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Windows on a Mac

by Eban Jackson

According to various publications including Fortune Tech and Tech Crunch, Apple’s iPhone controls the smartphone market in the US. This, I’m sure, comes as no surprise to most smartphone users. What may come as a surprise, however, is the fact that, despite how consumer trends are portrayed in film and television, Apple laptops own a significantly smaller portion of their market share than their smaller sibling.

Apple does, however, still go to great lengths to market to and provide users with a friendly and aesthetically pleasing personal computer that appeals
to a target audience of younger consumers, with college students chiefly among them. I’m not going to posit a case for Macs over PCs or vice versa here and I’m going to assume that there are numerous readers in both camps.

What I’m going to do instead is offer the following advice pertaining specifically to Mac users intending to use their computer even when they may be required to utilize
proprietary Windows software or perhaps simply chose to do so for preference.

For a user who wants to run Windows on their Mac laptop, the advice is quite
simple: Employ a virtual machine instead of using bootcamp. Now for the why and
how – bootcamp allows a user to install a second operating system on their Mac
computer. This means that the computer’s hardware is shared, by a means of partitioning, between the native Mac operating system and the Windows operating system. This is a completely viable option, however it can use up valuable hardware
space and functionality.

Another downside to using Bootcamp, or dual booting, is that the
two systems cannot run simultaneously; one must reboot their computer to employ the desired operating system. The better option is to utilize a virtual machine, or VM.
A Vm sits on top of the host hardware via a software environment called a hypervisor. General users don’t need to know the specifics of how VMs work, just how to
employ them. And it’s quite simple. The only tools needed are a viable Windows OS
image and Oracle Virtualbox (available at https://tinyurl.com/2e2xx). There are
numerous resources and tutorials online explaining how to create a virtual machine
running a Windows distribution so I will spare you the technical steps in this article
save to say that the process is as simple as clicking a few buttons, locating the correct
file and initiating a standard installation.

I’ve created one such tutorial on my personal website that details exactly how to create a virtual machine running Windows in VirtualBox. You can view my tutorial
at https://tinyurl.com/y72fywsq. One of the primary benefits of running a virtual machine is that your hardware is not partitioned and is thusly less taxed than when dual-booting. Another benefit is that you can run the two systems simultaneously.
This means, among other things, that you can listen to the music in your iTunes on your Mac while you work on your spreadsheet in MS Excel on your Windows VM.

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