Tuesday, 21 May 2013

How to run Windows (exe) software on Mac OS X?

Even though you own a Mac OS X you will still look out for technical methods to run a Windows application on Mac OS X. We know windows executable files are in .exe format while Macs have .dmg or .pkg format for their executable applications. To make things simpler, Mac can run Windows OS through bootcamp partition or third party emulators like Parallels for Mac are able to run Windows applications simultaneously in an emulated environment without booting into bootcamp partition. The latest Parallels Desktop 8 for Mac supports Windows 8 on your OS X.

Installing and Running Window apps through Parallel for Macs software
  • Mark it, parallel for Macs are not bagged with the Windows OS installation copy. So, users must own their own genuine Microsoft Windows OS installation disk or an .iso image of the Operating System. If you don't have the disk with you, then find one on Ebay.com, Amazon or visit a Microsoft retail store.
  • As we know Parallel for Mac run virtually you have to find the option located on the top-menu, File & Select New. This will give you an option to “Install Window through DVD or a stored Image file”. An OS disk or the image file saved on the Mac hard drive will help you upload and shoot the further process.
  • You will be asked to provide Windows OS key. Further you can opt to select for 64-bit version of Windows.
  • Next option asks, “How to use Win OS on Mac”. It gives option like use it as a PC where a separate window comes up and launches your Windows application from it. With this window it's easy to move Mac files to PC and vice-versa by just drag-and-drop. The next option is use it like a Mac, where it launches similar to other Mac applications, without a separate window.
  • You can also put a name for your Windows OS. A name like Window8_Mac would be fine for my purpose.
  • After all these fields have been filled appropriately, click with continue to begin installation of Windows from the DVD or image through interface of Parallels for Mac software.

Did you know, this emulator tool was previously named as “Parallels Workstation”, but this name renamed unpopular amongst many Mac users. Later it was renamed to Parallel for Macs and it is today a huge success and flawless method to run Windows OS virtually on a Mac OS X without creating a partition for the same on the Mac hard drive. With the help of this tool you may also upgrade your existing Windows OS to a higher version with the help of this tool. E.g.: Window 7 to Windows 8.

So, this was all about an emulator making you to enjoy windows apps on Mac but at times you may not want to spend above asked price for the emulator tool neither a full fledged Windows operating system on Mac? For few Window applications and playing some of the most popular games you can opt for free resources that enables running of .EXE files on a Mac OS X.

First such application to evaluate is:

Wine Bottler – Good thing about this app is it's free and run .exe application on Macs. Unlike the Parallel for Mac, it is not an emulator. In fact, WINE expands to “Wine Is Not an Emulator”. Once again, you must remember that this application is not suited for operating everything that can be run on a Microsoft OS. Just focus on single or few windows apps that you wish to run badly on OS X. WineBottler comes under Stable and Unstable versions both of which are capable to run on Snow Leopard, Lion and Mountain Lion. Download the .DMG file from website http://winebottler.kronenberg.org and install the tool on OS X Mac. All done, launch the app and let's review how great it works.
  • Drag the icons, Wine and Winebottler to application folder.

  • Launch the installed application and you will be welcomed by below screen-shot. The WINE utility contains three features displayed on the left hand side of the window. With Existing Prefixes, you can check out the list of Windows supported OS and down to this is the option to Install Predefined Prefixes. This one is for your needs now. Simply browse the default applications and select one of them & click Install. In the list of prefixes you will mostly find multimedia applications such as media players (traditional but popular media player for Windows such as Winamp), Microsoft Internet Explorer which you won't find on any of the Macs. Other such needy applications are the IrfanView, textpad and WinFF.
  • Any time the WinBottler freezes to no response, you can simply force quit by pressing the button located on the top-left of the software interface.

  • The third option which is “Create Custom Prefixes” is a facility that will help you install an application that might not be listed in the list of WineBottler. It’s obvious, Winebottler utility possess basic Windows application and for others unlisted apps you have to make use of its third option. Before proceeding, you should check for the Windows App downloaded so that executable file (exe) is located on OS X. From the Install File menu, browse the path of the file through Select File button. The next processes includes simple manual walk thought the application installation process.

Disadvantages of WineBottler application - Though, it sounds useful and cheap, it has plenty of packed disadvantages which may let you find another likewise options.
  • WineBottler is dead slow sometimes. Perhaps it all depends upon the type of application you are dealing in with. Often the utility is fine and works satisfactory with some of the default applications.
  • It may not give you an exact Microsoft application what you wanted it for. 
  • Winebottler uses X11 which is an additional tool that helps it run on OS X. There are other tools like Wineskin that don't use X11 support.
What is X11 and prefixes after all?

Prefixes are the alternative word used for applications stored in the Winebottler application. The Predefined Prefixes is the list of defined applications on it. X11 is the real cause of how this utility runs the .exe files on Mac OS X. To know we might have to go deep about its working but overview suggested that it doesn't install the file on Mac but bundles it into the OS X environment. The entire process of running and installing the application pops out the X11 files on the Mac dock.

Let us quickly Evaluate WineSkin which serves the same purpose as Winebottler.

Wineskin supports Mac OS X Snow Leopard, Lion and Mountain Lion & is a good choice for gaming and non-gaming applications. The latest beta version of the WineSkin application doesn't need support of X11 files that were previously needed by Winebottler to execute windows application all the time. Other similar features of the tool are free of cost availability and exact manner of bundling PCs application on the Mac OS X hard drive.

Make your choice as per your requirements. Looking for complete PC environment on your Mac OS X then go for bootcamp or Parallels for Mac software. Else, install WINE to run few basic applications and popular games on Mac.