Update: You can read the follow-up to this article here – MetaTrader 4 on Mac OS X with Wineskin.
So, we’ve got MetaTrader 4, excellent free application, yet with one small deficiency. It runs exclusively on Windows. Installing emulation and virtualization software is always a trade off and not everything may go smooth. Here we are going to look at a solution of running MetaTrader 4 on Mac OS X (10.5 Leopard), nevertheless almost everything in this article is applicable to other operating systems (like Linux and Solaris) as well as any other applications.
Speaking of Windows on Mac two options usually come to mind, Parallels Desktop and VMware Fusion. If this is the case for you I would recommend visiting MacWindows.com first, to see for yourself that the choice is quite broad in fact. Following that, I’m going to describe my own experience in approaching the subject.
My first attempt to befriend MetaTrader and Mac was Codeweavers Crossover. Although Crossover does not provide official support for MetaTrader 4, you can find step-by-step instructions of making them work together if you search the web.
Pros of this tandem:
- relatively low price tag on Crossover
- no MS Windows license is needed
- MetaTrader runs in a dedicated window inside OS X. It won’t be an Aqua user interface, of course, yet not as alien as an application running in a virtual machine.
- known conflict between Crossover and security system used in MetaTrader 4, starting roughly with build 220. Crossover throws an error “Cannot open oreans.vxd driver. Make sure that oreans.vxd is not open by another program” and refuses to launch the app. So you are bound to reject MetaTrader updates and live with build 218 forever.
- I noticed a few other glitches in MetaTrader’s behavior on Crossover, like black background icons in the user interface, malfunctioning (not working, in fact) intellisense and inconsistent switching of keyboard layouts in MetaEditor.
In search of better alternative I ran into VirtualBox by Sun Microsytems. You can download it for free for personal use. As it is essentially a virtual machine you still will need a licensed copy of Windows, which is, probably, the only shortcoming of this solution.
Installation went smoothly. The only tip is right after you installed Windows into a virtual machine (or you can open a virtual disk image file if you’ve got one) install Guest Additions (choose Devices | Install Guest Additions… from the menu). As a result you get better integration with host operating system, namely, proprietary video drivers support, non-standard screen resolutions, seamless mouse support across guest and host OS’s, clipboard shared with host OS, folders shared between host and guest OS and clock synchronization in virtual machine. Besides, the so called Seamless Mode hides Windows desktop, creating an illusion of, well, seamless integration. Looks nifty, although it is still just an illusion, as you can not, for instance, drag different Windows’ windows apart across different OpenSpaces in OS X. All of them coexist in the same invisible rectangle.
Another nifty and very convenient VirtualBox’s feature is stretching the virtual machine window to an arbitrary size. When you do this the Windows desktop adjusts its resolution automatically instead of just scaling! You can even switch to full-screen mode (Cmd+F), et voila, you get the Windows desktop with the same resolution as your OS X desktop.