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I hope to run Windows XP and similar versions of Windows that don’t support Apple Silicon, either virtually or through an emulator layer.

I tried VirtualBox, but it says "Intel Core needed". I have an Apple Silicon laptop and prefer a low cost or free solution.

What options exist?

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  • Which versions of Windows? Do you require 32 bit Intel, 64 bit AMD or 64 bit Apple Silicon (ARM) instructions. Commented May 9 at 19:43
  • This may be a duplicate question. See Missing options when installing Windows 10 using UTM?. Commented May 9 at 19:54
  • Do you need something to run on your ARM mac laptop specifically, or are you looking for more-general solutions ?
    – Criggie
    Commented May 10 at 13:09
  • @DavidAnderson Windows XP and similar versions. Commented May 10 at 13:24
  • 1
    I have a feeling that the title could be clarified by mentioning "Apple Silicon" since the issue seems about that particularly, but I'm so not sure.
    – Andrew T.
    Commented May 10 at 16:30

1 Answer 1

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You can't use a virtualizer. A virtualizer virtualizes hardware that is there. But you don't have an AMD64 CPU, you have an AArch64 CPU, so there is nothing to virtualize.

What you need is an emulator. An emulator emulates hardware that is not there.

The by far most popular and most widely-used emulator for this kind of usage is QEmu. QEmu can emulate pretty much any CPU architecture in existence (including, but not limited to, POWER, Sparc, MIPS, RISC-V, OpenRISC), and of course, it can also emulate x86 and AMD64 (aka x86-64, aka x64, aka Intel 64). More importantly, it can not only emulate the CPU architecture but the rest of the system architecture as well, for example, the TPM which is required by Windows 11.

If you don't want to deal with installing QEmu, writing configuration files, etc., you can try UTM. UTM is a graphical installer and graphical frontend for QEmu which makes installing, configuring, and using QEmu much easier.

UTM has a gallery of pre-made VM templates that can be installed with just a few clicks, including templates or at least installation guides for Windows XP (x86), Windows 7 (AMD64), Windows 10 (both AMD64 and ARM64), and Windows 11 (both AMD64 and ARM64). There is a template for ReactOS as well. ReactOS is an open source re-implementation of Windows that can run many older Windows applications and drivers.

UTM can be installed from the Mac App Store, as a Homebrew Cask, or you can download a DMG from UTM's GitHub project.

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  • I use VirtualBox, VMware Fusion Player and Parallels on various Intel Macs. Your answer states: "A virtualizer virtualizes hardware that is there.". How do these products virtualize a TPM when no TPM actual exists in these Intel Macs? Commented May 10 at 15:37
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    I didn't want to turn my answer into a 10 page essay, so I took some shortcuts. Virtualizers do usually emulate some devices, the most obvious ones are keyboard, mouse, display, and, of course, storage (disks, CD drives, …), but crucially, they don't emulate the CPU. (Although to be even more confusing, on CPU architectures that were not originally designed with virtualization in mind, they have to emulate some CPU instructions …) TPM emulation was added to most x86/AMD64 virtualizers after Microsoft made TPM mandatory for Windows 11. Commented May 10 at 16:13
  • I do think essays generally are undesirable. However, I do believe readers should be aware your answer does contain inaccuracies. For example, twice you reported TPMs are required or mandatory. I have Windows 11 installed on a 2007 iMac, a 2011 iMac, a 2013 iMac and a 2018 Mac mini. None of these machines (or any other Macs) have a TPM. Commented May 10 at 17:07
  • You will have to take that up with Microsoft, I guess. Their official documentation states that a TPM is required: microsoft.com/windows/windows-11-specifications. I know there are unsupported methods of circumventing this requirements, but they are just that: unsupported. Commented May 10 at 17:12
  • Your link does not support your comment. The first paragraph states: " If your device does not meet these requirements, you may not be able to install Windows 11 on your device". It is important to see Microsoft states: may not instead of "can not". Microsoft also offers Ways to install Windows 11. This states you can install by editing the registry or using the dism command. Either can be used on Macs without a TPM. I acknowledge Microsoft does not recommended doing this. Commented May 10 at 17:43

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