Mac. This ensures that your Wi-Fi, trackpad, webcam and other hardware work properly, so don't skip this step. When it's ready, you can start using Windows normally.
You can restart in MacOS by restarting your computer and holding Options when you hear the startup clock. This gives you a menu of operating systems that you can start from. Once back in macOS, you will carefully go to System Preferences> Startup Disk, click the lock icon in the corner to make changes and select your Macintosh device by default. Otherwise, the computer will boot into Windows every time, which is probably not what you want.
How to Virtualize Windows in VirtualBox
If you want to try virtualization, VirtualBox is a great free option. It is not as easy and polished as Parallels and lacks any really useful features, but it is completely free and will do the job just fine … as long as you are willing to handle a little more technical setup.
Download VirtualBox and install it as if you were going to any other Mac application. Then start it and click on the blue "New" button in the toolbar to create a new virtual machine. Give it a name (like "Windows 10") and select your operating system from the list as Windows 10 (64-bit) . If you're not sure if you're using 32- or 64-bit Windows, read this – but there's a good chance you're using 64-bit.
Next, you need to allocate resources to your virtual machine-like RAM and hard disk space. More is it, but remember, the more you give Windows the less you have MacOS when you are driving both in tandem, so try to find a balance. As long as you stay within the green field of RAM and select a Dynamically Allocated disc, you should have enough space.
Once installed, select the virtual machine in the sidebar and click the "Settings" button on the toolbar. Please add some more kernels under System> Processor if you have more than one spare. But to install Windows, you must go to the Layers tab and load ISO as you downloaded earlier. Click on the CD icon that says "Empty" and then on the right side of the window, click "Select virtual optical disk image" to Point to VirtualBox on your ISO. Click OK when done.
Now click on the big green Start button in the toolbar and you are after the races. VirtualBox starts the Windows installer, and you can set it as if it were on a new computer. Your virtual hard drive is empty, so you need to select "Custom installation" when prompted, and select the hard drive and click "New" to format it.
When Windows is finished and running, I recommend that you go to Devices> Add Guest Supplement CD image and run the Guest Additions installer from Windows. It gives you shared folders, better video support and other useful integrations . can also run applications in its own window on your Mac using seamless mode, available from the VirtualBox "View" menu.
How to virtualize Windows in Parallels
If you as an idea of virtualizing Windows, but VirtualBox feels a bit too technical, or if you want more features, like the ability to virtualize your Boot Camp partition -Parallels is a great way to run Windows on your Mac.
Download the application here (there is a free 10-day trial, after which the full version costs $ 80).
Install it on your Mac, and start it. If you already have a Boot Camp partition, ask if you want to use it as your Windows installation. If not, just click on the "Install Windows" button and Parallels will do everything heavy for you, download, install and prepare Windows. Just sit back, have a cup of coffee, and in a while you will be dumped to the Windows desktop.
 You must create a Parallels account to be able to use the virtual machine, but once you have done so, you can click around Windows, install programs and use it as usual . You can adjust Parallel's resource distribution in its settings (if you feel that Windows needs more RAM or CPU than Parallels have provided), or click the menu icon to enter "Coherence Mode" where you can launch Windows apps in your own window on your Mac -desk. When it comes to usability, Parallels is definitely worth the money.