How to Open and Run EXE Files on Mac

How to Open and Run EXE File on Mac

EXE files are not intended to work on Mac, but there are workarounds to this. You can now easily run any EXE file on your macOS using its inbuilt tools. The best part of it is it’s a very easy process.

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Oct 16, 2020 • Filed to: Solve Mac Problems • Proven solutions

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Mac's impressive library of apps gives you everything you need but let's face it: Windows has a far larger library.

Haven't you ever come across software native to Windows which endear themselves to you? But since they all come with the EXE file extension, your Mac is incapable of running them. Well, there are workarounds to this problem and you'll learn about them today.

It's possible to safely open and run EXE files on your Mac using mediums like Boot Camp, Remote Desktop, CrossOver, Virtual Machine, and WINE, to mention the most prominent ones. And you don't need to be an expert to do this. As long as you can follow simple instructions, you're all set.

Part 1: Can You Run an EXE File on a Mac?

Yes, you can. With how innovative and creative developers have become, it was only a matter of time before they devised a means to run EXE files on Mac, even though such files are incompatible with macOS.

What's an EXE file, though? It's a file extension that denotes an executable file format. Okay, but what's an executable file? It's any file capable of being executed as a program. To put it simply, it's what makes the installation and running of software possible.

EXE files are used in a few operating systems, the most notable of them being Microsoft Windows. You can think of EXE files as the Windows version of APP files (APP files, if you're unaware, are executable files under macOS).

Go further and learn how to fix MS Word not responding on Mac.
- 2 minutes to read it.

Running EXE files on Mac is very possible but only through backdoor means, so to speak. You need an emulator (WINE is by far the most popular), or you install a virtual machine software on your macOS to enable you to load Windows VM or make an extra partition on your disk where you can simultaneously have both macOS and Windows in your Mac.


Part 2: How to Open EXE Files on Mac

Again, you have several options to choose from when attempting this. So many software out there can help you open EXE files on Mac. You are advised to go with the Parallel Desktop.

Parallel Desktop

This software is simplistic and won't take up much on your time because it doesn't even require a Mac restart anytime you wish to run a Windows application. A copy of Microsoft Windows is required though. You have to install it on your hard disk but it's easy to do:

Step 1: Windows Installation

step-1-windows-installation

step-1-windows-installation-2

step-1-windows-installation-3

step-1-windows-installation-4

step-1-windows-installation-5

step-1-windows-installation-6

step-1-windows-installation-7

Step 2: Using Parallels Desktop


Part 3: How to Run Windows APPs on Mac

The question now is not whether you want to run EXE files on your Mac, but rather how to go about it conveniently. There are countless of great Windows apps that never made it to macOS, and they probably never will. A lot of them have very attractive features that make Windows the envy of all Mac owners.

Running EXE files on Mac is made easy and convenient via Boot Camp and Remote Desktop. You can use any. It depends on preference and what you find more convenient.

Boot Camp

This application makes it possible for you to install Windows on your Mac. Switching between macOS and Windows thus becomes a matter of you restarting your system and deciding which OS to log into.

Step 1: Windows Installation File

step-1-windows-installation-file

Step 2: Launch Your Mac's Utilities folder

step-2-launch-your-mac-utilities-folder

Step 3: Launch Boot Camp Assistant

step-3-launch-boot-camp-assit

Step 4: On-screen Instructions

step-4-on-screen-instructions

Step 5: Your Mac Will Restart

step-5-mac-will-restart

Step 6: Install Windows

step-6-install-windows

Step 7: Startup Manager

step-7-startup-manager

Step 8: Boot Camp

step-8-boot-camp

Remote Desktop

This free tool does what many others fail at: lets you take full advantage of your Windows apps from your Mac. That's pretty convenient, don't you agree? Even though you'll need Mac and PC to use the Remote Desktop, it's still a great software that deserves praise. Here's how you use it:

Step 1: Get Your PC Ready

step-1-get-your-pc-ready

Step 2: Know Your IP Address & PC Name

step-2-know-your-ip-adress-and-pc-name

step-2-know-your-ip-adress-and-pc-name-2

Step 3: Install the Mac Version of Microsoft Remote Desktop

step-3-install-mac-version-of-remote-desktop

Step 4: Open Add Your PC to Remote Desktop

step-4-open-add-your-pc-to-remote-desktop

Step 5: You Can Now Connect

step-5-you-can-now-connect


Closing Words

Well, there you have it. Running your EXE files via your Mac is now a thing of the past. As long as you have the right tools, you can do it in a matter of minutes.

These tools make your Mac more versatile than even Apple intended and anticipated because they enable you to go beyond what your Mac is capable of doing. You can achieve an end goal that would have otherwise been impossible. That's the power of a Mac for you.

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