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How To Run AutoCAD On A Mac

Updated on December 16, 2013

Choosing VMWare (running a virtual machine)

I am an an avid user of AutoCAD and InteliCAD (a AutoCAD alternative) and after recently purchasing a iMac had to quickly figure out a way to get it installed and running on a virtual machine. There are two popular programs out there for running Windows programs on a Mac - Parallels and VMware Fusion. After reading a few reviews and talking with my local Mac store I opted for VMWare.

After installing VMWare and Windows 7 Professional, I was truly impressed with the speed at which I was able to get it all setup amd running a fresh operating system. I took about 30 minutes! - which is faster than reinstalling Windows on my PC from scratch. There not a whole lot to it as the program will prompt you entirely through the process. Obviously you will need your Window 7 CD or whatever operating system you might have.

AutoCAD on a Mac
AutoCAD on a Mac

Installing AutoCAD On VMware

So after I installed Windows 7 I proceeded to install AutoCAD. Within a few minutes it was all ready to go, except for one problem I had with my mouse. I noticed it was moving extremely slow.

If your having mouse problems type DYNMODE setting in AutoCAD. Mine was set to 3, and after changing it to "0" I've had no issues since!

I've also read that changing the gaming mouse options under VMWare Preferences -> Gaming Mouse will also solve this issue with the mouse. Make sure to select Never Optimize Mouse, and your mouse movement should be back to normal.

Time for a memory check!

Note that I am running the iMac with only 4GB of memory. If you are doing a lot of AutoCAD stuff on your machine, I would suggest that you have 8GB of memory as VMWare will tend to suck it up, leaving little left to run AutoCAD efficiently. You can also play with the memory settings within VMware as well - see Windows Virtual PC - Change Virtual Machine Settings. Autocad will run quite nicely on even a 512MB or 768MB set there.

Note about Windows 7

If you have an older version of AutoCAD, like AutoCAD 2000 for example, you can successfully run it withing Windows 7 Professional. If you have the Home edition you will need to upgrade to run it in a compatibility mode. In the Professional version you'll need right-click on the AutoCAD shortcut, then go to the program compatibility and change the compatibility to Windows XP.

Just this tip alone can save up from having to spend another $4000 to upgrade to the latest version of AutoCAD! I have had no problems using the compatibility mode since installing AutoCAD on the virtual machine for 4 months.

Good luck with your AutoCAD installation!


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