Weekly Poll: How Do You Run Other Operating Systems on your Mac?

If you have a Mac, chances are you didn’t even consider other computers because you wanted one that runs OS X. Apple makes great hardware, but it’s the great software with great hardware that makes a Mac. Even still, there’s many times you might need to run another operating system. From running an Access database for work in Windows or testing out a Linux server config locally, there’s many reasons you still might want to run another OS on your Mac.

Thankfully, there’s many choices. There’s the built-in Boot Camp, which gives you a free way to run other operating systems directly on your Mac. Then, there’s a number of virtualization tools to let you run other OSes on top of OS X, including the newly updated VMware Fusion and Parallels desktop, as well as the free open source VirtualBox.

That’s why we’re curious: how do you run other operating systems on your Mac? Or are you just fine only using OS X? We’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments below!


  • Ian C.

    I’ve tested Parallels, VMWare Fusion, and Virtual Box, multiple times. VMWare seems to be the most reliable/rugged, but Parallels is much faster.
    Virtual Box is still slowest, but has improved dramatically over the last few years.

    For work, I use Parallels, but if it was just for home use I might go with the zero cost of Virtual Box … none of my testing involves challenging (3D) gaming

    • http://iynque.com iynque

      I’m curious what apps you use Parallels for and what line of work you’re in that requires it.

  • Manuel Camacho

    I began using VMWare Fusion ever since I bought my first Mac (back in 2007) because I was curious, young and relentless. I only had Windows XP in a “just in case” use. Since I’m studying a computer science career, I had been using the virtual machine quite a lot (although I always try to find the “Mac” alternative, which is almost always there). It wasn’t until I starting developing for Kinect that I had to install Windows 7 via BootCamp (because the Kinect SDK doesn’t support virtual machines). Given I have the BootCamped OS, I eventually deleted my Win XP virtual machine and uninstalled VMWare Fusion. ‘Twas a sad day.

  • http://iynque.com iynque

    I use bootcamp to run Windows 7, and I mostly use/maintain Windows on my Mac for gaming. Only occasionally do I find a need to boot into Windows for some site/software that doesn’t work with Mac OS, but when I do need it, it’s very nice to have.

    I’ve tried lots of virtual pc apps, from Virtual PC on my PowerPC iBook (now owned by Microsoft and used to run Windows inside of Windows, not Mac OS), to VMWare Fusion, to Parallels. I haven’t tried VirtualBox because I already had Parallels running quite well when I learned of VirtualBox.

    I now have a Parallels installer in my Applications folder, just in case, but I use Bootcamp to run Windows exclusively now. I don’t have any specific need for running any Windows-only app side-by-side with a Mac-only app, so the stability and power of booting into Windows is a much better option for me.

  • http://denbeke.be DenBeke

    I’ve got extra hard drives for other OS. I’ve also more partitions.
    rEFIt boots everything for me…

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