Easiest and free way of running Windows applications on Mac?

Discussion in 'Mac Basics and Help' started by jas5279, Apr 17, 2018.

  1. jas5279 macrumors member

    Joined:
    Dec 21, 2016
    #1
    Sometimes there are applications that are only made for Windows and don't have a Mac version. Is there any easy and free way running those applications on Mac? I don't want to do technical stuff like installing a Windows partition on my hard drive or things like that.
     
  2. tarsins macrumors 6502a

    tarsins

    Joined:
    Sep 15, 2009
    Location:
    Wales
    #2
    Virtual machine? Virtualbox is free but probably not as easy as Parallels which is not free.
     
  3. casperes1996 macrumors 68040

    casperes1996

    Joined:
    Jan 26, 2014
    Location:
    Horsens, Denmark
    #3
    It won't work for all apps, far from, but look for Wine Bottler. It's a friendly graphical interface for the Wine project, which allows Windows apps to be run on Linux, macOS, FreeBSD and such. You won't get the latest version of Wine when you use Wine Bottler, which limits the amount of apps that work a bit, but you'll be able to create native app bundles for Mac that you can share with friends so it's seamless for everyone.

    To see how well the apps you want to run work with Wine, you can look them up on WineHQ.

    You can also install Windows via BootCamp to have both operating systems.

    Alternatively, I highly recommend just looking for a Mac alternative to what you want. If it doesn't have to be exactly the program you're thinking of right now, there's likely a native Mac alternative that's equally good.
     
  4. kschendel macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    Dec 9, 2014
    #4
    VirtualBox is your best bet in general. It doesn't always pick the greatest defaults for machine settings so you will probably want to at least review them once, but once set you don't have to fool with it. There's definitely a performance penalty compared to running on the bare metal as in BootCamp, but for most uses it's not a big deal.
     
  5. vkd macrumors 6502a

    vkd

    Joined:
    Sep 10, 2012
    #5
    Experience shows that the best option is VMWare Fusion, install a virtual copy of Windows and install the games in there.
     
  6. hallux macrumors 68030

    hallux

    Joined:
    Apr 25, 2012
    #6
    And no matter which of these is chosen, you're still on the hook for a Windows OS license to be legal. Of course, if the OP meant free outside of that requirement, then it's another story...
     
  7. chscag macrumors 68030

    chscag

    Joined:
    Feb 17, 2008
    Location:
    Fort Worth, Texas
    #7
    I use CrossOver which is actually an automated polished version of the latest WINE to run those Windows apps it's capable of running. The use of CrossOver or WINE does not require a Windows license to run Windows apps. However, CrossOver is not free but they do occasionally have a sale. Otherwise, all other methods mentioned do require a valid Windows license as stated by member "hallux".
     
  8. casperes1996 macrumors 68040

    casperes1996

    Joined:
    Jan 26, 2014
    Location:
    Horsens, Denmark
    #8

    Wine itself, as well as Wine Bottler that I mentioned, are free, so you can just use that :)
     
  9. chscag macrumors 68030

    chscag

    Joined:
    Feb 17, 2008
    Location:
    Fort Worth, Texas
    #9
    True. But I'm a bit lazy and don't like fooling with "bottles", etc. But yes, if you like playing around with WINE and can put together your own bottles, that's the way to go. By the way, I prefere Wineskin to Wine Bottler but both work pretty much the same way.
     
  10. casperes1996 macrumors 68040

    casperes1996

    Joined:
    Jan 26, 2014
    Location:
    Horsens, Denmark
    #10

    Pure Wine, sure, I get being too lazy for that - but WineBottler is quite easy. You can click any .exe and just click run.
     
  11. vkd macrumors 6502a

    vkd

    Joined:
    Sep 10, 2012
    #11
    No need for police with folk like you about eh! LOL
     
  12. hallux macrumors 68030

    hallux

    Joined:
    Apr 25, 2012
    #12
    That wasn't really necessary, now was it? Some people work in a job where being mindful of such things is rather important, it comes as second nature to be vigilant.

    Yes - I have a Windows VM on my Mac and yes it has 100% valid licensing, as does the Office 2016 for Mac suite installed on the Mac side.
     
  13. casperes1996 macrumors 68040

    casperes1996

    Joined:
    Jan 26, 2014
    Location:
    Horsens, Denmark
    #13

    Actually, it's fully legal to install Windows without the license too. Using tools to go around the activation thing isn't legal, but Microsoft let's you use Windows (with a reduced feature set) without activating it. I did it for 6 months for games before getting an activation key for it.
     
  14. HDFan macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    Jun 30, 2007
    #15
    I had a disaster with (early) VMWare fusion snapshots and lost the entire virtual machine disk. Switched to Parallels and haven't regretted it.
     
  15. SkyLinx macrumors member

    SkyLinx

    Joined:
    Mar 24, 2018
    Location:
    Espoo, Finland
    #16
    I definitely recommend Parallels for virtual machines on a Mac as it offers superior performance in comparison to others and it also integrates seamlessly with macOS, so Windows apps appear as if they run directly on macOS. It's also nicer to be able to run Windows apps this way vs rebooting into Windows each time. Parallels is money well spent IMO.
     
  16. BrianBaughn macrumors 603

    BrianBaughn

    Joined:
    Feb 13, 2011
    Location:
    Baltimore, Maryland
    #17
    The bottom line is that nothing meets the OP's requirements.
     

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