10 Best Virtual Machine for Mac to Run Other OS – [2024 Updated]

Updated December 23, 2023

Even if someone prefer using a Mac for business, there’s a chance that they’ll need to use some Windows-only programs on their computer at some point. They might even have to run Linux or any other OS on their Mac.

Virtual machines (VMs) can help with it. You may simulate a second computer onto the laptop or on the desktop using virtual machine software. Unlike GBA emulators for iOS and for Android which you can use for playing iOS and Android gaming, these VMs can be used for installing Windows and other Operating Systems on your MAC system.

You can install the Windows OS and all of its related programs on your Mac by setting up a virtual environment using a reliable virtual machine program. Additionally, you may be able to run different operating systems, for example Linux, depending on the program. Emulators for PC does not utilizes CPU while Virtual Machines can utilize the CPU as well, thus makes it faster to load the softwares.

Without having to buy other computer, you can utilize Windows software (or those from other platforms) on the Mac by using a virtual machine. The 13 virtual machines for mac to run OS are listed below.

What is a Virtual Machine?

The macOS operating system supports virtualization software like VMWare Fusion or Parallels Desktop, which enables you to build a Virtual Machine (VM) that simulates the hardware for a Windows PC. So, you may install Windows or any other operating system, like Linux, on the VM you created on your Mac. This is a fantastic solution because it enables you to simultaneously use your primary Mac apps and the Windows software you require. The only drawback is that running Windows as a VM requires a fairly fast Mac with lots of memory and storage because it basically runs two operating systems on your computer at once.


Virtual Box

Oracle created the an open and free source of virtual machine software called VirtualBox. VirtualBox gives you a lot of control over the virtual environments because it was made with developers and the IT specialists in mind.

You may operate your own servers with VirtualBox, and it supports a huge variety of guest operating systems. Although VirtualBox has made some upgrades that gives it more value, the interface still seems fairly antiquated and is not as streamlined as competing virtual machine applications.

The fact that VirtualBox doesn’t provide any kind of technical support for the users makes the process even more difficult; you’ll have to look for assistance in the free guidelines on the web page or on the user forums. Although the VirtualBox software is free, if you intend to use the virtual machine (VM) for an extended period of time, you might need the license for your copy of Windows.

Because it displays a lot of technical information and specifications without providing many instructions or descriptions for newcomers, the VirtualBox interface might be frightening. It takes far longer to create a new virtual machine than it would with VMWare Fusion Player or Parallels Desktop, and you will need to know specifics like how much RAM, CPU power, or hard drive storage to give your VM.

2. VMWare Fusion Player

VMware Fusion Player

VMWare is a major player in the virtualization industry. VMWare Fusion Player was created by keeping home users in the mind, despite its primary concentration on large-scale enterprise solutions.

You can utilize Windows applications from the macOS computer whether running VMWare Fusion either in the Unity mode or in a full-screen Windows emulator. Most current iterations of macOS, such as Big Sur, are interoperable with the most current version during the time of writing, VMware Fusion 12 Player.

The most recent version was created to give extensive capabilities that are appealing to app developers and tech enthusiasts while yet being more user-friendly than previous versions. For household usage, the cost is a tad excessive, especially when you include the Windows license.

Fusion has a cost free personal usage license which can be used by students, home users and other such groups, which is a blessing.

The level of customization VMware Fusion Player provides is one of the features we adore the most. Any OS can be virtualized; the app provides you a lot of power. For instance, if you wish to configure the virtual machine to function as a separate network device. Additionally, you have more control over how the machine uses resources. When using your MacBook to run a virtual machine, these functionalities come in handy.

3. Boot Camp

Boot Camp Mac VM Machine

You can run Windows alongside macOS using Boot Camp, a free app which comes with your Mac. A section of your hard disk is set aside by the Boot Camp Assisting program for Windows installation. This enables dual-booting, which lets you select between logging into Windows and macOS each time your Mac boots.

You can use all of your available storage and CPU cores for running Windows applications to the fullest speed while being logged into Windows. As the host OS is still functioning, virtual machines, in contrary, can just be used as a limited amount of resources.

Although Boot Camp is free, if someone want to utilize all the capabilities of the Windows edition that they install, they will need to buy a Windows license. Additionally, you will lose access to the macOS while being logged into Windows, making it impossible to utilize both Windows and Mac applicationos at the same time.

Unfortunately, you won’t be able to use Boot Camp completely if you own an Silicon Apple Mac (with the M1 chip). Otherwise, this is among the simplest ways to fully utilize Windows on a Mac without sacrificing performance or functionality.

On the plus side, utilizing Boot Camp to install Windows or Linux on your Mac doesn’t cost anything more. Additionally, since Apple created the system, you have a few advantages.

4. Parallels Desktop for Mac

Parallel VM Machine

The main benefit of Parallels Desktop is how simple it is to use. From start to finish, technical knowledge is not required. However, if you have previous virtualization and VM knowledge, you may dive right in. The software also provides a high degree of customisation possibilities. It is safe to conclude that Parallels Desktop combines the greatest features of both worlds.

You may run the Windows from your macOS with the help of Parallels Desktop, a simple virtual machine program. Parallels features two modes. Using Windows applications on the macOS desktop while hiding the Windows interface is possible using coherence mode. It appears as though you are using a PC while using the default setting, which makes the Windows interface fill the full screen.

Parallels Desktop is less expensive than competing full-featured virtual machine software and offers a simplified UI that is simple to learn even for beginners. However, remember that you still have to buy a Windows license for the VM if you wish to activate the copy of Windows.

Even with the most recent M2 Pro processors, it functions well. But don’t count on the fastest speeds while using Macs with Intel processors.

5. Crossover


Codeweavers created the software called Crossover. Without using a virtual machine, it makes use of the open source Wine program to run Windows applications directly from your Mac desktop.

You don’t need to buy a Windows license for running Windows software on Crossover because it doesn’t need a separate desktop. This also implies that Crossover may run a second operating system with no more memory or processing power, giving you superior performance for applications like graphic design software.

The drawback of Crossover is that not every Windows application can be run through it, and it can take some time for new releases to be added to the compatibility list.

Nevertheless, before purchasing Crossover, you can easily browse a list of the apps that are currently supported by it and utilize a form to request new software.


Qemu VM Machine for Mac

Another open-source program that serves as both an emulator and a virtualizer is QEMU. The program may now be installed on OS X thanks to a different utility called Homebrew, even though it was originally designed to support Windows and Linux operating systems.

Install Homebrew first, then launch the Mac’s terminal and type this command. Install Qemu with $ brew.

Next, copy the OS image file to your documents folder or another folder of your choosing. Please see this website for more information.

QEMU is a wonderful alternative for running a guest operating system on a Mac machine even though it lacks the extensive capability of the other tools on our list.

7. Oracle VM VirtualBox

Oracle VM for Mac

Oracle VM VirtualBox is your best option if you’re seeking for a free virtualization program to use. It is an open-source program with several outstanding capabilities, including 3D virtualization and simple file transfers between the guest and the host operating systems. VM VirtualBox could be easily installed on Windows, Linux, or Solaris in contrast to the tools.

You can run numerous guest operating systems at once, and Linux, Windows, Solaris, as well as the OpenBSD are among those that are supported. A fascinating feature is the ability to move a virtual machine (VM) developed on one of the hosting computer to another host running another operating system.

VM VirtualBox could not be as user-friendly as the other software, as is the case with most open-source programs. As a result, I wouldn’t advise a novice user to utilize it. However, they do make an effort to simplify things by supplying pre-built virtual computers that are customized for particular applications and by posting tutorials on their website.

However, you have to accept the reality that there is no official support, therefore you will have to rely on tools that other users have made available. These might not be particularly helpful if you have a particular issue that has never been encountered before or if you need a solution right now.

8. Cloudalize

Cloudalize Run OS on Mac

A typical virtual machine program is not Cloudalize. The Windows OS is now hosted also for the cloud; you don’t have to install it on the Mac to use it as the host; all you have to do is sign in the account. And the best part is that you don’t have to worry about software setup or upkeep. Additionally, it demands fewer resources overall.

The finest feature is that Cludalize’s Windows OS is already licensed and setup, unlike the Windows OS in some other solutions. Your payment will still be depending on how much of the GPU and OS you use, and you would still have full administrative powers to install any applications you require.

However, the best feature of Cloudalize is that you are not constrained to a single device. You can access your Windows environment by logging in to the virtual environment from any Mac machine. Only the Windows OS is supported by Cloudalize.

9. Windows 365 Cloud PC

Window 365 Cloud

Windows 365 has the ability to seriously compete with established virtualization tools like Parallels Desktop or VMware Fusion. However, Windows 365 is currently quite pricey and is primarily intended for large corporations, not for individuals or start-ups that often utilize Parallels or Fusion.

However, it is pricey for individuals, students, and smaller enterprises, so users of the Fusion and Parallel will likely continue to use those programs.

Microsoft’s own servers are used to host a virtual machine which is created by Windows 365 and saved in the cloud.

Your Mac, or another devices, be it an iPad or any other Windows PC, receives the video image of the Windows desktop from your cloud PC over your broadband connection.

10. Wine 8

Wine 8 for Mac

Wine, which enables you to run the software for Windows without needing Windows itself, is basically the third technology choice after Boot Camp and virtualization, as was previously discussed. Microsoft Direct3D and the most recent versions of Vulkan are both supported by Wine 8. The OCSP network protocol now has more support. Wine is a strange but practical choice for running software Windows on the Mac.

Wine is an open-source application that is also available for free download, similar to VirtualBox. Wine is the only software in this group that doesn’t even need a copy of Windows at all, unlike the other programs, which all employ traditional virtualization technologies to build a virtual system for installing Windows.


Everything you need to know about installing a virtual machine on the Mac is covered here for you. The top three choices we made are without a doubt outstanding in every manner. But if using Windows applications on your Mac is more important to you, you should also explore the other possibilities.

Which virtual machine works the best on a Mac?

Despite the benefits and drawbacks of each virtual machine, Parallels Desktop is the best recommendation for running Windows or any other operating systems on a Mac. When you want to set up Windows in the most frictionless manner possible, it works fantastically.

Is using a VM legal?

Utilizing a VM on your Mac is entirely legal. A virtual machine on the Mac will utilize system resources just like a program, as we previously discussed. So, using it is similar to using any other software. When it comes to controlling the OS, you should ponder the legal implications.

What is superior? For a Mac, VirtualBox or VMware?

If you want the most control over the virtual machine, VMware Fusion Player is our pick, even though a more thorough comparison may indicate otherwise. On the other side, if you only require minimal features at no charge, you should choose VirtualBox.

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