Run Windows Apps On Mac With CrossOver

I’ve been looking for a good solution for run Windows apps on Mac for a while now–going so far as to employ a virtual machine for some of my needs, but Bootcamp and VMs are often resource-heavy or time-intensive, requiring reboots or simply taking a long time to initialize. WINE in OSX is cumbersome at best, and not ideal for quickly deploying small applications (like my all-time favorite MP3 player, Winamp). Enter CrossOver.

CrossOver is a commercial version of WINE that has many of the settings “pre-tweaked” for each application that can be installed in its own “bottle”, much like the app structure for OSX itself. It should be noted that CrossOver, like WINE, is not a virtual machine or an emulator. The utility creates a compatibility layer on top of OSX, adding Windows-specific libraries and redefining the directory structure so that the application can work in the Unix-based Macintosh environment. Since CrossOver builds a Windows compatibility layer on top of Unix-based systems, it can be used to run Windows apps under Linux as well.

Install CrossOver on Mac like any other application, then run the app to install Windows applications. You will be prompted to choose the application from the database of known working applications (which is updated fairly consistently), then to locate the installer executable, and finally to create the “bottle” that will hold the application-specific libraries. So far, I have used CrossOver to run Winamp with great success (playing MP3 files from my former iTunes library and adding skins), and I will try to update as I use more software from my archives.

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