Windows 11 is here! However, anyone who thinks they can easily install the new Microsoft operating system in a virtual machine under MacOS has made a mistake: Windows 11 wants a Trusted Platform Module (TPM) - and that is not available on any Mac. If you want to install Windows 11 from the ISO, you will initially have no luck on an Intel Mac. Fortunately, there is a solution to install Windows 11 on Mac.
Parallels 17 or newer required!
First you should, if You are a Parallels user, install the latest version. Officially, Parallels has supported Windows 11 since version 17, but only the current 17.0.1 eradicates most of the annoying bugs.
Once you've done that, you can get started. First you must Download the Windows 11 ISO file, which you free on the Microsoft website received. Windows 11 works just like Windows 10 for a while without activation.
Install Windows 11 in Parallels: An error message!
If your Windows 11 “just like that” install in Parallels Unfortunately, you will receive an error message during the Windows installation: "This PC does not meet the minimum system requirements to install this Windows version". After that you cannot continue. When you finish the installation, Parallels deletes the newly created VM.
This is due to the unsupported TPM on Mac computers: Apple uses its own security solution on Intel Macs, the T2 chip – and it is not compatible with Windows 11, whether “pure” or under Parallels. This also means: Installing Windows 11 with Bootcamp does not work! So what to do?
Parallels virtualizes TPM - and allows Windows 11 on the Mac!
Parallels has solved this problem very elegantly: After all, a VM is a virtual PC with virtual hardware - so why shouldn't it also have a virtual TPM? This has been on board since Parallels 17, but turned off by default in new VMs. Therefore, a "quick" Windows 11 installation does not work. Instead, you have to change the configuration of the VM beforehand:
- Launch Parallels and click the plus icon at the top right of Control Center to create a new virtual machine. Click "Install Windows or other OS from DVD or image file" and then click "Continue."
- Now drag the Windows 11 ISO file onto the Parallels window. Alternatively, you can search for the ISO file or import it from another source. Then click on “Continue”.
- Uncheck "Enter license key to speed up installation" if you don't already have a key. If so, you can paste it here. Tip: Windows 11 can also be activated with old Windows keys for Windows 7, Windows 8 and Windows 10! So if you still have an old Windows 7 flying around, now is the time to transfer the key to a new system. I tested this with an ancient Windows 7 Pro key: Activation works smoothly! Then click on “Continue”.
- Now select the Windows 11 edition that you want to use or for which you have an (old) Windows key, i.e. Home or Pro. Then click on “Done”.
- Now select what you want to use Windows 11 for. The setting sets certain basic settings. Basically, this is also something that you can change later, which is why you can click on "Continue" with a clear conscience.
- Now comes the important part: you need to customize the Windows VM before installation! So give a name and Check the "Customize settings before installation" box. Then click on “Create”.
- Instead of installing Windows now, Parallels will show you the settings window. Click on "Hardware" and select "CPU & RAM". Check the automatic value: Depending on what you use for a Mac, more or fewer processors and RAM are assigned automatically. In this case, set the point to "Manual" and set 4 CPUs and 8 GB RAM. You can play around with the values. More is always possible, if it works with less, you can let us know in the comments section.
- Now comes the most important point: Click on the plus symbol at the bottom left. Here you can now select "TPM chip".
- Confirm the prompt "Are you sure you want to add TPM (Trusted Platform Module) to "Windows 11 Pro"?" with "Add". You can then close the settings window.
- By clicking on "Continue" you start the installation of Windows 11 in a Parallels VM. This should now run smoothly. Then you can look forward to Windows 11 on the Mac.
Windows 11 on Macs with M1 CPU and newer? No problem!
Incidentally, this also works with the ARM versions of Windows 11. So if you use Parallels on the ARM Mac with M1 CPU or newer, you can also install Windows 11 in this way. However, there is a (small) difference: You cannot use the regular Windows 11 ISO, as this only contains Windows for x64 processors - i.e. Intel and AMD. Instead you have to charge yourself Sign up for the Windows Insider Program and download one of the Windows 11 ARM previews. You can then use Windows 11 on your Apple Silicon Mac.
Update: What to do to upgrade an old VM to Windows 11?
A small note: If you want to upgrade an old VM to Windows 11, you must first ensure that you can activate the TPM chip in the Parallels VM. But that only works if it runs in UEFI mode! Therefore, you must first bring the VM to UEFI with Windows on-board resources. That is very easy, as we describe in this post here.
You should then create a backup copy of your VM just in case and then right-click on the original. Select "Show Package Contents" and open the "config.pvs" file with a text editor such as SubEthaEdit or CotEdit (both free in the AppStore). Press (command)+(F) to open the search and look for the entry EfiEnabled. Replace the "0" with a "1" and then save the file. You can now power up the VM. Everything works? Then you can now shut down the virtual Windows and call up the configuration: The TPM chip is now displayed there as described above and you can carry out the update.