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[Guide] Running Windows on your Mac

by caspinwall

Original Post


[Guide] Running Windows on your Mac

[ Edited ]
Champion (Retired)



This post provides some basic information on running the Windows operating system on your Mac for simming purposes. There are links to other sources of information and help. This thread is locked because it is for reference only, to help you decide the best approach - if you get stuck installing Windows or you want to know more, go to Apple’s Support website or go to the Mac section of the, where there are more Mac simmers available to assist, including some who are currently using the methods described to run Windows on their Mac.



Before you get started


It would be advisable to read all of the relevant help materials before getting started so that you feel confident that you know what you are doing. 


Be sure to make a backup of your Mac (using TimeMachine or some other method) so that if you go wrong you can easily get back to your current position.


To learn how to use TimeMachine go here:


TimeMachine will make a backup of your entire system to an external drive. It is a good idea to do this from time to time anyway, but definitely before making any radical changes such as partitioning the hard drive!



Why would I want to run Windows on my Mac?


1.  If you want to play The Sims 2 Ultimate Collection, which is available only for PC download through Origin. 


Aspyr made a truly excellent port of most of The Sims 2 series for the native Mac operating system. However they didn’t port the final few expansion packs and EA are now withdrawing support for all but the Ultimate Collection, which is PC only. So, if you would like to carry on playing The Sims 2, you may wish to do so via Windows so that you can take advantage of the Ultimate Collection, both for its completeness and for ongoing support.


2. If you want to play The Sims 3 on Windows because you have had a lot of problems getting it to run on your Mac OS X. 


Unlike The Sims 2, which was produced separately for PC and Mac, The Sims 3 was produced as a single game that is supposed to run on both operating systems. A programme called Cider was used to make the game run on Mac OS X, but it wasn’t a proper port of the game. For this reason, Mac simmers have tended to have more problems with the game than PC simmers, including more crashing, less stability and, most seriously, memory problems even on Macs with a huge amount of RAM. There are ways to help the game run well on a Mac, so if, like me, you would much prefer to use the native OS X, just post in the TS3 section of Answer HQ and I will try to help you. However if you continue to struggle or you would just prefer to be playing in Windows (which usually causes fewer RAM issues and allows you to play with higher graphical settings), then installing Windows on your Mac may be something you wish to try.


3. If you wish to use the CAW tool (Create A World) for The Sims 3.


The CAW tool was only ever made available for PC simmers, so if you would like to  make your own worlds for The Sims 3, installing Windows is necessary. 


4. To play The Sims 4 when it is released in September 2014.


At the time of writing, there is no information at all on if or when a Mac version of The Sims 4 will be made. We know that it will not be included with the game released in September 2014, which is PC-specific. It is possible that EA will make Mac version at a later date, as they did for the most recent incarnation of SimCity, but this has not been confirmed. So, if you like the look of The Sims 4 and want to play it right away, Windows is the only way. This also goes for the TS4 CAS demo released in July/August 2014.



What are the different options for installing Windows and which should I choose?


The good news is that Windows tends to run brilliantly on Mac hardware. You will have the simming advantages of a PC simmer but still be able to enjoy using your Mac OS X for everything else. Plus if you have a Mac you probably have a really nice screen so your sims and worlds can look gorgeous!


There are two main options: Bootcamp and Parallels. There are a few other ways to run Windows, including Oracle VirtualBox and VMware Fusion, but Bootcamp and Parallels are the most common options used.


Bootcamp: this is software that ships with your Mac so, even if you are not currently using it, you will find that it is already on your computer ready for you to use. It is used to create a partition on your hard drive, into which you install Windows. When you start your computer you choose whether to boot up the native OS X or go into the Windows partition. 


The advantages of using Bootcamp are that it is straightforward to use, it is Mac software so you can rely on updates coming through Apple, when you are using it you are solely running Windows so your Mac doesn’t need to do too much at once, which can make it a more stable experience. 


The main disadvantage is that you do need to reboot in order to switch between the partitions. I personally used Bootcamp to play The Sims 3 for several months and did not find this particularly onerous. 


Parallels: this is software that you can purchase for your Mac to enable you to run both Windows and Mac OS X simultaneously. Instead of booting up the Windows operating system, you start your Mac as usual and then open Windows - a bit like running the whole Windows OS inside a programme window.


The advantages of using Parallels are that you can switch instantly between the operating systems because they are running at the same time. There is no need to reboot your computer to access your Sims in Windows.


The disadvantage of using Parallels is that you are placing more demands on your Mac - you are essentially running two operating systems at the same time, as well as the VM system and the game. However if you have a Mac with high specs, this may not be an issue at all. You may also need to be more vigilant in looking out for driver updates and so on, as they will not be delivered via your Apple Updates.



What do I need?


Whether you decide to use Bootcamp or Parallels, you are going to need to purchase a copy of Windows. If you decide to choose Parallels then you will also need a copy of that software. Bootcamp is therefore the cheaper option as you already have that software.


When using Bootcamp you will at some point need to save support software onto a USB stick (Fat 32 formatted) or a blank CD (if your Mac does not have a CD drive then you will have to use a USB stick).


You are also going to need to have sufficient physical space on your hard drive to make room to install Windows.


Having an excess of RAM is also going to help as your Mac will need enough RAM to run the game as well as enough to run the operating system - 8 GB is recommended, particularly if you are choosing the Parallels option as it will demand more of your Mac.



Bootcamp instructions and sources of help


If you want to try using Bootcamp, I would strongly advise you to now read the following resources.


Firstly, check this thread over at the Mac forums of the TS3 site:


It was written by BluebellFlora and is a guide with screenshots in the first post that you can follow to understand how you will use Bootcamp. The guide covers many of the questions that you probably have, such as how much space to give to the Windows partition etc. If you have problems or need further information, that is where you should post.


Secondly, read the official Apple Support website for using Bootcamp:


There is information there for the different versions of the Mac operating system as well as information on Windows 7 versus Windows 8. You can therefore put together a guide for yourself based on your Mac OS X and the version of Windows that you have chosen.



Parallels instructions and sources of help


If you think you would prefer Parallels, search for the software on the Apple Store website and read the product information. This will give you an understanding of how the software works. The software will come with instructions on how to install it and you can also find additional guides by searching online. 


If you have more questions about the technical aspects of playing a Sims game within Windows using Parallels, go to the Mac forum of the TS3 site and post there. There is at least one Mac simmer using Parallels who posts regularly at the site who may be able to help you.



I wish you happy simming!

Caspin, August 2014

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