How to Run Windows Apps on Mac (for Free!)
Need to run a Windows application on your Mac? There are several ways to do it, including partitioning your hard drive and installing Windows directly, but an alternative is Wine — a free tool that makes it possible to run many Windows programs, including ones that aren’t available for OS X. We’re using Microsoft Money here, but you might have any number of specialist applications or even games that you’d like to run — although intensive 3D games will likely have performance issues. You don’t need a virtual machine and you don’t need a copy of Windows. Wine “bottles up” everything you need into a single package (called a “prefix”) that looks – and in many ways behaves — just like a Mac app. It’s not always perfect. Some apps don’t work at all, while others don’t work perfectly. But in many cases, you can work around the glitches.
In this tutorial, we’re pairing Wine with another free program called WineBottler. All you need to do to get started is provide the installer file for the Windows app or apps you wish you use.
How to Configure Wine
A. Tweaking the App
If your app doesn’t work properly, open Wine and click its menu bar icon to access its main menu. Next, click the Change Prefix… item if necessary to select your program from the list.
Make changes to the underlying Windows “bottle” using this dialog box — by creating a virtual desktop screen to fix display errors, say.
Additional Winetricks can be added to a prefix without repeating the entire install process. Check those your app needs here and click Apply.
D. Installing Apps
If something isn’t in Winetricks, download it. Add it using Control Panel > Add/Remove Programs.
How to Install a Windows App in WineBottler
1. Get Started
Download the latest stable version of WineBottler from winebottler.kronenberg.org. Double-click the DMG file and drag both the Wine and WineBottler icons into your Applications folder. Find your Windows software; in our case, it’s Microsoft Money Sunset Edition.
2. Check Compatibility
Next, go to appdb.winehq.org and type the name of your Windows software into the Search box to find out if other people have successfully installed the app, and what requirements need to be met. In the case of Money, we need to add two Winetricks: msxml3 and ie8.
3. Select Installer
Open WineBottler and switch to the Advanced tab. Leave “new prefix” selected under Prefix Template, click the “Select File…” button to browse to your program’s setup file — in our example, USMoneyDlxSunset.exe. Select “This is an installer, execute it.”
4. Choose Winetricks
Certain programs require additional Windows components, such as IE8 or the .NET Framework to run. You can include these in your application’s prefix, so it works properly. For Microsoft Money, use the Search box to find “msxml3” and “ie8,” then tick each one.
5. Final Steps
Check “Include Wine binaries…” after reading the tip box. Change com.yourcompany.yourapp to match your program — for us, that’s com.Microsoft.Money. Leave “Silent Install” unchecked, then click Install. Choose where to save it, name your program and click Install.
6. Install Your App
First the Wine bottle (or “prefix”) is set up and then WineBottler installs any Winetricks, followed by your app. If a “Profile creation aborted” error appears, read the log — typically it’s related to a missing Winetricks setup file, and you’ll be provided with a download link.
7. Complete Installation
After resolving errors, you’re prompted to install Winetrick components followed by the program. If any Program Error boxes appear, keep clicking Close until they disappear and WineBottler moves onto the next component.
8. Test the App
Open the program from the Applications folder — there might be a short wait. Now try it. In Money, we can’t use the setup wizard, so we need to adapt the sample.mny file by choosing File > Open, and browsing to drive_c\Program Files\Microsoft Money Plus.
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