I am trying to convert a Windows .exe file to a macOS .app or anything that would run on macOS. Problem is the only things I have found require a Mac and I don't have one. I am looking to convert it on my Windows computer then send it to a Mac computer. I would prefer an option that didn't require a virtual machine.

1 Answer 1


Windows .exe's are very specific to Windows. They call functions that are specific to Windows and often have no direct macOS equivalent.

To run a Windows .exe in macOS without a VM, you would need Wine. Wine tries to provide an environment where Windows apps can run under Linux or macOS, including tons of libraries implementing Windows APIs which do not exist on Linux or macOS.

There's a software package for macOS called Wineskin that lets you take an arbitrary Windows .exe and wrap it in a Wine environment that you can copy to other Macs, and I don't think the other Macs have to have Wine installed; I think the Wineskin wrapper contains all the necessary Wine files. But Wineskin only runs on macOS and I don't know of anything like it for Windows or Linux that could wrap a Windows .exe in Wine targeting macOS.

By the way, macOS executables either have no filename extension, or they are specially-formatted directory trees with the ".app" extension (a.k.a. "app bundles", "app packages"). macOS .dmg files are disk images, kind of like a .iso on Windows or Linux. I don't think you want to turn your Windows executable into a macOS disk image.

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    Okay, there should be nothing in my exe that is specific to Windows. I am not knowledgeable about Macs and dmg was the first thing that poped up when I searched for the equivalent of an exe on a Mac. I think I am going to use Wine with a virtual machine.
    – xXGokyXx
    Jan 23, 2019 at 1:18
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    @xXGokyXx Wine is your best bet. But honestly where you say “… there should be nothing in my exe that is specific to Windows.” that’s pretty facepalm worthy. If it is compiled for one OS it can run on another. Jan 23, 2019 at 1:26
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    @xXGokyXx If you compiled this .exe yourself, and so you have the source code and know it only contains POSIX code (portable C code that only calls system calls that are guaranteed to be supported by any POSIX-compliant Unix-like OS), then see if you can tell your IDE/compiler/toolchain that you want to cross-compile for macOS x86_64. If nothing I just wrote makes sense to you, then you almost certainly have a very Windows-specific .exe, not a POSIX-compliant portable C software project.
    – Spiff
    Jan 23, 2019 at 1:53
  • @Spiff What you wrote did make sense. The problem is I can only compile the source code on a Windows OS when I need it for a Mac OS. The compiler however only will allow me to compile it for a Mac OS if it is run on a Mac OS (which I can't do). I assumed that if the source code could be compiled for a Mac then there should be no issue with just converting the exe compiled version, then again I don't know how that stuff works. I was just looking for something to try. I think I am going to try to just run the compiler on a MacOS in a Virtual Machine (if I could figure out how to set that up).
    – xXGokyXx
    Jan 24, 2019 at 3:48

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