Windows on Mac: Dual Boot or Virtual Desktop?

In summary: It's like running two computers in one, but you can switch between them really easily.In summary, if you want to run a modelling program on your Mac, you should consider using a virtual desktop instead of dual booting or buying a separate computer.
  • #1
dRic2
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I need windows on my mac to run some modeling programs, but I'm not sure whether go for dual boot or virtual desktop. I have all my programs already installed and I fear that dual boot + installing all the programs again will suck too much memory space... on the other hand I have never enjoyed the idea of virtual machines.

Any suggestion?

Thanks
RIc
 
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  • #2
Ram space would be unaffected by dual boot. Can you buy and install a second hard drive into the Mac and install windows on the second drive?
 
  • #3
Thanks, but I've never done that, I'm going to look it up on google.

Otherwise I could sell my mac and buy a new pc... :olduhh:
 
  • #4
You’re better off having separate machines running in parallel instead of dual booting especially between Mac and windows. Filesharing becomes an issue with respect to text files the lf vs crlf line termination as well as other things.
 
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  • #5
jedishrfu said:
You’re better off having separate machines running in parallel instead of dual booting especially between Mac and windows.

Well I'd like not to buy an other computer. If that is the case, then I'll probably have to sell my mac
 
  • #6
Windows machines are pretty cheap relative to what you paid for the Mac. Also the Mac has a unix-based OS and in the ling run for software development, its a better platform especially if you also need to develop for Linux too.
 
  • #7
jedishrfu said:
Also the Mac has a unix-based OS and in the ling run for software development, its a better platform

That's way I saved up money and I bought one... and it took me quite a long time too. Plus I had like 200 Euros of discount. If I buy a windows pc only to run this program it will be, to me, just a waste of money, and I can't afford to spend 700/800E for a windows pc with very high specs.

I'll see what I can do
 
  • #8
What modeling program are you using? Blender and Maya both run on Mac, I do plenty of 3D modeling and it's all done on my Mac. Even if it's Windows-only, it's entirely possible you could simply run it as-is through Darwine. I have many Windows-only programs running on my Mac through Darwine wrappers.
 
  • #9
I have used Parallels on my Mac with good results (but only with Windows XP inside).
 
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  • #10
I use Virtualbox on my Mac with a Windows 10 VM. It works very well but needs quite a lot of RAM for the VM not to impact on Mac OS X too much. I wouldn't use the Windows VM for doing much modelling work though. If I need to do that I use a Windows box and use remote desktop to it.

Cheers
 
  • #11
Hi, I think modeling is the wrong word (I apologize). Basically I have to run this program, written in c++, to simulate the behavior of a flame. It's just lots of calculations, nothing special. I'd like to use MATLAB and excel too (that I've installed on my mac). It's written by my professor and I think it is windows only since it runs a .bat file and use the command prompt as main window.

I've a macbook air
 
  • #12
dRic2 said:
Hi, I think modeling is the wrong word (I apologize). Basically I have to run this program, written in c++, to simulate the behavior of a flame. It's just lots of calculations, nothing special. I'd like to use MATLAB and excel too (that I've installed on my mac). It's written by my professor and I think it is windows only since it runs a .bat file and use the command prompt as main window.

I've a macbook air
Is it all DOS? you can look at the .bat file with a text editor, to see what it does.
 
  • #13
The program is actually very easy. I've to write some text files with all the properties I want and the right algorithms and then give them to it. It's like a compiler
 
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  • #14
Running the program under a virtual Windows is probably the best approach, unless the program is very resource intensive.
If it is very resource intensive, it could be still better to increase memory on your one machine.
A second PC to run one program is a technically more efficient solution, but could be unnecessarily more expensive .
Dual boot is a possibility, but freqently rebooting could get painful.
 
  • #15
If it’s written in c/c++ then you might be able to recompile and run it on your Mac. The gotcha would be if your prof used windows specific apis or windows GUI.

However, if it simply computes and writes to the screen or a file then there’s a good chance it can easily be rebuilt on Mac.
 
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  • #16
rootone said:
Running the program under a virtual Windows is probably the best approach, unless the program is very resource intensive.

it depends on what I have to do. For now it seems a light program, but maybe next year things will get harder. I think I'm going to go for virtual windows and see how it handles it. By the way I have one more question about virtual machines. I really need to copy the output files of this program in MATLAB and excel so I was wondering: is file sharing easy on virtual machines?

jedishrfu said:
If it’s written in c/c++ then you might be able to recompile and run it on your Mac. The gotcha would be if your prof used windows specific apis or windows GUI.

Unfortunately I think so, because when I tried it on a friend pc I had to change some Windows Environment Variables
 
  • #17
dRic2 said:
is file sharing easy on virtual machines?
You can make a partition on your hard disk which is there for shared data.
Not what I would call easy, but doable.
 
  • #18
rootone said:
You can make a partition on your hard disk which is there for shared data.

You mean a real partition? Or a virtual one? This is not a good news... :(
 
  • #19
An actual disk partition on your hard drive which physically exists and is accessible from whatever OS is looking.
 
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  • #20
Why life has to be so complicated?:frown:
 
  • #21
Or a separate disk drive just for the shared data. most PCs (not laptops} will accept two physical drives.
Not as expensive a whole new PC, but going that way
 
  • #22
It seems my post didn't go through earlier. Have you inspected the BAT file with a text editor to see what it does?
 
  • #23
scottdave said:
It seems my post didn't go through earlier. Have you inspected the BAT file with a text editor to see what it does?

Oh I'm very sorry. The .bat file just calls an .exe file.
 
  • #24
dRic2 said:
Oh I'm very sorry. The .bat file just calls an .exe file.
Ha. Ok. So I guess the exe is the compiled C program
 
  • #25
Yep, sorry. I know I wasn't very clear
 
  • #26
Ive done a dual boot Ubuntu on a Windows PC before. I've heard of Virtual box but never set one up. Is there a lot to it?
 
  • #27
scottdave said:
Is there a lot to it?

The main problem of virtual machines is that I will have to install Matlab and Excel again on virtual Windows (I will lose memory for nothing) or I need some way to share the output file from virtual Windows to Matlab and Excel on my mac. I don't know if there is an easy way to do that
 
  • #28
I was mentioning earlier that you could make a disk partition or even install a second disk drive for shared data.
Now I think I have a better idea.
You could get one of those cheap USB memory sticks. use that for shared data.
If both OS's can see the memory stick it could work (I think).
 
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  • #29
Yes, and find out what exactly the requirements are for this simulation program is. Maybe you do not need all of Windows for it to run
 
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  • #30
I'll give it a try. Thanks for all the good suggestions :)
 
  • #31
dRic2 said:
The main problem of virtual machines is that I will have to install Matlab and Excel again on virtual Windows (I will lose memory for nothing) or I need some way to share the output file from virtual Windows to Matlab and Excel on my mac. I don't know if there is an easy way to do that

Virtual box allows you share folders between operating systems, there is nothing to it.
 
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  • #32
Thanks, this is a good news!
 

Related to Windows on Mac: Dual Boot or Virtual Desktop?

1. What is the difference between dual boot and virtual desktop for running Windows on a Mac?

Dual booting involves partitioning your hard drive and installing both operating systems separately. This allows you to choose which OS to boot into when starting your computer. Virtual desktop, on the other hand, uses software to create a virtual machine within your Mac's operating system, allowing you to run Windows simultaneously with Mac OS.

2. Which option is better for running Windows on a Mac?

It ultimately depends on your specific needs and preferences. Dual booting may offer better performance since it is running directly on your hardware, but it requires restarting your computer to switch between operating systems. Virtual desktop allows for easier switching between Mac and Windows, but may have slightly lower performance.

3. Do I need to purchase a separate Windows license for both dual boot and virtual desktop?

Yes, you will need a separate Windows license for each option. Dual booting requires a full installation of Windows, while virtual desktop may allow for a cheaper option such as a Windows virtual machine or a subscription service.

4. Can I access all of my Mac files from Windows when using dual boot or virtual desktop?

Yes, you can access your Mac files from Windows in both dual boot and virtual desktop. However, the method for accessing them may differ. In dual boot, you will need to switch to the Mac OS to access your files. In virtual desktop, you can set up file sharing between the two operating systems.

5. Are there any potential drawbacks to using either dual boot or virtual desktop for Windows on a Mac?

Dual booting may take up more storage space and require restarting your computer to switch between operating systems. Virtual desktop may have slightly lower performance and may not support certain hardware or software. Additionally, both options may require some technical knowledge to set up and maintain.

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