Virtual Machines Software For Mac

admin 12/14/2021
  1. Virtual Machine Software On A Macbook
  2. Virtual Machine On Macbook Pro

VirtualBox is a powerful x86 and AMD64/Intel64 virtualization product for enterprise as well as home use. Not only is VirtualBox an extremely feature rich, high performance product for enterprise customers, it is also the only professional solution that is freely available as Open Source Software under the terms of the GNU General Public License (GPL) version 2. Mac Virtual Machine Software 101 Virtual machines, or hypervisors as they’re also known, allow users to emulate additional operating systems called a “guest operating system” in separate app window on their existing computer. A guest OS runs on top of the existing operating system, which is called the “host”. EnduraData software runs on VMs as well as on physical machines. EDpCloud is used for automatic secure file transfer, data delivery,continuous backup, server backup, data protection and workflow automation. EDpCloud replicates only file changes (deltas). SolarWinds Virtualization Manager. SolarWinds Virtualization Manager is the platform for.

If you want to run Windows on your Mac there are two ways to do it. One is to partition your main drive using the built-in Bootcamp Assistant and then install Windows on the partition that doesn’t house macOS. You can then boot into whichever operating system you choose.

While that method means running Windows natively and so is optimal in terms of performance, it means you have to reboot every time you want to move between operating systems and you can’t, for example, copy and paste between macOS and Windows. If you want to run Windows and macOS side by side, you’ll need to create a Windows virtual machine for Mac.

What is a virtual machine?

A virtual machine (VM) is a computer that’s created in software and looks and feels just like a real PC. But it runs inside a Mac application. The whole virtual machine, with the operating system and all its applications, is stored inside one big file on your Mac. That means you can have multiple virtual machines on the same Mac. Once you launch it and ‘boot’ the virtual PC, Windows VM on Mac behaves like any other Windows machine, except that it’s running inside a window on your Mac.

If you have two screens connected to your Mac, you can have macOS on one and Windows on the other. Or you can use Mission Control to swipe between them. A virtual machine can share accessories like printers and external storage with your Mac, and you can copy and paste between the two operating systems. You can even set up the virtual machine to use Mac keyboard shortcuts instead of their Windows equivalents.

Can I run a virtual machine on my Mac?

As long as your Mac has an Intel processor (and it will have unless it’s more than 12 years old), in theory it can run a virtual machine. However, running a virtual machine alongside macOS needs lots of memory (at least 8GB in total, and more if you want to run more than one virtual machine) and at least two processor cores. You’ll also need at least 16-20GB of hard drive space, and that’s before you start installing applications and saving files. Most modern Macs should run any of the virtual machine applications described here without a problem.

The other thing you’ll need is a copy of Windows. Virtual machine applications don’t come with Windows installers, so you’ll need to supply your own, along with a licence key.

Best virtual machine software for Mac

There are three contenders here: Parallels Desktop, VMWare Fusion, and VirtualBox. We’ll discuss Virtual Box in the next section.

Parallels Desktop 13

The latest version of Parallels Desktop has support for features in the latest Macs, like the MacBook Pro’s Touch Bar. It also allows you to make the Windows desktop ‘invisible’ when you’re running apps, so it looks like you’re just running Windows apps in macOS. Or, if you prefer, you can shrink Windows desktop down to a thumbnail preview, so it doesn’t get in the way but you can keep an eye on what it’s doing.

Of course, virtual machines aren’t just about running Windows on your Mac. Parallels Desktop allows you to install Linux, or a different version of macOS, say a beta of the next version if you don’t want to install it on your Mac. If you’ve previously installed Windows on a Boot Camp partition, you can use that partition as a virtual machine, allowing you to boot into it from within Parallels without re-booting your Mac.

Touch Bar support includes functions in Microsoft Office apps, as well as Windows Task Bar.

When it comes to performance, Parallels Desktop is about as good as it gets for virtual machines. That means you can run most applications just fine, but demanding 3D graphics-intensive games, and other apps that place lots of demands on the CPU and GPU are still a bit of a struggle. If you want to run those in Windows, you’re still better off using Boot Camp.

VMWare Fusion

The other main contender when it comes to running a virtual machine on your Mac is VMWare Fusion. It comes in two versions, Fusion 10, which costs about the same as Parallels Desktop, and Fusion 10 Pro, which is more expensive but adds feature aimed at enterprise customers, such as support for managing virtual servers.

In terms of features, there’s little to choose between Parallels Desktop and Fusion. Like its rival, Fusion allows you to choose between running Windows inside a window on your Mac (or full-screen if you prefer) and in what it calls Unity mode, where the operating system disappears and Windows apps look like they’re running natively on the Mac. That means you can run Windows and Mac apps alongside each other and switch between them seamlessly. You can also copy and paste between Mac and Windows, share peripherals, and map Mac keyboard shortcuts in Windows.

Virtual Machines Software For Mac

Support for OpenGL and DX10, as well as Apple’s Metal technology means that playing resource-hungry games is theoretically possible. But, as with Parallels, performance in the latest games lags behind Boot Camp and may prove frustrating.

The latest version of Fusion adds support for the MacBook Pro’s Touch Bar.

Choosing between Parallels Desktop and VMWare Fusion may be as much a matter of a preference for one or the other’s user interface. They have very similar features, and cost almost the same. Fortunately, both offer free trials — Parallels for 14 days and Fusion for 30 days — so you can download each one and try them out before making a decision on which to buy.

Best free virtual machine software for Mac

If you want to run a virtual machine on your Mac but can’t stretch to the $70 for Parallels or Fusion, there is a third option — VirtualBox. Owned by Oracle and made available as open-source software for personal or educational use, VirtualBox won’t cost you a penny if you fall into either of those two categories.

That’s the good news. The bad news is that VirtualBox, because it’s open source and free lacks all of the polish of Parallels Desktop and VMWare Fusion. While it does the basics competently, it’s much less user friendly and much less easy to use than the other two. And while there is help available online from other users, there’s no official support if you run into problems. And remember, while VirtualBox itself is free, you’ll still need to supply your own copy of Windows. Alternatively, you could use VirtualBox to run Linux on your Mac, instead of Windows.

Alternatives to a virtual machine

As we mentioned earlier, the alternative to running a virtual machine on your Mac is to partition your main drive using the built-in Boot Camp Assistant (it’s in the Utilities folder). You can then install Windows or Linux, or another version on macOS, on the other partition.

Boot Camp Assistant is very easy to use and once you’ve set it up, booting into, say, Windows, is just like using it natively on a PC. That means, of course, that you won’t be able to copy and paste between Mac and Windows, and you won’t be able to use external storage that’s formatted in APFS or Mac OS Extended, but Windows will run faster than it does on a virtual machine.

If you plan to use Boot Camp Assistant to partition your main drive, remember to back it up first. Partitioning a drive is not quite major surgery, but it definitely carries the risk of losing data.

How to make space for a virtual machine on your Mac

Depending on how many applications you plan to install on your virtual machine and what you plan to use it for, you may need tens of gigabytes of free space on your Mac. If space is tight, don’t worry, there’s plenty you can do to make room. As a first step, we recommend installing CleanMyMac X. It scans your Mac and looks for files that can be safely deleted. These include “junk” system files like cache files and other temporary files that are still hanging around, as well as language support files, and data in Photos and iTunes you may not need. Once it’s scanned your Mac and found all those files, you can delete them all with a click, or review the results of the scan and decide for yourself what you want to trash.

CleanMyMac can also uninstall files completely, getting rid of all the files that are left if you just drag and app to the Trash, and highlight large and old files that you haven’t opened for a while. Best of all, you can download it free here and give it a try. You’ll be surprised about how much space you can free up.

Virtual machines are the most convenient way of running a second operating system on your Mac. The ones we have highlighted here are the best VMs for Mac, so download one and give it a go.

We all know what a Virtual machine is. For those who do not let’s get the jest of it. Putting it most simply, “a virtual machine is an operating system that is installed on software, which imitates dedicated hardware.”

What actually happens here is that you are allowed to install an operating system without creating separate memory partitions on your memory. It simply gets installed in your current OS as a different operating system. All you need to do then is just power on the virtual machine, and you are ready to work on your new OS.

For instance, and most commonly followed pattern is that you can run a Linux distro on your Windows Operating System. Run MAC on your Windows computer and vice versa. There are many operating systems to choose from, some are lighter than others, some are based on Android too.

So let’s have a look at some popular and best virtual machines:


Platforms: Windows, OS X, Linux

Key features: Run multiple OS, resizable windows, support for Windows, Linux, MAC and other non-listed operating system using their image file (ISO, IMG etc).

Let’s start with Virtualbox since it’s the most hands-on of the bunch.

First, you start by installing it on your computer, but virtual machine software aren’t like other apps as the setup goes beyond just installing. Once you install, from there you have to create new virtual image setup and have to tweak a bunch of settings, for example, how much CPU core and video memory it gets from the total installed in your computer. The same goes for selecting the operating system image which you like to run in the settings and the same goes for sound and internet connection. Hopefully, if this is the first time and you are having a hard time, here is a step by step tutorial which will help you through the setup.

It is the most appropriate choice for beginners, a free and open source hypervisor developed by Oracle. It can load multiple guests operating systems on a single host operating system, even Mac OS. The best part of this kind of feature is that each guest can be started, paused and stopped independently. It can run the operating system in a breeze. The best of its features include its ability to run 64-bit guest’s virtualized application side by side with normal desktop applications. Although there is a limited support for 3D graphics acceleration.

The good news is that it’s open source and totally free, while the other VMware Fusion and Parallels (Virtual machine software) both requires that you purchase an annual license (which is yearly)to get future updates which pack more stability and improvements which sounds great but isn’t cheap on paper.

We want to let you know that you do not have to check other virtual machines if your requirements are very straightforward then the virtual box will be great for you, it can run almost all popular operating systems.

Related: Install and run macOS High Sierra on VirtualBox

VMware Workstation Player

Platforms: Windows, Linux

Key features: 64-bit software, Cortana support in Windows 10.

A division of Dell Technologies, “VMware Inc.”, initially released VMware in 1999. It will provide you a version which is free of cost for non-commercial use. It gives you a platform where you can set up two virtual machines on a single physical machine and use both of them at the same time without any hitch. One of the best features of this virtual machine is that you can save a snapshot at any point in time and then restore it later on at your own ease. This hosted hypervisor runs on x64 version of Linux and Windows operating systems. Another interesting feature is that of unity; you can create a seamless integration between the host operating system and the guest operating system just by hiding the virtual monitor.

Related: Install and run macOS High Sierra on VMware

Parallels Workstation

Platforms: MAC OS X

Key features: Cortana support in Windows 10, OS X’s quick look feature.

Parallels Workstation is a commercial proprietary software released on November 08, 2011. Five years ago, the developer of server virtualization software and desktops, “Parallels Inc.”, came forward with their very first software product. The platform for this hypervisor is x85-compatible. Basically, this hypervisor enables both the virtual machines to work with their processors, their RAM, their Floppy drive and hard disk, as a physical computer contains. Unlike Hyper-V, it provides pass-through drivers for the parallel port and USB devices.

VMware vs Parallels! Difference is subtle


Platforms: Linux, MAC, Windows

Key features: 32-bit and 64-bit installer, Control via command line.

QEMU stands for Quick Emulator. It is basically an open source hosted hypervisor which is free of cost. It was developed by Peer Maydell for synchronizing with various operating systems such as Linux, Microsoft Windows, MAC operating system and some other UNIX platforms. It majorly performs hardware virtualization. QEMU is flexible to work with because guest operating systems don’t require patching to run inside it. A very different feature of this virtual machine is that it stores virtual disk images in a special format (qcow or qcow2). This only takes up the disk space in the guest operating system. It also has a VNC server that allows the user to access the screen of the guest Operating system.

The virtual hardware support is limited but supports a wide range of processors including ARM, MIPS and other (Virtual Box support only 32-bit and 64-bit CPU architecture).

VMware fusion

Platforms: MAC OS X

Key features: Upto 5k iMAC monitor support natively (MAC)

Virtual Machine Software On A Macbook

VMware fusion was developed by VMware Inc. on June 22, 2017. It is a commercial proprietary software which was designed primarily for Macintosh computers. VMware was written in C, C++ and x86 Assembly. It is a hypervisor that allows Intel-based Macs to run an operating system such as Linux, Microsoft Windows, NetWare. This marked the entry of VMware in MAC based x86 virtualization. The latest version contains bug fixes and security updates.

It comes down that both free and paid version of Fusion provides the ability to run Windows from the Bootcamp partition as a guest operating instance so there will be no need to reboot your computer back and forth to switch from MAC to Windows (applies when your host computer is running on MAC OS). Although, Bootcamp is the free option to run Windows on MAC computers without any virtual machine software it needs to reboot your computer to take full advantage of hardware to gain better performance and stability. But the Fusion does have 5k native iMac display support as well as retina settings. You can use it’s unity mode to launch apps from MAC dock as if it’s native app.

VMware Server

Update: Discontinued

Earlier it was known as VMware GSX Server which can say as Ground Storm X. It is a free though closed source software developed by VMware Inc. on October 26, 2009. VMware Server provides x86 compatible platform. The number of features is comparatively less than that of other software available for purchase, but still, it works well enough for the users. One of the notable features of VMware Server is that it can preserve as well as it can revert to a particular snapshot of each virtual machine within the same environment. Such virtual machines don’t even have a specific interface for cloning virtual machines.

get VM server


Hyper Viridian, formerly known as Windows Server Virtualization, is a component of Windows server and was released alongside Windows server 2008. Hyper V can create virtual machines on x84-64 systems running windows. The final version of this native hypervisor was released on June 26, 2008. Its best-known feature is that it can expose a particular virtual machine to one or more networks. Hyper-V comes with some limitations like it does not allows the host operating system’s optical drives to pass through the operating system of guest virtual machines.

Which Virtual machine software is best for you?

Virtual Machines have their sort of merits on computers. Firstly, you do not have to leave or remove the current one because virtual machines can experiment with the other operating system. Then you can always test the newest versions of the operating systems, such as Windows or Mac. Virtual Machines are user-friendly and work efficiently, as easy as opening a new application.

It is not time-consuming as you can avoid various switching and it becomes easy to format hard disks. They are entirely separate from your computer as they will not interfere or damage your software. Virtual Machines allows you to run one operating system surpassing another operating system. The experience of the user remains same on both the virtual machines. When you get a virtual machine on your operating system, it ultimately behaves like you have a separate computer.


Virtual Machine On Macbook Pro

  • Parallels Workstation