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Nowadays it has never been easier to run Windows on a Mac so we’ve looked at the best ways to do so in 2022 including on M1 & M2 Macs.

Installing Windows 10 or Windows 11 on your Mac is useful for many reasons from running Windows only software to playing PC only games.

It’s also much cheaper and more convenient than buying a separate PC or laptop just to use Windows on.

However, there’s no doubt that some ways of installing Windows on a Mac are much easier, reliable and effective than others.

We’ve taken a closer look at the different options available so you can decide which one is best for you.

Are There Any Risks Installing Windows on Mac?

Because installing Windows on a Mac involves separating it into either a virtual environment or a separate partition on your hard drive, there are absolutely no risks installing Windows on your Mac.

Running Windows on a Mac effectively isolates the rest of your Mac from any potential problems with viruses, malware or adware.

If the Windows installation were to get a virus or corrupted in some way, it wouldn’t damage macOS. You can simply delete the installation and reinstall it.

It’s also extremely easy to install Microsoft Windows on a Mac nowadays and Virtual Machines like Parallels make it easy even for beginners to do it.

However, we always recommend backing-up your Mac to an external hard drive before making any major changes to it.

If you’re worried whether installing Windows on a Mac is illegal, there’s no need to.

Installing Windows on a Mac (or any other computer) is perfectly legal.

In fact, Apple actively encourages it by providing Boot Camp in Intel Macs and there’s no issues with the Windows EULA installing Windows on a Mac using any of these methods.

Can You Install Windows 11 on a Mac?

Windows 11 was released by Microsoft on October 5th 2021 and you can now install Windows 11 on a Mac including M1 and M2 Macs.

Windows 11 requires a physical TPM chip to run and although Macs don’t have one, Parallels can now emulate a virtual TPM chip so that Windows 11 will run on both Intel and M1 or M2 Macs.

Parallels allows you to run Windows and macOS at the same time so that you can switch between the two instantly.

install windows 11 m1 & m2 Mac

It’s important to be aware however that on Apple Silicon M1 & M2 Macs, you can only run the Windows 11 For ARM version which is not compatible with many Windows games and applications.

You also can’t dual boot Windows on M1 or M2 Macs yet using Apple Boot Camp as Boot Camp does not work on Apple Silicon Macs.

You can find full instructions on how to run Windows 11 on a Mac here.

How To Play Windows Games on a Mac

All of the following methods of installing Windows on a Mac are suitable for playing Windows games on a Mac but some are more suitable than other depending on the game you want to play.

For example, some games such as Valorant will not work with virtualization software because they are protected by the anti-cheat software Vanguard which will not run in a virtual environment.

Will Windows Work on M1 & M2 Macs?

You can install Windows on Apple Silicon M1 & M2 Macs although not all of these methods support it. We have indicated in these reviews which methods support M1 & M2 chips and which do not.

At the moment, Parallels is the only software that officially supports running Windows on M1/M2 Macs although there is a Preview version of VMWare Fusion that now supports Apple Silicon chips too.

Parallels is also the only solution to support macOS Ventura on M1 & M2 Macs whereas there is no official support for running Windows in Ventura using any other software.

Does Windows 365 Work on a Mac?

Windows 365 is a new Cloud service by Microsoft that will allow Mac users to use Windows 10 and 11 online in any browser.

At the moment, Microsoft Windows 365 is only available to Windows 365 Enterprise customers but started being rolled out to smaller businesses in Fall 2021.

However, it will eventually offer another way for Mac users to access Windows on a Mac including Windows 11 eventually.

Note that Windows 365 is not part of Microsoft 365 which is the online replacement for Microsoft Office For Mac.

Microsoft is currently rebranding Microsoft Office with Microsoft 365 across all platforms including macOS.

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With this in mind, here then are the best ways to install Windows on a Mac of 2022 in order of ranking.

1. Virtual Machine (Best For Beginners)

best way to run windows on mac - parallels

A virtual machine (also known as a virtual environment or virtualization software) allows you to run Windows “virtually” within macOS.

By far the two best virtual machines for Mac users are Parallels and VMware Fusion.

There’s also VirtualBox which is free and open source but much harder to setup and use.

Although VMware has improved a lot, we still think Parallels is the best way to run Windows on your Mac in 2022 for its ease of installation, speed, and the way it conveniently allows you to switch between macOS and Windows instantly.

Parallels is also the best way to run Windows on M1 & M2 Macs and the only solution that officially works with the latest version of macOS Ventura.

Apple’s latest generation of Silicon Macs use a different ARM M1 chip and Parallels was the first VM to officially support Windows on Apple silicon M1 & M2 Macs.

At the moment, the only major rival to Parallels is VMware Fusion which took a lot longer to officially support M1 or M2 Macs although VMware 13 is now fully compatible with Apple Silicon.

You can even install Windows on a Mac for free with Parallels as you only need to purchase a Windows 10/11 activation key nowadays if you want to customize it.

Or if you already have Windows 10 or 11 installed on a PC, you can use the same 25 figure activation key during the Windows installation process in Parallels to get another fully activated copy for free on your Mac.

Virtual Machines are by far the most convenient Windows on Mac solution for most users because they allow you to use your Mac as normal but switch to a a Windows application at any time when you need it.

You have full access to the rest of your Mac apps while enjoying the convenience of having the Windows available too.

Parallels has got this off to a tee nowadays with Coherence Mode blurring the line between macOS and Windows so that you can work in both with almost no separation between the two.

The main rival to Parallels is VMware Fusion which has now released a free version for non-commercial use but we’ve found that nothing comes close to Parallels in terms of ease of setup, use and support.

You can try Parallels for Mac for free here to test it first.

Parallels costs $99.99 for a Home License or $119.99 for a Pro License suitable for developers, testers and power users.

There’s also Parallels Business Edition for $149.99 which is designed for system admins and IT Teams that need to deploy Windows on large numbers of Macs across corporate networks.

For a limited time you can also get 50% off Parallels with an educational discount for students and teachers.

If you want to learn more, check out our full Parallels Desktop review.


  • Very easy to install Windows
  • Runs Windows and macOS simultaneously
  • Excellent for gaming
  • Fast startup and shutdown time
  • Optimized for macOS Ventura, Mojave, Catalina, Big Sur and Windows 10 & 11
  • Now supports DirectX and Metal
  • Officially supports running Windows on M1 & M2 Macs
  • Can be deployed across lots of Macs by IT teams


  • Updates aren’t free
  • Requires a separate license for each Mac you want to install it on
  • Subscription pricing model
  • Can’t accelerate graphics card for gaming as well as Boot Camp

2. Apple Boot Camp (Best For Gamers)

boot camp installer mac

By far the most popular alternative to installing Windows with a virtualization software is by using Apple Boot Camp.

Using Boot Camp to run Windows and install Windows only games is especially popular with gamers because Boot Camp leverages more power from your graphics card as it doesn’t have to run a virtual machine like Parallels does.

This makes playing games like Valheim on a Mac much smoother and less choppy as there are far fewer dropped frames.

It also means that you can install games by Riot like Elden Ring on Mac which don’t work in Parallels due to the Riot Vanguard anti-cheat protection software.

Boot Camp is a free tool in macOS which allows you to install Windows on a partition on your Mac hard drive so you can choose whether to dual boot your Mac in either Windows or macOS.

The advantage of this is that it dedicates all of your Mac’s resources to an application which may require a lot of RAM or processing power such as CAD software, graphic design apps or games.

Because Boot Camp only allows your Mac to boot in either Windows or macOS (rather than running both at the same time as with a virtual environment) your Mac can devote all of its resources to the high demands of games and other power hungry applications.

The other big advantage of Boot Camp is that it’s free in macOS – just search for “Boot Camp” using Spotlight on your Mac and you’ll see it.

The disadvantage of installing Windows with Boot Camp is that you’re restricted to using either Windows or macOS at one time – you can’t switch between the two instantly like with virtualization software.

Note also that that are some iMacs which can’t use Boot Camp in macOS Mojave.

Boot Camp also does not work with Apple Silicon M1 & M2 Macs which is the new chipset and ARM processors that powers new Macs from late 2020 onwards such as the M1 MacBook Pro and Mac Studio.

This means you can’t dual boot in Windows or macOS on an M1 or M2 Mac yet.

So if you’ve bought a new Mac in 2022, Boot Camp is definitely not an option if you want to install Windows on it and you’re much better off going with a virtual machine like Parallels.

 Boot CampParallels
Install Windows 10 & 11
Play Windows Games
Run Windows and macOS without restarting
Works on M1 Macs
Run Windows and macOS apps at the same time
Share files and folders between macOS and Windows
Transfer all data from PC to your Mac
Copy and paste images between macOS and Windows

Free Trial

For those with Intel Macs however, you can find full instructions on how to install Windows 10 on Mac for free with Boot Camp here.

You can also find full instructions on how to install Windows 11 on Mac for free with Boot Camp here.

If you don’t want to use Boot Camp, there is also a way to install Windows without Boot Camp onto an external hard drive although this only works on Intel Macs.

If you’re also interested in other ways to play Windows games on a Mac, you may also be interested in GeForce Now For Mac which is a gaming platform by NVIDIA which allows Mac users to play Windows only games in the Cloud.


  • Free in macOS
  • Easy to setup
  • Dedicates all of your Mac’s hardware and resources to running Windows
  • Better for gaming as it leverages more power from the graphics card
  • Works for games protected by Vanguard ant-cheat software


  • Only allows you to boot in either macOS or Windows
  • Some games won’t work with Boot Camp installations
  • Will not work with the latest Apple Silicon M1 & M2 Macs

3. Wine

wine for mac

Wine (stands for Wine Is Not an Emulator) is a free way to install Windows on your Mac and it works by “wrapping” Windows in macOS.

Wine is a free open-source project although it is sponsored by CodeWeavers that are also behind Crossover (see below for more).

Wine is neither a Windows emulator or a virtual machine but is known as a compatibility layer that translates Windows applications and games to work on Mac and Linux.

Until recently, Wine was only 32-bit which meant that it did not support the latest versions of macOS but Wine 7 has been updated to support 64-bit operating systems including macOS Monterey and Ventura.

Wine also now works on the latest Apple Silicon Macs and supports Rosetta for running Intel applications on M1 and M2 Macs.

We only recommend Wine for those that really know what they’re doing and have strong technical skills with Macs. Wine is notoriously difficult to use, setup and many times, doesn’t even work properly for all problems.

If you’re brave enough to try Wine, definitely check out the list of supported Wine applications first to avoid saving yourself a lot of pain.


  • Free to use
  • No copy of Windows required
  • Now supports 64-bit applications and games
  • Works on Apple Silicon M1 and M2 Macs


  • Complicated to setup for many apps
  • Doesn’t work with all Windows programs
  • Installation often breaks with updates to macOS

4. Crossover

Crossover is based on Wine but in a far easier to use interface. It’s much easier to setup and use but it’s not free and starts at $39.95.

Also, since it’s based on Wine, it can only run Windows programs that are Wine compatible which restricts the number of games and apps that work with it on a Mac.

Apart from Parallels though, Crossover is currently the only way to play some Windows games on M1 & M2 Macs.

Crossover uses what’s called Rosetta 2 in macOS to “translate” Intel chip only games and software to work with Apple Silicon chips.

You can watch Team Fortress 2 being played on an M1 Mac using Crossover below and as you can see, the performance is pretty good.

It doesn’t work with all games though and we recommend checking the list of Crossover supported apps and games before buying it.

Pricing for Crossover starts at $39.95 for the basic Crossover One plan (only available in the USA) which does not include support.

Crossover Pro is $59.95 and includes one year of support and there’s also Crossover Life for $499.95 which gives you lifetime upgrades and support.

You can also try a 14 day free trial of Crossover to test it first.



  • Easier to setup and use than Wine
  • Works with some games and software on M1 & M2 Macs


  • Not free
  • Limited amount of Windows games and apps it can run
  • Can only run the same apps and games as Wine
  • Slow to update when new versions of macOS are released
  • Doesn’t work with many games and apps on M1 Macs

5. Remote Desktop Software

remote desktop software mac

Another option to access Windows on a Mac is to run Windows remotely on another PC and use remote desktop software on your Mac to connect to it.

This involves using a remote desktop application of which there are many on the market.

They all basically connect to a Windows machine and then display the desktop of the PC on your Mac desktop.

This isn’t an ideal solution though because there’s usually plenty of lag between the PC, Mac or mobile device you’re connecting to and your Mac.

It’s also limited in what you can actually do – you can usually drag files and folders, open documents and save files but it’s certainly not suitable for playing games.

For a look at some of the options available, check out our guide to the best remote desktop tools for Mac.


  • Lots of apps to help you connect to a Windows machine
  • Easy to use once setup
  • Some remote desktop apps work with Apple Silicon M1 & M2 Macs


  • Can be lots of lag
  • Remote desktop apps vary in price
  • Doesn’t give you access to as many features as Parallels
  • Definitely not suitable for gaming

6. Frame

frame on mac

Frame doesn’t actually run Windows on your Mac but it does allow you to access Windows applications remotely and use them on your Mac in your browser.

Frame uses the same principle as remote desktop software by hosting Windows and Windows applications in the Cloud and then giving you access to them via your browser.

You can’t actually use Windows but you can use some Windows based applications using Frame. Frame is particularly popular for accessing Windows only CAD applications on Mac such as Solidworks.

The main drawback of Frame is that it doesn’t actually give you access to Windows, it’s Cloud based so requires an internet connection and it’s not cheap with plans starting at $20 per user per month.


  • Nothing to install, all Cloud based
  • Supports a wide range of Windows applications


  • Doesn’t actually give you access to Windows itself
  • Can suffer lag depending on stability of connection
  • Not compatible with Apple Silicon M1 & M2 Macs

About The Author


MacHow2 is devoted to helping you get the most of of your Mac. We're passionate about all things Mac whether it's helping users with software recommendations or solving technical problems. If you've got any comments about this article, get involved by leaving a comment below. You can also contact us directly using the contact form at the top of the site. Please note that in the interests of transparency, MacHow2 may sometimes receive compensation from link clicks or vendors.

20 Responses

  1. GeloBo

    I was on CodeWeavers Store page one minute ago: the price for CrossOver is 74 € (which is much more than the 39.95$ written above).

    • MacHow2

      It costs $39.95 for the basic Crossover One plan which does not include support but it seems this plan is only available in the USA. Crossover Pro is $59.95 (which is priced at €74 in Europe and £60 in the UK) and includes one year of support and there’s also Crossover Life for $499.95 which gives you lifetime upgrades and support.

  2. Christian Squittieri Rossetti

    Hi, nice article. Did you leave out Oracle’s free, as in “gratis” Virtual Box for some reason? And now in beta for ARM Macs?

    • MacHow2

      We did mention Virtual Box but it’s much harder to setup and use Windows on a Mac with it than commercial virtual machines.

  3. Paul Anderson

    Wine now supports 64 bit windows applications on Apple Silicon Macs (Wine 7 was released at the start of this year). Perhaps you should update section 3 accordingly.


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