Microsoft has entered into a partnership with Parallels to support Windows 11 on Apple’s latest M1 and M2 Macs in a virtual environment.
Running Arm Versions of Windows 11 on M1 and M2 Macs with Parallels Desktop 18
This development, a step beyond previous licensing arrangements, provides an authorized solution for running Arm versions of Windows 11 on the latest Macs.
The virtualized Arm version of Windows will work on the M1 and M2 Macs through the Parallels Desktop version 18, which supports the single-click download and installation of Windows 11. Parallels has further simplified the process of running Windows 11 by handling its TPM and Secure Boot requirements with a virtual TPM that is paired with Apple silicon.
Limitations of Arm version of Windows 11 on Parallels Desktop version 18
One alternative for accessing Windows 11 on an M1 or M2 Mac is through the use of Windows 365 Cloud PCs. This option provides virtual machines that include full application compatibility and secure streaming of a full, personalized Windows 11 experience to various devices, including Macs. Windows 365 supports nested virtualization, making it ideal for testing, running emulators, and ensuring full application compatibility.
However, the Arm version of Windows 11 running on the Parallels Desktop version 18 has limitations. For instance, hardware drivers will only work if designed specifically for Windows 11 Arm-based PCs, and certain games and apps will not work if they use OpenGL 3.3 or higher or rely on anti-cheat drivers. Additionally, several apps, including cloud storage apps or assistive technologies, won’t integrate correctly into the Windows shell. Running the native version of Microsoft Edge is advised since emulated apps like Google Chrome do not always function properly.
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Using Windows 11 on Mac Computers: Licensing, Emulation, and Limitations
While it is possible to purchase a Windows 10 license key and activate the Arm version, Microsoft has not officially licensed the process. The licensing situation is still unclear, with Parallels advising businesses to purchase a Windows 11 license “through their normal Windows procurement process,” while individuals can purchase the $199 Windows 11 Pro license directly from Microsoft.
Windows on Arm now has x64 app emulation, so most apps should run fine, but it is advisable to use Windows 11 with Mac computers built with M-series processors. This article examines the different ways to use Windows 11 with Mac computers, including Windows 11 and Parallels Desktop and Windows 11 and Windows 365 Cloud PCs. The article also provides additional information about the limitations of Windows 11 on Apple M1 and M2 Macs.