How to run Windows apps on your Mac with CrossOver
Every once in a while a Mac user will say, “Man, I wish there was a version of (insert program here) for Mac. I’d buy that in a heartbeat.” It’s happened to me more times than I really want to count. Luckily, most apps I want to run on my Mac exist as native apps.
However, there are a few that slip through my fingers, like Microsoft’s Visio Professional. It doesn’t exist on the Mac side and I really need it for my daily work as VP of Software Quality.
Fortunately, there are several ways to run Windows applications on your Mac.
- You can use Apple’s Boot Camp and run a full Windows installation natively on your Mac
- Use a virtual machine like Parallels Desktop
- Install Windows applications directly with crossing and use a Windows application like any other native Mac application
There are pros and cons to each, but the latter – installing Windows apps directly under CrossOver – is a bit different, and it offers distinct advantages if you know how to get things done.
With CrossOver, you don’t install Windows and then the application. It’s all about the app, and the app alone. Luckily, although CrossOver is different, it’s not difficult to use. However, there are a few things you need to know. For example, CrossOver does not run ALL Windows applications. Some run better than others, and some won’t run at all.
What’s the best way to install Windows apps?
When trying to figure out the best way to install a Windows application, consider the pros and cons of the three different ways to run Windows on a Mac — natively, through VM, or through CrossOver:
How to Install Windows Apps on Your Mac Using CrossOver
If you want to install Windows apps on your Mac without all the overhead associated with Windows, follow these steps.
- Move towards CodeWeavers and download crossing.
Go to your Downloads folder and locate the zip file you downloaded. Double-click it to open it. Archive Utility will open it and unpack the contents of the archive.
Double click on the CrossOver.app in your Downloads folder. It will offer to move to your Applications folder.
CrossOver will start for the first time. When it does, it will ask you how you want it to work. By default, it runs in trial mode. However, you also enter your registration information or purchase a license directly from this page.
In the screen that appears, click the Install a Windows app button.
Type it name of the application you want to run. CrossOver will search its database and display the appropriate matches.
- Click on the application you want to run. CrossOver will display compatibility information from its database, telling you how likely and how well it works.
Click it Continue button.
- Select one install source.
- Click it Choose the installer File. A Finder window will slide over the app and allow you to navigate to where you stored the installer file.
- Select the application.
- Click it Use this installer button. You will return to the Select Installation Source screen.
Click it Continue button. Remember: CrossOver will not find and download the software you want to run for you. You actually need to have the installer file for the software you want to run.
- Select a bottle.
What are bottles?
CrossOver is powered by the Wine Project. As such, all Windows applications are installed in “containers” called bottles (get it?). When you first install an app, CrossOver will create a bottle and automatically place your app there. As you install new apps, CrossOver will also give you hints on which apps can work and play well in the same bottle. If your apps fit in the same bottle, putting them together will save space. If they can’t, CrossOver will tell you and offer to create a new bottle. It will also suggest a name for it. Keep the suggestion or give the bottle a name of your choice.
Click it Continue button.
- You will be taken to the Ready to Install screen. CrossOver will give you a summary of what it installs, where it will install it from, and the name of the bottle where it will install it. CrossOver will also install any necessary supporting software (such as .NET Framework or link).
Click it Install button.
The software will install. CrossOver displays a progress screen where it will not only run the bottle creation, but it will download any necessary supporting software and then run the installer you chose. Once the installation process is complete, you should be ready to run your software.
- Click on Ended. The installation process will close.
- Click it Crossover icon in the Quay. The CrossOver Collections screen will appear, listing all the bottles you have installed on your Mac.
Find it bottle you have just created and run your software.
Running Windows and Windows apps on a Mac can be tricky. Finding the right method for you and your needs can be just as difficult; However, if you think about it, there are several ways to run Windows on a Mac.
Some are expensive. Some are not.
Some are time consuming and complicated. Others are not.
CrossOver isn’t just easy to use, it’s affordable. For less than 1/4 the price of Windows plus the price of the app you need to run, you can run it on your Mac. For the odd application, it’s a total no-brainer; and it’s pretty easy to do. If you want to make sure your app works with CrossOver before you try it, you can always search for it on their website.
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