CrossOver Impersonator review

CrossOver Impersonator takes a different approach to virtualisation programs such as Parallels Desktop or VMware Fusion in that it doesn’t require you to install Windows. When you install a Windows program CrossOver creates a ‘bottle’ file, which includes just a few key Windows components required to run that specific program.

To install a program – we tried Word ’97 – you simply locate that program on the compatibility list on the Codeweavers website and then click the Install button on the web page. CrossOver creates the bottle file and installs the program.

However, CrossOver doesn’t provide the same level of compatibility with Windows programs as Parallels or Fusion. The compatibility list gives gold, silver and bronze medal ratings to hundreds of Windows programs. A gold rating suggests that the program should be reliable; silver means there may be the occasional bug; and bronze means ‘use with care’. Office 97 had a silver rating and it worked fine – CrossOver even modified the program’s interface with Mac-like title bars and buttons. Office 2000 gets a gold medal, but Office 2007 and 2010 get bronze.

Run Word 97 for Windows on your Mac

OUR VERDICT

If you only need to run one or two Windows programs, CrossOver might be just what you’re looking for – and there’s a trial version available so that you can test it before buying. But if you need reliable compatibility with a wide range of Windows software then Parallels, Fusion or Apple’s own Boot Camp are still better solutions.

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