Will Windows run on Apple Silicon? Parallels & VMware promise solution

The new Apple Silicon Macs no longer support Boot Camp – Apple’s utility that allows Intel Mac users to run Windows. This will be a real problem for users who depend on certain Windows programs.

The solution could be virtualisation solutions such as VMware Fusion or Parallels – in fact a version of Parallels Desktop appeared in Apple’s WWDC keynote. However, while Parallels apps like Toolbox and Access are already running on the new platform, the current version of Parallels Desktop does not work and nor does VMware Fusion.

Getting these virtualisation solutions ready for Macs with the M1 chip could take some time.

Parallels

Parallels has published a statement saying that “Currently available versions of Parallels Desktop for Mac cannot run virtual machines on Mac with Apple M1 chip.” However, the company is working on the solution: “A new version of Parallels Desktop for Mac that can run on Mac with Apple M1 chip is already in active development.”

Nick Dobrovolskiy from Parallels promises in a blog post that a completely new version offering M1 support is in development. Adding that a Parallels Technical Preview Program is planned, through which interested parties can participate in the development. Registration is possible via the website. For more information about Parallels’ plans read their full statement. 

Dobrovolskiy also notes that he is “amazed” by news that Microsoft will be adding support for x64 applications in Windows on ARM.

Parallels’ reference to the ARM version of Windows needs some explanation: It is likely that the conventional Windows versions cannot be virtualised on an ARM Mac or it is much too slow. So the Linux version that Apple showed during WWDC was probably an ARM version of Linux.

However, there is also an ARM version of Windows 10 that would presumably run on Apple Silicon. So far, however, this is only available to device manufacturers such as Acer or Samsung and only supports 32-bit versions of conventional Intel programs so far, but current apps are often 64-bit apps.

Like old Mac programs, old Windows programs have to be emulated under the ARM version of Windows. So far this only worked with 32-bit apps, but modern 64-bit apps will soon also be supported. With a future ARM version of Parallels Desktop you could use an ARM version of Windows that supports all Windows programs – meaning the old Windows accounting software or the architecture program can still be used on the Mac.

Also read: Windows on the Mac is dead (probably) but it doesn’t matter.

VMware

The provider of the virtualisation software Fusion has made a comment via Twitter suggesting that they are “committed to delivering VMware virtual machines on Apple Silicon”. However they provide no timeline.

Windows support is extremely important to many Mac users. Hopefully Parallels Desktop or VMware will soon provide a means to get Windows on M1 Macs. It could be a few more quarters before Windows runs on the new Macs though.

Want to run Windows on an Intel Mac? Read: How to install Windows on Mac.

We also have this round up of the best virtual machine software for Mac.

This article originally appeared on Macwelt. Translation by Karen Haslam.

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