“Sorry, this software isn’t available for OSX”: How Mac users can run Windows software

I stayed after class in my Information Systems section to ask the professor for homework help. I was using Microsoft Excel on my Mac to complete the assignment, but despite my searching, I couldn’t find an option required for one of the steps.

“Sorry, but you should really use Windows for these assignments. Some things don’t work as well on Mac.” Thanks, Carolyn.

Thankfully, I have my own workaround to walking to the library every night to get my homework done. Now, I’m going to show other Mac-using students how they can use an inexpensive Windows alternative without Bootcamp, a notoriously difficult and tedious process.

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • Your Mac. Duh.
  • Your copy of Windows 10, available for free to Loyola students. If you’re a student, your school may have an account with onthehub.com for discounted operating systems.
  • A copy of Parallels. You can spend the money for this year’s edition, but I use a few years behind to save money. Parallels 11 is only $22 on Amazon and works with Windows 10.
  • An internet connection and a little bit of patience.

Getting a copy of Windows 10 is easy for Loyola Students.

I didn’t know about this until recently – I luckily had an extra key for Windows 8 and had to use a farther outdated version of Parallels to ensure compatibility. You only get one copy of Windows 10, though, so if you’ve already used it, you’ll have to buy a key from Microsoft. Sorry.

You’ll need to make an account on luc.onthehub.com using your official luc.edu email. Make sure you specify that you are a student and double-check the information it gathers, then verify your email and you’ll be set to go.


Most students know about free Microsoft Office. Not many know about free Microsoft Windows.

Go to your home page and select Microsoft, as seen above, and click Windows 10. All you need to do is add it to your cart and check out, then you’ll have a key and download for Windows 10. Hold on to this key for later.

Installing Parallels 11

Parallels is a virtual machine. This means that inside of your OSX session, it runs an entirely new session of windows inside of this. This makes Windows as an operating system much like an application on your Mac that you open and close like any other program; the difference is that you can run programs within it as well. You can tell what is on your Windows session by the double red bars on the icon in your dock.


On my Mac, I’m running Discord, Word, and Photoshop. Next, I have my Parallels Windows Desktop and a Windows session of Chrome and Excel.

When you buy it from Amazon, Parallels will send you an activation key you can use after downloading the software from their website. You’ll scroll down to the bottom of the page to get to the Parallels 11 download link. Once you have the software downloaded and activated, it’ll walk you through getting Windows installed inside of the program.

Going forward.

You have Windows and Parallels both installed on your Mac. Great! From here, you can install any Windows program you need that isn’t compatible with your Mac for $22 instead of walking to the library all the time or spending the money on a Windows-based computer. From here, I went on my Outlook through LUC and downloaded Excel and got my homework done with no problems.

Of course, Parallels can also be used for any program not compatible with Mac, including games. Mac-based game developers can run a virtual machine with Game Maker Studio, which currently has no OSX application, or test games on their Windows session without installing another operating system through Boot Camp.

I hope this explanation has been helpful. If you have any questions on this process, feel free to contact me by email at burleybm@gmail.com.

Happy partitioning!


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