Windows 11 on an M1 Mac

Parallels for the win (Installing).

Cory Wilson

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Photo by Kari Shea on Unsplash

Introduction

I was at work the other day. The guy I worked with told me he had installed the Windows 11 Beta on his home computer and was showing me some features. I, then said, “This, looks like macOS, I’ve got to try this”.

When I got home, I downloaded Parallels, grabbed a Windows 10 VHDX from Microsoft and away I went.

Prerequisite

Before even beginning this process, make sure you are a member of the Windows Insider Program. You have to be an insider to be able to Download the ARM version Insider Preview of Windows 10

Setup

Parallels makes Windows life on Mac easy, but not cheap. I was able to grab a student discount, but it’s still $39.99 a year (a regular subscription costs $79.99 a year).

The first window you see when installing on an M1 Mac is a warning about only being able to use the ARM version of Windows. I haven’t tried another versions and honestly haven’t seen if any else has tried, so I recommend that you make sure you grabbed the ARM version.

Next, you simply let Parallels go to work. It will find ISOs downloaded on your Mac, or let you select your own.

Then you are presented with either a productivity setup or Games only. For my setup, I chose Games only, just to give it the additional resources.

You then enter a name and select a location for your VM. Parallels then creates the VM and a Windows PC environment greats you a few minutes later(I think mine took 5 or 6 minutes to finish). I let the VM complete updates to the current version of Windows 10 just to make sure I wouldn’t run in to any issues.

I had to do a second series of updates and an additional restart for the necessary Registry values, that are about to become very relevant, to appear.

RegEdit

After finishing the updates and restarting, I opened RegEdit and changed two keys.

Those keys are found in the HKEYLOCALMACHINESOFTWAREMicrosoftWindowsSelfHost folder. One is the BranchName key in the Applicability folder and the UIBranch in the UISelection folder.

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Cory Wilson

Tech Enthusiast 💻 Casual Gamer 🕹 Data Analytics Student 📚 I write for fun 📝