Tuesday, Sep 14, 2021, 15:39 Mac: Software

Microsoft: Windows 11 On ARM Won't Support M1 Macs

In an official statement, Microsoft recently revealed that Windows 11 on ARM Macs is not a "supported scenario". Thus, those who were eagerly awaiting the possibility to run an official installation of Windows on an M1 or even M1X Mac will be disappointed. Microsoft's explanation for the matter indicated that the Redmond-based company will not offer support for M1 Macs through either virtualization or native installation. Although the latter would have been highly unlikely anyway – due to the vast technical requirements, an official Windows "Virtual Machine" from Microsoft for the M1 Mac could have still been conceivable. For example, the well-known Windows-on-Mac software "Parallels" can actually run multiple instances of Windows in a virtual environment on M1 Macs.

Virtualization – Another Path
Microsoft didn't mention that the installation of Windows 11 with Parallels is illegal. In earlier discussions concerning the matter, it was repeatedly stated that such an installation would be against the operating system's terms and conditions – Windows 11 is only licensed for OEMs and not private users. Even if allowed by Microsoft, virtualization is not likely to be practical without any kind of official support from the company – especially when Microsoft directly indicates that it will not support virtualization.

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No Stable Solution Thus Far
One outcome of the matter is already observable as of the last Windows Insider update – running the build on Parallels leads to compatibility issues and although Parallels has announced intentions to solve the matter, it will be rather difficult without any kind of support from Microsoft. Any kind of Windows updates in the future will involve such issues as Microsoft has already mentioned that compatibility with virtualization is not one of the operating system's intended uses.

The Situation Isn't Looking Any Better For Intel Macs Either
The future of Windows-on-Mac is looking more uncertain than ever. During the reign of the Intel Macs, it was still very easy to install a native copy of the Windows operating system onto a Mac machine. However, for M1-Macs now, the only possibility to run Windows is via virtualization – which doesn't support x86 software. At the same time, however, Windows 11 still won't be runnable on Intel Macs as the required TPM 2.0 module is only present in devices from 2016 onwards – which still aren't compatible with Windows 11 due to firmware limitations.

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