Parallels Desktop 17 to Bring Windows 11 to the Mac

Posted on August 10, 2021 by Paul Thurrott in Mac and macOS, Windows 11 with 13 Comments

The latest version of Parallels Desktop will support Windows 11 and macOS Monterey on Intel- and M1-based Macs. It’s available now, however, ahead of the final release of each.

“Our breakthrough of seamlessly running Windows 10 applications on Apple M1-based Mac computers was just the start of Parallels Desktop for Mac’s new chapter in offering enhanced user experiences running virtual machines on Mac devices,” Parallels senior vice president Nick Dobrovolskiy says. “Parallels Desktop 17 for Mac continues to deliver performance and stability improvements as well as innovative, easy-to-use features on Intel and Apple M1 Mac, offering users the most advanced Windows-on-Mac experience ever. In collaboration with Apple, we’re thrilled to have created the world’s first prototype of a macOS Monterey virtual machine running on a Mac with Apple M1 chip.”

More important, perhaps, to Windows fans, Parallels Desktop 17 will also officially support Windows 11 and, with that support, 64-bit Windows apps, a key advance for the platform. You can learn more about running Windows 11 on a Mac using Parallels Desktop 17 here.

Other key advancements in this release include dramatic performance improvements—for example, up to 38 percent faster resume with Windows virtual machines (VMs) and up to 28 percent faster DirectX 11 performance—an enhanced Windows gaming experience driver, integration between Windows client and Mac host power status, the ability to drag and drop content between Windows and Mac apps, and some Coherence improvements, including windowed (as opposed to full screen) update and shutdown screens. (Over 80 percent of Parallels Desktop users use Coherence mode to run Windows apps side-by-side with Mac apps on the Mac desktop.)

I’m away for the next few weeks, but I’ll be looking at Parallels Desktop 17 on an M1-based Mac when I return. For now, you can learn more about this new version from the Parallels website.

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Comments (13)

13 responses to “Parallels Desktop 17 to Bring Windows 11 to the Mac”

  1. Alastair Cooper

    This is misleading. Parallels are officially supporting running Windows 11 in a VM, but as yet the only ARM-based Windows OSs are the unsupported Windows Insider Previews for ARM. There has been no indication from Microsoft that they're going to release a fully supported Windows 11 ARM installer for ordinary users though hopefully that will change.

    • bettyblue

      I completely agree, totally misleading. You will have to acquire a copy of Windows 11 on ARM as well. Can you even purchase the ARM version of Windows??

      Even if you can, lets assume you are doing this to run some "must have" Windows app on your Mac. 99.99999% chance that is a Win32/64 app and not a native Windows on ARM app as well. This means you are now running Windows ARM version as as VM on a M1 performance hit right there.....then in Windows on ARM you are emulating the Win32/64 bit app.

      I can't imagine the performance would anywhere close to even OK. What a train wreck. Oh and Parallels has now moved to a subcription model to top it off.

      • digiguy

        you are wrong, I am using on my M1 Mac mini and the perforamnce is better than in many of my Windows laptops, I would say better than anything 7th gen and earlier.... M1 and Rosetta are so good that they make it run better than on 8CX / SQ1/2

        • bettyblue

          I am typing this on my M1 Mac Mini, with 16gigs of RAM and a 1TB hd. Performance is fantastic. The Mini is silent and cold to the touch in my room.

          However we are talking emulation inside of emulation. Rosetta 2 is part software and part M series chip. They specifically added tech to the chip so that Mac software written for Intel Mac's runs at or near native speed on the ARM based M1. Rosetta 1 years ago was software only....and it was not speedy at all.

          I doubt very much that tech supports Windows on ARM calls to the M based mac hardware. Paralells is a Hypervisor, a native M series hypervisor so it will not need Rosetta. Windows on ARM will have to run through the Paralells Hypervisor to access the hardware so you will have a performance hit right there.

          The big question is ARM compatibility. This is not x86/64 where a VM of say Windows is expecting x86/64 hardware and gets some good old Intel x86/64 hardware on a Intel Mac. Just the Hypervisor gets in your way there slowing things down a bit as it becomes a traffic cop. Now you are running Windows on ARM that wants to see a Qualcom ARM based chip....can the M1 answer all of those calls???? Possibly but we all know that the M1 is a custom ARM chips so maybe some of those calls have to be emulated through the Paralles Hypervisor???? Which is another layer.

          Lastly, if a Win32 App is running on the Windows on ARM, there is emulation going on right there.....and that is on a native Windows on ARM hardware. That is another layer.

          Example you want to run Visio 2019, the Win32/64 app on your Macbook Pro M1 laptop. First the app would have to get through the Windows on ARM - Win32 emulation layer so it could even run. Then that copy of Windows on running in a VM, on a M1 Mac...and hopefully all of the hardware calls made to the virtualized Qualcom ARM chip....actually exist in the M1....or that will have to be emulated as well. You have up to three layers of emulation going on.

          • ivarh

            As far as I believe rosetta is not involved in running the ARM version of windows 11 in a VM. The fact that the ARM Win11 can run win32/64 binaries is due to it’s (Windows for ARM) own emulation and not the rosetta emulator that macos is using.

          • waethorn

            Did they change this? It was documented that Parallels Desktop 16 on M1 Mac's required the use of the Apple Hypervisor because of some kernel extension restrictions that prevented Parallels from supporting M1 hardware through their own.

          • digiguy

            What you don't realize is that all this theory you are make has little importance if your Win32 apps run absolutely fine. I have 3 apps running on the exact same Mac mini you have and with only 2 cores allocated to the VM and 6GB RAM and they run absolutely great, like not a single glitch. It's apps that require very little resources, just like office does. They could run well on an Atom chip provided the SSD is fast enough and the SSD in the Mac mini is very fast. So again all this theory make little sense if you only need to run office type apps and run everything else on the Mac itself...

  2. keithjones

    TPM 2.0 has been added, but still does not meet the directx12 minimum requirement for Windows 11 on my m1 mac mini

    • waethorn

      I asked Parallels about this.

      According to them, they say that they've been told by Microsoft that the TPM and DX12 requirements, aka "soft limit" of not requiring TPM or DX12-compliant graphics is being implemented for virtual machines.

      This means that YOU WILL NOT REQUIRE Parallels Desktop Pro to get the vTPM functionality, and can save money on the standard edition. This change of requirements has been included since build 22000 of Windows 11.

      MONEY SAVING TIP: if you want to get Parallels Desktop Pro as a subscription renewal for any reason, you can get one (as an "upgrade", although it's still a 1-year subscription) for cheap right now. Subscription renewals via the Parallels account Dashboard show as full price each year. If you cancel your auto-renewal, buy an upgrade of Pro, which is now the same price as Standard Upgrades, and your continual renewal cost is also locked in at half the regular price. For me, it was normally $129.99CAD for renewals. I canceled my auto-renewal and got an "upgrade" (which is still a 1 year subscription) of Pro at $64.99CAD and it shows my annual renewal after it expires is subsequently also $64.99CAD. Or you could use this advantage to upgrade to Pro at no extra cost.

      If you've never bought Parallels Desktop before, another way to save money is to download the Mac App Store version, and so long as the trial hasn't expired yet, you can upgrade to the full version (Standard only) for only the difference in price, because they discount the whole price of the App Store version off the full version. The App Store version is sandboxed, so it lacks major features like Coherence Mode, among other things. It's a bit cheaper than the full version normally, but you can save even more buying the full version with this trick. This is how I bought it a year ago. It cost me less than $20 for a full year. You can't reuse this trick unless you create separate accounts because they link the Mac App Store trial subscription to your account and once it's expired you can't reuse it.

  3. brettscoast

    Good post Paul. I have always felt that parallels was a far superior experience to that of the unwieldy bootcamp on macs for those running windows. Bootcamp was never optimised fully to give the user a seamless experience on the mac. Now that mac's are running on apple's own silicon the experience should be even better than before. Look forward to your follow up on this.

  4. waethorn

    Does anyone still prefer VMware Fusion over PD?

    • captobie

      I've been running Windows 11 in VMWare Fusion for the last few weeks. The fact that VMWare is free for personal use is a very strong selling point.

  5. roundaboutskid

    Running Windows 11 in Parallells 17 (and until recently in 16), and it works brilliantly for the standard office use. Running it in Coherence mode so it's completely transparent. I get to run Visio on a Mac (even though through layers of virtualization)! People ask how I got it installed on the Mac. :)