Microsoft introduced the successor to Windows 10 at the end of June 2021. Windows 11 offers many improvements as well as a well-designed interface and new functions. We are reasonably impressed by Windows 11 - read: Windows 11 vs macOS and what Apple should copy.
But for Mac users who want to use Windows, there is bad news: Until now, as long as you weren't using a M1 Mac, it has been relatively easy to install Windows on a Mac, either via Boot Camp or using virtualisation software such as Parallels or VMware. But with Windows 11 this could change.
According to the system requirements set out by Microsoft, not only is a relatively new computer required, it needs to offer a security module called TPM - which Macs do not have.
Microsoft also requires a graphics card with DirectX 12. Virtualisation solutions such as Parallels only support the previous version DirectX 11.
It's not only Mac users that are left out: the high system requirements have also been a surprise for Windows fans, since almost all Windows computers with a CPU from before 2017 are not compatible with Windows 11 - including some models from Microsoft such as the Surface Pro 4 and Surface Studio 2.
It is unclear how strictly Microsoft will require that the aforementioned system requirements are met. The first Insider Preview (beta) of Windows 11 has not yet been released.
But you're a Mac user, so what's it mean to you if you were hoping to be able to run Windows 11 on your Mac?
At the moment much is still unclear, even the manufacturers of virtualisation software such as Parallels haven't been able to clarify matters in their initial statements.
Here are some preliminary questions and answers to the problems associated with running Windows 11 on a Mac. We will add to this article as we find out more.
What is a TPM module?
TPM (aka Trusted Platform Module) is a security chip, similar to Apple's T2 security chip, that guarantees secure encryption and secure logins. With newer CPUs this security chip is already integrated, and on some older devices, or motherboards without TPM, it can be retrofitted. Asus motherboards, for example, can easily be updated with a TPM all-on. Other PCs can activate an inactive TPM module via BIOS or UEFI (also TPM, fTPM or PTT).
Do Macs have a TPM module?
With the newer Intel CPUs in some Macs, the chip is actually integrated, but it's inactive. Right now there is no way to activate this function on the Mac. Unlike on many Windows computers where it is possible to activate it. Theoretically this could change down the line - but with Apple fazing out Intel processors the outlook isn't good.
What are the system requirements for Windows 11?
1GHz CPU with at least two cores, 64-bit CPU, 4GB RAM, 64GB storage space, UEFI, graphics card with DirectX 12 with WDDM 2.0 driver, 720p display that's more than 9in. There are additional requirements for specific features.
Windows 11 virtualization on Intel Mac: will it work?
Windows 11 is expected to be usable in Parallels, VMware and Virtual Box on Intel Macs. It turns out that a TPM module can be replicated in software - for VMware this is called vTPM, while with Parallels you can activate TPM in the Pro versions.
Windows 11 virtualization on M1 Mac: will it work?
There will be an ARM version of Windows 11 and it is expected that the ARM version of Windows will run on M1 Macs. Parallels can already run the ARM Windows beta, plus you can emulate x86 Windows on an M1 Mac with open source emulator and virtualiser Qemu (with poor performance).
As for replicating the TPM modules required by Windows 11 on M1 Macs, Parallels says: "The use of TPM modules in Parallels Desktop virtual machines running on a Mac computer with Apple M1 chip will be introduced in future updates".
Support for DirectX 12 is also likely to come eventually.
Note that the specific hardware requirements of the ARM version of Windows 11 are not yet known.
Will Windows 11 run in Boot Camp?
An installation via Boot Camp will only be possible if Apple supports it on the older Intel Macs that run Boot Camp (Boot Camp is missing from M1 Macs).
When will Windows 11 be available?
Windows 11 will be released at the end of 2021, according to Microsoft. The first insider previews (beta) will be available soon.
When will ARM Windows 11 be available?
As with Windows 10, there will probably be an ARM version of Windows 11 for OEM customers and a version for developers. When the purchase version will be available is unknown.
Why don't Microsoft and Apple ensure compatibility?
There are no statements from Apple or Microsoft about compatibility. Offering support is complex and provides little benefit for either company. For example, a Mac user with a Windows system no longer buys from Apple's App Store, but from the Microsoft App Store. Microsoft also benefits little from the ability to run Windows on a Mac.
What will happen to Windows 10?
Windows 11 is the official successor of Windows 10. According to Microsoft, Windows 10 will still be supported with updates until 2025. However, Windows 10 is likely to remain in use for much longer on old PCs. According to Statcounter, even the Windows 7, which is no longer supported with updates, still has about 15.5 percent market share.
Based on an article on Macwelt.