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Sep 28, 2020 • Filed to: Solve Mac Problems • Proven solutions

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.
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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

  • Open up your Mac's Application folder and double-click on the 'Parallels' icon (you have to do this to install Windows).
  • Click on 'File.'
  • Click on 'New.'
  • Click on 'Install Windows or another OS from DVD or image file.'
  • Click on 'Continue.' You can easily install Windows either from a DVD or the more popular .iso disc image; or even a bootable USB drive.
  • You can even switch to the manual mode, locate the source for the Windows installation, and choose it by clicking on 'Select a file…'
  • Click on 'Continue'. You will be taken to a Windows product key window.
  • Leave the 'Express installation' as it is, input the key and click 'Continue.'
  • You will be asked to select how you wish to use Windows: Whether for productivity, games only, software development, design, etc. Once you're done selecting, click on 'Continue.'
  • Type in a name for the virtual machine and select the directory or location for the Parallels Desktop.
  • Click on 'Continue' and the Windows installation will commence. All Intel-based Macs are compatible with both 32 and 64-bit versions of Windows: From Windows XP to Windows 10.
  • Once the installation concludes you can open up Windows by clicking on the 'Power' button in the list of the Parallels Virtual Machine.

Step 2: Using Parallels Desktop

  • The very first time Windows restarts, 'Parallels Tools' will be installed. This will be what ultimately integrates your Mac with your Windows desktops. After the installation is done, you will be asked to restart Windows.
  • Open up your Parallels Desktop from 'Spotlight.'
  • Click on 'Virtual Machine.'
  • Select 'Configure' in the drop-down menu which appears.
  • Click on 'Options.'
  • Click on 'Shared Folders.'
  • Click on 'Add.'
  • Click on 'Choose.' Doing this will add a location from your Mac's desktop to the virtual machine. Simply put any EXE file in this location to enable Windows to access and install them

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

  • Boot Camp is compatible with Windows 8,8.1. and 10 (you will need an ISO file of any of these three releases).

Step 2: Launch Your Mac's Utilities folder

  • Type in 'Utilities' in your Mac's search bar, then click it.

Step 3: Launch Boot Camp Assistant

  • The app's icon looks like a grey hard drive. Click it.

Step 4: On-screen Instructions

  • You will be instructed to choose the Windows ISO, the drive you intend to install it on, and restart your Mac.

Step 5: Your Mac Will Restart

  • Once you're done setting up Boot Camp, you will be asked to restart Mac.
  • After that, you will be taken to the Windows installer screen.

Step 6: Install Windows

  • Follow the instructions to install the version of Windows you chose.

Step 7: Startup Manager

  • Once the install has been completed, your system will restart. Press and hold the 'Option' key while this happens and the 'Startup Manager' will appear.
  • Let go of the 'Option' key and you will see all the drives you can boot your Mac from.

Step 8: Boot Camp

  • Select 'Boot Camp' and click on 'Return'.
  • Your Mac will now be loaded into Windows.
  • Navigate to your EXE file and run it.

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

  • Open the start menu and navigate to 'Settings', then 'System', then 'Remote Desktop.'
  • Turn 'Enable Remote Desktop' on and 'Confirm.'

Step 2: Know Your IP Address & PC Name

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  • Still on the 'Remote Desktop' menu, and below the 'How to connect to this PC', jot down your PC name.

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  • Go to your 'Settings', then 'Network & Internet'.
  • Click 'Wi-Fi' and select the network you're connected to. This will bring up the network connection properties screen. At the bottom of the page is your 'IPv4 address'. Jot it down.

Step 3: Install the Mac Version of Microsoft Remote Desktop

  • Pick up your Mac and open up your Mac App Store, then search for 'Microsoft Remote Desktop.'
  • Download and install it.

Step 4: Open Add Your PC to Remote Desktop

  • Open up Remote Desktop on your Mac.
  • Click on 'Add Desktop.'
  • A dialogue box will pop up. Type in the PC Name you jotted down; if it doesn't work, type in the IP address.
  • Click 'Save'.

Step 5: You Can Now Connect Best screen recorders for mac.

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  • Keep your PC turned on and make sure it is connected to the network your Mac is connected to.
  • Remote Desktop will now show your computer below 'Saved Desktops.'
  • Double-click on it to connect.
  • You will be required to enter your username and password.
  • Click 'OK.'
  • A security warning will pop up. Since you're on a private network, ignore the warning and click 'Continue.'
  • That's the last step. You can now view and use your Windows on your Mac via Remote Desktop.

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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HELP FILE

How do I install GoToMeeting on a Mac?

Installing the full-featured GoToMeeting desktop app onto your computer allows you to get the most out of your meetings. Note that when you start or join a meeting, the GoToMeeting software download will begin automatically unless you are on an unsupported system. In that case, you will be taken to the browser-based Web App.

Note: If you are on a Windows computer, see Steps for Installing on Windows.

About the installation package

Once the desktop app is installed, you will be able to join and start future meetings more quickly by avoiding the extended download process. When you install GoToMeeting, you will download 2 parts of the software to your computer.
  • GoToMeeting desktop app – This is the main software that you use to join and start meetings.
  • GoTo Opener – This is the 'helper' application that launches you into active meetings.

Download the desktop app

  1. Make sure you are on a supported operating system by checking your system's compatibility automatically or viewing the system requirements.
  2. Click the Download button to get started.
  3. The GoTo Opener.dmg file will download onto your computer. Depending on your browser, click the file to download as follows. If you've downloaded this file before, some or all of the next steps will be skipped. In this case, you can go straight to joining or starting a meeting from the desktop app.
    • Google Chrome – Click GoTo Opener.dmg in the lower download toolbar.
    • Mozilla Firefox – Make sure 'Open with' is selected and click OK.
    • Apple Safari – Click the Download icon in the upper toolbar and double-click GoTo Opener.dmg in the drop-down list.
  4. To complete the GoTo Opener.dmg file download, double-click the GoTo Opener app in the window and then Open. Select the 'Don't warn me when opening applications on this disk image' check box to avoid being prompted with the dialog again.
  5. The GoTo Opener will automatically launch and open the GoToMeeting Suite, which means you've successfully installed the desktop app!
    • To join someone else's meeting, enter the meeting ID or meeting page name and click Join.
    • To log in to your organizer account and manage your meetings, click Meet Now, Schedule Meeting, or My Meetings. This will prompt the Sign In window.

Join or start your first meeting from the desktop app

Once you have installed GoToMeeting and attempt to join or start your first meeting, you may be prompted with an additional dialog from the web browser requesting permission to open GoTo Opener.
  1. Launch the GoToMeeting desktop application.
  2. Join or start a meeting from the GoToMeeting Suite.
    • To join someone else's meeting, enter the meeting ID or meeting page name and click Join.
    • To start your own meeting as the organizer, click Meet Now to start an instant meeting or My Meetings to start a previously scheduled meeting. If prompted, sign in to your account.
  3. Depending on the web browser you're running, complete the permission prompt as follows.
    • Google Chrome – Click Open GoTo Opener. Select the 'Remember my choice for GoToOpener links' check box to avoid being prompted by the dialog again.
    • Mozilla Firefox – Click OK. Select the 'Remember my choice for GoTo Opener links' check box to avoid being prompted by the dialog again.
  4. When prompted, click Open.
  5. You'll be launched into your meeting!
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