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Running Windows 8 on your Mac

John Moltz | July 10, 2012
Maybe you have to do it for work. Maybe you're just curious. Maybe you're a glutton for punishment who lives on the bleeding edge. Maybe you lost a bet. Whatever the reason, you want to run the Windows 8 Preview Release.

Then select how much disk space you want to allocate to the Windows drive. Unlike partitioning a drive using Disk Utility, this process won't wipe your existing data; it'll just allocate a section of your free space for Windows. (If you want to reclaim it later, you can run Boot Camp Assistant again to remove it.) Put your burned Windows 8 install disk in the drive and click Install.

Your Mac will restart, and you should see the dreadful... uh, I mean happy Windows installation dialog. You can take it from there. I don't support Windows unless you're family.


While Boot Camp will let you run Windows natively, Parallels almost makes installing Windows 8 a pleasure by comparison. Well, OK, you're still installing Windows, so maybe that's stretching things a bit, but it takes care of a lot of the process for you.

First download and install Parallels from that company's website. Parallels kindly offers a two-week trial period; after that the software costs $80 for a license.

Once you've installed the software, launch Parallels. Downloading Windows 8 is an option on the main screen. Select it and click Continue. Select a language, and Parallels will then even provide the activation code for you. It's almost like OS X, which has no activation codes! Except with activation codes!

If you uncheck the 64-bit Windows version box at the bottom, Parallels will download the 32-bit version instead. The only reason to do so might be if you have a Mac with less than 4GB of RAM. The 32-bit version of Windows 8 only requires 1GB of RAM versus the 2GB required for the 64-bit version.

You can then select to run Windows applications as if they are Mac applications, without having to view the Windows desktop, or to run Windows as an independent environment--"Like a PC," is how Parallels puts it. Then you'll be asked where you want to store the virtual drive file, which is the Windows data drive. Parallels also handles the Windows installation process for you, using your OS X user information to set up a Windows user.

VMware Fusion

The first thing you'll need if you opt for this approach is an online account with VMware to download the software. The account setup asks for your name and address as well as a phone number. (No, the company will not call you up and ask "Is your virtual machine running?" before shouting, "You better run and catch it, then" and hanging up. I mean, I would do that, but VMware is more professional about these sorts of things.)


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