Windows On Macbook Pro M1 - Although traditional Boot Camp x86 Windows installations are not supported on M1 Macs, installing Windows for ARM on M1 Macs is very easy. Parallels recently released Parallels Desktop 16 for Mac, and with it comes M1 Mac support out of the box.
For step-by-step instructions on how to install ARM for Windows 10 on an M1 MacBook, Mac mini, or iMac, check out our hands-on video tutorials and more Apple-focused guides and guides Subscribe to YouTube for tutorials.
Windows On Macbook Pro M1
Parallels Desktop 16 for Mac is the official version of Parallels for macOS users. The app is universal, meaning it works with both Intel and Apple Silicon-based Mac systems.
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Unlike the Parallels Technical Preview we featured late last year, Parallels 16 for Mac has fixed many of the bugs and issues shown in the preview. In other words, installing Windows on M1 Mac is very simple and easy.
You'll need to sign up as a Windows Insider before you're allowed to download Windows 10 on ARM Insider Preview. Signing up as a Windows Insider is free - follow this link to get started.
Windows 10 for ARM-based machines such as the M1 MacBook, MacBook Air, Mac mini, and the newly released iMac can be downloaded from Microsoft's website. Note that you must be signed in as a Windows Insider to facilitate the download.
After you download Windows 10 on ARM Insider Preview on your Mac, open Parallels to configure your Windows 10 installation.
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Windows automatically searches for the installation image in the Parallels Select Installation Image window. If it finds the Windows 10 .VHDX file you downloaded in step 3, click Continue. Otherwise, click the manual selection button.
Parallels Installation Assistant will now create the virtual machine, which should take a few seconds. Finally, a configuration window appears that allows you to configure the amount of memory and CPU cores allocated to the virtual machine.
Once the installation is complete, you will see an installation complete message. Click on the message to continue. You must sign in to your Parallels account to continue. If you do not have a Parallels account, you will need to create one.
New users get a 14-day trial period to try Parallels and any virtual machines created. You will then be asked to pay. Parallels has several payment levels that you can choose based on your needs. The cheapest option costs $79.99 and includes:
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For M1 Mac users, this isn't a terrible configuration, as you don't want to go beyond the typical 8GB RAM/4 cores for any M1 setup. For users of more powerful hardware, such as upcoming M1X or M2 hardware, these configuration restrictions may not meet your needs. Of course, Parallels offers extras like the 99.99/year Pro Edition, which includes 128 GB of vRAM, 32 vCPUs, and unlimited phone and email support.
Note that the $79.99 edition is for Parallels Desktop 16 for Mac, not future versions of Parallels. Therefore, this is essentially a true subscription, as there is no guarantee that Parallels Desktop 16 for Mac will work with future versions of macOS such as macOS 12.
It downloads the latest version of Windows 10 Insider Preview, updates for .NET Framework, Microsoft Defender updates, etc.
Note that if you want to stay on the optional Windows 10 Insider Preview train, you'll need to go to Settings → Windows Insider Program → Diagnostics and feedback and enable optional diagnostic data override. You will then need to link your Windows Insider account in Settings → Windows Insider. Your device will eventually stop receiving Windows Insider preview builds if the Change optional diagnostic data switch isn't enabled. That's not a bad thing, because by enabling optional diagnostic data, you're giving up privacy.
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After the reboot, run Windows Update again to make sure nothing was missed. You may also see Parallels prompt to reinstall Parallels Tools, which will require another restart.
Once you're fully updated, it's time to install your favorite games and apps. Of course I installed Steam and then Rocket League. I have also installed many apps and games from the Microsoft Store.
Obviously, the game is a big YMMV on M1 virtual machines at this early stage. Some games are playable and others are not. In this case, I basically run Windows on the M1 Mac and have access to important Windows applications that I don't have on the Mac.
GPU power is often the most important part of the gaming experience from a hardware perspective, and as good as the M1 is for optimized workflows on macOS, it's not the most ideal graphics resource for 3D gaming on Windows. As the new Apple Silicon launches with higher performance and more GPU cores per core, gaming performance on native macOS and virtual machines will undoubtedly improve.
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As good as the M1 Macs are, they're also very limited in the amount of memory they offer, with 16GB being the absolute maximum that can be configured. This makes running a Windows virtual machine on the M1 Mac less than ideal for users of RAM-intensive applications.
But mostly, I was impressed by A) how easy it was to install Windows 10 via Parallels, and B) how well it performed. In my experience, Windows 10 was very stable and most applications worked. x64-based apps that previously required users to jump through multiple hoops to run on Parallels Technical Preview will also run on the latest Windows 10 for ARM Insider.
The M1 Mac lacks Boot Camp, but if you need a quick Windows installation, it's good to know that Windows 10 is just a few clicks away on the M1 Mac.
What do you think, what do you think? Thinking of buying Parallels 16 Desktop for Mac? Let us know what you think in the comments below.
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Jeff creates videos, tutorials, how-to guides, written guides, and reviews. He prides himself on being able to explain things simply, clearly and concisely. Are there Windows-specific applications that you need to run but don't have access to on a specific Windows machine? If you're still using an Intel-based Mac, Boot Camp is a popular option, but if you've switched to an Apple Silicon Mac, it was the original way to run Windows on a Mac. Boot Camp is no longer an option.
Fortunately, Microsoft has put a lot of effort into developing Windows 11 for the ARM architecture, which Apple uses for its M-series chips in today's Macs. Parallels Desktop for Mac — optimized for Apple Silicon — emulates PC hardware, allowing users to deploy a Windows 11 virtual machine with just a few clicks.
In this step-by-step guide, we'll show you how easy it is to get Windows 11 up and running on your Mac, and we'll also discuss some potential caveats and configuration notes. Subscribe YouTube for more such videos.
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When Parallels launched version 15 of its software, it added support for Microsoft's DirectX 11 API through Metal. This was a big deal because it resulted in much better graphics performance than before. You'll get much better graphics performance with Parallels on Windows 11, but there are a few things to keep in mind.
Parallels emulates PC hardware and you run the ARM version of Windows 11 in a virtualized instance. In addition, it does not support DirectX 12, which many modern AAA games use today. 3D acceleration is currently supported at DirectX 11.1 and OpenGL 3.3 levels. Therefore, there will be restrictions on which games are supported.
It should be noted that many games play well in parallelism on Windows 11. Check out the AppleGamingWiki, it's a great resource for how well games run using parallelism and other options. I'm honestly a bit surprised how many games are marked as playable or even perfect.
Another new feature with Parallels 18 is automatic controller connection with Windows and Linux. After you connect an Xbox or PlayStation DualShock Bluetooth game controller to your Mac, it's automatically ready to go when you launch Windows through Parallels.
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Parallels Desktop Standard Edition for Mac for home and students is available as a one-time purchase for $129.99 or as an annual subscription for $99.99. The Standard Edition limits configurations to up to 8GB of vRAM and four vCPUs. If you're using a weird program that's only available on Windows, the Standard Edition
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