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Microsoft Officially Supports Windows Virtualization on M1 and M2 Macs

Running Windows 11 on a MacBook with Parallels Desktop 18.

Thanks to a partnership between Alludo and Microsoft, Parallels Desktop 18 is now an “authorized” solution for users who want to run Windows 11 on an Apple Silicon Mac. Unfortunately, this is a sign that Apple may not bring Boot Camp to its M1 and M2 platforms.

Now, as you may know, Parallels already supported Windows 11 on Apple Silicon machines. We even published a review of this functionality. But Parallels was operating in a gray area—it took advantage of a Windows Insider loophole that bypassed the Windows authorization process.

Now, Microsoft is giving its blessing to Parallels. You can now install Windows 11 on ARM through Parallels with just one click, and businesses can properly authorize the OS to avoid any legal concerns.

This news also indicates that Microsoft is loosening its Windows on ARM licensing policy. Historically, the company only licenses Windows on ARM to OEMs. If this operating system becomes more accessible, it should encourage third-party software development, reducing the software compatibility gap between Windows on ARM and the traditional x86 flavor of Windows.

That said, Windows on ARM has plenty of compatibility issues. It doesn’t support DirectX 12 or the latest versions of OpenGL, for example. But it can run ARM apps natively and offers a compatibility layer for traditional 32-bit and 64-bit x86 software.

Basically, you’ll only have trouble playing games (although some games will work just fine). And for the best performance, you should stick to native Windows on ARM apps—for example, Microsoft Edge will run better than Google Chrome in Windows on ARM.

The licensing situation here is still a little confusing. Parallels users can purchase a Windows 11 license through Microsoft (or another supplier if you’re a large business). But a license may not be required. And anyway, the Windows Insider loophole still exists.

If you’re interested in running Windows on your Apple Silicon Mac, check out our Parallels Desktop 18 review. This is some very impressive software, but it can be a bit costly, and your favorite apps may not work properly in virtualization.

Parallels Desktop 18

Read How-To Geek's Full Review

Run Windows 11 on your Apple Silicon Mac with Parallels Desktop 18!

Source: Microsoft, Alludo

Andrew Heinzman Andrew Heinzman
Andrew is the News Editor for Review Geek, where he covers breaking stories and manages the news team. He joined Life Savvy Media as a freelance writer in 2018 and has experience in a number of topics, including mobile hardware, audio, and IoT. Read Full Bio »