Windows on Mac: Boot Camp or Virtual Machine?

Which one is better? Installing Microsoft Windows on your MacBook using Boot Camp or virtualization software? Before you can answer that question you might want to consider the following:

  • What is your purpose to have Windows OS installed on your Mac?
  • It is because your favorite programs are not available in the Mac OS version?
  • Can you find similar apps in the Apple store to replace your Windows favorite programs?
  • How do you want to install Windows OS on your Mac?
  • Do you want to install it as a stand-alone OS or running side-by-side with your Mac OS?
  • If you want to run your Windows parallel with Max OS X, do you have enough resources (hard disk space and memory) available in your Mac?
  • How many resources you’re willing to share to run your Windows? 100% or 50% of your memory?

These are several things to consider before you decide to install Microsoft Windows on your MacBook system to run your favorite Windows based programs.

This post will not talk about how to install Windows on your MacBook. Instead, we will show you some advantages and disadvantages of installing Windows using Boot Camp versus a virtual machine. How to install Windows using these methods will be discussed in different posts. Both methods require Microsoft Windows installation disk or files.

Run Windows on MacBook using Boot Camp

Boot Camp is a built-in, multi boot utility included with Mac OS X that assists users in installing Microsoft Windows operating systems on Intel-based Macintosh. Using Boot Camp to install Windows does not require additional software. It simply adds a new operating system to your Mac machine. So it will be an additional stand-alone operating system. It will use 100% dedicated resources of your Mac. You can run Windows operating system on your Mac at native speed—without the performance penalty that comes with software emulation or virtual machines. You will get the full speed of your memory because you are not sharing your memory with other operating systems when using it. Only one operating system runs on your Mac machine.

Disadvantages: you have to reboot your machine to move to Mac OS X. Also, you can’t run both operating systems (Windows and Mac OS X) at the same time. Before I bought virtualization software, I run Windows using Boot Camp. Everything runs smoothly until you want to switch to Mac OS. It takes a while to restart your Mac to move to another operating system.

Run Windows on MacBook using Virtualization Software

“Virtualization software is most often used to emulate a complete computer system in order to allow a guest operating system to be run, for example allowing Linux to run as a guest on top of a PC that is natively running a Microsoft Windows operating system.” — Wikipedia

First time I saw my friend run Windows on his Mac using virtualization software. He uses Parallels virtualization software. I did research to compare virtualization software between Parallels and VMware. I think they are both great virtualization programs. I decided to try Parallels (see a snapshot of my Parallels app). I will not talk about Parallels here. I will discuss it later in a different post.

So, I installed Windows on my MacBook using virtualization software. It cost you some money to buy the software and I think it worth your money because you can run more than one operating system side-by-side. You do not need to reboot your MacBook to switch to different operating systems. But remember, you need to share your memory and hard disk space for different operating systems. This might reduce your computer resources and speed.

Short-term use, I don’t feel a reduction in the speed of my MacBook when running these operating systems at the same time. But I feel a slow response from my MacBook when using these systems together for a longer period of time. So I decided to upgrade my memory from 4 GB to 8 GB (see a snapshot of my MacBook system memory). Now my MacBook runs smoothly running Windows and Mac OS X at the same time.

By reading this post, I hope you can answer your question about whether your need to use Windows on your MacBook or not. Also, how do you want to install it on your Mac? Don’t forget to consider questions from the beginning paragraph in this post before you install it.

Disclaimer: The author of this post is an independent reviewer. He does not have a relationship with any vendors that make products or software mentioned in this post. This is from his personal experience using Microsoft Windows 10 on MacBook Pro.

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