Oryna Lienkova
Apple certified support professional
09/06/2020
12 minutes to read

With so much software that is exclusively available to Windows platforms only, it can be tempting for Mac users to purchase a separate laptop or a stationary computer just to use them. However, that is a rather costly solution and most people don’t need a second computer just to run a few apps on the side.

It’s for this reason that virtual machines were created. Whether up in the cloud or through programs like Virtualbox, these virtual machines. In this article, we will go over the main methods of how you can have a virtual machine within your real machine, and also the cloud options that you can use in order to avoid using too much memory.

Contents:

1. Install Windows on a Mac using Bootcamp
2. Run Windows for Mac using Virtualbox
3. Run Windows on a Mac using WineBottler

#1 Tip – Use MacCleaner Pro to prepare your Mac for a virtual drive
If you do decide to go through with running an offline version of Windows on your Mac, we would highly recommend properly going through your memory and cleaning up your files. The ISO file, as well as VirtualBox and a new partition for the Windows system, take quite a lot of space. For this purpose, you can use the MacCleaner Pro bundle, simply because you will gain access to professional tools that will conveniently optimize your drive and speed up your Mac.

Install Windows on a Mac using Bootcamp

The first question that you might ask yourself is, “What is Bootcamp for Mac?” Bootcamp on Mac, or the Bootcamp Assistant software, is a system utility app that you can use to install and run Windows on a Mac. While the process is fairly straightforward, what’s best about it is you won’t need to use any third-party software as the Bootcamp app is built into your Mac. However, be aware that you will need to have plenty of space on your Mac in order to be able to dual-run both operating systems. The Windows OS alone will be 64GB minimum.

  1. Download a latest Windows ISO for your Boot Camp installation on your Mac.
  2. Open up Bootcamp assistant on your Mac, which is located in Applications → Utilities.

    Bootcamp assistant Introduction window

  3. Click on Choose… and locate the Windows ISO file if it hasn’t been automatically pulled up.
  4. Bootcamp assistant Install Windows window

  5. Proceed with pressing on Install in order to initiate the installation.
    Bootcamp assistant showing process of downloading Windows
  6. You will go through the standard Windows installation after that. Follow the instructions on the screen to proceed to the next step.
  7. Congratulations! Once the installation has been finalized, your Mac will automatically boot into Windows.

Since you already know how to install Windows on a Mac using the Bootcamp Mac app, you will also want to know how to switch between macOS and Windows.

  1. Restart your Mac and hold down the Option key, and then you will see two options:
    • Load Macintosh HD to get into Mac
    • Load Bootcamp to launch Windows.
  2. Startup Manager showing other available startup disks or volumes

  3. If you don’t like switching upon startup, you can always change the boot drive from the macOS system preference panel for Startup Disk.

To see how you can install Windows on a Mac without Bootcamp, keep reading and you will find out how you can use several third-party methods to do it yourself.


Windows for Mac using VirtualBox

Virtualbox, which originally belonged to the Oracle Corporation, is designed in a way that you can run any OS that you need.

  1. Once you have VirtualBox on the Mac, open it and select New in order to create a new virtual machine.
  2. VirtualBox Manager with New section highlighted

  3. Now you will need to enter a name for your virtual machine. In this case we will be installing Windows 10 for Mac, so we will type it in the name field.
  4. VirtualBox Manager asking to enter name for virtual machine

  5. Select memory size to allocate to the machine. You can leave it at the default setting if you don’t need any more or less.
  6. VirtualBox Manager asking to select memory size

  7. In the next window, select Create a virtual hard disk now.
  8. VirtualBox Manager showing options for Hard disk

  9. Leave the default option as is and click on Continue.
  10. VirtualBox Manager asking to choose Hard disk file type

  11. You can also leave this option as is unless you would like your virtual drive to have more space than it has by default.
  12. Storage on Physical hard disk section of VirtualBox Manager

  13. For the “File location and size” section, you can also leave it as is unless you want to have more space on your virtual Windows.
  14. File location and size section of VirtualBox Manager

  15. Great! You are finished. Now you can see your drive in the left-hand sidebar. Simply click on it twice to launch it in the future.

Since you already created the virtual hard disk and all is set on that end, you will need to download a Windows Disk Image. We’ve included a link that you can follow to download it. Otherwise, you may get the OS from other trusted, convenient sources.

  1. Once you have downloaded the disk image, simply click twice on the virtual disk in the left side of the VirtualBox window to launch it.
  2. VirtualBox Manager asking to choose Hard disk file type

  3. In the next window, you will need to select the Windows ISO file to install it and then click Start.
  4. VirtualBox Manager asking to select the Windows ISO file

  5. Proceed with the instructions in the windows that follow. You will need to select the language, time and currency format, as well as the input method.
  6. Windows Setup asking to select language, time and currency format

  7. After that, simply start the installation by clicking Install now.
  8. Windows Setup showing Install now button

  9. Accept all of the license agreements that follow.
  10. Windows Setup asking to accept license agreements

  11. Select the installation type as “Custom: Install Windows only (advanced)”.
  12. Windows Setup asking to accept license agreements

  13. You will see the virtual disk you allocated within the VirtualBox software. Click Next.
  14. Windows Setup asking to accept license agreements

  15. Give it some time for the Windows installation to finalize.
  16. Windows Setup asking to accept license agreements

  17. Once Windows has finalized its installation, you will need to choose the region in which you are based.
  18. Windows Setup window asking to сhoose region

  19. Proceed with choosing your keyboard layout and click Yes when done.
  20. Windows Setup window asking to сhoose keyboard layout

  21. If you wish to add a second keyboard layout, click on Add layout; if not click on Skip.
  22. Windows Setup window asking to сhoose second keyboard layout

  23. Enter the name of the person who will be using this virtual Windows machine and click Next.
  24. Windows Setup asking for enter name of user

  25. Create a password for your machine and click Next.
  26. Windows Setup asking to create password for machine

  27. In this window, you will need to create three security questions, which will be used to restore your password in case you forget it.
  28. Windows Setup asking to create security questions

  29. Make Cortana your personal assistant if you wish. Otherwise, click on Decline and proceed to the next step.
  30. Windows Setup asking to make Cortana your personal assistant

  31. Choose the privacy settings for your virtual machine and click on Accept.
  32. Windows Setup asking to choose the privacy settings

  33. Congratulations, you’re all set! You can now run Windows on a Mac via Virtualbox.
  34. Windows launched on Mac via Virtualbox

As you can see, VirtualBox provides an easy way to set up Windows for Mac. If you don’t mind spending a little time figuring out how it works, as well as downloading the Windows ISO file, your virtual machine will be ready in just a few clicks.

If for some reason you don’t like this method or simply want to uninstall VirtualBox, please refer to our article on how to uninstall Virtualbox.


Run Windows on a Mac using WineBottler

Running Windows applications on a Mac via the well-known program WineBottler is another way to get your work done while avoiding virtual drives and remote desktops. However, as good as it sounds, there are some drawbacks. Wine on Mac by default can only support a limited number of applications. Meaning, you won’t be able to run some of the newest programs that are only compatible with Windows 10 and later.

This also means that even if you do manage to run an application that isn’t supposed to be compatible with Wine, it is likely that you will experience crashes, glitches, and slow performance. Even so, it’s still one of the quickest ways to get into some useful apps without having to wait for a virtual drive to launch.

  1. Complete the Winebottler download. Once you have opened the DMG file, you will need to move both of the Wine icons to Applications in order to install it.
  2. Winebottler DMG file

  3. Once you have launched WineBottler.app, you will be able to choose from a whole range of default Windows apps. In this instance, we will use Mozilla Firefox as an example.
  4. Mozilla Firefox highlighted in Winebottler app

  5. Click Install to start converting the Windows program into a Mac bundle app.
  6. Winebottler showing process of creating Firefox app

  7. Once you are done, head to the On My Mac section in the menu bar in order to launch the Firefox program through Windows emulation.
  8. On My Mac section showing Firefox app

  9. Firefox will prompt you to import any cookies or data from other browsers. If you don’t have any, check the box Don’t import anything and click Next.
  10. Firefox window prompting import settings and data

  11. Congratulations! Your Firefox Browser has started and now you can run Windows programs on a Mac.
  12. Firefox start window

Since you can already choose from a whole list of default WineBottler apps, we will also show you how you can execute any other .exe file using WineBottler.

  1. Once you have downloaded the needed .exe file that you wish to execute, right click on it and go Open with → Wine.app (2.0)
  2. Choosing Open with Wine command for Skype

  3. Click on Go in the window that follows to execute the software the same way it executed Firefox.
  4. Confirmation window to open Wine File

  5. If you would rather install it first and convert it into an OS X Application bundle, it will automatically redirect you to the Advanced screen. There you will need to choose the correct parameters and specify the directory that you wish the app to go to.
  6. Advanced section of Winebottler application

Some programs are easy to install using WineBottler and some will take some effort. We would suggest doing some research on the app that you are trying to launch, specifically to learn which libraries other people successfully used.


Conclusion

Whichever solution you choose to get Windows running on your Mac, you should keep in mind that the files will require a lot of memory. We would suggest using MacCleaner Pro bundle to optimize your disk space. MacCleaner Pro allows you to find and remove duplicate files, hidden files, unneeded logs, cache and other junk files. The app will help you delete them all in a matter of a few clicks. It also comes with the Memory Cleaner app that will allow you to clear RAM regularly, optimizing memory usage while you run the virtual drive.

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