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How to Develop Windows Apps on a MacBook Pro

If you ever need to create a Windows application and you use a Mac as your only workstation, it's possible to run Windows 10 alongside macOS, read on to find out how.

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How to run Windows on a Mac?

In order to create Windows apps, you will need to install Windows 10 and Visual Studio on your Mac. However, installing them directly on the hardware is not something I’d recommend.

It’s better to use a desktop virtualization program because it makes switching between macOS and Windows as simple as a swipe right.

macOS and Windows side by side

What Desktop Virtualization Program to Use?

There are multiple desktop virtualization programs available, such as VMware Fusion, Parallels, or VirtualBox. I use VMware Fusion* because it’s fast, has a native macOS UI, and supports a wide range of guest operating systems.

I also think the tech support from VMware is top-notch. I used to work for a company that used their vSphere product* to run production virtual machines in a data centre, and whenever I needed help, they were one of the best companies I’ve dealt with.

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Create a Windows Virtual Machine

After downloading and installing VMware Fusion*, you are ready to create a Windows virtual machine that you can install Visual Studio on.

Follow the steps in this tutorial to learn how to create a Windows 10 virtual machine with VMware Fusion.

Install Visual Studio

Once you’ve created a virtual machine and installed Windows 10 on it. Login to Windows, open the edge browser and download the community Visual Studio installer from here.

Install Visual Studio - Step 1

Open the vs_community_*.exe file when it’s finished downloading to launch the installer.

Install Visual Studio - Step 2

Choose what packages to install. In the following example, I’ve selected ASP.NET and web development, .NET desktop development and Universal Windows Platform development.

Click Install.

Install Visual Studio - Step 3

Go make yourself a cup of coffee while everything installs as it might take awhile.

Install Visual Studio - Step 4

Once finished, either create a Visual Studio online account and sign in or skip that step by clicking Not now, maybe later.

Install Visual Studio - Step 5

Choose your preferred development settings then click Start Visual Studio.

Install Visual Studio - Step 6

Visual Studio will open and you’re now ready to create a project.

Install Visual Studio - Step 7

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Create a Windows Desktop App

Let’s create a simple Hello World app to demonstrate Visual Studio working on a Mac. Click Create a new project, select WPF App (.NET Core) then click Next.

Create Windows App - Step 1

Enter the name HelloWorld and click Create.

Create Windows App - Step 2

Add a label that says Hello World to the screen by adding a Label element inside the Grid.

<Label>Hello World</Label>

Create Windows App - Step 3

Click HelloWorld next to the green play button to see how the app runs.

Create Windows App - Step 4

And that’s it! You’ve just built a native Windows app from your Mac.

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Conclusion

In this tutorial, we learned it’s possible to develop or run Windows apps on a Mac using desktop virtualization. We installed VMware Fusion*, created a Windows VM, installed Visual Studio, and then used it to create a Windows app that says Hello World.

Written by: Tony Mackay

Fusion Windows

* GraspingTech participates in various affiliate marketing programs, which means we may earn a small commission at no additional cost to you, should you click on a link to a product and make a purchase.

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