Computers & Mobile
Run Windows apps without Windows

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Handy tip from the prolific Evil Mad Scientist Laboratories on running PC apps without using Windows…

One of the nice things about having an Intel-based Mac is that you can, in principle, run a variety of operating systems including Microsoft Windows. You can do this using Apple’s Boot Camp utility, or through virtual machine programs such as Parallels.

I recently came across an esoteric “Windows only” electrical engineering program that I wanted to run on my Mac (LTspice/SwitcherCAD III — more about that later). And, while contemplating the $200-$300 cost of a legitimate Windows license, it might occur to you that the goal in this case is to run a program that runs under Windows– not actually to run Windows itself.

So why not look at Wine? Wine is a venerable software compatibility layer that allows unix-like operating systems to run programs designed for Windows. It turns out that there is even a Parallels-like virtualization environment so that you can run programs programs in Wine alongside Mac programs. It’s called Crossover Mac, and it’s $60 from Codeweavers.

And the verdict? It’s not for everyone, but it’s a great start.

Run Windows apps without Windows – Link.

8 thoughts on “Run Windows apps without Windows

  1. Wow! Thanks- that looks really useful! I wonder how much of the open source-type stuff that we usually need to use under Windows would work with it.

  2. Been using Linux for just over 2 years now, and honestly I can say that there is a LOT of things that Linux does and does well–but niche Windows programs ain’t one of them.

    Don’t buy a $200 dollar copy of Windows. Just get a scrap computer that has a sticker on it, and use that to install your Windows. Recycling and computers have never gone more hand-in-hand.

  3. Wow! Talk about misinformation. Before you spend $60 on the limited compatibility of Wine in Crossover Office do a little more research. There are just 13 applications that receive a “Gold Medal” for compatibility in Crossover office. Many are known not to work at all.

    On the other hand, a copy of Windows XP is about $90 at newegg, not $200 to $300. If you have a Mac that will work just fine with Boot Camp.

    Then if you want to get fancy, add Parallels Desktop for just $80 and you can run Mac and Windows apps from the Mac desktop!

  4. Also, it should be mentioned that Wine and its derivatives are not virtualization environments at all and are in no way “Parallels-like.” They are API-level emulation, which translates Windows API calls to UNIX. It’s not a Windows emulator or virtualization environment so much as a Windows clone (which piggybacks on another OS for its system calls, much like how Windows itself used to basically be a graphical frontend to DOS services).

    Wine’s development has historically been biased towards games and simple apps. For any real work or more complicated apps (especially things like Office et al) you’re much better off with a real virtualization environment (and personally I prefer VMWare Fusion over Parallels, if only because VMWare has been in the virtualization game longer and Fusion gets pretty frequent updates which actually fix bugs and add new features and so on).

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