How to run Windows on a Mac
There are many reasons why you may want to run a Microsoft Windows operating system on an Apple Mac desktop or MacBook Air, typically it will be because you want to run Windows programs that are only written to run on a Windows PC. In a business environment, where Windows desktops are more prevalent, software vendors may not see the need to write versions of their applications for devices running MacOS.
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 desktop versions of most Office applications like Word and Excel, there isn’t a MacOS 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 Microsoft Windows operating system on a Mac is inevitably going to be a compromise. The two most common approaches are to either use third party software such as Parallels Desktop or VMware Fusion to install Windows on a virtual machine within the Mac OS; or to use Apples Boot Camp Assistant to install Windows on a second Boot Camp partition and boot into the Windows partition instead of running MacOS when you start up the Mac
Neither of these options are ideal, booting into the Windows partition with Boot Camp Assistant 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 using Parallels Desktop or VMware Fusion 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 multiple users 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 Windows 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 applications. You can even copy and paste between the two. So, no compromise.
Remote desktops are a perfect, reliable, and stable alternative to Parallels or Boot Camp.
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, to run Windows programs on a Mac, or running a Windows desktop on a Mac is simple and straightforward. Certainly more straightforward than managing a dual boot machine.
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?
OK, you may not want to use this just to play Windows games but 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 consider 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. You also do not need to budget to reinvest the same outlay every so many years when your version of Windows goes out of support.
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