Parallels

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Parallels is a virtualisation software which can virtualize an operating system such as Windows 11 ARM on macOS.

  • On November 10, 2020, a free version of Parallels 16 was made available in the form of a Technical Preview which allows users to install Windows 10 ARM Insider Preview onto M1 Macs, and some games became playable such as Half-Life 2 and Fallout 2.
  • On April 14, 2021, Parallels released version 16.5 which offered increased support for M1 Macs, and made a license requirement and also offered a 14 day free trial.
  • On August 10, 2021, Parallels released version 17 with improved performance.

Install Windows 11 on M1 Mac through Parallels[edit]

There is no Windows 11 ARM VHDX file, therefore the Windows 10 ARM VHDX file is required first, and then it can be upgraded to Windows 11 ARM.

Windows 10 ARM installation instructions[1]
  1. Visit Windows 10 ARM Insider Preview
  2. Sign up with a Microsoft account
  3. Download the latest Windows Insider build
  4. Download and install Parallels
  5. When asked for a VHDX file, point to the Windows 10 ARM Insider Preview build already downloaded
  6. Complete the setup to gain access to Windows 10 ARM desktop

After this first stage is completed it is then possible to upgrade to Windows 11. There are several methods.

Windows Insider Program upgrade

This option is available for some early Windows Insider Program members:

  1. Click Start and type Insider, select Windows Insider Program Settings
  2. Link to a Windows Insider Account (Microsoft account)
  3. Set release channel to Dev
  4. Go to update, force a manual update which should allow Windows 11 ARM to be the next software update
Registry change[2]
  1. Sign up to the Windows Insider program and select Release Preview ring
  2. Reboot, then open your Registry Editor
  3. Then navigate to: HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE \ SOFTWARE \ Microsoft \ WindowsSelfHost \ UI \ Selection
  4. Change the text in the UIBranch key to Dev
  5. Change the text in the ContentType key to Mainline
  6. Change the text in the Ring key to External
  7. Then navigate to: HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE \ SOFTWARE \ Microsoft \ WindowsSelfHost \ Applicability
  8. Change the text in the BranchName key to Dev
  9. Change the text in the ContentType key to Mainline
  10. Change the text in the Ring to External
  11. Exit the registry editor, reboot and you should find yourself in the Dev channel
UUDP ISO download
  1. Visit UUP dump
  2. Click on arm64 of the Latest Dev Channel build
  3. Click Next, and then Next
  4. Click Create download package and download the zip file
  5. Double click the uup_download_windows.cmd
  6. Navigate to \ISOFOLDER\ and run setup.exe - this will install Windows 11 ARM over Windows 10 ARM
  7. Optionally remove the \ISOFOLDER\sources\appraiserres.dll to fix upgrade issues

Dev channel[edit]

At first, the initial build of Windows 10 ARM Insider Preview only supports applications which are native to ARM, and many applications will be 'greyed out' or the 'install button' won't be enabled, or there is a 'side-by-side configuration is incorrect' error message. This is due to the fact that x64 applications were not supported.

On December 10, 2020, Microsoft released Windows 10 Inside Preview Build 21277 which enabled x64 emulation, which substantially increased the compatibility of games PC games such as Grand Theft Auto V and Far Cry 3.[3]

Enable Dev channel[4]
  1. Open your installed Parallels installation
  2. Click Start and then type 'Insider'
  3. Click Windows Insider Program
  4. Click Link to a Windows Insider account
  5. Go to Diagnostics & Feedback settings and turn on optional diagnostic data
  6. Click on 'Beta Channel (Recommended)' to switch Insider settings
  7. Switch to 'Dev Channel'
  8. Click on Windows Update
  9. Check for updates
  10. A download of a newer build should be available, click Download and install

Gaming optimisations[edit]

Many of these optimisations come from this reddit post and will dramatically increase gaming performance, for example stuttering on Overwatch.[5]
It is recommended to create a Parallels 'Snapshot' before applying any further customisations, especially the Powershell changes.

Essential start[edit]

  • Allocate 50% of the CPU cores (for M1 this means 4 cores total) and 50% of the RAM (for 8GB Mac allocate 4GB, for 16GB Mac allocate 8 GB), the virtual machine guest operating system can only make use of 50% of the resources of the host computer
  • Install ParkControl into Windows and disable everything and enable Bitsum Dynamic Boost
  • Open Task Manager - press Ctrl+ Shift+Esc, More details, click the Startup tab and ensure all launchers are disabled
  • Open Device Manager - press Start and then type Device Manager, open System devices and find Parallels Memory Controller and uninstall (this can be reversed by reinstalling Parallels Tools)

Chris Tech script[edit]

Currently using any part of this script will cause internet access to be disabled, we are looking for a fix.

Use Chris Titus Tech debloat script to disable services and make Windows use fewer resources:

  • Press Win and then type Powershell, then right-click onn Powershell and click Run as administrator
  • Paste in Chris' command: iex ((New-Object System.Net.WebClient).DownloadString('https://git.io/JJ8R4'))

Select:

  • Essential Tweaks
  • Action Center
  • Background Apps
  • Cortana
  • OneDrive
  • Visual FX
  • Windows Search
  • Security - Low
  • Windows Update - Security Updates Only

u/Elegant_Cantaloupe_8 method[edit]

Follow first 4 steps of #Essential start
  • Disable visual effects - press Start and then type Advanced System Settings, then under Performance click Visual Effects and select Best Performance and apply - (optional) select Advanced tab and under Virtual Memory click change, uncheck automatic paging and select No Paging File and Set - this may affect games differently
  • Disable Defender - go to Windows Defender settings and disable Tamper Protection, then click Start and type Local Grop Policy, go to Administrative Templates, Windows Components, Microsoft Defender Antvirus, Enable "Turn off Microsoft Defender Antivirus" and reboot
  • If Defender is disabled then consider isolating Windows from the macOS host - on the Mac open Parallels, Control Center, click settings of the virtual machine, click Security and enable Isolate Windows from Mac
Warning: this script disables GUI - it will be very difficult to re-enable services again. Not recommended unless you know how to tinker with Windows services and Powershell intimately. Please make a new snapshot in Parallels Control Center so that changes can be easily reverted.
  • Powershell - press Win and type Powershell, then right-lick and click Run as administrator, type the script set-executionpolicy unrestricted and enter
  • Download the stripwindows.ps1 script. This script is designed to run Overwatch automatically after Parllels is run, and it also disables GUI and other Window services.
  • Once the file is downloaded into the Desktop, you can run the command from Powershell cd ~/Desktop and then .\stripwindows.ps1 - this will restart the virtual machine and then automatically launch Overwatch if it has been installed in the default directory.

Issues fixed[edit]

Flickering textures or invisible objects[edit]

Enable video.untrimmed_dynamic_cbuffers=1[6]
  1. Shut down virtual machine
  2. Click on Control Center, go to the virtual machine settings and then click "Hardware > Boot Order > Advanced Settings > Boot flags"
  3. Paste the following text in the "Boot flags" field: video.untrimmed_dynamic_cbuffers=1
  4. Run the game

This fix affects several games including:

References