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Top 5 Windows Emulators for Mac [Run on M1, OS X, +]

  • Most users consider replacing their Windows operating system with macOS.
  • But sometimes Mac users also want to experience Windows apps on their devices.
  • Check out the best Windows emulator for Mac here and replicate the PC environment at your will.

A Windows emulator for Mac is bound to do exactly what it advertises, which is to emulate Windows on Mac.

As such, it will be able to significantly increase the number of usable software on Mac. Here's how to make the most of the worlds, Microsoft and Apple.

There are two types of Mac emulators. The first is virtualization software, otherwise known as a virtual machine.

The second allows running Windows applications on Mac without the virtual machine. So it is Windows emulation on Mac. Not sure which one to use yet?

Here is a very small overview of our favorite options:

  • Parallels Desktop – Excellent Windows Emulator for Mac OS X (El Captain, Yosemite, Sierra)
  • VMware Fusion – Supports 200+ operating systems
  • CrossOver – Windows emulator on Mac without rebooting
  • VirtualBox – Free and open-source Windows emulator for Mac
  • WineBottler – Download an intuitive Windows emulator for Mac

How to Install Windows Emulator on Mac?

An emulator is a software application that operates in a secure and independent environment within your existing operating system. Its purpose is to enable you to run various operating systems, such as Windows 11, on a Mac computer or other operating systems of your choice.

To achieve this, you need to obtain the latest version of a reliable Windows emulator tailored to your specific operating system, which you can download and install. Once you have set up and configured the virtual machine with the new operating system, you can use it for your desired tasks.

Using a Windows emulator is generally considered safe, given that reputable companies develop these tools, and the virtual machine runs the guest operating system in a separate, secure environment. Even if the guest operating system is compromised by malware or other issues, your host computer will remain unharmed.

Which Windows emulator for Mac?

Windows Emulators for Mac
Windows Emulators for Mac

1- Parallels Desktop – Excellent Windows emulator for Mac OS X

Parallels Desktop is one of the most flexible and well-known Mac emulators. The software can handle almost all applications including Office suite.

With seamless integration, you can easily test your code across multiple platforms, which is great for app developers.

You can inclusively install a developer browser to make programming or web building even easier.

Even better, you can easily share files between your Mac and the virtual machine using drag and drop.

Parallels Desktop is incredibly simple to configure. For example, you won't have to get the ISO file by yourself. This excellent Windows emulator for Mac will automatically download Windows.

If you're a Boot Camp user, you'll love this news. It is possible to reuse your existing installation, so no need to reconfigure everything.

More cool features:

  • Touch Bar integration
  • One-click adjustment
  • Ability to launch Windows software from the Dock
  • Travel mode to extend battery life
  • Ability to view your resource usage

2- VMware Fusion

VMware Fusion is probably one of the best known software that allows you to run Windows applications on your Mac. And you can run it on most Macs launched from 2011 onwards.

The Pro version includes additional virtual network customization and simulation and even incorporates a new Fusion API.

VMware Fusion supports over 200 guest operating systems, and its Unity View mode lets you launch Windows software from the Dock, Launchpad, and Spotlight.

More cool features:

  • Switch between a window and full screen mode for the guest platform
  • Copy-paste and drag-and-drop files and folders between Windows and Mac
  • Good choice for Windows games Built-in 3D graphics engine for DirectX and OpenGL)
  • You can use Windows exclusive devices with your Macintosh.

3- CrossOver – Windows emulator on Mac without reboot

CrossOver lives up to its name and does a great job of running Windows apps on your Mac with native features like copy-paste, keyboard shortcuts and more.

With over 13,000 Windows apps to choose from, you can easily replicate the PC experience on your Mac.

It's even easier to switch between the two without rebooting or using a virtual machine.

More cool features:

  • Run Windows Software on MacOS Effortlessly
  • No reboot and no virtual machine installation needed
  • One-click installation
  • Does not affect your RAM and CPU usage
  • Seamless integration with your desktop environment.

4- VirtualBox – Free and open-source

If you are looking for a free Windows emulator for Mac, then look no further. VirtualBox is an excellent  completely free virtual machine .

Classified as a hosted hypervisor, VirtualBox runs on almost all desktop platforms. However, it does not run directly on hardware and requires the installation of an operating system in order to function.

Thanks to the supported OVF (Open Virtualization) format, you can easily run a virtual machine created on a completely different operating system.

The software does not require hardware virtualization. So there is no need to have features like Intel VT-x or AMD-V on your machine.

You will be able to assign up to 32 vCPUs to each virtual machine. Even better, virtualization is available for all types of hard disk controllers.

More cool features:

  • Seamless mouse integration
  • Shared folders and clipboards
  • Branch Snapshots
  • Remote access

5- WineBottler – Download an intuitive Windows emulator for Mac

If you want to run Windows applications on your macOS without having to install another operating system, then WineBottler is what you need.

This Windows emulator for Mac is simple to set up. However, it does not come with pre-installed apps.

Instead, it runs scripts to easily download, install, and configure these apps.

If the software you want is not available in the list, you will be happy to know that you can convert any .exe or .msi file into a Mac application.

More cool features:

  • Easy to use
  • No need to install Windows
  • Ability to convert .exe files into Mac applications
  • Based on Wine (open-source tool mostly familiar to Linux users)

Bootcamp or Parallels Desktop

Boot Camp is a native macOS feature that allows booting to both Windows and Mac. Why use Boot Camp? It's incredibly simple and even faster to use.

Since it doesn't run in a virtual environment, Boot Camp will make better use of your resources.

However, there are also downsides. Boot Camp allows you to create a dedicated partition for Windows and switch to it if needed. On the other hand, restarting isn't really an option for users who do a lot of multitasking.

Finally, Boot Camp runs directly on your hardware instead of the virtual environment. It is therefore less safe to use.

With this, we conclude our selection. Have you managed to find your favorite PC emulator for Mac? Do not hesitate to let us know.

FAQs Windows Emulators for Mac


1- How to Run Windows on a Mac with an Intel Processor?

You can use Boot Camp to install and run Windows on your Mac with an Intel chip. Boot Camp Assistant helps you create a Windows partition on your Mac’s hard drive and then start the Windows installation process.

2- What are the Best Emulators for Android on PC and Mac?

BlueStacks: the leading Android emulator for PC and Mac. Nox App Player: A rival that improves with every update. Genymotion: the emulator for developers. MEmu: the newcomer that is gaining ground. Phoenix OS, the near-perfect adaptation of Android on the computer. KOPLAYER, the small one that grew big.

3- How can I install Windows 10 on my Mac?

You can use Boot Camp Assistant to enjoy Windows 10 on your Apple Mac. Once installed, it lets you easily switch between macOS and Windows by simply rebooting your Mac.

4- How to Simulate Windows on a Mac with an M1 or M2 Chip?

Luckily, there is a very easy solution: the virtual machine, which lets you simulate another operating system. Parallels is now officially allowed to sell a Windows 11 simulator that works even with Macs with M1 and M2 chips.

My name is Duc "JOSEF" Le and I work in Digital Marketing at Mageplaza and BlogAvada. Mageplaza offers a comprehensive collection of over 230 extensions that are designed to work seamlessly with the latest versions of Magento 2 (Adobe Commerce). Meanwhile, BlogAvada is a blog that serves as a platform for sharing information related to websites, mobile apps, e-commerce, digital marketing, and other related topics. I encourage you to visit our websites to learn more about what we have to offer.

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