o, how do you get Windows on a Mac? Let me count the ways. Most of the popular Windows-on-Mac solutions require something special. Money. You’ll need a licensed copy of Windows, of course, but you’ll also need money to buy the app that lets Windows run on your Mac so it’s nicely integrated and easy to share files.
Or, you could take the free route, and use VirtualBox.
It’s Not Just A Box For Windows
Wait. Doesn’t Apple make Boot Camp available for Mac users? Doesn’t that run Windows? Yes. Windows all by its lonesome. You have to re-boot your Mac into Windows to use Windows.
If cheap and easy is what you’re after, VirtualBox is a good place to start.
Any recent Intel-powered Mac is a good place to start. Double-click VirtualBox to start up the setup process.
Make sure you have a copy of Windows, but you can also test out the various flavors of Linux on your Mac, too. Most Linux versions are easily downloaded and installable on Macs, but VirtualBox segregates the installation so it doesn’t own your Mac.
Once installed, you’ll be able to install various flavors of Windows– from NT, 2000, XP, Vista, Windows 7, as well as Linux (even OpenBSD if you’re a nerdy flavor of Mac user).
Both Parallels and VMware Fusion have frequent updates, and nearly as frequent upgrades (the former are free, the latter comes with a price tag). VirtualBox is open source so you don’t have to worry about price gouging.
Caveats? Oh, yes. Getting all Mac hardware options to work on the guest operating system, Windows or Linux or whatever, can be an adventure. Most of the time, basic configurations work OK, but you can spend hours trying to figure out why the sound doesn’t work, or a USB port doesn’t connect, and so on.
Maybe that’s just the price of free.