Running Windows on Mac

Many people know that I’m devoted Mac user, and I’m frequently asked about the best way to run Windows-based applications on a Mac OS X computer. I prepared this article for Trams and ClientBase users, but the information applies to anyone interested in running Windows on a Mac.


The first thing that a Trams Back Office or ClientBase user should take into account when using a Macintosh computer is that officially, Trams software will only run under Windows. For Trams Back Office and ClientBase Windows, Windows 7, Windows 8, Windows 10, Windows Server 2008 or Windows server 2013 are required.

For ClientBase Online and ClientBase Browser, Internet Explorer versions 8 through 12 are required. Note that CBO will not run on the Microsoft Edge browser.

It’s important to understand that there are some limitations and drawbacks to running Windows on a Mac. It is up to the user to understand how Windows and Mac OS X interact. Trams support cannot troubleshoot or help with running Windows on a Mac. For help with any of these issues, the user would need to contact Apple, Parallels/VMWare Fusion, Microsoft or their preferred IT person. As long as Windows is successfully running on the Mac, Trams support can help with any Trams-related questions.

With that said, there are a couple of ways to run Windows on a Mac. The two most popular ways to do that are:

  • Using Boot Camp, a solution that is built into Mac OS X
  • Using a third-party program to create a virtual Windows machine on your Macintosh computer

Using Boot Camp

As I mentioned, Boot Camp is a feature built into OS X. It can be used on any new Macintosh computer that runs on an Intel processor (which means less than ten years old!). With Boot Camp, one can create a separate partition that runs Windows. Effectively, it creates two separate computers on one machine. When booting the computer, the user has the option to run either Mac OS X or Windows. Since it’s a one-or-the-other prospect, it’s not possible to switch operating systems without rebooting the computer.

The benefits to Boot Camp include:

It’s built into OS X, so there’s no additional charge for the option
It runs faster than running a virtual machine
Since you’re only using one operating system at a time, troubleshooting a bit more straightforward

The downsides to Book Camp include:

One still needs to purchase a retail license for Windows ($120 or more)
It’s not possible to quickly switch between Windows programs and Mac programs
Exchanging data between the two operating systems is somewhat convoluted

Running a Virtual Machine (Parallels or VMWare Fusion)

There are two popular software products that let Mac users create a “virtual machine” to run Windows. They are Parallels and VMWare Fusion. The products are very similar and cost about $100 to purchase. A virtual machine is program that runs as Mac Application. While it’s running, it creates a Windows environment. They do a great job of integrating the two operating systems.

The benefits for using VMWare Fusion or Parallels include:

They make it possible to use both Windows and Mac OS X programs at the same time
It’s easier to share information between programs on the two operating systems
It’s more convenient than having to reboot to access the other OS

The downsides of running VMWare Fusion or Parallels include:

It’s a bit slower. Since both operating systems are running at once, it takes a lot of computing power
If you’re using a laptop, battery life can be greatly diminished
Understanding what’s Mac and what’s Windows takes some getting used to

I recommend looking at the official sites for these products to learn more:

Once you have Windows running on your computer, there isn’t really much difference from running on a native Windows machine.

(Rev. 09/17)

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