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Windows 10 on M1 Apple Silicon with Parallels Virtualization !


hey everybody it’s lon seidman and we’re back with my apple macbook air that i bought a few weeks ago with the new apple m1 processor inside and one of the things that these devices can’t do all that well is run windows in fact when i first bought it it couldn’t run windows at all even though macs have been running windows very effectively for the better part of a decade but some progress has been made by the folks at parallels to bring the arm version of windows over to the mac platform and have it run through their virtualization software and i got it booted up here and i thought i would show you a couple of things that it can do it’s still very early stages here so it’s far from perfect and we’re also dealing with a beta version of arm windows as well but i did get a couple of things to work and they worked better than i expected them to work so we’re going to take a look at those things here in just a second but i do want to let you know in the interest of full disclosure that everything in this video i paid for with my own funds all

the opinions you’re about to hear are my own no one is paying for this review nor is anyone reviewing or approving what you’re about to see before it was uploaded so let’s get into it now and see what windows is like on the new macbook now before we jump in the reason why my bezels look so weird on the mac here is because i am mirroring its screen over to my video capture hardware this is so we can get a 16×9 aspect ratio to fill up the screen and it also actually makes arm windows work a little better because it was having some issues dealing with some of the screen scaling options that windows has and i found software ran much more reliably in 16×9 1080p than it did on the macbook’s native resolution now there are a couple of steps that you have to take to get all this stuff working the first is that you have to go over to the parallels beta sign up page to sign up to download the beta of the virtualization software once you do that you will get a product key and a downloadable application to install on your mac at the time i’m shooting this video that application is free although at some point it will leave beta and you’ll have to pay for it the folks at parallels are hoping you’ll share your experiences with them so that they can make it better as they continue active development with it the next thing you have to do is go over to microsoft and sign up for the windows insider program and of course you’re going to need a microsoft account to do that once you sign up for the program you can download the arm version of windows it has to be the arm and not the intel version and when you download that file you’re going to get about a 7 or 8 gigabyte windows installation file once you get those two components you boot up the parallel software and it will

usually find the windows install disk image that you downloaded in your downloads folder and begin the installation process and once you get windows installed my suggestion is to shut it down and make a few subtle changes to the settings to make it work a little bit more reliably let me show you what i have my settings at inside of parallels so with the virtual machine shut down i’m going to go over here to the control center and click on the gear icon and i made a couple of changes to this based on an article on nine to five mac that i’ll link to in the video description now the first thing i did was i moved the processor cores from the recommended two to four and i found this to be the best trade-off of performance and stability now this is an eight core machine but you don’t wanna push it here especially in the early beta phases so i just set mine to four and it’s been working fine i also upped the ram allocation this mac has 16 gigs of ram on board so i set the ram allocation to about 6 gigabytes you can go a bit higher but of course they’ll give you some recommendations based on what you have installed in your machine a lot of folks are buying these with eight gigs of ram which will constrain you a little bit more so just be aware of that the other thing that the article i read recommended you do was go over to the options setting here and go to more options and set time to do not sync apparently it will freeze up every once in a while if you have it syncing the time with the host operating system here so i disabled that now when you get windows booted back up there are a few more things that you have to do the first is that you have to connect to the windows insider program and you can find those settings inside of the windows settings option you can usually search for windows insider right on the search bar here now you’re going to see some red text there telling you that you have to make sure that

you submit your diagnostic information to microsoft so follow the link there and enable that feature so you get updates and then you’ll want to switch the computer into the development branch of windows 10 arm and that will get you all the latest features that they’re developing for windows 10 on the arm platform including the ability to run 64-bit intel applications now once you enable that development branch you’ve got to go over to windows update and force an update of that version of windows onto your machine that will take a little while the windows 10 virtual machine will reboot now after you reboot there’s one more thing to install which is the microsoft visual c plus plus runtime and then once it is done with that you can start playing around with windows 10 on arm so let’s do that now i’m recording this video on new year’s day 2021 and at the moment there’s not a lot of things that work with this apple and parallels combination so for example the windows store here will open briefly and then close down on you so you can’t get at some of the apps you might have through there that includes of course game pass and some other stuff even simpler apps here like the calculator will load up quickly and then drop out on you the calendar also goes through a similar thing there so there’s a lot here that hasn’t yet gotten to a fully functional state yet but i would imagine as the months progress here throughout the year we’ll see some rapid progress but there

are some things that do work so for example the built-in edge browser here is working just fine i believe this is based on the old edge code and not the new code that is running with google chromium as its back end but as you can see here it’s rendering very quickly and it’s pretty snappy and responsive for a app that’s running in a virtualized environment so that worked pretty nicely things like the file explorer work just fine so there’s some things you can do here around windows but a lot of things just don’t work yet now i tested a couple of older windows applications on here and one that ran really nicely was something i used to run at my old job called visual foxpro this is visual foxpro 9.0 i used to run this every single day at the old job for connecting up with our accounting system that was actually written inside of visual fox pro so i’m very familiar with this i was able to load up some of my old code it all worked great i really missed foxpro because i thought it was a really nice integrated database environment it had visual basic like coding associated with it as well good stuff but i tried to run some more recent applications like quickbooks and that didn’t install on here at all so it’s going to be very much a hit or miss kind of activity here as you’re playing around with it and i think if you’re looking to buy a mac right now and running windows is a requirement for you the m1s just are not there yet but i think they’re going to catch up pretty quickly as work on both the windows 10 operating system from microsoft continues and some of the virtualization tools that parallels is working on get further developed games were very much hit or miss on here as well most games i ran did not work at all but some did and they actually ran much better than i expected

so we’re going to launch rocket league here from the epic store first and i’ll show you exactly what kind of performance you can expect running it virtually through windows 10 on arm with an intel based application so here are the settings we have for rocket league and remember we’re running this in windows in emulation on a virtual machine because we still have mac os here running in the background as well it’s pretty crazy and check out just how well it runs with these settings let me just resume the game here and as you can see it is not 60 frames per second at those settings but it’s still a very playable high 30s to mid 40s most of the time and i was just totally blown away by again just how powerful these m1 chips are running a non-native operating system and having it emulate intel software from the windows side here and still be able to handle the mac os here running simultaneously it’s just pretty remarkable i will pull up my activity manager real quick and just have a look at what’s going on because the game is still kind of running here as we are switching back and forth and as you can see the cpu here is obviously very much involved with windows 10.

we definitely have some memory here that is being used by the windows 10 virtual machine so there’s definitely a lot going on here but it’s working just fine on this fanless macbook air with four cores allocated to the windows virtual machine and this again is just the beginning of what these mac chips can do right this is the first iteration running on the least powerful version of their lineup here so i think we’re going to see be seeing a lot more with this as time rolls on but as good as this game runs not much else will even boot up at the moment so we still have a lot more to go here before this is a viable platform for anybody but i was just impressed by how well this was running and i’ve got one more i can show you so here is shenmue 3 and this is running right now at its middle settings and probably doing maybe 20-ish frames per second we don’t have a frame counter here but it’s definitely struggling a bit more than what we saw with rocket league but still works pretty decently for a fanless laptop here running in a

virtualized environment on very beta software and a beta operating system for that matter and it was just fun to see some of this stuff work but i’ll tell you what so much stuff didn’t work and you’ll easily blow through your data cap trying to download stuff to see what might actually boot up both this and rocket league are running with their 64-bit applications and this is again a new feature of the windows 10 beta that allows intel based 64-bit applications to run on the arm platform so again tip of the iceberg here but we are making a ton of progress here especially with these very efficient mac processors and what’s funny is that if my macbook pro was on the desk right now it would probably be getting about the same performance with its discrete gpu and the fans would be blowing it’d be making a whole ton of noise this thing is totally silent it is barely warm to the touch it is definitely warmer than i have experienced it get before but it’s not hot by any means and it’s just pretty remarkable i think this is an area where you’d probably see more consistent performance with the mac mini or the macbook pro that does have an active cooling system but again still pretty good stuff for running inside a virtual environment and getting some decent graphics performance out of it on a pretty demanding windows 10 game so if you like tinkering with stuff this is a fun project to do especially because right now both windows and parallels are freely available you just have to sign up and get an account to get these things operating but it’s been fun and actually working much better than i expected it to work and i’m sure we’ll

be revisiting this as they continue to develop all of the components that go into this virtualization but i was really pleased with the overall results here again not as good as what you’ll get on an intel based mac but certainly getting there i also tried to install a couple of arm-based linux distributions including umbuntu and debian i was not having success with those i was able to get ubuntu desktop to load up but i couldn’t get the parallels tools loaded in that they really require for the best performance especially for video and audio compatibility so we’ll be coming back to this topic for sure as time goes on because virtualization was a big part of apple’s initial rollout of these processors and i am eager to continue diving into that because running windows on my mac is something i do quite a bit on my intel machines and i’m going to want that on my new m1 machines as well that’s going to do it for now until next time this is lon simon thanks for watching this channel is brought to you by the lawn dot tv supporters including gold level supporters brian parker jim peter tom albrecht frank lewandowski mark bollinger and chris allegretta if you want to help the channel you can by contributing as little as a dollar a month head over to lawn dot tv support to learn more and don’t forget to subscribe

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