Mac BootCamp vs. Parallels

parallels-vs-bootcampMac BootCamp vs. Parallels: a reader asks…

I’ve got a Macbook Air and occasionally need to use Windows. Do you think I should use Boot Camp or Parallels?

It really depends on your needs and how you want to operate. Let me go over the differences in the way the two options operate. They both give you an alternate computing environment to work in, and if you want to use Microsoft Windows, you’ll need to buy a software license. With Boot Camp, you restart your computer to run in either the MacOS or Windows environment, and changing from one to the other requires a restart. With Parallels, you run Windows in a … window so no restarting required. Both require you to setup Windows, and keep up-to-date on both operating systems.


boot-camp-screenshotBoot Camp comes free with your Mac, while Parallels will cost you $80 and up per year. If cost is a factor, then you should certainly consider using Boot Camp. For either solution, you can buy a license for Windows 10 online at Microsoft, Amazon or your favorite software retailer, and download the file needed to install Windows on your Mac. If you choose to buy the software disc, you’ll have to scrounge up an external CD/DVD drive to connect to your Macbook Air, since it has no drive built-in.

Other alternatives are VirtualBox (open source, free) and VMWare Fusion (which costs about the same as Parallels). Not saying you should expand your options, but if you are interested, it might be worth doing a bit of research on these at least for comparison. If you’re just looking for a good comparison between Boot Camp and Parallels, check out this Youtube video (and there are plenty of videos that give you different perspectives:

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