Today we are going to review the best Windows emulators for Mac in 2021. PC emulation software allows you to run Windows platforms and programs on Mac. This means that you can open a Windows operating system on a macOS with a PC emulator.
Windows emulators can greatly expand the amount of software you can open on Macs by running programs that are otherwise exclusive to Microsoft’s operating system.
There are two types of emulators. The first is virtualization software that emulates operating systems with virtual machines. The second type of emulator allows you to run Windows applications on Mac without any virtual machine. Since there is no virtual machine, you don’t need any Windows product key to run the programs with non-virtualization software.
Best Windows emulators for Mac in 2021
VMware Fusion 10
VMware Fusion 10 is a simple emulator package with which you can run Windows software on Macs. You can run WMware Fusion 10 on most Macs released after 2011.
Fusion has a $79 price tag, but there is also a pro version available for $159. VMware Fusion 10 Pro includes additional virtual network customization and simulation and incorporates a new Fusion API.
VMware Fusion 10 supports more than 200 guest operating systems. Fusion’s Unity view mode allows you to launch Windows software from Dock, Launchpad and Spotlight.
The software also allows you to switch between single-window, full-screen mode for the guest platform, copy, paste, drag, drop files and folders between Windows and Mac.
Fusion is a good choice for Windows gaming as it incorporates an accelerated 3D graphics engine for DirectX 10 and OpenGL 3.3. Another great advantage of Fusion is that you can use Windows-only devices with your Mac when Windows is active on the Mac.
But if you prefer to open Windows inside macOS, Oracle VirtualBox (VB) is exactly the kind of software you’ll need.
This is software that supports multiple platforms. In addition to using Windows software on Mac, you can also run macOS programs on Windows (XP and above) and Linux with VB. You can download VirtualBox.
The best thing about VirtualBox is that it supports many operating systems. You can open 32-bit and 64-bit Windows platforms from ’98 onwards, Solaris, Ubuntu, Debian and even DOS as VB guest operating systems. The software synchronizes hardware and platforms almost perfectly, and Virtualbox also supports 3D acceleration.
Therefore, the software takes full advantage of your system’s 3D graphics with a little extra configuration. Quite a few VB settings need to be adjusted to configure the virtual machines, but the software includes many advanced features.
Parallels Desktop 13
Parallels Desktop 13 is one of the most flexible and unique Windows emulators for macOS. The standard version of Parallels Desktop currently sold for about $79. However, there are also Parallel Pro and Business Editions that include advanced networking and software development tools.
Parallels Desktop supports numerous guest operating systems, including Windows (from 3.11 onwards), Chrome OS, macOS and Ubuntu.
What sets Parallels apart from some alternative virtualization packages is how it integrates Windows software with the host Mac platform. Parallels users can run Windows software from the Mac Dock similar to Mac programs. In addition, you can copy, paste, drag, drop folders and files from the Mac desktop to the host platform.
You can even open Windows programs without the desktop on the guest platform. It also offers some tools to archive, create a GIF, drive cleanup, video conversion, audio recording and video downloading tools, which are not something you’ll get in every emulator software.
You don’t always need emulator software to run Windows programs on Apple Mac. Instead, you can install Windows separately with BootCamp.
Boot Camp is not really emulation software, but it is a Mac-included utility that allows you to add another operating system to Apple laptops or desktops as part of a dual-boot configuration.
You can install Windows 10, 8.1 or 7 on a Mac with BootCamp and then set up the newly installed operating system as your default platform.
If you only need to run Windows desktop software on your Mac, you don’t need a virtual machine application. CrossOver Mac is one of the best emulators that allow you to run Windows programs without a virtual machine.
The CrossOver emulator is currently priced at $39.95. There is also another CrossOver package for Linux systems.
CrossOver users can run thousands of Windows programs that are compatible with the software. This index page currently lists 15,144 programs that you can run with CrossOver. Since there is no virtual machine, CrossOver is more efficient in terms of system resources. With CrossOver’s installer, you can quickly find and install Windows programs on your Mac and then run them.