How to Switch From Mac to Windows

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Mac and Windows are undoubtedly the two most renowned operating systems we have out there today. And if you've had to interact with the two, then you know just how different they are. Each has its own perks, and unique applications, which are all special in their own way.

The good thing is that there is a way you can have the best of both worlds. If you have an Intel-based Mac, it is entirely possible to run both Mac's operating system and Windows on the same machine using Apple's Boot Camp software.

If you are reading this, it probably means you've already installed Windows. So, what next? How do you switch from Mac to Windows? Well, there are more ways than one to do so. We even have some software like Parallels, which allows you to run both OSs simultaneously. Let's take a look.

How to switch from Mac to Windows without Parallels

If you are switching from Mac to Windows, it means that you are using a Mac OS and it is your primary operating system. In this case, to make the switch, follow the steps below:

  1. Navigate to system preferences by clicking the settings icon.
  2. From the list that pops up, select start up disk.
  3. This should offer you two options to start your computer. Choose the Windows option.
  4. Click the restart button on the bottom left.

Alternatively, you can use the switch with restart option. In this case, follow the steps below:

  1. Restart your Mac by clicking the Apple icon on the top left corner of your screen (switch on if your Mac is powered off).
  2. On clicking restart, continually hold down your options key until a grey screen appears.
  3. Two options will pop up, select Windows partition and double click to boot.

How to switch from Mac to Windows with Parallels

Now, the techniques above are all effective in switching from Mac to PC. As you've seen, it means shutting one and booting the other. But what if you want to run both operating systems at the same time? Well, this is where Parallels comes in.

With Parallels, you can run both operating systems simultaneously. You get to switch between the two whenever you want without having to start your computer every time.

To do so, you first have to install Parallels in your Mac. Then install Windows using Parallels. The good thing is that when you launch Parallels, it automatically detects that you have not installed Windows and offers to download and install it for you.

After installing Windows, there are three different modes you can use depending on your preference.

Window mode

When operating Parallels in Window Mode, the Windows OS will appear as a window on your screen. And in this case, switching between Mac and Windows is as simple as moving your cursor. With this, you are free to run Windows and Mac applications at the same time.

Full screen mode

When operating Parallels in Full-screen Mode, both Windows and Mac operating systems will fill the screen. The easiest way to switch between them is by simply swiping with three fingers on your trackpad. As you do it, it moves on to the next operating system, much like the way you'd shift from one picture to another as you scroll through your phone gallery.

Alternatively, you can do this by pressing control plus the arrow left or right to move between windows.


When operating Parallels in Coherence Mode, the Windows and Mac applications will appear side by side on your Mac desktop. For instance, you can have Microsoft Word on one side of your screen and Face Time on the other. To switch between the two, you only need to click the window of the application you want.


There you have it. By now, you have an idea of how to switch from Mac to Windows. While using Boot Camp is pretty effective, Parallels is, by far, the more convenient way of toggling between the two operating systems. This way, you don't have to reboot your PC every time you want to use a single Windows application.