How to run Windows on a Mac
There are many reasons why you may want to run a Windows operating system on an Apple Mac, typically it will be because there is a specific application that is only written to run in Windows. In a business environment, where Windows desktops are more prevalent, software vendors may not see the need to write Mac versions of their applications.
Some high-profile examples include Sage 50 Accounts, and also Microsoft Access where many small businesses have deployed Access database applications for their Windows desktops but, even though you can download Mac versions of most Office applications like Word and Excel, there isn’t a Mac version of Access.
So, it would appear that the only way for Mac users to be able to run these Windows centric applications would be to run a Windows OS on a Mac computer.
Is running Windows on a Mac a good idea?
Possibly not. Running a Windows operating system on a Mac is inevitably going to be a compromise. The two most common approaches are to use third party software to either run a second Windows virtual machine within the Mac OS (such as Parallels Desktop), or to boot into Windows instead of Mac OS when you start up the Mac (using Apples Bootcamp).
Neither of these options are ideal, booting into Windows inevitably means you will be constantly restarting your Mac when you want to switch between the Windows apps and your Mac apps. Having a Windows OS running as a virtual machine means sacrificing a large portion of your Macs processing power, as its split between two operating systems.
Is there a better way of running Windows on a Mac
For businesses wanting to use a line of business application on all their devices, whether PC, Mac, or even iPad and Android, the best option is to use a Windows remote desktop service. Remote desktops are Windows servers that you can connect to from any device and “remote control” them.
The experience is no different than if you were running Windows on the Mac, in fact it is better as you can simply run the remote application, for example if running Sage Accounts it would look and feel as if Sage was running on your Mac, except it isn’t it’s running on the Windows remote desktop. This uses negligible system resources on the Mac (all the processing is done on the Windows server) and you can easily switch between your Mac apps and your Windows ones. You can even copy and paste between the two. So, no compromise.
Remote desktops are a perfect reliable and stable alternative to Parallels or Bootcamp.
Isn’t running Windows on a Mac using a remote desktop server complicated?
Yes and No. Yes, it’s kind of complicated but by using a “hosted” remote desktop service like Your Office Anywhere it isn’t something you need to worry about. It’s all managed, maintained, and supported by the hosted remote desktop provider. So, running Windows applications on a Mac, or running a Windows desktop on a Mac is simple and straightforward.
All my colleagues have PCs but I use a Mac, can remote desktops still let me run Windows on a Mac?
Yes, the way it works is that all the people who need to use your business applications will run it in the remote desktop service, whether Windows PCs, or Macs. This has a lot of additional benefits beyond simply running Windows on a Mac, as all the users can now access their business applications from anywhere, so great if working from home. They could connect and run them on an Android tablet while sitting on a train even, and the business can save costs and risks by ditching any on site servers.
Won’t this be expensive?
For most small businesses running their applications on hosted remote desktops will work out cheaper then purchasing and maintaining their own on-site server. Especially when you take into account the external support, electricity, licences, anti-virus, backups etc. The saving over 5 years for a typical 10 user system would be several thousand pounds.
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