Run Windows apps on both OS X & Linux with CrossOver 12.5

Run Windows apps on both OS X & Linux with CrossOver 12.5

Summary: Don't want to dual-boot your Mac or Linux PC to run one or two Windows apps? Don't want to install a full virtual operating system for them? CodeWeaver's latest version of CrossOver 12.5 may be just what you want.


Most Mac and Linux users think anything Windows can do their operating systems can do better. Often, they're right, but then there comes that day when they really need to run that one special Windows application and then they're stuck.

Run Windows programs from your Linux desktop or Mac? With CrossOver, it's easy.

There are many ways of handling this. Some people keep old Windows PC around; others dual boot their computers; and quite a few run virtual machines (VM)s of Windows on their Linux PCs and Macs. That's all fine, but it's also a fair amount of trouble.

Then, there's CodeWeaver's approach: Use a program, CrossOver, which enables you to install and run the one or two Windows applications you need on your favorite operating system.

CrossOver is based on the open-source project Wine, an implementation of the Windows application programming interface (API) on top of the Unix/Linux operating system family. For each application, CrossOver/Wine creates a small Windows virtual machine just for that program.

You actually don't need CrossOver to run Windows applications on Linux or a Mac. You can do it with Wine alone -- if you know precisely what you're doing. What CrossOver gives you is easy, automated installation of Windows applications, and technical support. And in this latest version, the CrossOver interface has been improved so it's easier than ever to install and manage Windows applications.

The latest version -- CrossOver 12.5, which is based on Wine 1.6 -- supports  thousands of Windows programs. These include: Quicken, Adobe Photoshop, various versions of the Microsoft Office suite; and, of course lots and lots of games. On the fun side of computing, CrossOver supports Guild Wars, World of Warcraft, Star Wars: The Old Republic, and thousands of others.

Not all programs run equally well. Before you invest in buying CrossOver, which runs $59.95, you'll want to take CodeWeavers up on its offer of a free two-week trial to make sure that your particular must-have program will run right with it.

In particular, this latest version offers better support for Microsoft Outlook, Quicken, Internet Explorer 7, and improved compatibility with the Microsoft Office suite. The company has also fixed several crashes and made numerous usability improvements.

This edition also offers a real improvement in its interoperability with Mac OS X. CrossOver 12.5, which will run with Snow Leopard or later, now has the"Mac Driver" technology enabled by default for all applications. The company claims that this brings improved integration with the OS X desktop environment and improves functions such as drag-and-drop, command-tab switching, Dock and Menu Bar integration, and window transparency. In my limited testing with my Mountain Lion-powered Mac Mini, Mac Driver lived up to these claims.

On Linux, CrossOver boasts a new user interface. This makes it much easier to launch your installed Windows applications. I also found it easier in general to install Windows apps on Linux with CrossOver 12.5.

CrossOver isn't perfect. Many Windows applications won't run properly with it. But, many will work with it, and if you only need a couple of Windows apps to make your Linux or Mac computing life complete then CrossOver may well be exactly what you need.

Give it a try and find out for yourself. It won't cost you a thing.

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Topics: Virtualization, Apple, Linux, Software, Windows

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  • Thanks SJVN, this sounds like a great option

    For those who want access to the excellent programs only available on Windows, this sounds like a great solution.

    Do you have any ideas on why no one wants to run osx programs on their Windows PCs? I've always personally found that osx applications had far fewer features, had horrible UIs, and were extremely unstable so that those could be a few reasons why no one wants to run osx programs. Once you get used to the high quality of the Windows ecosystem, it is difficult to take a step backwards to the osx "ecosystem" (in quotes because it barely is).
    • Not another try-hard troll...

      Lol always trying hard to troll on OSX, whatever the story. I've known plenty of ppl wanting to skin Windows to look and feel exactly like OSX, and know of plenty experimenting with Hackintoshes before jumping ship from Windows, I've never heard of the reverse. Even my diehard Windows-developer brother who used to hate on OSX now runs mainly Macs and is always going on about how much he loves his Mac Pro, though he's setting up a Mini with Windows Server for databases etc. The last straw for him was what they did to Windows CE and now Windows 8, even if he does do some development for it. Windows was always OSX's ugly cousin.
    • Really?

      Then why is it I constantly see the asking about GnuStep and other ways to write Objective C code from Windows developers? Seems to me there are a lot of people trying to figure out how to get at OS X's development environment (so they can write iOS apps.)
    • Re: why no one wants to run osx programs on their Windows PCs

      It all depends on your definition.

      Some think "Windows PC" is anything that is assembled from parts, and is not a genuine Macintosh. There is a large community of people who do want and do run OS X with all the applications on those computers. They call it Hackintosh.

      Others, might very much like to have OS X specific software run on Windows, but sadly, Windows provides no means to do this. Windows also does not provide for running UNIX (including Linux) specific applications, although smart people made it possible compiling UNIX source code software on special runtime(s) in Windows. Most of the time, special coding is required because again, Windows does not provide enough APIs for the task, or provides "wrong" APIs.

      In the end, as funny as it sounds, OS X is the most compatible OS out there, because it can run OS X, UNIX and Windows software with ease. Apple has always invested heavily in compatibility of their products -- when necessary, they play ball and license the necessary technologies.

      Next is Linux, because the Linux developers have sacrificed some architectural purity, in exchange for being compatible with a whole lot of stuff. Curiously, there are developments to even run some OS X software on Linux.. might be, one day..

      As can be expected, Windows has the worst compatibility record. It is essentially compatible only with itself and ... it is not a surprise when different Windows versions present incompatible APIs.

      But, you can always chose to be fanboy of one platform and ignore all others.
    • I guess you've moved up in your sense of self-importance

      since now you obviously think that whatever your opinion happens to be, it is the standard by which all of creation shall be judged.
    • I have an idea as to why.

      Windows users don't know anything exists until they see it on Windows, so they have no idea what software is available for OSX.
      I base this on the many, many times Linux has been accused of 'stealing' Windows ideas, even though those ideas were available on Linux long before Windows.

      Things like 3D Desktop, DPI Desktop scaling, and tabbed apps come to mind.
    • LOL

      OSX is so much faster of an OS than windows 7, it is sick. Unfortunately OSX has plenty of downsides which is why I don't use it daily. I've tried WINE but the Windows apps I need to run don't work properly under WINE. I'd love to use the Quad core Mac Mini I have sitting here every day but I find I have to switch to a PC to often. I also run OSX in Virtualbox for windows. Some MAC apps are better than the PC versions. I will settle for Windows 8 because it is as fast or faster than OSX. I also run Android in Bluestacks under Win8 tablet because the games are better.
    • I bought 1000 Surface RT's in one purchase.

      For $25 by the pallet full, from the scrap yard.

      All brand new too, fresh in plastic transport wrapping, direct from the Microsoft warehouse.

      And Microsoft is just Dumb and getting Dumber

      Really version X, Y and Z?

      It was self evident that the office platform kind of matured totally at 2003, and from then on everything was just window dressing the cash cow, "This year we will wrap it in tinsel, this year we will wrap it in cellophane, this year we will wrap it in brown paper... etc., etc., etc."

      The Microsoft software is just more and more idiotic management and more and more scummy, incompetent and badly designed software.

      "The Ribbon" in office 2007, was the first large step off the edge...

      Add in the never ending dirty deals and scumbag antics of Corporation USA and it's global surveilance programs - all running through Microsoft, and every PC it was ever installed upon.

      I moved full time to Linux ages ago, and I actually still use XP for all my old legacy equipment.

      I will buy the copdeweavers App, as I actually really do like Office 2003 and a bunch of old software.
      Wroger Wroger
      • Surface RTs for $25?

        How did you get Surface RTs for $25?
    • Well

      Some OSX apps are good and only for OSX. But you are right, on OSX alot of the apps seem to be dumbed down. Although this is usually not the case on linux. But since most of the Linux apps are Open source most of them also run on Windows. But you could just install Wine on Linux and there are plenty of free Wine tools that will config it to run nicely.
  • Testing, testing, testing -

    In a limited private situation this might be a solution to limited applications on Linux, however, the statement, "CrossOver isn't perfect. Many Windows applications won't run properly with it." eliminates it from the commercial realm.

    It's all about the applications, and not the OS. Always has been, always will be. The OS facilitates the applications, nothing more.

    While applications such as Photoshop may be supported, does the function you need work well under Wine? Having tried early versions of Wine, and found that some applications ran, but functions within the application didn't run caused me to abandon the project entirely. Just didn't have the time to fool with it.

    If an OS can't run the required applications, the OS serves no purpose. No one runs an OS to see the OS run, except perhaps a geek without any real purpose for the computer.
    • Re: eliminates it from the commercial realm.

      In fact, it is exactly the other way around.

      Commercial deployments are more or less controlled environment. If your business software runs on WINE, then you are perfectly set with UNIX (OS X, Linux, BSD etc) and WINE. The "bottling" feature provides controlled and stable environment for each application -- which is what commercial deployment *wants*. This "virtual machine per application" is extremely useful -- it guarantees that one application won't mess with another, ever.

      On a typical consumer system however, when the user might install random software WINE might not always work satisfactory. In such cases, the user is better with an native Windows installation, on bare metal on in a VM.
      • I see you've never worked in the commercial world

        or you'd realize what you said is completely moronic. Businesses like to say they are controlled but unless it's a secured environment with absolute control over the desktop, users will find ways to bring in software to do legitimate work that won't work.

        The solutions you describe are to say the least impractical. just tell the CEO on a trip to Singapore that his new software won't run under Wine because the people in IT are really just high paid morons.

        That ought to get you a promotion.
        • I see you've never worked in the commercial world

          Please name a successful company that allows its employees to install whatever software they want on whatever systems they want.

          Maybe you have heard of a product called Active Directory that allows administrators to create LAN wide policies to prevent employees from installing software without notifying IT.

          Maybe you are stuck in the 1980's where anything goes, but the rest of us have moved beyond that.

          danbi is correct that businesses MUST endeavour to control the computers it owns, so if they have one or two legacy Windows apps, Wine can be a viable alternative.
          • Active directory

            Oh, yes, I've heard of and been managed by AD. But, in larger companies attempting to manage every PC and laptop (unless in a secured situation) stifles productivity. We have rules about ensuring the software is properly licensed, but all in all the end user can install whatever they want.

            You know, thinking that IT knows every application needed by over 40,000 employees seems to be a bit arrogant. and if every program used by the employees had to be vetted by IT, nothing would ever get done.

            Small businesses might get by with Crossover, but in a large enterprise, no way. IT just doesn't have the ability to manage the plethora of applications required and in businesses that have safety issues, liability of using a software on Linux / Crossover when it was designed for Windows is just too much to consider.

            So, it is obvious you've never worked in the commercial sector.
          • Commercial World

            I work for one of the largest corporations in the world and they surely do want to control what every user has on their computer.
            They publish a list, every year, of rogue software that they have found on user PCs and warn everyone that this software "will be removed".

            And, since large machines move slowly, we are still living in an XP world - with Win7 holograms on our laptops.
            Heck, I was only able to upgrade from IE6, in 2011!
        • As to the CEO wanting to use new software on the trip tomorrow.

          I have found telling him/her that their new software was must vetted before being turned loose on company computers IS a good way to get promoted. After all, if they are paying me to keep data safe, consistent, and available, then either listen to me, or fire me. I have yet to be fired.
          • good luck, when the CEO speaks, and has a need, you might want to answer

            positively. You may have yet to be fired from a one horse outfit, but in the $$billion and up, they tend to get quite testy when something goes wrong.

            Then your bosses, bosses, bosses, boss gets the call and it rolls down hill.

            The political hacks get involved and guess what? The software is vetted without much testing. Then when the big boss tries to use it and it blows up, all hell breaks loose.

            No, I'd never recommend something like Crossover as the probability of problems is so much higher than using the OS it was designed for. Too risky to the business and career.
          • I get it!

            You're a "Yes" man. I'm not.
          • Not a yes man

            but a realist. Crossover has too many risks, you just choose to ignore them and tell the boss to take a hike.

            One should always remember that IT serves the company, not the other way around, but then you seem to have ignored that little fact.