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Why a Hosted Desktop is better than using Parallels or Bootcamp to run Windows apps on a Mac

While some of the popular applications like Microsoft Office have versions that run on Macs there is a lot of business software out there that simply does not have a Mac version.

This is a frustration for many Mac users and the only solutions have been either a dual boot system like Bootcamp where you can boot to a Windows operating system, or a system like Parallels where you are running a second virtual Windows OS alongside Mac OS.

These solutions seem like complicated work arounds and compromises, and don’t really feel like the type of solution you would expect in a corporate business environment.


Why a dual boot system for your Mac is not the best way to run your Windows software

You bought a Mac because you like the way a Mac works, the way the software runs and the whole overall look and feel of the system.  So why should you compromise by closing down all your Mac software shutting down the machine and booting into Windows just to run that one business application.   If you need to run the application all day then it defeats the object of having a Mac.

When you bought your Mac, it included a licence for the Mac operating system.  If you then have a second Windows OS you then also need to buy a Windows 10 licence.  At time of writing that is £119.99 from the Microsoft Windows Store.

Your Windows OS will take up a large part of your disk, along with the data you save in it.

You need to be fairly IT savvy to set this up, or rely on your company’s IT support team (who never seem to know anything about Macs, let’s face it).


Why Parallels is not the best way to run Windows software on a Mac

Parallels is a great piece of software that enables you to run a Windows operating system as a virtual machine from your Mac OS.   This is great because you can still use your Mac for your day to day Mac stuff and jump into the Windows virtual machine (VM) to run the Windows stuff.   There are some downsides however:

The system resources you specified when choosing your Mac were designed to run all your Mac stuff.   Windows will take up a good chunk of memory and CPU even when just ticking over, so you either need to pay for more resources than you really need or suffer poorer performance.   When researching for this article I came across many reports that the Windows VM used so much resource that is slowed the Mac down to unacceptable levels.

As with the dual boot option the Windows VM will use up a good chunk of disk space.

As above you also need to fork out for a Windows licence.   Also check out your Microsoft Office licence in case it doesn’t allow you to install it on more than one device.  If it’s Office 365 you are probably OK, but a per device volume licence may mean your paying for Office for both devices if your Windows software needs to interact with Office.

Some software companies, for example Sage Accounts, don’t support running their application in Parallels.  So, if you have an issue then you may need to recreate it on a dedicated Windows PC before they will support you.

Setting up Parallels is also something for the IT literate among us, so if you’re not an expert with installing Windows from scratch or configuring software like Parallels on a Mac then let’s hope your IT team are.


Why a Hosted Desktop is the best way to run Windows software on a Mac

With a hosted desktop the Windows OS is running on a server somewhere in the cloud.  Nothing runs on the Mac except a very lightweight remote desktop application.  It might consume a couple of hundred MBs of memory on your Mac compared with about 4GB of memory that a virtual machine will use.

It requires no disk space on the Mac either.

Using “Remote Resources” it’s possible to just run the individual applications installed on the hosted desktop using the Mac, rather than running the whole Windows desktop, so the applications look and feel as if they are running on the Mac and you can switch between the local apps and the remote ones in the same way you can with just local apps.

There’s no need to buy Windows licences as these are included with the cost of the hosted desktop.

You can start working on the remote desktop (or the remote applications) using your Mac and then switch to your iPad later, the applications running will carry on in the background as if nothing had happened.


What to do if your company runs Windows software but you want a Mac

Get them to talk to the team at Your Office Anywhere to find out how easy it is to move the business software onto hosted desktops for everyone whether they run PCs or Macs.  They will even let them install the business software on a test server so you can try it out from your Mac before committing to the service.

Simply go to out Contact page or call 01282 500318.

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