Got an M1 MacBook Pro and trying to run Windows in beta of VMWare

I develop for both Mac and Windows on my Mac. I just purchased a new M1 MacBook Pro and tried to run WMWare Fusion and get the error:

This virtual machine cannot be run because it requires the x86 machine architecture, which is incompatible with this Arm machine architecture host.

I was under the impression that the new public beta was for running Windows under VMWare. I’m currently running Windows 10 in VMWare Fusion.

The public beta is for running Fusion on Apple Silicon. It will only run ARM-based VMs, not any of the x86 VMs, Windows or otherwise, that you already have. I’m about to install the beta on my own (original) M1 MBP, and have a play with the ARM version of Debian.

Virtualization and emulation often get confused. It is the latter that mimics a different processor architecture. As to Windows, there is an ARM version, and Fusion could support that if (!!!) Microsoft licenses it accordingly, as opposed to just for OEMs as now. In this case, it would be Windows itself that would take care of any x86 emulation for applications.

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I see that Parallels says you can run Windows on their virtualization on an M1 Mac, so that looks like a viable option, but of course, you may have to reinstall everything unless they can do a conversion from VMWare.

I don’t use VMWare, but do have a copy of Parallels 17 that I use to host an instance of Win10 but you CANNOT use the standard Intel version of Win10. You must use the ARM version of Win10 which Microsoft does not sell but you can get free access to by joining the Microsoft Insiders Preview program.

There are rumors this may go away at some point, but that Win11 (also now available) may be available longer.

Either way, you CANNOT run Intel based OS in a VM. Only ARM based OS.

And I don’t think you can even run Big Sur ARM version in a VM either due to some Apple restriction. (I could be wrong on that).

As Douglas said, Parallels showed this proof of concept during Windows 11’s beta period. Whether it still works is simply at Microsoft’s pleasure. For their part, VMWare has stuck to addressing Linux ARM VMs.

And I don’t think you can even run Big Sur ARM version in a VM either due to some Apple restriction. (I could be wrong on that).

I guess we can find out now :slight_smile: From the licensing standpoint, at least, Apple allows Mac guests on Mac hosts.

ARM-based Windows 11, rather than 10, would be the nice-to-have. I believe (I’m open to correction) that 11 introduces 64-bit x86 emulation for apps, whereas 10 just did so for 32-bit.

Windows 11 ARM does emulate both 32- and 64-bit apps, and quite well at that. I’ve been running Windows 11 ARM in Parallels since I got my M1 Mini right after they were released and testing Xojo apps in the VM. It’s a nice setup.


real truth of the “full M1 compatibility” announced …
the list of accepted guest OS !

Yes, I have seen that, and it part of why I said it appears you can’t run Big Sur as a guest VM on M1 machines. Though you can Monterey. Big Sur on an M1 can be a host (and I do that on my M1 mini now) but evidently not a guest. Some other web searches suggested to me that is due to some restrictions in BS regarding the boot process.

I’d love to be proved wrong because I was hoping to run a VM with BS on my M1 MBP when it comes so I could continue to use XCode 12 for some stuff. (Monterey won’t run XCode 12, though evidently it could up through beta 6 but they took that away in beta 7 from what I can tell.)

Microsoft has said they will not be supporting Windows 11ARM on M1 Macs.

Not supporting and being blocked from trying are two different things. But I don’t know if the Insider’s Preview builds (the only way to get it now) need a periodic “phone home” or have a certificate that will expire that would enable MS to shut down any preview installs.

I plan on keeping around an Intel based machine that can do Boot Camp, or could always pick up a cheap WinTel machine for final testing or remote debug. But am hoping the ARM versions will still run for preliminary testing, especially when traveling and not in the office with access to my other machines.

I’ll be trying it out soon. I’m already an insider, so we’ll see how it goes.


I see this M1 Mac and the way Microsoft is saying that they won’t support it on M1 Macs as a real line n the sand. Our applications are cross platform and we have been using Macs for development and running Windows 10 in VMWare. Obviously, with Apple’s MacBook Pros now running Apple silicone, this means if we purchase new laptops then we will have to completely rethink how we compile for Windows. We’ve spent lots of time creating development tools that make creating new builds relatively easy for both Mac and Windows, but this will require us to start from scratch to see if we can continue to make this work under the M1 Macs and the Arm version of Windows.

We also have some legacy applications that we support that run in Visual Foxpro. Curious if it will run in the Arm version of Windows.

In the same boat. I’m now on a M1 Mac but must keep an older Intel Mac (2008…) at hand for several things, including testing the Windows versions of my apps.
The news above is very sad.

If Parallels had a way to serve a VM remotely, a rented Mac from MacStadium would almost be worth it. Though it’d take less than a year of paying for it to justify the cost of an Intel Mac Mini.

I have a few options in front of me.

  • I have a PC with power to spare. In theory, I could force it to run Mac VMs. Not necessarily easily, but it should be possible. I’d have to use VirtualBox or VMware though.
  • I have an early 2013 MBP that doesn’t run anything newer than 10.15 that I could use to run my existing VMs. Then just remote control into it. Technically, it’d work, but the idea of remote controlling a Mac to have I run a VM seems weird. Like a window-in-a-window thing. It’s also two OS versions behind now and can’t update. AND with just 512GB of storage, it’s not a great choice.
  • Keep my 2017 MBP and do the same thing. It’d cost me the $850 that Apple will give me for it, but I could keep it running longer than the 2013.
  • Buy an Intel Mac Mini that won’t take up as much room, and is brand new. This is the most expensive option though.

It’s a tough decision. I don’t just need Windows. I need to be able to run older macOS versions. Windows is easy, I have true PC. I’ll still be trying to get 11 ARM running in Parallels 17 though. I’m interested in opinions on the matter.

My network connection wouldn’t be able to handle it (and I’m not alone in this case).

Or dual booting with a hackintosh. I did that in the past (separately).

Your options 2 and 3 are almost identical to this one, except you don’t have to pay nor waste for an extra device. Being 2 OS versions behind isn’t frequently a problem for virtualising other systems.
As for 512GB of storage, you have plenty options (external disks, NAS); even with nothing extra added, 512GB would be enough for several virtual machines (assuming you devote that Mac for that task and remove unnecessary files it already has).

Famous last words. My Ryzen process is really getting in the way. I’ve read more trouble than success, the exact OS version seems to matter, and it’s just not worth it. Maybe I could get it working, but calling it an uphill battle would be an understatement.

Correct, the other options have mostly the same problems. It really comes down to age and power. I think the Intel mini is out of the question. It’d cost me $1800 to get one that I’d feel good running VMs on. That’s far too much. So options 1 and 4 are out. It’s really a question of keeping the 2017 MBP or using the 2013 for it. Considering the 2013 is already there acting as a server, that’s probably the best option.

I looked into used Intel minis, but I can’t get them with reasonable storage. Price isn’t terrible though. Still leaning towards that not being the right call though.

external ssd drives on an intel mac mini, using the thunderbolt connection, are really fast enough for most VM.

Used mini’s are pretty cheap. You could just use an external SSD (simpler) or you install a second drive in it or replace the internal drive. OWC has kits I have used in the past. The first one you do, you realize Apple made this much more complicated than it seems like it had to be. OWC has nice videos to guide you through the process though.

If you do a headless mini for remote access, plug a 4K dongle into it to make it think you have an external monitor. That enables the GPU, and allows higher resolution in your remote connections. I think the dongles only ran me $15 or so.

That’s what I use, although my Crucial 500Gbytes MX500 is connected via a USB-A rather than a USB-C port on my 2018 Mini.

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