Mac Daniel's Advice

Running Windows on Your Mac

Evan Kleiman - 2001.12.19

Q. How can I run Windows on my Mac?

A. Someone asked me this question a long time ago, and I did in fact write an article on it. However the world of PC/Windows emulation was shabby at best: slow, slow, expensive, and did I mention slow? But things are much better now. Today Mac users have several options, and they are all great.

Virtual PC

Virtual PC 5.0 by Connectix is the best solution for emulating Windows on a PC. As long as you have the computer to support it, go with it. VPC5 requires 260 MB of drive space to run PC-DOS (remember DOS?) and up to 2 GB on your hard drive to run Windows XP, so it's probably a good idea to clear some space if your hard drive is pretty full.


Drive Space



DOS 260 MB 64 MB 160 MB
Win95 500 MB 96 MB 192 MB
Win98/Me  1 GB 128/160 MB  192 MB
WinNT4 500 MB 128 MB 192 MB
Win2K/XP  1.5/2 GB  192 MB 256 MB
Linux 1 GB 128 MB 192 MB

VPC has many good points. My favorite, of course, is the fact that it has been carbonized to run under OS X, so if you use OS X, your best option is VPC5, because it's the only commercial product that supports your operating system yet.

The price of VPC ranges from US$99 and up, depending on which operating system you choose to go with it. However, in my opinion, since they seem to charge outrageous amounts for their versions of other Windows OSes than DOS in their OS Packs, it is probably better to order the DOS version and install the other OS yourself, if you know how. If not, it will probably cost you a good US$100 or so more to have it preinstalled.

The next option is RealPC by FWB software.


RealPC by FWB software is good for someone who wants to be able to fool around with any non-XP type of OS just for fun or doesn't really need a whole lot of speed. RealPC 1.1 officially supports Windows 98 second edition and will run under Mac OS 9.

FWB's best point is the fact that it is only US$35.95 for the CD version - and only US$29.95 for the downloadable version (plus US$10 for any CD copies you'd like from them, but you might as well just burn your own). Its requirements are somewhat much less than VPC's.

Another good option for all of you who don't really want to even pay at all is MacBochs, but be prepared for a challenge.


MacBochs is the perfect emulator for anyone who really wants a challenge. It is an open source project, which means you can download the code and edit it yourself, and it requires Mac OS X. It has many downsides, such as the fact that it has no sound emulation or CD-ROM support, but the price is right (free), and it is, of course, OS X compatible.

In the end, you really can get a lot out of your Mac when it comes to running Windows, if you wanna do that kinda stuff. LEM

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