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Preparing to Install Windows on a Mac

You can create a partition to run the Windows operating system on your Macintosh computer using either:

  • Boot Camp -- Apple’s free software utility, installed in the Mac OS
  • a virtualization environment that allows you to run the Mac OS and Windows simultaneously -- for example, Parallels Desktop for Mac or VMWare Fusion

Which should you use?  Here's the tradeoff:

  • If you use Boot Camp, all of the RAM and processing power of your computer is fully available to your Windows environment. The price for all this power, though, is that you must reboot your computer to switch between the Mac OS and Windows.

  • If you use Parallels (or another virtualization environment), the RAM and processing power of your computer is split between the the Mac OS and Windows while the application is running.  The benefit, though, is that you don't need to reboot your computer to move between the environments -- they run simulataneously.

If your computer has 4 GB of RAM or more, I’d recommend running Parallels (or another virtualization environment) -- the convenience of being able to easily move between Windows and Mac OS typically outweighs the small performance decrease.

Installing Boot Camp

Go to:  Applications > Utilities > Boot Camp Assistant

Installing Parallels Desktop for Mac

You can purchase Parallels Desktop 13 for Mac Student Edition through many sources for $39.99.

What's Next

Installing the Windows OS

Configuring Your Virtual Machine

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