Friday, Jan 08, 2021, 14:47 Mac: Software

Parallel 16 Technical Preview: Windows on M1 Macs

Now that the time of native Windows installations on Mac is over (accompanied by the official drivers provided by Boot Camp), the developer world is hard at work on a replacement. CodeWeavers has already shown that Intel binaries can be run on ARM Macs with Crossover 20. Now Parallels has also taken the next step with the release of the Parallels 16 Technical Preview for M1 Macs. According to Parallels, this is only the beginning, as a number of concerns with the current preview still need to be flushed out. A number of features from Parallels Desktop need to be redeveloped from the ground up, something which will likely take a bit of time.



Current Issues with the Preview
It's not possible to install or run an x86 based OS on a virtual machine. Virtual Machines can't be paused and ARM32 apps won't run on them. Parallels still needs to devote more time to flushing out issues with the Coherence Mode, seamless system integration, shared folders and numerous other features. Nonetheless, a significant milestone was accomplished with the Preview's release – as stated during the software's announcement, and Parallels can now focus on the necessary improvements. Users of the software have already demonstrated what's possible with the Technical Preview and a few have even provided screenshots.

Image Sources here and here

ARM Windows on ARM based M1 Macs
Running Windows on ARM with the Parallels Technical Preview works – but only from a purely technical perspective. If not for the legal issues caused by Microsoft refusing to provide licenses for ARM Windows to end users, then the possiblities of Windows on an M1 Mac could be extensive. Currently, x86 emulation on ARM Windows comes with some performance loss. Although this wouldn't be critical for the majority of programs on a Mac emulation of ARM Windows, there's still the licensing problem. The future of Windows on the M1 Mac is starting to look difficult.

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