Crossover Review

Written by Lisa in Apps

Hi all! When I was younger, I had a PC and some great games, like The Secret of Monkey Island and King’s Quest VI. I’m sure some of you guys had a PC before you made the switch to a Mac. For a while now, I’ve been looking for a reasonably priced, working Mac application that would run all types of PC files (.exe). A couple weeks ago, I discovered CrossOver, an emulator type program created by CodeWeavers. CrossOver is a paid application, but can be downloaded and used for 30 days for free. Read on for more information about CrossOver and how it works.

CrossOver is a bit different than what you may think. The science behind CrossOver is a bit complicated. Through CrossOver, you can install different Windows software. When you install and run these applications, an open-souce program called Wine starts running in the background. Wine translates the API that allows the Windows application to run into something a Mac can read. In this way, Windows software can take on a more Mac-like look. For example, the three traffic light bubbles are visible in CrossOver.  The picture below is courtesy of CodeWeavers (open in a new tab/window for a bigger picture).


Now before you download/buy CrossOver, you must know that it is not a perfect application. For one thing, not all Windows software is supported by CrossOver. A full list can be found on the CodeWeavers website. I highly suggest you do a quick scan of their list before buying. Second, it is important to know that there are two versions of CrossOver. The Pro version is $70 and is used for both productivity software, like Microsoft, and games, like Half-Life 2: Episode 2. The standard version is $40 and can only run productivity software.
In addition, there are also reports of installation not working perfectly. For applications that are supported by CrossOver, installation works perfectly.

I mentioned above that there were some alternatives to CrossOver. This is true, those being Parallels Desktop and VMware Fusion. There are a couple of benefits to buying CrossOver over Parallels and VMware. CrossOver is also $10 cheaper than the other two. CrossOver is easier to use and install software than Parallels and VMware. As an added bonus, CrossOver does not require a physical CD of any Windows software, although when you insert a Windows CD, CrossOver will open automatically in order to run the software successfully.

Overall, CrossOver gets the job done and should be used if you have some sort of need to us Windows software for a short while. I hope everyone has a nice weekend. Make sure to come back for a special surprise announcement! [Edit: We are currently working out some details and our announcement will be delayed for a couple of days]



  1. Vidal van Bergen says:

    For old games, especially monkey island and even King’s Quest you should try out the free and open source “ScummVM” instead of a whole windows emulator, ScummVM is made exactly for the reason to play those old point & click adventures games.

    ScummVM emulates only the engines used to run the games, and is extremely cross platform.

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