How To Run Windows 11 On M1 Mac For Free

With the release of Apple Silicon Macs, it’s not possible to install Windows with Boot Camp. The only way to run Windows on Apple’s M1 Macs is by using a virtual machine. While we have already covered installing and running Windows on a virtual machine, we will use the UTM app to install, set up, and run Microsoft’s OS on any Apple Silicon Mac in the section below.

UTM is a great software that allows you to run virtual machines on Apple devices, including iPhones, iPads, and Macs. The best part is that it’s completely free and works perfectly with any Mac with an Apple Silicon chip.

This tutorial will show you how to install Windows 11 on an M1 Mac. Before we begin, note that the steps below target Apple Silicon Macs. If you are now on an Intel-powered Mac, you have multiple options to run Windows 11 like Boot Camp Assistant, VMware, Parallels, etc.,

How to Run Windows 11 on an M1 Mac for Free

Step 1: Download the UTM app onto your Mac. It’s entirely free (no additional download and no suspicious software). Once the download is complete, drag the installer to the Applications folder and install it.

Step 2: Now download the Windows 11 VM for ARM. You can get it for free from Microsoft’s official download page. You will need to sign up for Windows Insider Program before downloading the file. Head over to this link and sign up for it. 

Step 3: Launch the UTM app on your Mac, then click the “+” button to create a new virtual machine.  

Create a new virtual machine

Step 4: Select Virtualize from the “I Want to” screen and select Windows to proceed

Step 5: Hit the Browse button, select the Windows 11 VHDX VRM image you downloaded earlier, and hit Next.

Install Windows 11 on m1 Mac

Step 6: Now, select the RAM and CPU cores designated for Windows 11 (we recommend at least 8GB of RAM for a smooth performance). Click Next to proceed. 

Step 7: Select the Save button from the Summary screen and then hit the Play button to boot the Windows 11 VM and initiate setup.

Step 8: Go through the Windows 11 setup process. Follow the on-screen instructions to complete the setup. 

Step 9: Once the setup is complete, Windows 11 will launch in the virtual machine on your M1 Mac. 

Step 10: Download the SPICE Guest Tools from the UTM website to get internet access working on the virtual machine. 

Step 11: In the Windows 11 virtual machine, hit the disc icon in the toolbar and select CD/DVD Iso > Change. From here, select the spice-guest-tools-xxx.iso file you downloaded earlier.

Step 12: Open Windows Explorer, click on the mounted D:\ drive and run the SPICE Guest Tools installer. Once the installation is complete, restart the virtual machine to apply changes.

Step 13: When the virtual machine finishes rebooting, you now can connect to the internet in Windows 11. 

Note that you need to install the SPICE Guest Tools to access the internet in your Windows 11 virtual machine. 

Windows 11 Performance on M1 Mac

Windows 11 runs well on our 16-inch MacBook Pro with an M1 Max chip during our test. However, the performance was a bit laggy at times, and there were some glitches. This is not bad, given that UTM is a free tool for Mac. If you want to experience a better Windows 11 virtual machine on an M1 Mac, go for Parallels. 

If you are having trouble installing Windows 11 VM using the UTM app, try rebooting your Mac and then restart the process. 

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