Can I Install Windows Media Center on My Mac?

by Ellis Davidson

Windows Media Center is, as the name implies, Windows-only software. You can run it on a Mac if you're willing to set it up to dual-boot into Windows, or you can try XBMC, the third-party media center that runs on many computers, including Macs.

Running Windows in Boot Camp

Boot Camp takes your hard drive and divides it into two "partitions," each of which looks like a separate hard drive to your Mac. Under normal circumstances, you boot off the first partition and your Mac works like it normally does. But when you boot off the second partition, you'll boot into a fully-functional copy of Windows, where you can run Windows Media Center. You'll need a Mac with at least 10 gigabytes of free hard drive space, and a retail copy of Windows; Apple provides the instructions for how to get Boot Camp on your Mac.


XBMC is free software that you can download which acts as a media center to all of your devices, much as Windows Media Center does on Windows. Unlike Windows Media Center, the open-source XBMC is cross-platform and compatible with OS X and Linux in addition to Windows. XBMC can even use remote controls that you install on your iPhone or Android phone.

About the Author

Ellis Davidson has been a self-employed Internet and technology consultant, entrepreneur and author since 1993. He has written a book about self-employment for recent college graduates and is a regular contributor to "Macworld" and the TidBITS technology newsletter. He is completing a book on self-employment options during a recession. Davidson holds a Bachelor of Arts in American civilization from the University of Pennsylvania.