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Northwestern University

Mac Virtualization Software

If you use an Intel Mac and need to run Windows-only software such as Microsoft Access or use Windows-only campus systems, there are a few options available. All Weinberg College faculty and staff are licensed to run a copy of Windows on their Intel Mac, but the purchase of virtualization software can make the experience easier. Virtualization software allows you to run a copy of the Windows operating system within Mac OS X for easy access to your Windows applications. If you are interested in virtualization software, please enter a Weinberg IT Service Request and a Weinberg IT team member will contact you. We will install Windows under whichever software you choose.

 You should verify that your computer has at least 8 GB — it is strongly recommended that you do not run any of the following virtualization software if you have less than 8GB memory.


We recommend Oracle's VirtualBox software as our virtualization software of choice for both Macs and PCs. The program allows you to run multiple operating systems at the same time. VirtualBox is free and should be adequate for most users. More information and downloads available at VirtualBox's website.

Parallels Desktop for Mac

If you need to spend a great deal of time in Windows, you may desire a more integrated experience. Parallel's Desktop is available with a yearly subscription if VirtualBox does not meet your needs. We have tested the software and found it to be an easy-to-use solution for quick access to Windows.

You can purchase an annual license of Parallels through SHI in iBuyNU. The current reduced price for Northwestern faculty, staff, and students is $44.20 per year, with 12 months of upgrades and 24/7 support included.

Boot Camp for Mac

We recommend Boot Camp only in instances where software cannot run in a virtual desktop environment. If you want to run Windows under Boot Camp, please enter a Weinberg IT Service Request and a Weinberg IT technical support consultant will assist you. Please note that Apple does not allow Windows 7 to be installed under Boot Camp on the new models.

VMWare Fusion

Weinberg IT has not evaluated VMWare Fusion and cannot recommend use of the software at this time.

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