How to Install and Run Windows 11 on a Mac

Wouldn’t it be great to be able to run Windows 11 on your Mac? Too bad you can’t use Boot Camp anymore, because Apple didn’t bother to update it to work with Windows 11. But while neither Apple nor Microsoft support Windows 11 on macOS, d Other companies have stepped up to fill the void. still possible.

Follow along as we walk you through the steps to install Windows 11 on an Intel or Apple Silicon Mac using virtualization with Parallels. You can use Parallels seven-day trial to do it yourself for free, but after that period you’ll have to pay $80 for a full license.


What is Parallels Virtualization?

Parallels Desktop is virtualization software for running a second operating system, like Windows or Linux, inside the current system. To do this, it emulates a complete computer system with a so-called virtual machine. Parallels Desktop even supports ARM editions of Windows for Apple’s silicon Macs, though few PC applications are compatible with Windows ARM.

Since version 17.1.0, Parallels also emulates a Trusted Platform Module (TPM) chip. This lets you run Windows 11 on any Mac as a virtual machine. The Parallels TPM 2.0 virtual chip also supports Windows features such as BitLocker, Secure Boot, and Windows Hello. Getting these features is a good reason to install Windows on a Mac.

For this tutorial, we’ll be using a trial version of Parallels with an unactivated copy of Windows 11. This lets you get Windows 11 on your Mac for free. If you decide that the solution works for you, you can always upgrade to the full version of Parallels and purchase a Windows license later.

Step 1. Download Windows 11 ISO Image

Visit the Download Windows 11 website and scroll to Download Windows 11 Disc Image (ISO) section. Click it Select Download menu and choose Windows 11 ISO (multiple edition).

Choose your language under Select product language and click To confirmthen press 64 bit download to start your download. Proceed to the next step while patiently waiting for the download to complete. Keep in mind that your unique download link is only valid for 24 hours.

Step 2. Download Parallels Desktop for macOS

While the Windows 11 installer is downloading, it’s the perfect time to grab a free trial of Parallels Desktop 17 for Mac, so click the Download now button on the Parallels Desktop website. You can use all Parallels features without restriction during the trial period. Once the app has finished downloading, open the Install Parallels Desktop file from your Downloads folder.

Does MacOS send a message that it could not open the file because it was not downloaded from the App Store? If yes, launch System Preferencesselect Security and Privacyclick it General tab, then the tab Open anyway button.

With the disk image mounted, double-click the Install Parallels Desktop icon in the Finder to run the installer. If you see a security message when trying to launch the installer, simply override it in Security System Preferences. To complete the Parallels installation, you will need to agree to the terms and provide your macOS account username and password.

You may also need to follow some prompts to allow Parallels to access your Mac.

Step 3. Install Windows 11 in Parallels

Launch Parallels on your Mac and the setup wizard should take over. If it does not appear, click the Case menu and choose New to create a new virtual machine. If the installation wizard offers to download and install Windows 10, decline by choosing Skip. Instead, click Install Windows or another operating system from a DVD or image file so what Continue.

Now select the Image file icon at the top and click on the button labeled Search automatically. Parallels will search for Windows 11 installer on your Mac. If it does not automatically find your installer, click Select file and find it yourself in the Downloads folder. Highlight the file, click OKAYthen choose Continue.

Enter an option license key

You now have the option to enter a 25-character license key to activate your copy of Windows 11. You do not need to do this to install and use Windows 11, but some options are prohibited without a key, such as personalization of Windows. settings. If your copy of Windows 11 is unlicensed, you’ll also have to accept annoying notifications reminding you that you’re using an unactivated version of Windows.

If you wish, you can purchase a Windows 11 license from the Microsoft Store. You can find your Windows 11 license key in the order history confirmation email from Microsoft. Microsoft activation website provides helpful instructions on activating Windows, types of licenses available, and more. Be sure to avoid incredibly good online discounts on Windows product keys – these are often counterfeit serial numbers that will stop working after a while.

Customize your Windows installation

If you are asked which edition of Windows 11 to install, choose Windows 11 Home. Parallels also needs to optimize your virtual machine, so choose whether you’ll be using Windows 11 primarily for productivity or gaming and click Continue.

Now name your Windows 11 virtual machine by clicking on the Last name field. To change the save location on your Mac, select the icon save to field.

You can now check the box next to Customize settings before installation and click Create to go to the next step. The settings window should open. Click it Material to fine-tune your virtual PC by adjusting the amount of virtual RAM, processors, etc. available for Windows 11.

Click other sections of the sidebar to configure additional functionality, including the behavior of software features such as sharing and picture-in-picture. Close the settings window to save changes to your virtual PC. Don’t worry, you can revisit these settings at any time.

Complete the installation

Click on Continue in the setup wizard to start your virtual machine, which will run the Windows 11 installer. Once everything has been installed and configured correctly, you will see a message in the setup wizard confirming that Windows 11 is ready to use.

To continue using Parallels Desktop, you must activate and register the application by creating a free account. Picking out Sign in with Apple do so without sharing your real email address. Parallels Desktop includes a 7-day free trial with no limitations. After it expires, however, you will need to purchase a license on the Parallels website. Parallels will now start your virtual machine to complete the Windows 11 installation.

You will see a message confirming that Windows 11 has been installed. Congratulations, you can now run Windows 11 and your favorite Windows apps and games with macOS! There is only one (optional) step left: get the Parallels Toolkit.

Parallels Toolkit includes a variety of useful utilities for freeing up storage space, creating content, optimizing computer settings for a presentation, and more. To get them, run Parallels and click Parallels > Install Parallels Toolbox for Mac in the menu bar, then click Install now.

You can access the tools directly from the macOS menu bar in the upper right corner. The Parallels Toolkit probably won’t replace the need for multiple apps, so we strongly recommend that you also install your favorite Windows apps.

You can get third-party Windows apps through the Microsoft Store or the developer’s website, just like you would on a real PC. You can also open a Windows app installer directly from the Finder in macOS—Parallels will pick up the slack and do the right thing. For inspiration, check out our list of must-have Windows apps for any new PC.

Why would anyone run Windows on a Mac?

There are perfectly valid reasons to run Windows 11 on your Mac, like using an older accessory that doesn’t support the software on macOS. Sometimes you may need to run a niche app or old software that doesn’t exist on macOS. Or maybe you just want to play cool Windows 11 games on your Mac. Whatever your reason, virtualization software like Parallels is a great way to run Microsoft’s latest operating system alongside macOS with minimal effort.

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Steven L. Nielsen