Parallels Desktop 17 is here and ready to run Windows 11 on M1 Macs
Parallels Desktop 17 has arrived with support for macOS Monterey and Windows 11. Further, the popular virtualization software for Macs is now a universal binary, making deployment a little less complicated for many IT professionals.
We should clarify that you can only run ARM versions of Windows (10 or 11) on Macs with Apple Silicon chips like the M1. Both Windows 10 and 11 for ARM are available as Insider Preview builds. On the other hand, Parallels can run versions of Windows going back as far as XP if you’re running it on an Intel Mac. A number of Linux distros are also supported, though Intel Macs gain access to more of those than M1 Macs do.
If you have access to those Insider Preview builds, you can run most Windows applications on your M1 Mac, Parallels’ developers claim, because Windows on ARM can run both 32-bit and, more recently, 64-bit x86 applications. That said, even on machines it’s designed to run on, Windows on ARM can be occasionally fussy about x64 apps. So your mileage will likely vary depending on what you’re trying to do.
In any case, Parallels is claiming significantly improved performance on M1 Macs compared to last year’s release, which was the first to add support for said Macs. In particular, DirectX 11 performance is getting a boost (Parallels says it’s 28 percent faster). Also, both Intel and ARM Macs will see up to sixfold-better OpenGL performance with Windows virtual machines.
There are other added features or quality of life improvements, too. For example, you can now drag and drop content between apps running under macOS and those running in Windows while using Parallels in Coherence mode. There are other improvements to Coherence, too, like Windows shutdown and sign-in screens that are presented in a way that feels more native and natural within macOS.
Don’t forget Monterey
Also, support for this year’s new version of macOS, Monterey, has been added. As is the custom with these annual updates, the new version of Parallels Desktop will be able to run on Monterey host machines or to run Monterey in virtual machines.
The other big addition is virtual TPM chip support for Windows 10 and 11 virtual machines, which facilitates features like BitLocker and Secure Boot.
Parallels Desktop 17 costs $79.99 annually for the standard edition or $99.99 for the “Pro” edition. The Pro edition includes a Visual Studio debugging plugin that now works on M1 Macs, among other bonuses specific to some professional use cases.
Listing image by Parallels
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