Al Fasoldt's reviews and commentaries, continuously available online since 1983


Quicken's Windows software can run on Macs

Sept. 5, 2010

By Al Fasoldt
Copyright © 2010, Al Fasoldt
Copyright © 2010, The Post-Standard

   Intuit's Quicken financial software is highly regarded and widely used -- by the Windows crowd. Unfortunately, Intuit botched the Mac version of Quicken by taking away some of the most important features of the Windows program.
   This is a serious problem for former Windows users who switched recently to the Mac. Sales to "switchers" are a significant percentage of Mac sales, and nothing is as likely to disappoint a new Mac user than finding out your favorite program just isn't the same on your new computer.
   But this doesn't have to be. Anyone using a modern Mac can run the latest version of Quicken -- the Windows version, with all its bells and whistles -- by investing $40 in software that gives Macs a way to run Windows programs.
   The software is called CrossOver Mac, from www.codeweavers.com. You can download a trial version at no cost. CrossOver Mac and its companion product, CrossOverLinux, are based on a long-standing project called WINE. The WINE project is a volunteer effort that creates a Microsoft-like underpinning that runs Windows software without the need for Windows itself.
   Many Mac and Linux users -- my guess would be a couple of million -- run Microsoft Outlook, the powerful mail-and-calendaring software used in offices worldwide, under WINE itself or under CrossOver. (The advantage CrossOver has over WINE is easier installation and, in many cases, better support.)
   Not all Windows programs cooperate with WINE and CrossOver. Codeweavers, which runs the CrossOver project, keeps a list of popular Windows software that runs under CrossOver at www.codeweavers.com/compatibility. Windows programs are ranked in categories of Gold Medal (programs that run just as well as they do in Windows), Silver Medal (programs that Codeweavers is working on to eliminate a few bugs) and Bronze Medal (programs with partial usability).
   Quicken 2010 for Windows is considered a Silver Medal program. Codeweavers describes the status of Quicken 2010 for Windows this way:
   "Silver is awarded to applications that install and run well enough to be usable. However, in our testing, we find that these applications have bugs that prevent them from running flawlessly. The most important aspect of a supported Silver application is that CodeWeavers makes a firm commitment to bring all Silver applications to the Gold level in future releases of CrossOver. Likewise, CodeWeavers will respond to and address all bugs reported in these applications."
   If you're a Quicken 2010 user and recently switched to the Mac, you can install your present copy of Quicken 2010 on your new Mac after you install CrossOver Mac. (You may need to contact Intuit if the software complains that it has been installed on more than one computer. Intuit will arrange for reinstallation permission.) Otherwise, you'll need to buy a copy of Quicken Deluxe 2010 or Quicken Premiere 2010 after installing CrossOver Mac. Amazon.com has the Deluxe version for $39.99 and the Premiere version for $64.99. (List prices are $20 and $25 higher, respectively.)
   For a description of the differences between the two versions, go to http://tinyurl.com/yjr7xqo. This is a simplified URL that links to the comparison page of the Quicken website.
   Note to users of older Macs: Older, non-Intel Macs cannot run CrossOver Mac. Click the Apple icon at the top left of your screen and then click "About This Mac" to see your Mac's processor type. The word "Intel" must appear in the description after the word "Processor."