Currently, Macs with the new Arm M1 chip on board do not natively support Windows . However, this is a possibility that is highly appreciated by Mac users with Intel processors, and that many users would like to be able to take advantage of even with new systems. However, a developer managed to start a virtualization instance of the Windows for ARM operating system on a Mac system equipped with the M1 chip , thus demonstrating the existence of the possibility.
This is currently an operation suitable for geeks, and is not yet a ready procedure for end users. On Intel-based Macs, for example, there are utilities like Boot Camp that greatly simplify installing and using Windows on a Mac.
Windows on Mac with Arm M1? It's possible
The developer in question is Alexander Graf, and he used QEMU to virtualize the Microsoft operating system , without making any virtualization since the version of Windows used is specially developed to run on Arm architectures.
Furthermore, this version of Windows has the emulation of executables for x86 / x64 architectures as a feature. So in this way, not only is it possible to have Windows running, but also with the possibility of running apps for other architectures.
The developer was able to run Windows ARM64 Insider Preview by virtualizing it through Hypervisor.framework, a resource made available by Apple itself, underlining how it can be useful to make virtualization operations easier without having to write special kernel extensions.
However, the developer's work did not stop there, managing to create and apply his own patch for QEMU that allows for almost native performance . This means that Windows for Arm can be virtualized without problems and with almost minimal performance degradation.
Recently, following numerous requests from users, Craig Federighi, Head of Software Engineering for Apple, pointed out that the presence of Windows on Macs equipped with the new Arm Apple Silicon processors “depends on Microsoft”. The M1 chip contains all the essential technologies to be able to run Windows, but the last word is still up to Microsoft, which must decide whether to license its version of Windows for ARM to Apple users.
"It's still early, but my results are certainly reproducible – all patches are on the mailing list – but don't expect a stable and fully functional system"
A few details on Apple's new Arm processor
Apple M1 is Apple's first attempt at a 64-bit System on a chip design. It is a RISC architecture typical of Arm and manufactured by TSMC with a 5nm manufacturing process for the new range of Macs, including MacBook Air, MacBook Pro and Mac mini.
What sets these processors apart from their Intel counterpart is the presence of additional hardware on board , such as a neural engine learning coprocessor (NPU), the Secure Enclave encrypted security system, the ISP image coprocessor, and UMA (Uniform Memory Access ), in addition to the basic components such as computational cores, GPU, Cache, and any additional controllers.
The article Windows on Mac with ARM M1? One developer made it possible comes from TechCuE .