Read this *before* buying a new Apple Silicon Mac to run Fusion

Read this *before* buying a new Apple Silicon Mac to run Fusion

Last updated: 31-Dec-2023
If you're reading this, you're seriously considering upgrading your older Intel Mac to one of the Apple Silicon (a.k.a. M1/M2/M3) based models being offered by Apple. And I can't blame you. Having made the jump myself, they are impressive machines. In my opinion Apple's hit a home run with these machines.
However, if you are currently running VMware Fusion on your Intel Mac and considering a purchase of a new shiny Apple Silicon Mac, there are some things you must be aware of before making the jump. The "laws of unintended consequences" certainly apply due to Apple's switch of CPUs from Intel to their own ARM-based Apple Silicon.
(For those that don't know what the "laws of unintended consequences" are, I'm using it to refer to the situation where a decision results in side effects - usually negative - that were not anticipated.)
This article is structured as a set of "frequently asked questions" to help you as you make your decision.
This article will be updated as any changes occur.

Before you switch

Q1) I run Fusion today on my Intel Mac. Can I run it on my new Apple Silicon Mac?

But you must run Fusion 13 or later. Preferably you should run Fusion 13.5.
Fusion 12 and earlier will not run on Apple Silicon Macs.
Q2) Can I move the virtual machines created on my Intel Mac with Fusion and run them on an Apple Silicon Mac?
Virtualization requires the processor instruction sets to be the same between "host" and the VM. The Apple Silicon CPUs are not Intel chips, and will not run VMs built on Intel Macs. . The "laws of unintended consequences" strike again for users that expect their virtual machines to "just run" on the new Mac hardware..
Q3) Can my existing virtual machines can run under Rosetta?
Rosetta 2 is designed to translate, not emulate a subset of Intel CPU instructions so that applications compiled for Intel Macs can run on Apple Silicon Macs.
However, Rosetta 2 does not provide translation or emulation of all of the Intel CPU features that would be required by a virtualization solution like Fusion to run Intel operating systems. Apple specifically notes in their developer documentation that Intel virtualization software is not supported by Rosetta. Parallels is no different in this regard.
Q4) Can I run Linux virtual machines on my Apple Silicon Mac?
Yes, but you must use a distribution that has an ARM architecture version (also known as arm64 or aarch64). Many Linux versions have an ARM architecture version that will run on Apple Silicon Macs under Fusion, including: 

* Fedora
* CentOS Stream 9
* Red Hat Enterprise Linux/Oracle Linux/Rocky Linux 9
* OpenSUSE Tumbleweed
* OpenSUSE Leap
* Kali Linux
* Ubuntu
* Debian

Corollary: Application binaries compiled on Intel platforms for use on Intel systems will not work. You will need to recompile applications you've developed yourself on the arm64 Linux OS, or install packages built for arm64 architectures.
Q5) Can I run a Windows Server virtual machine on my Apple Silicon Mac?
Windows Server runs only on Intel/AMD CPUs. It will not run on an Apple Silicon Mac.
Q6) Can I run a Windows 8.1 (or earlier) virtual machine under Fusion on my Apple Silicon Mac?
Like Windows Server,  these versions of Windows only run on Intel/AMD CPUs. The same options apply.
Q7) Can I run Windows 10 or 11 virtual machine on my Apple Silicon Mac?
Windows 10, No.
Windows 11, Yes. but you must use Windows 11 ARM.  Windows 11 ARM is the version of Windows supported by VMware for use with Fusion 13 on Apple Silicon Macs. Windows 11 includes a more robust Rosetta-like x86_64 translation feature that allows you to run a wide variety of applications compiled for Windows on Intel architectures.
Q8) Is Windows 11 officially supported on Apple Silicon Mac?
VMware supports running Windows 11 ARM VMs on Apple Silicon Macs. For best results, use Fusion 13.5 or later. Fusion 13.5 includes the support to download Windows 11 ARM installation media from Microsoft. It also includes VMware Tools that supports 3D acceleration and drag/drop/copy/paste operations. 
There are no issues with Microsoft licensing a Windows 11 ARM VM on Apple Silicon Macs. Windows 11 retail licenses can be used to activate Windows 11 ARM VMs running on Apple Silicon Macs.
The Unofficial Fusion for Apple Silicon Companion document has more information on installing and running Windows 11 ARM on Fusion.
Q9) Can I run an older macOS version (prior to Big Sur) as a VM on my Apple Silicon Mac?
Versions of macOS before Big Sur run on Intel Macs only. and can not run on Apple Silicon Macs. 
Q10) Can I run a Big Sur, Monterey or Ventura virtual machine on my Apple Silicon Mac?
Not under Fusion.
Until VMware builds support for virtualization of macOS into Fusion, consider running macOS Monterey, Ventura, or Sonoma VMs using the open-source UTM (free at or $9.99 USD on the Mac App Store). UTM implements Apple's "high level" virtualization framework (that they are promoting as a feature of macOS Ventura and later).
There's no need to switch from Fusion to Parallels just to get macOS virtualization. UTM provides the same features for macOS virtualization as Parallels does, but it costs a lot less.
Q11) I built a ARM virtual machine on Parallels. Can I import it into Fusion 13?
Fusion does not directly support the import and conversion of Parallels virtual machines on Apple Silicon. But see the Unofficial Fusion for Apple Silicon Companion document for a process that works for Linux VMs that may work for Windows VMs as well.
Q12) Can I import a virtual appliance (e.g. .ova or .ovf format) into Fusion?
Fusion does not support the export or import of virtual machines in .ova or .ovf formats on Apple Silicon. It's likely that your virtual appliance wouldn't work anyway, because the vast majority of them need Intel CPUs. See the answer to Q3.
Q13) I still need to run Intel VMs. Where do I go from here?
If you have VMs of older macOS versions you need to run, you'll have to run them on an Intel Mac. VMware does not support the use of Fusion on non-Apple hardware, nor do they support the use of macOS on VMware Workstation. Apple's licensing that restricts the use of macOS to Apple hardware only.
Since Apple no longer sells Intel Macs, you may be able to find pre-owned or refurbished Intel Macs on the secondary market.
If you are running Windows or Linux VMs, your options include
  • refurbished/pre-owned Intel Macs
  • a PC that will run VMware Workstation. VMware Workstation virtual machine formats are identical to VMware Fusion, so all you need to do is to copy the existing VM onto a new PC to migrate it
  • Intel hardware running the free version of VMware ESXi hypervisor
Q14) I require nested virtualization for my VMs. Can I run them on Apple Silicon Macs?
Fusion does not support nested virtualization on Apple Silicon Macs. This is reported to be a limitation of the macOS virtualization frameworks that VMware (and Parallels) both use.
Most users will never need this feature. But users looking to use Hyper-V within Windows 11, Windows Subsystem for Linux version 2 (WSL 1 will work, WSL 2 will not),  Linux KVM virtualization, QEMU virtualization (not emulation), or tools such as EVE-NG will find that they will not work in an ARM architecture virtual machine.
The only workaround is to stay on a Intel Mac at the present time.

Q15) I still have questions. How can I get more help?

Post any questions to the VMware Fusion Discussions board - but please search first. Your question may already have been answered.

Additional information

Additional information about building and running virtual machines on Apple Silicon can be found in the Unofficial Fusion for Apple Silicon Companion .



I would imagine the majority use case for Fusion was to run Windows VMs on Mac.

Since that is no longer possible on ARM based Macs, and Apple will soon only offer ARM based Macs...

I wonder about the future viability of Fusion.

Will it make business sense to keep the product alive if it can only run ARM based Linux VMs?

Or will VMware deprecate Fusion entirely?

I do not work for VMware, but here is my opinion.

It doesn’t appear to me that Fusion is going to be deprecated. It does look like they are looking at ways to make it more valuable in todays development environment. Those environments and paradigms tend to be more Linux focused. 
It also appears that VMware is keeping an eye on what Microsoft is doing, so Windows on Mac is not entirely off the table. 
You might want to take a look at a recent VMware Community Podcast . Michael Roy @Mikero (Fusion/Workstation project manager) has very nice things to say about the M1 Macs as well as giving insights on where he thinks Fusion is going. There are also some nice nuggets of information there about Windows. 

Here is the short solution for those looking to run Windows 11 on an M1 Apple machine.  It works, is easy, and has been reliable.  I do run Windows 11 on my Intel iMac using VMware's trial/test "product".  If I had to guess which will break first - it would be the VM Fusion. Parallels is in the business to stay, and with the knowledge and OK from Microsoft - just my opinion.

I will agree that the advantages the competition has over VMware are that

  • they've officially released a product for M1 Macs and
  • they've created virtual machine tools that make the Windows for ARM experience better.

What I disagree with is that the competition's product is the "solution to the problem". Their marketing veneer still ignores the two important details of Microsoft licensing and support. .

Ask yourself this: Why doesn't the competition tell you to buy a retail Windows product license and download an ISO from Microsoft to run Windows 11 as a virtual machine on an M1 Mac using their product? Why do they continue to tell you to download a (unsupported) Windows Insider Preview HyperV disk image in order  to run Windows 11 in their product?

What kind of solution is that? It's a science project.

As I say, you may be fine with accepting the risks of running a science project that's unlicensed and unsupported by its creator. Others (especially if you absolutely have to depend on Windows for your day to day work or you are running a Mac computer provided to you by your employer) may not be.

I will, however, also agree to change the article and my opinions should Microsoft change course.

Long essays concluding that these methods are a "science project" make me smile. The reality is the entire Internet, and every application is a "science project" on the verge or not working at any given point in time. Parallels has a business - their software has worked flawlessly for a month now.  It simply isn't that complicated.  The entire install process was a no-brainer and easy to do.  And this is from someone who actually did it.  😊.  As a side note, Windows 11 VM launches in 3.9 seconds flat using Parallels platform (using a setting to hold the VM in a state of semi-readiness).  By far the fastest load time for any Windows VM I have run.

All software is a risk.  My handicap of a major problems (e.g. VM stops working) is  < 1% from running the advertised, paid product.  As for Fusion - I'd say 25-50% chance of them pulling the plug by deciding to get out of the Fusion business.  Either set of odds are acceptable to me.  Anyone reading these posts could be scared off.   They shouldn't be.  I've been running beta software since DOS; the Windows 11 VM's are among the least risky in decades of doing this.

Would waiting this out by means of a cost-effective Windows PC to run Windows programs and a smaller MAC to do what needs to be done on a MAC be a practical solution?

Hi MLSCO.  Absolutely a great interim solution.  I have resisted buying a Windows PC because I like staying in the Apple world.  But I would get a low-cost Windows PC in a minute if I wanted to avoid the hassles and unknowns that currently exist in the VM world.

If you have a "critical" Windows application running it on a Windows PC is always going to be the best option, if less than convenient.  The greedy issue you are seeing play out here is that Apple's M1 has beat the supported Microsoft options into the dirt performance-wise, so it is not only the convenience of having your Mac and Windows on one platform, but all indications are that the M1 Mac will run your Windows as fast or faster than any supported Windows platform in comparable form factors.  You just have the risk that at any point Microsoft or Apple could do something that Parallels cannot fix and then the fun is over.

I wouldn't run any critical application on anything other than a native machine designed to run that particular software.  In my limited experience, VM's are another layer of software that increase the potential for problems.  Yet VMware has built a giant business - so there is certainly plenty of demand for running software on non-native hardware.  And granted, running not-exactly-fully-approved software on VM's adds a measure of risk.

Thanks to dminter and gringley for your quick, respective responses

@dminter you went in with eyes wide open. I can appreciate your decision. In fact, I can appreciate it if people decide to switch.

Perhaps I was a bit harsh on the term “science project”. Yes it works, and you’ll get no argument on that. But don’t make the situation out for what it isn’t. Not licensable. Not supported. You decide if you can live with this  

But I have issues with the competition for failing to point out this situation clearly. And lost some respect for them after reading some quotes from them in a TidBITS article about the situation that made me question their respect for another vendors’ intellectual property and their customers.

Tell you what. Based on your comments and feedback I’ll tone down the sections of the article a bit  My intent is not to scare but to inform. 

@Technogeezer thank you for your thoughtful feedback. I would take a bit of issue with "not supported."  To my knowledge, parallels absolutely will support the product you buy from them. As for support from Microsoft - as far as we know Microsoft may already be supporting parallels (behind the scenes). What is stated in PR releases, and what is being actually done in the real world may be different.  I think we probably agree that any mission-critical situation should not dabble in any of this.  As a "PS," I think the whole TPM thing is a big mistake by Microsoft that will be slowly become less of an issue.  Just a gut feeling and I am not an expert. 

Hopefully my new revision is a bit more useful and balanced. Thanks for the feedback.

I have a strange feeling @dminter  that if this exclusivity agreement does indeed exist that Qualcomm would be screaming if Microsoft allows VMware to announce "support" for Windows on M1 Macs. VMware is a much bigger and more visible target for the "hold on there - I thought we had an exclusivity agreement" complaint from Qualcomm - and it's also well known about the behavior of their lawyers..

As to "not supported", well I'm just repeating what Microsoft has said publicly. Too many times I've seen that phrase erupt into a war depending on the situation. What Microsoft does in practice is up to them, but I do have a problem with Microsoft saying "it's unsupported" when they will actually will help out.

As far as the TPM thing goes, I kind of understand why they're doing it. With all the new and creative ways that malware is attacking systems, having the ability to trust what you're booting from (Secure Boot and signed operating systems) and having a secure enclave for storing security related information (in Windows 11 case Bitlocker and Windows Hello info) go a long way to boost the security of the system. All of a sudden, security sells.

One thing to note here: since 1-1-2022 there is a new law in the EU concerning software and online services. If the product/service does not do what it says it does or when features get taken away after some time then the manufacturer can be hold liable. That in general means they'll have to refund you fully. If you state that you can run Windows as a vm which all of a sudden is no longer possible then you are going to be in for some great legal fun...

Besides that I think some people aren't aware of the fact that VMware is a huge player in the enterprise when it comes to virtualisation and some other stuff. With Fusion supporting containers and also being able to connect to ESXi instances I very much doubt that the main use case is to run a Windows client on a Mac. It wouldn't surprise me that the cloud plays a large role and that cloud is primarily being run on Linux and containers. For companies there are better options that VMware provides should you need to provide a Windows environment to your users (options that require much simpler systems management because it isn't heavily fragmented). Fusion isn't the only product that has gotten container support and is being ported to arm64.

Btw, kudos for the document, it is a good summarisation of what is currently possible (or not possible).

@treee You make a very good point about about VMware, its breadth of product offerings, and how they may view how Fusion plays into that.

I have just updated the document with a link to a recent VMWare CMTY Podcast I find interesting. Michael Roy @Mikero (product manager for VMware desktop hypervisor products). discussed not only his experiences with M1 Macs, but offered hints about where he sees Fusion fitting into a bigger picture. I think it's required viewing (as VMware doesn't give roadmap information about future product plans).

Another interesting data point is to review information about VMware's latest Tanzu Application Platform release. Combine this with what you hear in the podcast.

Update:  running Windows 11 on Apple Intel machine since Win 11 was announced.  Zero issues but a bit of a tech chore to set it up as it is "not supported" whatever that really means. 😊.   Also on a different Apple M1 processor machine, running Windows 11, using Parallels, since the day Win 11 was released  - flawless (but costs $).  All the supported and non-supported positioning by the various players is a bit laughable IMHO.  It all works, and works flawlessly for me anyway.  The longer these "non-supported" options are supported by VmWare and Parallels - the less likely they are to actually stop support.  Too many people in the pool.  @Technogeezer will probably disagree, but I am reporting on what is actually happening thus far - not what might happen in the future.  

VMWare does not support Windows 11 on ARM - there's no tools, and significant limitations.  Parallels has issues and limitations, but does provide tools.

Neither one right now can do so legally because there is simply no pay to obtain a legal license to run Windows 11 ARM in production on a Mac.  Hopefully that'll change, but until it does, YMMV.

Thanks for this great information. As we're looking to do some client upgrades soon, this will answer some questions we have. 

@dminter I don't necessarily disagree with you about what's actually going on. Yes it works. And it works today. 

For non-corporate users, you may not care if Microsoft doesn't support the platform and it works for you. 

For use in a commercial environment, supportability and licensing absolutely matters. Tell your bosses that Microsoft won't do anything when there's a problem with Windows 11 on the M1 Mac that you're using - that's an IT résumé generating event..

And if there is indeed an exclusivity agreement between Microsoft and Qualcomm, Microsoft would be at the mercy of Qualcomm's lawyers if they announced support for a product that Qualcomm is supposed to have an exclusive agreement for.

IMO, the length of time that the non-supported use of a product is ignored means nothing. Microsoft isn't getting paid for Windows 11 on the M1 Mac, so do you really think they care if a small minority of users squawk if Microsoft enforces not running on unsupported configurations? 

@Technogeezer, I beg to differ on a few points.  Microsoft sold me two copies of Windows 11 (one for Intel Mac, and one for M-1 Mac.  So Microsoft most certainly got paid - and at the handsome retail price (not the discounted price machine manufacturers pay).  So you are flat out incorrect on that point.  Running many, many months without Fusion "supporting" it just means one thing: one can easily and reliably run this configuration. And we are mincing words again to say Fusion is not "supporting" Windows 11 - all that means is you are on your own if/when it breaks.  But if you think "support" means, as I do - does it actually work?  The answer is yes, and proven over many, many months.  I do agree this is not for corporate America - they need to run supported software, period.  But for all the rest who don't have to answer to an IT department and are willing to take an extremely small risk - go for it!   I think where we disagree is over the meaning of the word "support."  Some in the community think that means - Fusion will help you if it breaks.  I get that and that definition is probably the most accurate.  But I take the word "support" in this situation to mean - does it work.

@ColoradoMarmot I never found any use for the Fusion Tools - so not having them does not bother me.  But I am sure some users do.  Same with the Parallels Tools - they are there but I don't need or use them.  As for issues and limitations with Parallels - I have had pretty much zero issues, using it daily since Windows 11 was announced last year.  Maybe once I had to reset Parallels, a quick easy job with immediate tech support.  And Parallels on an M1 Mac launches much faster than any VMware Fusion release I have ever owned - going back a very long time. I think I get beat up here in the forum because it is mostly big company IT voices, and VMware fans. 😎.  I'm just a guy out here trying to get my shiny, slick, ultra cool Apple M1 laptop run a piece of software first developed 35 years ago.  Kind of joking - I owned the first IBM PC (XT version - paid for it out with my own cash, too).  But decades of pain and suffering led me to Apple, with one lonely Windows program I still have to have,

@dminter I hear you and understand. Yes, the root of our "disagreement"  is on the definition of what "supported" means. My perspective is from having worked in the industry for both vendors and end-users for more years than I care to admit (starting long before the first PC XT). We had to continually make sure customers know "there's a difference between works and supported" - because "supported" implied testing and having resources to be able to reproduce and diagnose problems. 

I hope I do not come across as "beating you up", because that's not my intent. My intent is not to tell anyone not to use Windows ARM on Fusion, Parallels or even UTM. I do agree with you that Windows 11 ARM runs very well on M1 Macs - and right now Parallels makes that easier than Fusion. But there are potential land mines (however small, as you say) - and people need to know where they are.

I've got a lot of battle scars in my career from customers that had problems on configurations that were never stated as "supported" but worked - until it didn't.  Subsequent conversations went from bad to worse. So I beg forgiveness if it seems like I'm a bit too pedagogic as the whole "supported" conversation is like a bad acid flashback.

Sorry you had to pay full retail for those Windows licenses, though. That isn't cheap, especially if you're getting the Pro edition..



@Technogeezer Thank you for the kind reply.  Your advice, wisdom and humor, are appreciated.  Anyone who runs configurations that are not officially supported should understand they are in uncharted territory.  And don't come whining if/when things surprisingly break. Honestly, I am amazed that any VM's work on any machines, ever, due the complexity of modern software.  In my recent posts, I was just trying to report that this one maverick who understands the risks has been able to run Windows 11 for some time with no issues.  Yet. 😊

@dminter I am trying to decide between VMware Fusion and Parallel Desktop for my new Macbook Air M1 and find your posts very informative and helpful.

I'd like to ask what are the most noticeable limitations of VMware Fusion for M1 in comparison to VMware Fusion for Intel (except the ARM CPU requirement for guests)? Thanks in advance for any hint.

@hans2 For your MacBook Air M1, I can only comment on Parallels.  That is what I installed on my MacBook Pro M1.  It has worked flawlessly for months.  While it requires a bit of a work-around to fun Windows 11 - the process is well documented and supported on Parallels website.  I have experienced no limitations on Parallels, but note the only virtual machine I am running is Windows 11, and the only Windows software I am running is Quicken Home and Business.  As for VMware Fusion on my Intel iMac - runs Windows 11 flawlessly for months.  Also runs Quicken Home and Business for Windows flawlessly.  There are no "tools" but I never used the tools, so not a limitation to me. The VMware application seems more iffy, as it is not "supported" by VMware (it works, but they won't help you if it breaks is how they define support).  Parallels expressly states and advertises that their program will support the M1 chip.  Good luck!

@Technogeezer thank you for your Q&A post! Is there any option that allows me to convert a bootcamp running on intel to a VM to eventually run on an M1 Mac? I know you can import the bootcamp in VMWare Fusion to convert it into a virtual machine, but if you then want to use that virtual machine on an M1 Mac, how can that be done? Is there no way to convert it?

@miike101 Even if you were to use that bootcamp installation on an Intel Mac with Fusion, you're still stuck with the operating system being a x86_64 Intel operating system which will never run on an ARM CPU. Creating a VM with Fusion from Bootcamp doesn't solve anything because the VM uses the Bootcamp partition as its "virtual disk".

I don't know if any of the upgrade scenarios that Microsoft provides with Windows will handle an architecture change from Intel to ARM. In most cases that I'm aware of trying to in-place upgrade a Windows system requires that the system to upgraded is running, then you run the upgrade installer for the version of Windows you're upgrading to (either from the upgrade ISO file you've downloaded from Microsoft or an installer on CD/DVD/USB) . Obviously this can't be done on an M1 Mac when the original VM is an Intel version.

The best I can think of is save away all the data like you would a physical machine to an external drive. Create a new Windows 11 ARM VM on Fusion 13, install all your applications, then restore all of your data. 

After having my old Fusion 11.5 / Intel x86 Windows virtual machines in stasis for the past year or so, I bit the bullet & bought Fusion 13 Player for my MB Pro 16" M1 Pro laptop.

I read the "Fusion 13 For Apple Silicon Companion, v4" document -- thank you very much.

I understand that if I jump through some hoops I can get a recent version of Windows 11, compiled for ARM, running under Fusion 13 on my M1-powered MacBook.

I also understand that said Windows 11-ARM environment will run most or all of the old executables/binaries that I intend to copy over from my Windows 10 x86 virtual machine -- via an x86 emulation layer built into Windows 11 ARM.

How well  can I expect the USB 2.0 / 3.0 emulation & serial port/TTY emulation under Windows 11 ARM-running-under-Fusion 13 to work?

I have a series of low-data-rate datalogging apps (for things like air quality sensors, temperature, etc.) which are only available as x86 binaries. I emphasize that these are pretty undemanding -- none of them streams data at much over a few 10s or 100s of kilobits per second. (Kbit/sec.) Not talking about audio-mixing or anything really latency-sensitive here, just general TTY/UART/RS232 comms.

Are they likely to be able to continue to run smoothly & interact well with the USB 2.0/3.0 and serial port (UART) emulation in Windows 11 ARM?

Regards & thanks 

@jamesdoe For what it's worth I ran a little experiment with my Windows 11 ARM VM.

I do some tinkering around with programming Arduino single board microcontrollers. The IDE for this board communicates with the board over a USB interface. The USB interface is used to both download software to the board and view a serial output device (over the USB port) provided by the board. I've used the IDE on Macs and Windows x64 (yes, even VMs).

I installed the IDE software designed for Intel Windows onto my Windows 11 ARM VM. From initial testing, it seems to recognize and communicate successfully with the board when USB connected to the VM. Software downloads to the board and view of output over the board's USB serial device both work as they did on Intel Windows.

My gut says you have a better than even chance of your software working with the USB. Of course, you probably won't know for sure unless you try it out.

One suggestion on the Linux side - there are (very recent) minimum version requirements to get it to work.  I've run into a number of things recently that require older versions (or older versions of bundled tools like python) to work, so if you're in that situation, you're out of luck.  The M1 is a breaking change for a lot of things.

Yes, because of the need to run newer distros of Linux on ARM there's a bit of collateral damage from a package version standpoint. The newer releases have later versions of a lot of components and in general are better for performance, security, stability, and functionality. But some software hasn't caught up - and some are stuck in the past (example: anything that's using python2 today should be considered abandonware since the python authors have been saying for years to get off of it).

It's an annoyance. There is always some piece of software that you absolutely need, if only for 10 mins, and it inevitably runs on whatever OS you don't have installed on your main workstation. 

VMWare is easily reliable enough to run an enterprise on. It *is* rather Intel specific though, so if you need to do something for an IBM Mainframe, AS/400, HP9K, or whatever, you are usually out of luck. Or in some cases, running an emulator. 

I really like VMWare. Once processor speeds catch up enough to do really good hardware emulation, I think VMWare will be what everyone uses. Docker and Redshift not withstanding! 

@Technogeezer  - 

After 3-4 hours of set up, twiddling, fiddling, tweaking, etc. I got it all worked out.

Windows 11 for ARM is impressively fast & responsive under VMWare Fusion 13 for M1 Macs. (Running under OS X 12.6.1 at present.)

I had no problem installing several of my small USB-connected data logging devices & getting their various custom data / RS232 / USB logging x86-compiled Windows apps to install, connect, & download data as-expected.

Glad to finally have an operable Windows 11 environment on my M1-powered Mac.

As an added bonus, of course the M1 CPU continues to operate very cool & the overall (Mac OS X) Activity Monitor CPU levels remain quite low even while I have the Windows 11 virtual machine running. (Assigned it 8GB physical RAM, out of the 32GB RAM available on my laptop.)

Thanks again for writing up that very detailed & completely accurate How-To guide for M1 Fusion w/ Windows 11 ARM. Using the Mac OS X ISO prep & install path worked smooth as butter.

Perhaps a stupid question but within a Windows VM is is not possible to use a migration assistant to transfer between VMs (the other would have to be running in Fusion on the older Intel machine)?

Not a stupid question at all. Microsoft and the Internet has advice on a number of alternatives to move data from an old computer to a new one. Most of them are just as valid for virtual machines as they are for physical PCs. They range from use of built-in features such as OneDrive and File History to specialized applications to “the tried and true” manual methods involving an external hard drive. 

if you’re more experienced, you may be able to connect the old virtual machine’s virtual disks to a new virtual machine on Apple Silicon and copy your data from there. 

But the days of picking up a VM on your old Intel Mac, moving it to a brand new Mac and expecting it to run are over if the destination is an Apple Silicon Mac. A direct result of Apple moving away from Intel CPUs. 

MIcrosoft now officially supports running Windows 11 on an M1 or M2 Apple silicon computer, using Parallels software.  No more wondering if it is “supported” - it is.    There are specs and some limitations, as with most software. Absolutely simple to install and use.  VMware jumped into the pool with a big “me too!” Blog post, and plans to leapfrog the competition (Parallels). Time will tell.  Competition is good! 

Yep, finally!  I'd settle for them catching up at the moment with real tools and an easier windows install 🙂

Agreed, I'll update this article to reflect the new positioning. And we should all hold VMware's feet to the fire to deliver. There are no more excuses.

Concur. Now that $M supports it officially, it's time for VMware to step up & polish their implementation & marketing of this important VM use-case. 

Transferred my **bleep** over to my new MBP from my Intel MBP. Got prompted for upgrading Fusion 12, so ok.... paid the $75.  Then I get an error trying to start up Windows 10 and XP vm and find this page.... Why the hell are you even selling Fusion 13 for.....  why the hell don't you have information in big bold lettering someplace during purchasing that if you have any previous VMs below Windows 11 that you're buying this upgrade for it won't work! 

Hello and thank you to Technogeezer for his dramatic explanations.

I use unsupported business software that only works on Mac OS 10.11 El Capitan and not on the following OS.

On my current Intel Mac, my software works very well on a VMware in 10.11.

I tried like other contributors to install OS 10.11 El Capitan on a VM on a Sonoma M1 Mac but I have the following answer "This virtual machine cannot be activated because it requires the X86 machine architecture, which is incompatible with this Arm machine architecture host. ».

According to your article, it is therefore impossible to run El Capitan on an M1 with VMware, is this still the case on the latest versions of VMware? If it is still not possible, would you have another virtualization solution other than VMware to recommend to me?

Thank you for your help!


Your options are very limited. If you have to blame anyone, blame the software vendor for abandoning the package you're using, and then blame Apple for switching off of Intel chips. 

Given that El Capitan needs an Intel CPU, it won't run under anyone's virtualization solution for Apple Silicon (that means Parallels as well). Virtualization products don't "emulate" a CPU, rather they run the code on the underlying CPU. And Apple Silicon CPUs don't natively run Intel code. 

My recommendation: you're going to have to keep running on an Intel Mac for as long as you can (look for pre-owned or refurbished devices). Then start the selection of a new software package and migrate. Yes, I know this will be painful, time consuming, and perhaps expensive. The longer you keep running that environment, the harder it's going to be to remove it.

I do not recommend trying to run macOS under an Intel emulator. You will not be happy with its stability or its performance.

And before you think "I'll just run it on an Intel PC", that's 100% unsupported and against Apple's macOS licensing.


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