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While Apple provides Bootcamp How To Try Out Windows 8 On Your MacBook Air How To Try Out Windows 8 On Your MacBook Air If you're reading this article, you're probably a user of Mac OS X, but that doesn't mean you shouldn't be intrigued. If Windows 8 has captured your interest, why not take it for a test... Read More , a built-in OS X application for installing Windows on your Mac, the virtualization program What Is a Virtual Machine? What Is a Virtual Machine? Virtual machines allow you to run other operating systems within your current operating system, but why does that matter? What are the pros and cons? Read More VMWare Fusion 6 ($59.99) allows users to run Windows without restarting their Mac, which Bootcamp requires. This is why we have added Fusion 6 to our Best of Mac page.

On occasion I use or test Windows only programs like Dragon Naturally Speaking, MarkdownPad MarkdownPad: A Fully Featured Text To HTML Editor For Windows MarkdownPad: A Fully Featured Text To HTML Editor For Windows Read More , and DesignPro 5 How To Create New Design Projects Using Avery DesignPro How To Create New Design Projects Using Avery DesignPro Read More , and I can easily do so by firing up VMWare Fusion and it, in turn, launches Windows inside a separate window on my Mac desktop. There’s little or no hassle using Fusion, and in fact the only learning curve may be how to get around the Windows platform.

Getting Started

VMWare Fusion (download here for free trial or upgrade purposes) can run on any 64-bit capable Intel Mac running OS X 10.7 or later, with a minimum of 4GB of RAM, 750MB of disk space for Fusion itself, and another 5 gigs for the virtual machine. Fusion can also run other operating systems, including Linux Curious About Linux? 5 Easy & No Risk Ways To Try Linux On Your Windows PC Curious About Linux? 5 Easy & No Risk Ways To Try Linux On Your Windows PC Want to check out Linux, but fear you might wreck your existing Windows installation? Don't. There are plenty of risk-free ways to try Linux, from live CDs to USB keys to virtual machines. Whether you're... Read More and Ubuntu. The VMWare.com site provides step-by-step instructions for installing Windows 8 using Fusion, or for upgrading from VMWare Fusion 5 to 6.

Important Features

If you’re a long time Mac user like me, you might not be too familiar with the Windows platform, and running the OS on your Mac may feel odd at first. You can download our free Getting Started Guide to Windows 8 guide to learn more about the platform.

Using VMWare Fusion, I run Windows on my Mac as if I’m running any Mac application. Fusion opens Windows in a separate application, and all of the OS’ features are made available.

VMWare Fusion-8

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The start page consists of a handful of default Windows applications and features, including Sky Drive How To Keep Your Files Synced With SkyDrive In Windows 8.1 How To Keep Your Files Synced With SkyDrive In Windows 8.1 Storing data remotely and syncing them across devices has never been so easy, especially if you're using Windows 8.1. SkyDrive received a significant update, improving its integration with Windows and adding interesting new features. Read More , the Windows Store Simply Install Apps And Games In Windows 8 Simply Install Apps And Games In Windows 8 One of the key benefits of the new Windows 8 Consumer Preview is the addition of the Windows 8 Store, absent from the previous Windows 8 Developer Preview. This new tool streamlines the process, allowing... Read More , and the different media folders. You can control-click on an app to unpin it from the start page, as well as click on the “All apps” button in the pop-up menu bar and pin an application to the start page.

VMWare Fusion 15

Viewing Windows

Fusion allows you to view the Windows OS either in a separate window, full screen, or through what is called Unity. The separate window view allows you to use Windows applications right alongside your Mac programs. You can also drag files from your Mac Finder onto the Windows desktop, and vice versa, as well as copy and paste text between platforms.

Fusion_copy

Note: If dragging files to or from Windows doesn’t work, click on Virtual Machine > Install VMWare Tools in the menu bar. For some reason these tools did not install by default for me when I upgraded to version 6.

If you want even better access to Windows applications, you can enable the Unity feature. In Unity mode, the Fusion window and Windows desktop spaces disappear, and opened Windows applications appear squarely on your Mac desktop right alongside OS X applications. While working in Unity mode, you may forget you’re working on the Windows platform. To exit Unity, click on the Fusion icon in the dock and deselect View > Unity in the Fusion menu bar.

Other Features

What’s great about Fusion is that it provides full access to the Windows platform without having to exit OS X. Fusion even connects to the printers connected to your Mac so you don’t have to open Windows documents on your Mac to get the job done.

If you need to keep Fusion open and accessible throughout the day, you can select to suspend or pause Fusion. The suspend button is located in the Fusion toolbar for quick access.

VMWare Fusion-10

You might be surprised to know that the OS X voice-to-text feature also works in Windows via Fusion; click on Edit > Start Dictation.

Bottom Line

VMWare Fusion is fairly easy to set up and it pretty much tucks out of the way while you work with your Windows software. If you have never used Fusion before, take it for a test drive to see how the Windows applications you plan to use perform in the virtualization setting – you might be pleasantly surprised!

Download: VMWare Fusion 6 ($59.99)

Let us know if you use virtualization software like VMWare Fusion or alternative, below.

  1. Reg Hacquer
    November 30, 2013 at 1:55 pm

    So, convince me that this is better than Parallels Desktop, VirtualBox, or any other virtualization software that's out there...

    • Bakari Chavanu
      November 30, 2013 at 6:22 pm

      Lol, Reg, sorry I can't do that. I've only used VMWare. Have you given it or other virtualization software a trial run?

  2. Anthony
    November 30, 2013 at 1:52 pm

    Why do you recommend this over VirtualBox? VirtualBox is free, and though I've not used it with Windows 8, I've used it many times for Windows XP and Ubuntu guest OS, all running on my Macbook Pro..

    • Bakari Chavanu
      November 30, 2013 at 6:24 pm

      Anthony, thanks for letting us know about VirtualBox. I've never used, but maybe other readers would be interested in checking it out.

    • Mychelle
      December 3, 2013 at 11:23 am

      I'd like to know that too. Maybe you guys can do a comparison? Also, is VMware sluggish or laggy? I've had that issue with older trial versions I've tried.

    • Bakari Chavanu
      December 3, 2013 at 7:15 pm

      Mychelle, VMWare hasn't been sluggish for me. But I have to admit I haven't put it to its full test because I only use it for a few applications that I can't run on Mac. It's been responsive for me.

  3. donjaymy
    November 30, 2013 at 1:26 pm

    How do I download this to my appliance?

    • Bakari Chavanu
      November 30, 2013 at 6:26 pm

      Donjaymy, the download link is in the first paragraph of the "Getting Started" section. There are step by step instructions during the download process.

  4. Anonymous
    November 30, 2013 at 10:54 am

    We are a Mac office that must use a business specific windows based database program. We also must be networked so we all have access to this database. VM fusion fits the bill !! Easy to install, easy to set up and works seamlessly in our Mac environment.

    • Bakari Chavanu
      November 30, 2013 at 6:27 pm

      Thanks for the feedback. Glad it's useful for you.

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