For Mac users, if they need to run some programs that are exclusive to Windows, they should either install Windows to dual-boot between macOS and Windows or use a reliable Windows emulator for Mac. What is the right emulator to choose? This post will introduce some powerful emulators for users to run Windows on Mac easily.

Though Mac computers have become more and more popular in recent years, there’s still chance people need to use some programs and software that are exclusive to Windows operating system (OS). At this time, you have mainly 3 choices:

  • Find a Windows computer to run the necessary applications.
  • Install a Windows operating system on Mac to dual boot it.
  • Use Windows emulator for Mac to run Windows applications on Mac easily.

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What Is Windows Emulator for Mac

What does emulator mean? To be specific, it’s a hardware or software that makes one computer system to behave like another computer system. An emulator is very necessary when you need to run software or use peripheral devices that are not supported by your system (designed specifically for another system).

A Windows emulator for Mac enables your macOS to behave like Windows operating system so that you can run Windows programs and software on macOS easily. On the contrary, without a Mac window emulator, you’ll need to install a Windows OS for dual-boot on Mac in order to run the Windows exclusive applications.

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A special partition will be created on your drive by the emulators for storing the applications. A large memory is needed to store the emulator itself, Windows installation, and the applications you want to run.

An emulator or a virtual machine is actually needed for running Windows on Mac. Both allow you to run applications that aren’t compatible with your Mac hardware; but emulator and virtual machine are indeed different.

  • The virtualization tools are able to offer the best possible performance by using the Mac hardware.
  • However, in the emulation process, no hardware is involved; it is all replaced by software.

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Best Windows Emulators for Mac

Is there any free Windows emulator for Mac? What is the best emulator to choose? A few popular emulators are listed in the following in random order.

#1. Boot Camp

Designed by Apple, the Boot Camp allows you to install Windows together with macOS on your Mac computer and dual-boot while utilizing full Mac hardware. It is a free emulator; you don’t need to pay any money except for the license for Windows. Boot Camp is built in every Intel Mac and you can access it from the Utilities section in the Applications folder.

Apple Boot Camp

One of the main advantages of Boot Camp (other than it’s free of charge) lies in the speed. You run Windows (not on top of macOS) by using Boot Camp, so less RAM and fewer processor cycles are needed when compared to other similar solutions. However, you’d better install Windows as a real operating system on your Mac, instead of using Windows emulator, if you want to play Windows games or use demanding applications.

How to run Windows programs on Mac:

Since you can run only one operating system at a time, you have to restart your Mac computer to switch from macOS to Windows (or vice versa). After booting into Windows successfully, you can install and run all the applications you need on your Mac.

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#2. Parallels Desktop

Parallels Desktop is another PC emulator for Mac which delivers fast and stable performance, so a lot of people prefer to use it to run Windows programs on Mac without installing Windows.

  • Parallels is easy to set up and use.
  • Parallels is updated frequently to support the new OS and hardware.
  • You can run Windows on Mac without rebooting it by using Parallels Desktop.
  • It provides more than 30 utilities to simplify the tasks.

Parallels Desktop

#3. VMware Fusion

VMware Fusion is not a free Windows emulator for Mac; it will cost you some money, but it deserves the money. With the help of VMware Fusion, you can run Windows OS inside a window on your Mac, just like you run an application on Mac, without rebooting.

  • You can use any Mac apps while using a Windows operating system.
  • The latest version of VMware Fusion can support Sidecar, Dark Mode, and MacBook Pro’s Touch Bar.
  • It supports 100s of operating systems, including Windows 10, the latest macOS, and even Linux distributions.
  • It allows you to install and use Windows apps easily and the Unity mode allows you to run the Windows file browser as an application in macOS.

VMware Fusion

#4. VirtualBox

VirtualBox is a free and open-source tool that allows you to create a virtual machine on your Mac computer to run Windows and Windows applications. It is one of the most powerful virtualization products suitable for both home users and enterprises.

  • VirtualBox allows you to run Windows and its programs without rebooting Mac.
  • It is easy to set up and use.
  • It well supports Windows systems, apps, games, audio, and 3D graphics.
  • It has a paid version that offers IT support and improved features.


VMware vs VirtualBox, Which Is Better For You?

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