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M1 and M2 Macs can now officially run Windows 11 via Parallels

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Windows 11 is now officially available for Macbooks powered by M1 and M2 processors, courtesy of a partnership between Microsoft and Parallels.

Parallels 18 desktop is an authorised version supported by Microsoft to run Arm versions of Windows 11 Pro and Enterprise in a virtual environment on M1 and M2 Macs, albeit with certain limitations.

Games, apps and hardware that rely on DirectX 12 or OpenGL3.3 or greater will be impacted. Other than these, tools requiring additional layers of virtualisation (nested) won’t be supported in Parallels 18 Windows 11 experience. These include, Windows Subsystem for Android, Windows Subsystem for Linux, Windows Sandbox and Virtualisation-based Security (VBS).

Arm-based Windows is moving only to support 64-bit Arm apps across platforms but Mac M1 and M2 can also run apps in x64 or x86 emulation. Any 32-bit Arm apps on Microsoft Store for Windows aren’t supported on M1 and M2 Macs, and these apps are also being deprecated for other Arm versions of Windows.

Parallels 18 for M1 and M2 Macbooks

Since Parallels 18 comes with certain limitations, Microsoft is also offering an alternative for organisations so they’re able to run Windows 11 on their Mac machines without limitations.

“Windows 11 runs best on a PC designed for Windows. When such an option is not available, here are two different ways to use Windows with Mac,” Microsoft said.

Alternate: Windows 365 Cloud PC

Microsoft is also offering another way for Macs with M-series chipsets to run Windows 11 — Windows 365 Cloud PC, a software-as-a-service solution for organisations that’s charged on a per-user, per-month basis.

Contrary to Parallels 18’s lack of support for nested virtualisation experiences, Microsoft is offering support with Windows 365 Cloud PC for “testing, running emulators, ensuring full application compatibility”. The company is offering several pricing options and PC configurations based on performance needs.

“You can securely stream your full, personalized Windows 11 experience to many devices, including Mac computers built with M-series processors, on a Cloud PC through our Windows 365 service,” the company added.

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