How To Run Windows Simultaneously on a Mac OS

How To Run Windows Simultaneously on a Mac OS

Sonia Zjawinski
Feb 22, 2010

While we tend to spend a lot of time looking at Apple products and applications, as some of you pointed out, there are some Windows-friendly apps that are worth their salt. One of those mentioned is Zune, but unlike iTunes, which is both Mac and PC friendly, Zune only works on Windows. So what's a Mac user to do? Here's how to get Windows to run on your Apple without the need to reboot your computer every time you want to switch between operating systems.

Virtual machine software like Parallels Desktop for Mac or VMWare Fusion lets you partition a section of your Mac hard drive to install and run Windows on. Once installed, all the files found on your Mac are accessible through the virtual machine app. Better yet, you can run Windows in coherence mode so you can access and run Windows programs, while still working in the visually familiar Mac OS desktop.

Relatively new Apple computers feature Boot Camp, which lets you boot up either the Windows of Mac OS, but it won't let you run both at the same time. This is why VM software like Parallels or VMWare can be so helpful.

What You Need

Equipment and Software
An Apple computer with an Intel processor (1.66 GHz or greater)
1 GB of memory, 2 GB is recommended
5 to 15 GB of disk space for each virtual machine depending on VM software
Windows OS installation CD
Parallels Desktop for Mac or VMWare Fusion


1. Download the virtual machine software you've decided on.

2. Run the installation wizard.

3. Once installed access the app via the applications folder. You can then drag and drop the app to your dock in order to have instant access that way.

4. The first time you open the application you'll be asked to install Windows. Insert your Windows disc (you can install any recent Windows iteration -- from 2000 to 7 -- you choose) plug in your user name and the Windows product key that came with your disc.

5. Once installation completes, you'll be able to launch Windows anytime you want by simply opening either the Parallels or VMWare software. Once your virtual machine application is running, simply click on the Windows-only app you want to run and it will, well, run. You can choose between how you want the virtual machine to run, either as a separate window that shows you a Windows running desktop or in a coherence mode, that lets you continue to work via your Apple desktop, but run Windows based apps at the same time. The familiar Window toolbar will appear on the bottom of your screen when in this mode, as seen in the fourth photo above.

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(Images: soniaz)

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