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Crossover emulation of PortableFreeware

Posted: Fri Apr 25, 2008 12:48 pm
by webfork
I evaluated Crossover ( in my spare time. Its not freeware but it will allow make some Windows-only software cross-platform. The free WINE of course is easily available for Linux users, but the install process for Mac is a bit more involved. Additionally, CrossOver softens some of the edges.

  1. Run MANY PortableFreeware programs under Mac or Linux with a fraction of the RAM and processor cost that Parallels, VMware, or VirtualBox require.
  2. Starts up much faster than virtualization software (approx 10x faster).
  3. Its around $20 cheaper than Paralells or VMware
  1. Sometimes incompatible with software you're using in unexpected ways. At least in Windows XP under VMware, I've had only one or two issues with programs and hotkeys.
  2. Crossover has a strange way of organizing your files. I wish very much it was more straightforward and simple.
    • HOWTO

      When run, Crossover's main window will ask you to run an installer program. Just close this window.
      • Go to the "Programs" menu, and select "Run Command" and select the portable program that you wish to run.
      • Select "Save Program to Command Menu" and then they can now be added to your Dock.
      • I created a "drawer" for my Windows programs.

        Optionally, (I recommend this) copy your portable freeware INTO the Crossover "bottle". You can do this after creating a "bottle" by choosing Manage Bottles - Advanced tab - Open C:\ Drive in Finder. Copy over the files.

      Here's what I found running Crossover on Mac:
      • 1. Many programs that do not use relative file name locations like "c:\software\program.exe" instead of "..\software\program.exe" will not function properly.

        PStart, for example, will run by opening the small tray icon in a tiny window on the desktop. You can then immediately test all your other portable programs.

        Rainlendar, my favorite calendar program, does run but doesn't find my default calendar. Nor does PSpad, my favored text editor, find its default text files I have set to open at startup.

        2. Fonts look odd.

        3. I was unable to do some obvious program changes, like using the search window included in Firefox. I had to first go to Google. Its small but it may be indicative of other minor incompatibilities that will annoy users.

        Still, it worked well. This entire entry was done using Firefox under Crossover.
      • Crossover seems to have not embraced portable software, which generally runs under emulation much better than installed corporate software like Microsoft Office. By nature, portable software is usually self-contained and doesn't make as many system calls. Still, I understand their position, since compatibility with the big name software is what sells software.

Re: Crossover emulation of PortableFreeware

Posted: Thu Jul 30, 2009 11:27 am
by webfork
Did some more work on this when 8.0 came out if anyone's interested: ... _Crossover

This includes:
  • A long list of compatible and incompatible freeware
  • Backup, troubleshooting, and what types of programs seem to work best
  • How to get it running with a collection of PFC freeware I work on (

Re: Crossover emulation of PortableFreeware

Posted: Sat Apr 23, 2011 8:52 am
by toomuchjunk
I love how this list is still relevant two years later. Not sure why there wasn't much discussion here, but this link is still very useful, hence the bump. Even two years later I had been researching ways to crossover and continuously was corrupting various aspects of my computing system. If it wasn't for disaster recovery software and a very helpful IT staffing agency I would be in a lot of trouble, but I am glad I was finally able to accomplish my goal without destroying all of me important information.

Re: Crossover emulation of PortableFreeware

Posted: Sun Apr 24, 2011 10:54 am
by webfork
toomuchjunk wrote:I love how this list is still relevant two years later. Not sure why there wasn't much discussion here, but this link is still very useful, hence the bump...
It is? Really? Well good.

My best guess is that most people who have a Mac have a pretty intense RAM capacity. If you've got plenty of RAM, you can just run VirtualBox or VMware and then run all Windows software flawlessly under that. Crossover tends to be a little finicky.

That said, its nice to not have to start up Windows to do something simple. Even with the very fastest computers, this still takes a few minutes and a lot of extra processor power.