I have an old PowerBook G4 12" with 1,25 GHz and 786 MB RAM, actually MacOS X 10.4.11 is installed.

I'd like to give it to my son, but he likes (among others) to use learning games/software, which are made for Windows (.exe).

  • What is the best way to run Windows Software on this old Mac?
  • Do I need to install Windows in a VM,
    or is there something like WINE which lets me install the .exe directly?

(I had also considered to install Linux on the machine (e. g. MintPPC http://mintppC.org/ ), to have a more recent OS, if that would help or make any difference...)


I already found the PowerPC section in the WINE project, see PowerPC Mac, but I don't fully understand which options do exist in my case and which should be the best one.

They write:

Older Macs using PowerPC processors are incompatible with code compiled for x86 (Intel and AMD) processors, unless the code is run under CPU emulation. Wine Is Not a (CPU) Emulator, nor does it include one.

  • So if I understand correctly, WINE will not work on a PowerPC Mac as it does on an INTEL Mac and I could use it only in combination with a CPU emulation like Q?!


Furthermore there seems to be Q or Qemu, which seems to emulate a guest PC and therefore needs an installation/license for Windows (and maybe more ressources?)


If I remember correctly, I have an old version of VirtualPC somewhere, if that might be a better option.


  • 1
    Virtual is not an option because it will run very very slow due to less RAM and processor speed. You can give a try to Wine if it is workinf on PPC.
    – Pratik
    Mar 14, 2015 at 16:27
  • see my edit: if I understand correctly, WINE can not work on PPC without a CPU emulation. Is a CPU emulation different from a virtual machine, or is it the same? Mar 15, 2015 at 2:44
  • 1
    @Martin A virtual machine is a wrapper. A cpu emulator would require changing code, really fast, as it calls for it. Also, wine can be run on PPC (I have done it before) but it required so much work and hotfixes it wasn't really usuable.
    – Spotlight
    Mar 15, 2015 at 13:47
  • @awesomebing1: thanks, but I do not really understand yet, could you explain what you mean with "wrapper"? Mar 15, 2015 at 21:19
  • 1
    @Martin It sorta transfers calls that the program makes to the Mac app.
    – Spotlight
    Mar 15, 2015 at 21:23

1 Answer 1


VirtualPC is the most stable option, but x86 -> PowerPC instruction emulation is slow and cannot be used to play games at all, unless it's legendary Solitaire.

Mac OS X 10.4 is the fastest OS X system you can find for PowerPC Mac, but the system itself will eat 512 MB from available RAM for adequate speed and that leaves you with 256 MB for Windows, not enough to run Windows XP, maybe Windows 95?

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