Don’t buy the Apple M1 Macbook if you want to run x86 Windows on VMWare Fusion

Written by James McDonald

June 16, 2021

Just a warning to myself and others. If you want to run a Windows x86 Virtual Machine on a Macbook using VMWare Fusion or similar virtualization products. Buy a Macbook with an x86 Processor.

The Apple M1 is an ARM archictectured processor and while there will probably be some sort of emulation layer in the future there isn’t one at the moment.

So in summary

DON’T buy an Apple with an M1 processor if you want to run Intel x86 VM’s

DO buy an Apple with an M1 processor if you want really good battery life and extra-ordinary performance

Work-a-round 1: You can still buy Intel based Macbooks if you want to run x86 VM’s on Apple. They cost more but may be worth it if you are a developer

Work-a-round 2: Buy the M1 Apple silicon and then spin up a windows machine in the cloud every time your need the x86 experience.

There seems to a be work-a-round of running a ARM based Windows Insider Preview version of Windows 10 on Parallels but when I read the licensing it says you need a licensed copy of Windows on the device you run it from. So I don’t know how I can work around this to actually run Windows on Parallels on an M1

Docker (Linux)

I installed Docker on my M1 and found that, with no changes to my Dockerfile’s a Docker build simply pulls down the right architecture of, in this case, Ubuntu 20.04. So if you develop for a Linux environment you should be able to carry on as normal.


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