Running Windows on a Mac - Beyond the Basics - Macs All-in-One For Dummies, 4th Edition (2014)

Macs All-in-One For Dummies, 4th Edition (2014)

Book III. Beyond the Basics

Chapter 5. Running Windows on a Mac

In This Chapter

arrow Sending your Mac to Boot Camp

arrow Running virtual machines

arrow Tricking Windows apps with CrossOver Mac

As much as you may enjoy using your Mac, sometimes you may need to use an app that runs only on Windows. Many apps, particularly games, are Windows-only. Plus, you’ll encounter Windows-only retail store point-of-sale (POS) system or stock-picking apps, as well as many custom apps developed by a company for in-house use.

image You can access Microsoft Exchange services such as address lists, calendar events, and e-mail through Mail, Calendar, and Contacts, so you may not need to install Windows. And don’t worry about wiping your hard drive and having to delete your Mac OS to run Windows. You can run Windows on your Mac and still use all the features that made you want to get a Mac in the first place.

If you do need to run Windows on your Mac, though, you have choices. In this chapter, we explain the second and third of those listed here:

· You can buy a Windows PC and use that computer just to run the Windows app(s) you need.

· You can install and run Windows 7 or 8 — in their various 64-bit iterations — on your Mac using the Boot Camp 5 utility app that comes as part of OS X 10.9 Mavericks.

· Use a virtualization app that makes your Mac think it’s a Windows PC.

image You can install and run earlier, 32-bit versions of Windows, but you must use a previous version of Boot Camp. The instructions in this chapter presume that

· You’ve never installed Windows on your Mac.

· You’re using OS X 10.9 Mavericks.

If the Mavericks upgrade installation process discovers a previously installed, older version of Windows (XP, Vista, or 32-bit Windows 7), it leaves the prior version of Boot Camp 3 or 4 on your Mac so you can continue using those Windows operating systems. However, you can’t upgrade to Boot Camp 5. Boot Camp 5 works only with the 64-bit versions of Windows 7 or 8.

Giving Your Mac a Split Personality with Boot Camp

To install Windows on a Mac, you use Boot Camp to split your storage drive in two parts — called partitions. Then you use one partition to install and run Windows, and a second partition to keep using OS X the way you’ve been using it. By having two different operating systems on your storage drive, you can choose which operating system to use every time you turn on your Mac.

image Partitioning divides your hard drive in two parts: one part for OS X and the other part for Windows. Boot Camp uses nondestructive partitioning, which means that you resize your hard drive’s partitions without losing data.

Before opening the OS X 10.9 Mavericks version of Boot Camp 5 to install Windows 7 or 8, make sure you have the following:

· 2GB (gigabytes) of RAM

· 20GB of available storage drive space (Apple’s recommended minimum)

image To find out how much free space you have on your storage drive as well as how much RAM, choose image⇒About This Mac, click the More Info button, and then click the Storage tab and then click the Memory tab. Figure 5-1 shows the Mac HD as well as the Boot Camp partition.


Figure 5-1: See how much free storage is available.

· Internet access

· Windows (one of the following)

· On disc: An authentic, single, full-installation, 64-bit Microsoft Windows 7 (Home Premium, Professional, or Ultimate) or Windows 8 (Standard or Pro) disc and a built-in optical disc drive or a compatible external optical drive

· On a flash drive: A downloaded ISO disc image of one of the 64-bit versions of Windows 7 or 8 and an 8GB (or larger) USB flash drive (See Book I, Chapter 4 to learn more about ISO disc images.)

· The Windows 25-digit product key

· An administrator account in OS X

· A USB flash drive

You need this to install the downloaded drivers. If you plan to use the ISO image of Windows, though, you need only one USB flash drive with at least 8GB of storage.

As long as you meet these requirements, installing Windows on your Mac is like most things Mac: Just follow the onscreen instructions, and the procedure just works. Do the following steps, and you’ll find you have two computers in one in no time:

1. Open the Finder by clicking anywhere on the Desktop.

2. Choose Go⇒Utilities.

3. Double-click the Boot Camp Assistant icon.

A Boot Camp Assistant task window appears, informing you of the things Boot Camp can help you with, as shown in Figure 5-2.


Figure 5-2: Choose the tasks you want Boot Camp Assistant to do.

4. Select the check box(es) for the task(s) you want Boot Camp Assistant to perform:

· (Optional) Create a Windows 7 or Later Version Install Disk: If you downloaded Windows from the Internet, Boot Camp Assistant will copy it to a USB flash drive and then use it to install Windows on your Mac.

· (Required) Download the Latest Windows Support Software from Apple: If you use a downloaded version of Windows with a USB flash drive, Boot Camp will format the drive, and the support software will be copied to that drive. If you plan to use a disc to install Windows, you must format a USB flash drive.

1. From the Finder, choose GoUtilities and choose Disk Utility.

2. Insert your flash drive in the USB port, select it in the drives list on the Disk Utility window, and then click the Erase tab.

3. Choose MS-DOS (FAT) from the Format menu and click the Erase button.

· (Required) Install Windows 7 or Later Version: Select this check box regardless of whether you plan to use a single installation disc or an ISO image that will be copied to the USB flash drive.

5. Click the Continue button.

6. (ISO image users only) Create a Bootable USB Drive.

If you’re using an ISO image, the Create Bootable USB Drive for Windows Installation window opens, as shown in Figure 5-3.

· If the file path in the ISO image field is correct, click the Continue button.

· Otherwise, click the Choose button, scroll through the folders and files to the ISO image file, click it, click Choose, and then click Continue.

Boot Camp Assistant copies the ISO image to the USB flash drive and installs the Apple support software and drivers necessary to use your Mac’s keyboard and mouse or trackpad when running Windows.

Type your user/administrator password in the dialog when asked.

(Installation disc users only) Save Windows support software to the external drive.

The window shown in Figure 5-4 appears. Confirm that the destination disk is the one you want to save the support software to and then click Continue.

Boot Camp Assistant copies the Apple support software and drivers necessary to use your Mac’s keyboard and mouse or trackpad when running Windows. Type your user/administrator password in the dialog when asked.


Figure 5-3: The Create Bootable USB Drive for Windows Installation window.


Figure 5-4: The Save Windows Support Software window.

7. Create a Windows partition, as shown in Figure 5-5.

Boot Camp Assistant suggests the minimum size needed for the Windows partition. You can click and drag the divider between the OS X partition and the Windows partition left or right to change the partition size.

image 18GB, as you see in Figure 5-5, is the (bare) minimum Boot Camp Assistant suggests to install windows, although Apple recommends creating a partition no smaller than 20GB. We recommend that if you change the Windows partition side at all, don’t go below the minimum suggested by the Boot Camp Assistant.


Figure 5-5: Define how much hard drive space to allocate for Windows.

8. Click the Install button.

Boot Camp partitions your hard drive. (This process may take a little while.) When partitioning is complete, the Start Windows Installation window appears.

9. (Users with an installation disc or flash drive) Insert your Windows installation disc or flash drive in your Mac (or its external optical drive).

10. Choose your language and location from the pop-up menus and click Next.

11. Enter your 25-digit product key and click Next.

12. Follow the Windows installation instructions on the screen. When the installation finishes, eject the disc or flash drive.

Be patient. Installing Windows can take time. Note: Windows will reboot several times during installation, so don’t panic if the screen suddenly goes blank.

image If you see a message that tells you the software you’re installing has not passed Windows Logo testing, click Continue Anyway. Do not click Cancel in any of the installer dialogs. Follow the instructions for any wizards that appear.

Choosing an operating system with Boot Camp

After you complete the Boot Camp installation process to install Windows on your Mac, you can choose which operating system you want to use when you start your Mac by following these steps:

1. Restart your computer and hold down the Option key until two disk icons appear.

One disk icon is labeled Windows, and the other is labeled Macintosh HD. (If you changed the name of your Mac’s hard disk, you’ll see this name displayed instead.)

2. Click the Windows or Macintosh Startup Disk icon.

Your chosen operating system starts.

Holding down the X key after you power-on your Mac tells your Mac that you want to load OS X. You can let go of the X key as soon as you see the OS X start-up screen.

image To switch to a different operating system, you have to shut down the current operating system and repeat the preceding steps to choose the other operating system.

If you start your Mac without holding down the Option key, your Mac starts the default operating system. You can define the default operating system in OS X by following these steps:

1. Within OS X, choose image⇒System Preferences to open the System Preferences window.

2. Click the Startup Disk icon.

The Startup Disk window opens.

3. Click the OS X or Windows icon and then click the Restart button.

Sharing Mac and Windows files

With Mac OS X version 10.6 and later, whether you’re running the Mac or Windows operating system, you can open and view files from the other operating system’s hard drive partition. To modify files, copy the file from the partition where the file is stored to the operating system partition you’re using. For example, if you’re in Windows and want to modify a file saved on your Mac partition, copy the file from the Mac partition to the Windows partition, and then make the changes.

Removing Windows from your Mac

If you want to wipe out the partition on your hard drive that contains Windows, you can do so by following these steps:

1. From the Finder, choose Go⇒Utilities and then double-click the Boot Camp Assistant icon in the Utilities folder.

The Boot Camp Introduction window appears.

2. Click the Continue button.

3. Select the Remove Windows 7 or Later Version check box, as shown in Figure 5-6.


Figure 5-6: Remove Windows when you don’t need it any more.

4. Click the Continue button.

The Restore Disk to a Single Volume window appears.

image Wiping out your Windows partition deletes all data stored on that partition that you created by using Windows.

5. Click the Restore button.

Type your user password in the dialog that appears.

Using Virtual Machines

Although you can share files between the Mac and Windows partitions (as we describe earlier in this chapter), you may still want to use a virtualization app to run Windows and OS X at the same time and switch between the two.

image Virtualization is a technology that lets you run multiple operating systems at the same time, where each operating system “time-shares” the computer’s hardware. Because the active operating system isn’t really controlling the computer’s hardware completely, it’s dubbed avirtual machine — that is, a part of your computer that works like some other real machine, such as a Windows PC.

Here are some software choices that work on Macs with Intel processors (go to image⇒About This Mac to confirm that your Mac uses one):

· Parallels Desktop:, $79.99

· VirtualBox:, free

· VMware Fusion:, $59.99

Parallels Desktop, VirtualBox, and VMware Fusion work in similar ways by creating a single file on your Mac hard drive that represents a virtual PC hard drive — which contains the Windows operating system plus any additional Windows apps you install, such as Microsoft Office.

When you run Parallels Desktop, VirtualBox, or VMware Fusion, the app boots up from this virtual hard drive while your original OS X operating system continues to run. This lets you run another operating system, such as Windows, inside a separate OS X window, as shown in Figure5-7.

Instead of requiring you to load Windows and then load a specific app within Windows, virtualization apps let you store a Windows app icon directly on the Desktop or on the Dock so that it behaves like a Mac app icon.

Clicking a Windows app icon loads Windows and the Windows app at the same time without showing the Windows desktop or the Windows Start menu.


Figure 5-7: The Parallels Desktop app lets you run Windows inside a separate Mac window.

Because the operating system stored on the virtual hard drive has to share the computer’s processor and memory with OS X, operating systems running on virtual machines tend to run slower than when you run Windows and Windows programs within Boot Camp. In Boot Camp, the app has total access to your computer’s hardware, meaning that the app runs as fast as it would on a standalone Windows PC.

To ease the migration from Windows to the Mac, virtualization programs can clone your existing Windows PC and duplicate it, with all your data and programs, on to the Mac. You can essentially use your old Windows PC as a virtual computer on your Mac.

Using CrossOver Mac

With Boot Camp, Parallels Desktop, VirtualBox, and VMware Fusion, you need to buy a separate copy of Windows. CrossOver Mac, though, lets you run many Windows apps without a copy of Windows. The app works by fooling Windows apps into thinking that they’re really running on a Windows PC.

With CrossOver Mac, you can pop a Windows CD into your Mac and install the Windows app on a simulated PC that CrossOver Mac creates automatically on your Mac. After you install a Windows app, CrossOver Mac displays the normal Windows icons inside a Finder window. Double-clicking the Windows app icon runs that Windows app on your Mac, as shown in Figure 5-8.


Figure 5-8: CrossOver Mac lets you run a handful of Windows programs without running Windows.

Like Parallels Desktop, VirtualBox, and VMware Fusion, CrossOver Mac runs only on Intel Mac computers. A more crucial limitation is that CrossOver Mac works with only a handful of Windows programs, so you can’t run just any Windows app on a Mac with CrossOver Mac and expect it to run flawlessly.

To help you determine whether your favorite Windows app (such as Quicken or DirectX 8) or game (such as Wizard 101, World of Warcraft, or Alien Swarm), will work with CrossOver Mac, visit the product’s website ( to browse all known apps that have been tested and verified to work correctly.

image If you need to run the latest Windows apps, a little-known Windows program, or a custom Windows program, CrossOver Mac probably won’t let you run it. However, if you need to run only a handful of older or popular apps, CrossOver Mac may be the ideal solution.