How to download and install Windows 11 ARM on a Mac M1


With the public release of Parallels 17, any difficulties you might experience with Windows 11 on your M1 Mac are likely caused by the beta version of ARM Windows.

To run Windows 11 on your 13-inch MacBook Pro (M1, 2020), Mac mini (2020), MacBook Air (2020), or 24-inch iMac (2021), you must download and install Parallels Desktop 17 for Mac. Eventually, you must buy this software. However, new users can download a free trial.

You’ll need to register as a Windows Insider before you’ll be allowed to download the Windows 11 on ARM Insider Preview. Registering as a Windows Insider is free – just follow this link to get started.

Once you have Windows 11 on ARM Insider Preview downloaded to your Mac, open Parallels to configure your Windows 11 installation.

  • Click Continue on the Install on ARM window.
  • On the Create New window, click Install Windows or another OS from a DVD or image file.

In a few seconds, the Parallels Installation Assistant creates your Windows 11 virtual Parallels will automatically search out the Windows install image on the Select Installation Image window. If it finds the Windows 11 file that you downloaded previously, click Continue. Otherwise, click the Choose Manually button.

  • If choosing manually, drag the Windows 11 image file to the Select Installation Image window and click Continue.
  • Select Productivity on the “I will primarily use Windows for” screen and click Continue.
  • On the Name and Location window, the Name and Save to location should be pre-populated – you can customize these options if you’d like, but I generally recommend keeping them as is.
  • Uncheck the Create alias on Mac desktop option.
  • Check Customize settings before installation.
  • Click Create.

The installation will take several minutes, so just be patient and let it complete.

Keep in mind that if you’d like to stay on the optional Windows 11 Insider Preview train, you’ll need to go to Settings → Windows Insider Program → Go to Diagnostics & Feedback, and enable the Optional diagnostic data toggle. You’ll then need to link your Windows Insider account in Settings → Windows Insider Program. If the optional diagnostic data toggle is not enabled, your device will eventually stop receiving Windows Insider preview builds. That’s not necessarily a bad thing, since you’d be giving up a measure of privacy by enabling optional diagnostic data.

Upon rebooting, run Windows Update again just to make sure nothing was missed. You may also see Parallels request to reinstall Parallels Tools, which will require another restart.

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