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

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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.