Microsoft has announced a new way to run Windows 11 on ARM-based Macs, however, there are some limitations to this approach. In this support article, Microsoft has authorized the use of Parallels Desktop 18 to run the ARM versions of Windows 11 Pro and Enterprise on M1 and M2-based Macs.
Although this approach allows you to run Windows 11 on your Mac, there are still some limitations to consider. For instance, 32-bit ARM apps cannot be run, as Microsoft is deprecating 32-bit software for all ARM Windows builds. Additionally, devices must have Windows 11 ARM drivers for this approach to work. It is also not possible to use anything that depends on another layer of virtualization, such as Android apps, the Linux subsystem, and Windows Sandbox. Furthermore, certain games that require at least DirectX 12 or OpenGL 3.3 will not work on this approach.
Previously, it was possible to run Windows 11 in Parallels on ARM Macs since 2021, but it required using an Insider preview of the OS. Microsoft also stated that it didn't plan to support new Macs at that time. The new approach clears up licensing issues, and Parallels Desktop 18 now allows users to download and install Windows 11 with ease.
According to The Verge, it is unclear how Microsoft has changed the licensing since it has only licensed ARM versions of Windows directly to PC vendors. Further information is awaited from the company. Parallels says you can buy either an individual Windows 11 Pro license or go through your employer's usual purchasing process.
Native Windows Support
This new approach may not satisfy users who want native Windows support, as it does not offer the same performance or compatibility that you would get on a PC built for Windows on ARM. However, it may be the closest you get to running Windows on your Mac, short of a collaboration between Apple and Microsoft. It can be useful if there is a must-run Windows productivity app that you need to use without angering your IT manager.
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