How To Run Windows On M1 Macs

how to run windows on m1 macs

How To Run Windows On M1 Macs

If you have used previous Macs that use Intel CPUs, you might have heard of a feature called Boot Camp before. This software would allow you to run Windows and macOS on your Mac computer. Unfortunately, there was a lot of concern about losing this option, since Apple went over to their own processors.

So, for a while, there was no way to do it. But now, you can run Windows on your Mac in a couple of different ways. The biggest problem with running Windows on M1 Macs is that Windows is meant to be run on X64 hardware.

However, M1 Macs now use a hardware category called ARM. You might recognize this term from mobile processors. Through software like Virtual Machine and Crossover, you are able to use Windows-based software. This is especially exciting for gamers who are also Mac users. So, without further ado, let’s learn how to run Windows on M1 Mac computers.

Using Virtual Machine

A virtual machine is a great way to run another operating system on your device. Like a physical computer, a virtual machine — or VM for short — has a CPU, memory, storage, and the ability to connect to the internet.

Virtual Machines are the most convenient way to use other operating systems on your M1 Mac. This guide will go over the virtual machine software called UTM. There are other options out there, but we have found the most success with UTM.

Before starting this process, make sure you have at least 30 GB of free space and around 45 minutes to complete the installation process.

1. Download UTM

Clicking this link here, you can download UTM. Which is the free software we will be using today to run our VM on our M1 Mac computer.

2. Open UTM.dmg

Once the download is finished, you will see a UTM.dmg file pop up on your desktop. Double-click on this icon to finish the installation of the software.

3. Open UTM

run windows on m1 macs
Opening UTM on Mac.

After that process finishes, which should only take a few moments, you should see a new UTM icon pop up. Double-click on that to open UTM software.

4. Download The Edition of Windows You Want to Use

Using UUP dump, find the version of Windows you want to use. For M1 Mac users, make sure you download the arm64 version of the Windows you want to use. We recommend that you download the latest version of Windows available.

5. Create a New Virtual Machine

run windows on m1 macs
Creating a VM.

To create a new virtual machine, click on the + icon to open the VM creation Wizard.

6. Click on Virtualize

run windows on m1 macs
Selecting Virtualize.

On the first page, you will see two options Virtualize and Emulate. For this guide, we will choose the Virtualize option.

7. Select Windows

run windows on m2 macs
Choosing Windows from the options provided.

The next page will allow you to choose which operating system you wish to run. Click on Windows. Make sure Install drivers and SPICE tools is selected before continuing.

8. Choose the Windows VHDX

Now, the setup wizard will ask you to locate the Windows installation that we downloaded earlier. To do this, click Browse and find where you saved it.

9. Adjust the Hardware Options

run windows on m1 macs
Selecting UTM’s default settings.

After choosing the Windows installation, you will now be able to adjust how much hardware the VM will have access to. We recommend using UTM’s defaults unless you specifically need more accessible RAM or CPU cores.

10. Change the Amount of Storage Allocated to Your VM

run windows on m1 macs
Determining the amount of storage.

Now, you can change the amount of storage your VM has access to. Keep in mind that this will be the same storage device that your Mac uses, unless you have multiple drives.

11. Click Save

run windows on m1 macs
Clicking Save.

Press Save to create the VM. Wait for the guest tools to finish downloading and press the Run button to start the VM.

12. Run the Windows VM

After the tools finish downloading, click on the Run button next to the Windows icon on the left-hand side of the program. Now, follow the Windows install setup. You might recognize this process if you have ever had a Windows computer before.

Once you’re through the setup process, congratulations; you now have access to Windows on your M1 Mac. If you have any trouble with the mouse or keyboard while using the VM, press Control + Option to enter mouse capture mode. Because the drivers sometimes have issues, entering and exiting mouse capture mode will give you control of your mouse again.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can you run Windows x64 on M1 Mac?

Unfortunately, you can’t use Boot Camp to install Windows on an M1 or M2 MacBook or desktop Mac. Even if Apple did support Boot Camp on M1 or M2 Macs, you could only install the ARM version of Windows 10 or Windows 11.

Is UTM safe for Mac?

UTM is perfectly safe for Mac users. UTM is designed for macOS using the latest and greatest Apple technologies and is built from the ground up with the Mac in mind.

Is UTM free for Mac?

UTM takes pride in always being free and open source to all users. The Mac App Store version is identical to the free version, and no features are left out of the free one. The only advantage of the Mac App Store version is that you can get automatic updates.

Can I install VirtualBox on Mac M1?

Mac users can install Virtual box on M1 and M2 chips. So, if you are already used to using VirtualBox instead of another VM, you can continue to use it.

Can M1 emulate x86 Windows?

Unfortunately, with M1 and M2 chips, you are not able to emulate x86 Windows because the hardware is arm64.

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