Officially, Macs with an M1 chip cannot run Windows. Due to the architecture of Apple’s ARM processors, Microsoft’s operating system as it exists on PCs cannot be installed or run. However, it is actually possible to run Windows on Macs with an M1 chip. How ?
Quite simply using virtualization software and a specific virtual machine based on a version of Windows adapted to the architecture of ARM chips, on which Microsoft has been working since 2016 .
On its site, the Redmond company offers for download a Preview of its Windows 11 ARM in the form of a virtual machine. It is the latter that you will download and run in virtualization software. For our manipulation, we will use UTM Virtual Machine, a free and open source solution, based on QEMU.
Download and install UTM Virtual Machine
Start by downloading the UTM Virtual Machine application on your Mac M1. Open the installer file, UTM.dmg, then drag and drop the UTM.app icon into the macOS Applications directory to install the program on your Mac.
Download Windows 11 ARM image
Now go to the Windows Insider Preview Downloads page to download the virtual machine in .VDHX format of the Windows 11 ARM64 Preview. To download this virtual machine, you must have a Microsoft account and sign in using your credentials to access the download page.
Download Windows 11 ARM VM (Free)
Download connection drivers
From your Mac, download the SPICE Guest Tools file . This file in ISO format contains everything needed to make the Internet work in your Windows 11 virtual machine.
Create a dedicated directory
Now create a Windows 11 directory on your Mac where you will store the Windows 11 ARM virtual machine file in .VDHX format along with the SPICE Guest Tools drivers .
Create a virtual machine
Launch the UTM application on your Mac then click on the Create a New Virtual Machine button .
In the Start window that appears, click the Virtualize button and then select Windows .
Select Windows disk image
Now you need to select the virtual machine image you want to run.
To do this, click on the Browse button and select the Windows 11 file in .VHDX format that you downloaded earlier by browsing to the directory in which the file was saved. Then click the Next button .
Configure the virtual machine
Now you need to choose the configuration you want to apply to your virtual machine. Adjust the amount of memory to allocate to it (8 GB at least for Windows 11) as well as the number of CPU cores and click Next to validate.
UTM should then ask you if you want to share a directory on your Mac with your virtual machine to make it accessible within the latter.
LUNCH THE BM
The virtual machine should then launch in a new window. Wait a few moments (sometimes more than a minute) for all the elements necessary for its execution to be loaded.
You should then arrive on the first screen of the Windows 11 configuration wizard. Select your country and click on Yes , choose the keyboard format you are using then complete the Windows 11 configuration by following the instructions on the ‘assistant.
You should find yourself stuck when connecting to the internet, with the Next button hopelessly greyed out. You must indeed install certain drivers for the connection to be functional in the virtual machine.
At the top right of the UTM window, click on the icon representing a CD , go to the CD/DVD menu , then click on Change .
In the Finder Explorer window that opens, navigate to the directory created in step 4 and select the drivers file Spice-guest-tools-x.xxx.x.iso to mount the disk image directly in the virtual machine.
If the mouse cursor gets stuck in the virtual machine, you just need to press the Ctrl and Alt keys simultaneously on your Mac keyboard to release it. Note also that the keyboard format (French) that you choose in the virtual machine is that corresponding to a French AZERTY PC keyboard, different from the keyboard of your Mac. Some keys may therefore be in different locations (the dashes in particular, on the 6 and 8 keys, or the at sign, which requires holding down the Alt key and then pressing the 0/à key on your Mac keyboard) .
Install Drivers in Windows
In the Windows Setup window, simultaneously press Shift+F10 on your keyboard (remember to also hold down the Fn key on your keyboard if the F10 key is also used for something else, like media controls).
A Windows Command Prompt window should then open. Then type the command taskmgr and press Enter .
In the Windows Task Manager window that appears, right-click on Windows Explorer (the Windows file explorer) and choose Open File Location .
In the Windows Explorer window, click CD Drive in the left column. These are the famous SPICE Guest Tools drivers that you previously mounted in the VM.
Then double click on the spice-guest-tools file to run it.
Then click Yes in the pop-up alert that appears, then install the drivers following the instructions of the installation wizard.
Once the drivers are installed, the installation wizard asks you to restart Windows and selects Reboot now by default . Click Finish . The Windows 11 virtual machine should then restart.
Finalize Windows installation
Now that your Windows 11 virtual machine has restarted, you should once again face the various OS configuration screens. Then select your country then your keyboard format and click Skip to skip adding another keyboard format.
The next step, which concerns connecting to the Internet, should no longer be a problem. A Checking for updates message should appear and let the Windows 11 installation wizard continue.
Continue all the system configuration steps by following the wizard: accept the license agreement and give your PC a name.