I am new to Mac and I am looking for a Windows emulator for Mac OS X. I want to use an application which is not available for Mac. Please recommend the strengths and weaknesses (including cost) of the various options available.

  • 6
    Downvoted because a trivial amount of Google searching would have revealed most of the answers below. I don't mean to disrespect the answerers, who have done good work.
    – Negrino
    Sep 5, 2011 at 0:59
  • I agree with Negrino. Sep 5, 2011 at 3:20
  • 3
    This question, as originally asked, could have been answered with a simple Google search. But there is a core question here that keeps coming up and hasn't been asked well yet. It would be a good thing to have an answer on Ask Different that explains the relative strengths of the various ways to run Windows programs on a Mac. I would encourage people to up vote, not down vote the question for that reason.
    – Daniel
    Sep 5, 2011 at 13:40
  • 5
    "You could Google that" is a glib answer to most questions that get posted in the SE network and is a poor reason for a downvote.
    – Ian C.
    Sep 5, 2011 at 21:21
  • 3
    @Ian - Yes, "You could Google that" is a terrible answer—but these are comments, not answers. Given that "question does not show any research effort" is a valid reason to downvote and people often want to know why their posts received downvotes, why not let the OP know how to improve?
    – Dori
    Sep 7, 2011 at 0:06

6 Answers 6



You could try Wine and use the Winebottler frontend for installing common Windows software.

With Wine isn't 100% compatible with all windows programs, so consider yourself lucky if all your applications work.


Virtualbox is a PC virtualization software. You'll need to install Windows as a "Guest operating system", which requires a Windows license.

Virtualbox is compatible with all Windows software, but has limited support for hardware 3D acceleration.

Boot Camp

For 3D games you'll need to use Boot Camp.

  • Thanks do I need Windows OS to run Windows application using Wine?
    – unk1102
    Sep 4, 2011 at 20:34
  • Nope, Wine doesn't need a windows os.
    – Bob Fanger
    Sep 4, 2011 at 20:40
  • Its not working for the windows application I want to use. Is there any other open source software to do the same?
    – unk1102
    Sep 4, 2011 at 21:19
  • 2
    @Umesh Kacha, if you want better answers, you need to provide more info. What Windows app do you want to run.
    – ocodo
    Sep 5, 2011 at 0:54
  • @slomojo its pc to phone dialer by s-unno.com. Its available only for Windows.
    – unk1102
    Sep 5, 2011 at 9:44

When using the term "emulator", it is important to distinguish between something that acts like Windows to applications (like Wine/Crossover) and something that acts like a PC to Windows (most of the other solutions) so that Windows can be installed.

Wine (Free)

I highly recommend Wine, which allows for running Windows applications without actually emulating the whole Windows OS. I don't know how well it works with 3D stuff. I would also not recommend compiling it yourself. You do need to install the Developer Tools, included on your computer's install disc. I would recommend Winebottler, a free binary installer that also allows you to turn a Windows executable into a simple application that launches in X11.

Wine (and Crossover) do not require an actual copy of Windows installed on your machine.

Crossover ($39.95)

Professionally supported enhancement of Wine

Q (Free)

Q is a great lightweight CPU emulator for OS X. Oddly enough, it runs on PPC Macs, in addition to Intel Macs. It supports emulating x86, x86-64bit, PPC PowerMac, PPC PREP, SPARC32, MIPS, and ARM processors.

Virtualbox (Free)

Virtualbox is not quite as lightweight as Q. It supports x86 and AMD processors. It allows multiple operating systems to run on your computer.

Boot Camp (Free) - Comes with all Intel Macs

I would recommend Boot Camp for 3D stuff. I haven't actually installed it on a Mac, I've used a friend's computer, so I can't help you with installation. As with anything Apple-related, it should be pretty straightforward. It also runs really well.

QEMU (Free)

Another lightweight emulator. This one is somewhat confusing to download; I think you have to compile the emulator by hand.

VMware Fusion ($80) by VMware

I don't use VMware (I like the free stuff), but I've heard good things about it.

Parallels Desktop ($80)

I haven't used Parallels, but it used to come for free with a new Mac. It still may, but I'm not sure.

  • Boot camp required external Window installation?
    – unk1102
    Sep 6, 2011 at 11:44
  • 1
    BootCamp requires you to have your own copy of Windows. Look up TinyXP or Tiny7.
    – daviesgeek
    Sep 6, 2011 at 15:36

Two possible solutions to the problem you seem to be trying to solve (as opposed to the question you asked):

  • Dialectic, a shareware, script-able dialer.
  • Jon's Phone Tool, an earlier, discontinued, version from the same author. Free(?).

Both claim to be able to dial a modem.


CrossOver ($40)

(was not mentioned by the other two answers).

  • 1
    Can you edit your answer to add some description of what Crossover is?
    – daviesgeek
    Sep 5, 2011 at 21:30

What about Parallels? Here's the trial link.

This is what my Intuit and MacBook help desk representative recommended.


CoolROM has a list of Macintosh / Mac OS X Emulators:

  • MacMAME - Arcade
  • Stella - Atari 2600
  • Jum52 - Atari 5200
  • Atari800MacX - Atari 5200
  • SDLMESS - Atari 7800
  • Virtual Jaguar - Atari Jaguar
  • Handy - Atari Lynx
  • Frodo - Commodore 64
  • Boycott Advance - Gameboy Advance
  • Visual Boy Advance - Gameboy Advance / Color
  • KiGB - Gameboy Advance / Color
  • OpenEmu - Multiple Systems
  • NeoRaine - Neo Geo CD
  • Neopocott - Neo Geo Pocket
  • RockNES - Nintendo
  • Nestopia - Nintendo
  • sixtyforce - Nintendo 64
  • Mupen64 - Nintendo 64
  • DeSmuME - Nintendo DS
  • Dolphin - Nintendo Gamecube
  • Fusion - Sega CD / Master System / More
  • lxdream - Sega Dreamcast
  • Generator - Sega Genesis
  • Genesis Plus - Sega Genesis
  • SMS Plus - Sega Master System / Game Gear
  • Yabause - Sega Saturn
  • PCSX-Reloaded - Sony Playstation
  • PCSX2 - Sony Playstation 2
  • JPCSP - Sony Playstation Portable
  • Fuzzbug - Spectrum ZX
  • BSNES - Super Nintendo
  • Snes9x - Super Nintendo
  • ViBE - Virtual Boy
  • Oswan - Wonderswan
  • While this link may answer the question, it is better to include the essential parts of the answer here and provide the link for reference. Link-only answers can become invalid if the linked page changes.
    – Tetsujin
    Apr 30, 2015 at 6:17

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .