Apple’s M1 and M2 Macs can run Windows 11 thanks to a partnership between Microsoft and Parallels that lets the operating system run in a virtual environment. In a new Microsoft support article that came out today, it says that Parallels Desktop version 18 is “an authorised solution” for running Arm versions of Windows 11 on the newest M1 and M2 Macs from Apple.
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Microsoft Will Let Windows 11 Run on Newer Macs With the Help of Parallels
Microsoft has officially given the green light for Windows 11 to run on ARM-based Macs, but not in the way you might think. With Parallels Desktop 18, the company has “allowed” the ARM versions of Windows 11 Pro and Enterprise to run on Macs with M1 and M2 processors.
You could use the virtual machine to use Windows at work without making your IT manager mad. Windows 11 could be run on ARM Macs with Parallels since 2021, and it worked pretty well. At that time, you had to use an Insider preview of the OS, and Microsoft said it had no plans to support new Macs.
The approved method gets rid of licensing issues, and Parallels Desktop 18 now makes it easy to download and set up Windows 11. We don’t know how Microsoft changed the licencing. It has only let PC makers get licenses for ARM versions of Windows up until now.
We’ve asked what the company has to say. Parallels says you can buy a Windows 11 Pro license for yourself or go through your employer’s normal buying process. Users who want native Windows support like they had on Intel-based Macs running Apple’s Boot Camp will not like this.
You won’t get the same performance or compatibility on a PC built for Windows on ARM. It might be as close as you can get to Apple and Microsoft working together, and it might work if you need to run a Windows app for work.
How Do I Use Windows on a Mac?
There are several ways to run Windows on a Mac, and each has its own pros and cons. The best way to use Windows will depend on what you want to do with it. In the next section, we’ll tell you how to run Windows on a Mac. Check them out and see which one you like best.
How to Install Windows on Your Mac Using Boot Camp?
Boot Camp gives you everything you need to put Windows on your computer and run it. You only need a Mac and a way to connect to the internet. But if your Mac was made before 2015, you also need to make a USB Boot Camp installer.
Make sure your startup disc has at least 64GB of free space before you start. This much space is used by the Windows operating system and any other files you want to use with it. When you’re ready, go to the “Get Windows 10” button on Microsoft’s “Download Windows 10” page.
Next, open the Boot Camp Assistant. It’s in the Utilities folder in your Mac’s Applications folder, but you can open it faster by using Spotlight (Cmd + Space) to look for it.
Follow the instructions on the screen to split your hard drive, download Windows drivers, and set up your dual boot system. After Boot Camp has been installed, restart your Mac and hold down the Option key while it starts up. You should be able to choose between macOS and Windows.
How to Install a Windows Virtual Machine on a Mac?
MacOS can run Windows with the help of a virtual machine (VM). You don’t have to split up your hard drive or restart your Mac to switch operating systems. When you use a virtual machine (VM), your Mac is running both Windows and macOS at the same time.
A dual boot system is faster than this. But the fact that Windows apps can also be used with macOS apps usually makes up for that. Setting up VirtualBox takes time and work, but you can do it with the help of complete VirtualBox guide. Other than that, it’s quick and easy to set up Parallels and VMware Fusion.
People usually think that Parallels is the best way to run Windows on a Mac, but both of these apps have a lot to offer. You can buy a license for the software you want, or you can download a free trial version. Then, set up and install your Windows VM by following the instructions on the screen.
How Do You Install Windows to Go on a Mac’s External Drive?
Microsoft stopped supporting Windows To Go in 2019, but you can still use a similar setup with software from a third party. The easiest way to put Windows To Go on an external drive is now with WinToUSB.
This free app works on Windows, so you’ll need a Windows computer or a virtual machine (VM) to install it temporarily on your Mac. If you don’t have a Windows computer handy, you can try Parallels or VMware Fusion for free.
You also need to download support files from Boot Camp to make sure your Mac hardware works with Windows. Open Boot Camp Assistant from the menu bar in macOS and choose Action > Download Windows Support Software.
Now connect the external drive to your Mac and open Disk Utility. Erase the drive and reformat it as macOS Extended with a GUID Partition Map scheme. After that, eject the drive and connect it to your VM again.
The format for a Windows To Go external drive is set up in Disk Utility. Get the ISO image of the Windows disc and install WinToUSB on your VM. When you right-click the Start button, Disk Management will open, where you can choose your external drive.
Right-click the main partition of the drive and click “Delete volume” here. Then, right-click again and select “New simple volume” from the menu. Change the file system to NFTS. Open WinToUSB and select your external drive as the place where Windows will be installed.
Choose Legacy mode for the installation and choose your boot and system partitions. With WinToUSB, Windows To Go can be put on an external hard drive. Once WinToUSB has put Windows on your external drive, you can use File Explorer to copy the Windows Support folder from Boot Camp Assistant.
Last, turn off your Mac and then turn it back on while holding down the Option key. This will let you use your external drive to start Windows To Go. The Windows Support folder is where you can find Boot Camp > Setup. This gets your Mac ready to work with Windows by installing the drivers it needs.
You probably knew there would be limits. You can’t run 32-bit ARM apps because Microsoft is getting rid of 32-bit software for all ARM Windows builds. A device won’t work if it doesn’t have Windows 11 ARM drivers. You can’t use Android apps, the Linux syb system, or Windows Sandbox because they need another layer of virtualization. Don’t even count on being able to play games that need at least DirectX 12 or OpenGL 3.3.
A dual-boot system, a virtual machine, or Windows To Go are the best ways to run Windows on a Mac. But all of these are a lot of work if you only need to use one Windows app. If this is the case, look into compatibility layers like Wine or Crossover. They let you run Windows apps on your Mac without installing the whole Windows OS.