How to Get Windows 8 (and More) Running Great on a Mac

This post is being run to help Parallels, our sponsor, promote its new release. Editorial has not been crafted or modified by Parallels; All views are 100% my own.

You know, Windows 8 is starting to grow on me — despite a few shortcomings it has in the UX department (as demonstrated by my father a few months back). I like living in the Modern UI, especially on a touchscreen (once you get used to the gestures).

How to Get Windows 8 (and More) Running Great on a Mac
Five virtual machines running at the same time.


Let’s say you want to try Windows 8 without worrying about losing your current Windows environment? You could rely on automated processes, or you could… start running Windows in a virtual machine, saving yourself thousands of headaches in the process. I’m not the only person to suggest that the best Microsoft Windows experience (to date) has been on a Mac — and there’s a few reasons for that.

If you were running Windows 7 on a Mac in a virtual machine, you could copy that setup to a new virtual machine, upgrade it, and if things don’t work out, you could always delete that instance and go back to Windows 7. That’s not so easily done without fantastic virtual machine software at your fingertips.

How to Get Windows 8 (and More) Running Great on a Mac
USB dialogue


And the best virtual machine software just got one version (and a handful of features) better. Parallels Desktop 8 is available today, and it’s my go-to VM software for so many reasons — not the least of which is how it makes operating between the two platforms as seamless as conceivably possible. You just can’t get that level of power in “free” software. You can’t.

Your Mac may not have a touchscreen, but (we all know) it has a killer trackpad option — and that’ll keep any kind of scrolling in Windows 8 smooth, coupled with an insane amount of new features in Parallels 8 that will make any user happy — whether you want to run Windows 8 all the way down, Ubuntu, Chrome OS, or Android on OS X:

  • You like the Dictation feature in Mountain Lion? It’ll now work in Windows.
  • Run into a stubborn page that claims it needs Internet Explorer to load? Now there’s an extension for OS X’s Safari to push the current page to your Windows VM’s IE.
  • Still use in Outlook on Windows, yet operate inside of OS X’s environment primarily? You know Parallels could handle that well before, but now you can drag & drop files from your desktop onto the Outlook icon to quickly create a message. Remember, Parallels is helping blend these two experiences into one if you really want and need to live in both OS X & Windows.
  • You communicate in a language beyond English? Now the multilingual keyboards between a Windows VM and OS X will be in constant sync.
  • Need to share Bluetooth connections? Bam. Done, between your Windows VMs and OS X.
  • Love OS X’s new Notification Center in Mountain Lion? Windows notifications can be pushed into it, so you don’t need to flip back and forth between the two.
  • Appreciate Mountain Lion’s gestures? Get ‘em in Windows now, too — pinch-to-zoom, two-finger scroll (!), and more.
  • Love the clarity of your Retina MacBook Pro (or whatever Mac sports a “Retina” display)? Get the same clarity in Windows VMs now, too!

How to Get Windows 8 (and More) Running Great on a Mac
VM list

Plus, graphics performance has been improved, as well as a 30% boost in I/O perf. Early reports suggest that Parallels 8 is up to 30% faster for certain games. Performance matters, and Parallels gets better with every passing version.

Windows 8 has been just fine on Parallels Desktop 7, but it’s a much better Windows 8 experience on Parallels Desktop 8 — if only because they’ve added a feature which will make it easier for the user to pull up the Charm Bar when they hover to the side of a windowed Windows 8 VM! Dude, I’m telling you — if you want a good Windows 8 PC, you can (and should) consider the Mac.

Parallels helps you have the best of both worlds.

But you’re saying to yourself: “Yes, I use Windows, but I don’t have a Mac.”

Okay, do you want one? Let’s do a giveaway. Parallels and LockerGnome will give away one MacBook Air, Parallels Desktop 8, and Parallels Mobile. All you gotta do is tweet. You have a Twitter account, right? You should already be following both @ChrisPirillo & @LockerGnome!

Simply retweet this status update

We hope you remember to sign up for our email newsletter as well, and BE SURE to confirm your email; we have been respecting your privacy since 1996.

We’ll be running this giveaway between today and September 7th, 2012. It’s easy to do, and the full regulations have been posted here.

So, there you go. A chance for a free Mac. Dude. That’s awesome.

Article Written by

Chris has consistently expressed his convictions and visions outright, supplying practical information to targeted audiences: media agencies, business owners, technology consumers, software and hardware professionals, et al. He remains a passionate personality in the tech community-at-large. He's a geek.

  • tom rondello

    I gotta go shop till I drop but I’ll be broke first. ROFL? Hey, I bought the last of. The 386s from Archive’s little girl because I broke even so well investigating chaos on Z80 processors. I must be a moron? How much does that pay? Can I assemble it online?

  • Curtis Coburn

    You have the best of both worlds. You have the great things that a Mac has, while using Windows 8. What would be cool to see, is a touch screen iMac, so you could also get the full touch screen computer, with the benefits of a Mac.
    Good article.

  • http://twitter.com/creation4use Samuel Guillermo

    YES YES and YES. I can’t wait to update windows on my mac! Its about time!

  • http://www.facebook.com/Wwallender Dakota Wallender

    I will love to see OS X support a touchscreen, my dell laptop has a multi-touch track pad and its really nice to use the pinch to zoom feature. Its nice to see some vm software that can produce high fps and accelerate a video card!

    • michaelkehm316

      If you want OSX with a touchscreen, just use the iPad. ;) I’m not a big fan of a 24 or 27 inch touch screen, because you have to sit very near to it. Touchscreen just doesn’t make sense on the desktop.

    • michaelkehm316

      If you want OSX with a touchscreen, just use the iPad. ;) I’m not a big fan of a 24 or 27 inch touch screen, because you have to sit very near to it. Touchscreen just doesn’t make sense on the desktop.

  • Liam Jackson

    I don’t have a mac, but it is really nice to see the myth of macs not being able to be customized at all. It would be nice to see it go both ways too, though.

  • kefir

    thank you

  • Guest

    virtual machine

  • http://www.facebook.com/Michael.Basil.Albayya Michael Albayya

    i love virtual machine, it makes everything soo easy

  • http://twitter.com/RadSel8 Ahmed A

    This parallels desktop thing looks really nice! I still don’t see why you’d get a Mac and want Windows on it… Just get a Windows laptop.

    • http://twitter.com/helpitcrashed HelpItCrashedAgain

      Using VirtualBox I can run MacOS on my Windows 7 machine, I don’t have to buy a Mac, just like you don’t need to buy a Windows laptop :-)

      • http://twitter.com/RadSel8 Ahmed A

        I don’t buy a Mac. I have a Windows laptop, because I don’t want a Mac. If I wanted a Mac I’d just get a macbook.

  • timothy

    The only reason why one would run Windows is for compatibility and/or playing games, which are both mentioned. But i would rather run Win7 on my mac than Win8. Windows isn’t Windows without the Start menu. For a free option, i personally use VirtualBox with 3D acceleration.

  • Neill Young

    Is Parallels Mac only?

  • http://www.facebook.com/qwilleran.lake Qwilleran Lake

    I’m looking forward to trying this on my mac. Although I don’t have a very good use for it at the moment. I havent accepted Windows 8 yet, but im keeping an open mind. Iv been using Mac software for longer that I can remember, but i find my self using Windows more often when I go out. I think I might try Windows 8 for a few months, see how I like it. I don’t want to keep a biased opinion on something for too long. Do I?

  • Jesse Aranda

    I really am looking to invest in a mac for this purpose. I got to use windows 7 for the first time on a mac through my brother’s friend. I didn’t not expect windows to run that amazing. I just want to read up more on triple booting into OSX, Mint, and Windows 8. After that I need to save up money because paying for tuition last week broke me.

  • http://ironiclee.blogspot.com/ Jentylee

    Great pics, Chris. That you can drop and drag with Parallels from another OS into Outlook is amazing. And they are geniuses for making this possible. Sharing bluetooth operations as well is so cool. With our world getting smaller each day we all need to be able to speak and use different languages; this being another feature I love. 30% improvement in overall performance (tho I’m not a gamer) again, hello? I want. Now I just wish I had a Mac so I could do all of this on Parallels.

  • http://bkgcom.blogspot.in/ Bharat Kumar Gupta

    After reading the updates all i can say is developers of Parallel 8 greatly utilized all the bells n whistles of the OS X SDK and came up with this fantastic release that is not only fast but very functional, my favourite feature would be the use of magic track pad gestures, dictation and to be able to use Windows on a retina display, an added level of visual clearity!

    Good job Parallel

  • http://twitter.com/armanzokaei Arman

    Parallels is the best virtual machine software I have used and seen. I’ve tried other ones and Parallels was the easiest to use for me and also was the smoothest way of running multiple OSs in OS X

  • Joshie305

    I think this is a good mix for people who like windows 8 but also like apple hardware and great software so in my eyes its worth a try;)

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1430310093 Wolfee Darkfang

    The only reason I would install Windows 8 on a mac is so I have the pleasure of dragging it to the trash where it belongs. I don’t even like it on a PC, and I’ve been a PC Gamer using Windows for about 18 or so years.

  • Mohamed Hisham Hadjazi

    I’m building a new hackintosh just because how great parallels works on my macbook pro. the performance of windows on paralles makes me run all the programs I need for work while still having my beloved OS X.

  • http://www.facebook.com/ROBERTO1811 Roberto Van Gilder

    I also use Parallels on my mac! It’s great! It’s fast, it’s not buggy and it generally is a good experience for the user!

  • Dinesh

    I upgraded for free yesterday (30 Aug) to Parallels 8 and I think its brilliant. I use Windows 7 and its much faster (certainly lives up to the 30% more faster) claim and integrates well with Mountain Lion. It also has a single-click installation for many other platforms such as Android, Ubuntu and Windows 8 which is a great advantage to average users.

  • http://www.facebook.com/tom.sharples.18 Tom Sharples

    I DIDNT PLAN TO EVER USE WINDOWS 8 BUT NOW I KNOW I CAN GET IT ON MY MAC I MIGHT NOW TRY IT

  • https://plus.google.com/112301869379652563135/posts Ryan Matthew Pierson

    I’m a huge fan of Parallels. It’s never failed to impress me. Perhaps now is a good time to give it a shot on Windows 8.

  • http://jp-pc-tech.blogspot.com/ Pascal Fiedler

    A really great Idea is, to put the Virtul Machines on external Hard Drives and use them, if you need them.

  • louis percival

    I found this really useful, I have wanted to know how to get windows on my mac for a long time :)

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=606163198 Christopher Micallef

    Windows 8 is cool. Virtual machines are cool too. It would be really cool if i could instal windows 8 on the windows xp mode virtual machine on windows 7. #$15amaawesome

  • lylejk

    Quite happy with Win7; typing this in an XP VM inside Sandoxie (so in essence, I’m double-sandboxed). No plans on upgrading my PC and wish they would still sell Win7 if I should upgrade my system (it is getting a little old though fortunately for me it’s a dual processor so I was able to replace the Original XP OS with 64-bit Win7; upgraded the memory from 2Gs to 6Gs too; couldn’t afford more). If I had a touchscreen, I would probably get to like Win8, but simpleton I am. lol I also like Ubuntu 64 (created another VM for that). Might even decide to forget about Photoshop since I mainly use GIMP anyway, and just go all out Linux. Lots of choices now if you are willing to make that choice. Sad that Apple forbids allowing their OS to be installed on other systems not that I care to be honest. :)

  • Eduard Gotwig

    I don’t wanna know how much RAM gets wasted for that, when the iMacs in my college already eat around 1.5-2GB in idle. And it gets very hot at the back, but that is not a problem.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1430310093 Wolfee Darkfang

    What I would like to see one day is a way to run mac apps on Linux, similar to how using Wine you can run Windows programs on Linux, and how with THIS you can run windows on mac. It should work like a Ouroboros. Every system should have a way to run stuff from other systems. However due to Apple being a little too protective of it’s patents, I don’t think that will happen unless done illegally, and with Windows 8 being a walled garden of “pay microsoft or don’t get noticed”, that could kill innovation entirely.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=564656828 Christopher Whalen

    I upgraded to Paralles 8 yesterday and I’m still not seeing much of a difference from 7. However I am only using it for one windows based game atm. So i am not sure I am curious enough about Windows 8 to benefit from the experience. Having recently abandoned the windows environment I am also not that anxious to keep swimming in both ponds. Yet.

    But with that said. Yes. Paralles 8 is worth the $50 upgrade pricetag even if they still haven’t increased the max allocatable RAM from 8gb yet. :/

  • http://twitter.com/jacob_rathjen Jacob Rathjen

    Parallels 8 will be so good cant wait to use it i love the clean interface and easy set up, makes me wonder why other companies don’t make things simple and easy to use, Great work Parallels.

  • Hammid

    omfg <3

  • http://twitter.com/Nixity Nikki Wynne

    This is going to be epic! @ChrisPirillo
    @LockerGnome

  • http://www.facebook.com/LeeZerUK Lee Grace

    That’s the way i generally use windows nowadays. even though i’ve got a really quite decent windows machine. It the big massive point i give to windows fans. you can’t legally run osx in anyway on a “pc” however at least if you go for an osx device you can always boot up that so desired windows OS (which will away than that typical 5yr old machine their on right now) and they may start to understand the substance in all this apparent “hype” (what apple rejectors call it). great article and an amazing prize there lockergnome

  • Tybodg

    This is an awesome opportunity to try an operating system before you buy it love it love it love it.

  • http://twitter.com/GadMark Mark Gad

    OKay thats so cool, I was thinking why would anyone just think of buying a windows

  • http://twitter.com/AlexVOSHD Alex Vasquez

    I wanna win this for my sis

  • http://thetechtechies.blogspot.com/ Ryan Matthew Wilkerson

    This would be great for school since I have a mac and my school uses Windows

  • http://www.facebook.com/bluemetal04 Tim Cook

    Wish I had a Mac :/

  • http://profiles.google.com/hgpot33 Sam Lewis

    Which MacBook is this? And the specs?

    Please don’t tell me that it doesn’t matter because it’s a Mac. It always matters.

  • Dangrams22

    I would like to win the Mac book

  • Blake PwnZ

    Mac Book Air! Need for School! Love the vids!

  • dylan

    Hope i can win!

  • Daniel Sheetz

    I’ve been dieing to try a Mac, but could never afford one. Until the day comes when the prices drop; I’m a Windows user

  • http://twitter.com/mata3634 Marvin Mata

    I want it because i love how technology is advancing and portable it is becoming

  • http://twitter.com/gokuu9000 Conal Duffy

    Parallels is, I think, the best way to run other OS’s on a mac. It’s really cool, because you can run things like the Steam Gaming Platform on Windows. So, when you get a Mac and get parallels, the awesomeness on your computer increases tenfold.

  • http://twitter.com/PranavJain18 Pranav Jain

    Dude! I had no idea how good Parallels Desktop 8 is! It certainly does integrate a whole lot of os x Mountain Lion with Windows 8. One question I have is if it does this automatically or is there some configuration you have to do. Can you help?

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100000061961790 Ian Jackson

    Parallels is pretty awesome! Can’t wait to give it a shot if/when I get a Mac! The article doesn’t feel like an ad, which makes it the best advertisement.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100000061961790 Ian Jackson

    Parallels is pretty awesome! Can’t wait to give it a shot if/when I get a Mac! The article doesn’t feel like an ad, which makes it the best advertisement.

  • james collins

    I think that would awesome only if i could afford a mac.I want to part of the mac universe! I might just have to get a part time job to get one. (lol)

  • Guest

    Cool

  • Robert

    Hi Chris that would be cool to win a MacBook Air thanks

  • macboy74

    I would love one. Not for me but for the wife so she will leave my MacBook pro alone. Thanks and keep up the good work Chris.

  • http://twitter.com/TriforceEagle TheTriforceEagle

    I want this pretty bad…I don’t have a well operating laptop yet…

  • http://www.facebook.com/mjalwazzan Mohammed Alwazzan

    i own that

  • http://twitter.com/T0b0re Tobore

    Would be nice to win something I really need especially when I’m going back to uni.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100001686570521 Danny Lloyd Lano

    OHHH Macbook Air xD about to die lol.

  • http://www.facebook.com/lukespray156 Luke Spray

    i wanna win

  • http://www.facebook.com/goncalo.bradford Gonçalo Bradford

    Thanks for the giveaway.

  • http://youtube.com/valonw Valon B

    Great giveaway! Love your channel man.

  • Guest

    Great giveaway! Love your channel man.

  • http://twitter.com/unterlechner Paul Unterlechner

    Hey Chris.
    A Macbook Air would be perfect. This is an awesome giveaway.
    I make this for my mom. She has no PC at all. So it would be awesome to win.
    Greetings from Austria, Paul Unterlechner.
    (:

  • http://twitter.com/Geraldfernandos Gerald fernando sr.

    Iwant!!!

  • antun belic

    nice giveaway :P

  • Thecrazy Tommy

    Love all your advice on youtube i has helped my so much other the past years ! Thank you

  • yournot

    Umm.. cool..

  • Twohats

    Very clear photos and a very clear guide, to my just the fact you could have Windows and Mac OS just a click away from each other would make me feel very powerful, maybe if I win the MacBook Air prize I could try it out! I watch all of your videos and of course I Like, Share and stay subbed for support for you and Diana!

  • http://twitter.com/KamalMoanis Moanis Kamal

    I would have loved getting that Macbook Air……
    Sadly, now I know that this competition is only available in the US (check the regulations).
    So Chris, if possible, Please let the other giveaways become available for your international audience as well.

  • dean campbell:)

    i’ve never owned a mac or anything by apple i cant afford it :( but this tutorial by paralleis is nice its short but detailed which is awesome because no one wants to read allot of writing this tutorial is also neat in the way its presented and the photos are placed so that it makes this tutorial easy to follow thanks for a great tutorial and id love to win/receive my first mac from lockergnome would be an honor

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1422746860 Brian Mühlematter

    Nice

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=674102415 Yau Sam Pang

    If this post wasn’t made to promote your sponsor, i’d really wonder why you had to put something like this up when obviously, the majority already know about virtual desktop.

  • http://www.facebook.com/liam.chance Liam Chance

    Nice

  • http://twitter.com/jdnorthwest JD Northwest

    While I am a PC, I’ve loved the Mac for their design and portability. If the OS was something I was more familiar I’d be happy.

  • http://twitter.com/akakludpt klud

    Man, after all i still love Windows XP, my opinion, the best!

  • http://twitter.com/RealOrestSulyk Orest Sulyk

    Wondering if Win 8 will work on a Samsung NB30 Touchscreen Netbook with 2GB 250GB 1.67Ghz Intel Atom?

  • http://twitter.com/TriforceEagle TheTriforceEagle

    I want to win the Macbook Air

  • http://twitter.com/soul107 Suleiman Zulfiqar

    I will try it!

  • smarty4531

    I want the macbook air

  • tiggerjan

    I would love to win the Macbook air… I have an iPad from work that I can use and would love to learn to use a Mac and sync the iPad to it.

  • http://twitter.com/jgrig2 JPG2

    Retweeting, hoping to win but I doubt it.

  • Cookie007express

    I would freaking love to win a MacBook air that would be amazing!!!

  • http://twitter.com/GuruACe ACe

    i hope i win , i never got a mac or even a iphone , just because is so expesive for me

  • smittyofdhs

    As a former VMware Fusion user (even v5) I can honestly say Parallels 8 is way better and more integrated into OS X. I will never go back, Parallels is the bomb.

  • LionheartKD

    Retweeted, and hope i win. Good luck to everyone. :D

  • http://twitter.com/rvwrjb Noah King

    Would you get more if you ran linux as th ehost OS? I dont think alternatives stem much fruther from virtualbox though. It depends on it’s use. Interesting article. MBAIR is mine, just saying

  • http://www.facebook.com/fabrik85 Atila Fabrik

    Win Win! MAC MAC

  • Lee J Tyler

    beautiful retina display!

    • PathKiller29

      Except the airs aren’t retina, lol

  • http://www.freemanlafleur.com/ Freeman LaFleur

    Honestly this is the first time I’ve been excited about anything related to Windows 8. Don’t hate.

  • Brian

    Love the apple line of products. They just work

  • [email protected]

    Im not sure about this site i dont go on it because im not exactly into it but if i win a mac ye better belief im gonna make this site twis as possible and get a fuck load of new members

  • http://twitter.com/RealOrestSulyk Orest Sulyk

    Nice:)

  • http://twitter.com/vomitoxin dope

    I do not want a free Mac air book; please do not send me a mac anything.
    thank you

  • xxMrTechnox

    pick me plz I need to get after effects with it.

  • http://twitter.com/ezrahampton1 ezra thomas hampton

    Good luck everyone :)

  • http://twitter.com/rafisantu rafisantu

    i really need it

  • http://twitter.com/kenhermans Ken Hermans

    Since they updated the graphics performance I might give it another shot!

  • smartinezn64

    I really would love to win this MacBook Air (:

  • http://www.facebook.com/kossay.chandab Kossay Chandab

    i would love to get the mac book air :D
    and if i win ILL go nuts!

  • Chris

    Every time… “LIMITED TO RESIDENTS OF THE 50 UNITED STATES AND DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA”
    :(

  • http://twitter.com/pltony12345 tony

    i wanna win

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1426891703 Hunter Engstad

    This is really cool! Hope I win!

  • http://twitter.com/Hawk8509 Rick Nelson

    Virtual Machines ROCK!

  • http://twitter.com/akrameleyan Mohammed Akram

    Good Luck to All

  • http://twitter.com/Androidxzx Andrew bruggemann

    windows 8 gross….. macbook air YEAHHHHHHH BUDDDY

  • http://twitter.com/kookieless kookieless

    i would love to win this sadly a macbook air is more powerful than my desktop

  • Diane Baum

    totally awesome

  • http://www.facebook.com/Sylvain888 Sylvain Marc Labelle

    want it

  • dan K.

    I’d love to win the macbook air. Its great to carry around in college.

  • http://twitter.com/Angry_Eyad إياد المعصب ▼

    i need one !!

  • http://twitter.com/Angry_Eyad إياد المعصب ▼

    i need one !!

  • http://www.facebook.com/ren.carlos.3 Ren Carlos

    i want it

  • micah

    wouldnt mind trying this out on a macbook air….

  • http://twitter.com/erefere Rafał Siwiak

    I’d love to win

  • shana

    where do i buy operating system for windows? to put on my macbook pro (i have already purchased parallel windows and will purchase word also)