Whether you have migrated from Windows or bought a new Mac, there are many reasons to continue using the most popular OS on your Mac. Though macOS works perfectly, some applications and games work only on Windows platform. The good thing is that you can easily install the latest Windows 11 version on your Mac with M1 or M2 chip.
Bootcamp Assistant and Parallels
Mac comes with a default Bootcamp Assistant app to install Windows on your Mac’s hard drive. Unfortunately, this app will work only on Intel based Mac devices. You can’t use it on the latest Mac models with M1 or M2 chip and you will see an error like below if you open the app.
So, you need third-party apps to create a virtual machine and run Windows or any other operating system in Mac. Parallels Desktop is the best app available in Mac App Store for this purpose.
Requirements for Installation
Here are the few things you need for the installation.
- Sufficient storage space in your Mac’s hard drive at least 40GB or more. Learn more on how to check storage space in macOS.
- Valid license key for Windows edition that you want to install. Remember, you can’t use the license already used on a device as Windows Home and Pro editions come with single device license. You can either purchase a new license from Microsoft or remove the existing device and activate your Mac.
- Premium subscription for Parallels Desktop app which will cost you $99.99 per year. Without premium subscription, you will not be able to start working on your Windows setup. This app will work both on Intel and M1/M2 chips. However, you should have Mojave or later macOS versions for the app to work properly.
Installing Parallels Desktop for Mac
Go to Mac App Store and install Parallels Desktop app. The app is free and helps to create or edit virtual machine setup. However, as mentioned, you need to purchase a premium subscription for running Windows 11. There is a 14 days free trial available which you can use it after subscribing and cancel the subscription before the payment. It is also possible to purchase the app from Parallels website with 50% discount for students edition.
Install Windows with Parallels Desktop
Open the app after installing and you will see a prompt like below. Click on the “Try it Free” button and complete your purchase from Apple.
If you click “Not Now” button, the app will allow you to proceed further to create virtual machine and install Windows 11. However, you will not be able to use Windows 11 and hence it’s a good idea to subscribe before proceeding.
By default, Parallels Desktop will install Windows Home edition. Click “Choose Edition…” button and select Home, Pro or Enterprise edition as per the license you have. After selecting the correct edition, click “Install Windows” button to go to next step.
The app will start downloading the selected Windows 11 version and you can see the progress. The Windows 11 ISO file around 4.7 GB in size will be stored in “Downloads” folder. Therefore, make sure the folder has sufficient space and you can delete the file after finishing the setup.
After downloading the file, Windows 11 installation will automatically start and wait for the setup to finish.
You will see the typical Windows installation screens asking you to wait and do not turn off the PC.
Once the installation is finished, you can accept the end user license and continue using Windows 11.
After installation, the app will check for Windows Updates, otherwise, make sure to update the Windows to latest version before start using the system. You can do that from “Settings > Windows Update” section to download and install the latest available release. The app will create a local administrator account in Windows 11 with the same username as your Mac. When you are using Mac, Parallels app will pause Windows 11 to save battery power. However, you can change all Windows 11 related configurations by going to “Action > Configure” menu when you are using Windows 11 screen.
Anytime you can launch Parallels Desktop app to open Windows 11 within macOS. You can use the Migration Assistant app which comes as default with macOS to move data from existing Windows PC to your Mac.
Activating Windows 11 in Mac
Now that Windows 11 is installed on Mac and the next step is to activate the copy of your Windows. The simple option is to login with your Microsoft account to activate the digital license key. Otherwise, you can enter the product key to activate by going to “Settings > System > Activation” section.
Creating Additional Virtual Machines
Open Parallels Desktop app and go to “Windows > Control Center” menu. Click the + icon in the Control Center and select the OS you want to install on another virtual machine setup.
You can install another instance of Windows 11 as explained above or choose one of the free Linux editions.
If you have the ISO image file for Windows installation on USB or setup DVD, select “Install Windows or another OS from a DVD or image file” option. This is a recommended option if you have the 25 characters product key.
Parallels Desktop is an easy option to install Windows 11 on Mac with M1 or M2 chip in less than 10 minutes. Though it is costly and needs $300 for installing Windows Pro ($199.99 for Windows Pro and $99.99 for Parallels), it is quick and super easy. Even if Apple comes up with Bootcamp Assistant for M1/M2 chips, it will not be as easy as Parallels. Because you don’t need to manually create partition in hard disk and choose the OS while booting. All you need is to simply launch the Parallels Desktop app and work with Windows 11 without logging out of your user account.