Developer runs ARM Windows virtualized on Apple M1 Mac, finds it ‘pretty snappy’

A developer has found a method to enable the first virtualization of Windows 10 on ARM running successfully on an Apple M1 Mac and finds the performance to be “pretty snappy.”

Developer runs Windows 10 on ARM virtualized on M1 Mac, finds it 'pretty snappy'

Michael Potuck for 9to5Mac:

The 8-Bit discovered that developer Alexander Graf was able to make some tweaks to get his M1 Mac running the OS as a virtualization and even highlighted that “It’s pretty snappy here 😄.”

Graf also noted that “Windows ARM64 can run x86 applications really well. It’s not as fast as Rosetta 2, but close.”

Taha Broach for The 8-Bit:

He was able to achieve this by running the Windows ARM64 Insider Preview by virtualizing it through the Hypervisor.framework. This framework allows users to interact with virtualization technologies in user space without having to write kernel extensions (KEXTs), according to Apple.

Moreover, this wouldn’t have been possible without applying a custom patch to the QEMU virtualizer. QEMU is an open-source machine emulator and virtualizer. It’s known for “achieving near-native performance” by executing the guest code directly on the host CPU. So it goes without saying that only ARM guests can be perfectly virtualized on an ARM machine like the M1-supported Macs…

When it comes to virtualizing ARM Windows on ARM Macs using Graf’s method, you can even run Windows apps (even x86 ones) that are not available on the Mac.

MacDailyNews Take: With ARM Windows already virtualized on Apple M1 Mac, however early it may be, Intel gets more irrelevant with each passing day. Just wait until the Apple M2, M3, etc.


    1. Why would Microsoft care? I bet they hate Intel as much or more than everyone else. The ones that hate this stuff are Dell, HP, and Lenovo. Why would you buy their crappy hardware when you could have Apple hardware if you felt the need to run Windows.

  1. Looks like best path for the virtualization products is to get Windows for ARM working on M1 Macs in their respective environment, then let Windows emulate the x86 software. Back in the PowerPC days, the whole Windows system was emulated on the Mac. Quite slow, even on G5 Power Macs of that time.

  2. For all the platitudes that Apple has (rightfully) received for the quality of Rosetta 2, Windows on ARM does a very good job at translating unmodified x86 binaries, though I believe that x86_64 isn’t supported for now.

    I’m expecting ARM chips to make their way into the PC world in higher end machines in the coming years. Microsoft will end up selling Windows on ARM like how they sell regular installation discs now. That’s great for the PC world as the x86 architecture moves from mainstream to niche; most PC users won’t notice the difference!

    Finally, once we get a good readout of processor performance from the high end M1 chips, some of the smarter people among us will be able to calculate how much energy will be saved on a global basis by migrating most computers to ARM.

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