Windows on mac bootcamp or virtual machine

How to Run Windows on a Mac |

When you use your Windows Boot Camp partition as a VMware Fusion virtual machine, you can perform the following tasks:. Use your Boot Camp virtual machine and your Mac without rebooting and switching between them. Share files between your Boot Camp virtual machine and your Mac, through shared folders, dragging files, or cutting and pasting text. Windows reactivation complications can occur if you do not install VMware Tools.

Dual Boot vs. Virtualization

In such a case, if you reactivate Windows in your Boot Camp virtual machine, and subsequently boot your Boot Camp partition natively, you will be prompted to reactivate Windows. Reactivating Windows in your native Boot Camp partition will result in your Boot Camp virtual machine requiring reactivation the next time you power it on, and so forth.

Installing VMware Tools solves this problem.


You must have a Boot Camp partition in place before you start this procedure. You must have administrator privileges to use the Boot Camp partition as a virtual machine. I possess such first-hand experience; an industry-specific professional services automation application powers my business' daily operations. While possessing mobile and web-based options, the program only provides full functionality—such as financial and accounting features—when run natively within Windows.

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Unless the sole proprietary program possesses intensive processing requirements, such as is commonly true for video editing and three-dimensional drafting, running Windows within a VMware or Parallels VM typically proves most convenient. Tasks commonly completed using OS X continue to prove immediately available, while the single Windows application is just a few clicks away and behaves as if it's just another application needing to be opened within OS X.

No reboot is required.

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No OS X applications or functions are sacrificed. Some Apple professionals must run multiple Windows applications simultaneously.

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An example is a Mac user who frequently manages workflow processes using a Windows-based industry-specific application and often enters customer-related information within a Windows-specific tool. Such a scenario is trickier. A single universal recommendation is more difficult, but not out of the question.

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  • Assuming the Windows applications don't require intensive system resources, running Windows within a VMware or Parallels VM will again prove most convenient for the same reasons a VM is advantageous when running a single Windows-dependent program, as described above. But, if the Windows programs require considerable graphics and processor power, or if all the computer's memory is required to provide proper performance, Boot Camp may be required to deliver the most reliable operation.

    How to install Windows on your Mac

    However, it's more likely that, if the proper Mac model is selected and possesses the correct video performance capacity and corresponding CPU and memory upgrades, a VMware or Parallels VM will prove best. Most multiple proprietary Windows app needs I encounter require either a combination of Windows-specific browser plug-ins and the Windows OS or low-level resources but the Windows OS, meaning these applications can usually be capably accommodated using a VMware or a Parallels VM.

    Occasionally, some Mac users must run demanding Windows applications. Video editing, audio mixing, three-dimensional drafting, development testing, animation, production lighting, scientific and architectural applications can all stress even powerfully configured Macs. When such circumstances arise, Mac users are typically best served running Windows within its own environment using Boot Camp. In such situations, Boot Camp helps ensure most all system resources are dedicated to the Windows installation.

    Multiple proprietary Windows apps

    Many common functions—including less-demanding tasks such as internet access, email, printing, and file share access—can still be accessed from within the Windows environment for convenience sake, while the demanding Windows-dependent programs receive the benefit of additional CPU and memory resources, in particular.

    Whether you need iPhone and Mac tips or rundowns of enterprise-specific Apple news, we've got you covered. Delivered Tuesdays. Erik Eckel owns and operates two technology companies. As a managing partner with Louisville Geek, he works daily as an IT consultant to assist small businesses in overcoming technology challenges and maximizing IT investments.