Windows 11 officially compatible M1 and M2 through virtualization

Windows 11 officially compatible M1 and M2 through virtualization – MacGeneration

Alludo, the company that owns Parallels Desktop, just announced that Microsoft has validated the use of Windows 11 on Mac M1 and M2 in a virtual machine over Parallels Desktop 18.2. And at the same time, VMWare made the same announcement for Fusion 13. But there are many limitations.

Upon launch, Parallels Desktop offers to install Windows 11 and takes care of everything.

Windows 11 Pro or Enterprise

Official support requires Parallels Desktop 18.2 – the latest version which sells for $100 – or VMWare Fusion 13 (which is free for personal use) and mostly requires Windows 11 Pro or Enterprise, the home version is not officially supported . The issue of the license key, a point that has been a cause for concern in the context of Microsoft’s contracts, seems pretty clear here: the user must buy their own key. Parallels refers to the Microsoft site, where the key in question is worth 260 euros. In practice, a boxed version of the operating system can be found on Amazon for 190 euros.

A box of Windows 11 Pro

You can probably find gray market keys for a few bucks if you do a little searching. Compliance with the latter depends on the key, but a seller who provides you with a so-called retail key from a European Union country has every right to do so. However, OEM keys cannot be resold without the associated hardware. The whole question will therefore be to determine the origin of the key.

Many functions are missing

Microsoft lists features that are missing from Windows 11 when running on an Apple Silicon Mac, and there are plenty of them. First, while x86 and x86-64 applications work via Microsoft’s (slow) emulation, 32-bit ARM applications do not. The limitation doesn’t come from Microsoft or Parallels, it comes from Apple: the M1 and M2 chips don’t support 32-bit ARM code. This is a problem on Windows because some ARM applications use this type of code. On Windows 10 ARM, part of the operating system – like the Microsoft Store – still relied on 32-bit code, but that’s no longer the case on Windows 11.

Second, the graphics acceleration skips DirectX 12. Parallels only supports OpenGL 3.3 and DirectX 11, which can be a problem with modern games. It seems illusory trying to run the latest AAA titles on a virtual machine in emulation, but the problem still persists. While some games remain DirectX 11 compatible – with degraded performance and results – others only accept DirectX 12. It’s even worse for VMWare Fusion: there’s no 3D acceleration over DirectX.

The current Hogwarts Legacy requires DirectX 12.

Third, nested virtualization is not supported, which blocks some Windows features. The Android subsystem – for running Android applications – the GNU/Linux subsystem, some security features and the Windows sandbox are actually missing. This limitation comes partly from Apple: technically, the M2 chips support this feature, which allows booting a virtual machine within a virtual machine, but it is not enabled.

Some features of the Apple M1 and M2 work on Linux… not macOS

Incidentally, the press release explains that creating a virtual machine is done in one click. In summary, it’s good news for those who use Windows professionally if they can live with the limitations, but we’re a long way from a solution like Boot Camp that can boot Windows natively on Macs, a popular choice for gamers.