Intel Macs can't run Windows 11 without this workaround

Posted:
in Current Mac Hardware edited June 29
When it's finally released, Windows 11 will require a processor with TPM 2.0 support and a compatible motherboard to install, but this isn't fully available in Macs at present. But -- there are workarounds.

Windows 11 is compatible with certain newer Intel processors
Windows 11 is compatible with certain newer Intel processors


Microsoft announced Windows 11 on Thursday with an all-new UI and better multitasking features. One requirement -- the need for support for TPM 2.0 -- may keep Macs from ever officially running the OS.

Some Macs have TPM 2.0 support in the processor, but as it stands, none of them support it on the motherboard. It may not be possible to do in software, but in order for an Intel Mac to run Windows 11 officially, Apple will have to update Macs for that compatibility, or Microsoft will have to remove that requirement.

So, in short, as of now there is no official support for running Windows 11 on a Mac.

Minimum system requirements for Windows 11

Before users attempt to install Windows 11 verify compatibility first. Regardless of workarounds used, the minimum specs must be met in order to run the operating system.

The system requirements for Windows 11 are:
  • A "modern 64-bit processor" according to Microsoft
  • 1Ghz clock speed
  • 2 cores
  • 64GB storage
  • 4GB RAM
  • UEFI, Secure Book capable & TPM 2.0
  • 9-inch display with 1366x768 resolution
  • DirectX 12 compatible graphics / WDDM 2.x
Microsoft's requirement of TPM 2.0 and other requirements limit support of processors to ones delivered in approximately the last six years. Apple's Mac lineup meet most of these specs in their default configuration going back several years, but the TPM 2.0 cutoff makes determining compatibility difficult.

The following Macs are the first models with TPM 2.0 in the CPU.
  • MacBook (Retina, 12-inch, 2017)
  • MacBook Air (13-inch, 2017)
  • MacBook Pro (15-inch, 2016)
  • MacBook Pro (13-inch, 2016, Four Thunderbolt 3 ports)
  • MacBook Pro (13-inch, 2016, Two Thunderbolt 3 ports)
  • Mac mini (2018)
  • iMac Pro (2017)
  • iMac (Retina 5K, 27-inch, 2017)
  • iMac (Retina 4K, 21.5-inch, 2017)
  • iMac (21.5-inch, 2017)
  • Mac Pro (2019)
Any Mac in the lineup released before the models mentioned will never officially support Windows 11. Any Mac released after these models still running Intel-based processors will have the necessary requirements to run the operating system, but official support hasn't been provided, and we're not expecting it.

But, using a workaround, users can bypass the TPM 2.0 requirement. This means that, with the workaround, Windows 11 will work on any Mac capable of running Windows 10 that meets the other minimum specs.

How to install Windows 11 on Mac with a custom ISO file

Create a custom ISO file to install Windows 11 on Mac
Create a custom ISO file to install Windows 11 on Mac

What you need

  • A Mac that meets the minimum system requirements for Windows 11
  • Windows 10 ISO
  • Windows 11 ISO
  • Any ISO file maker app
Note that the Mac must meet the minimum system requirements to run Windows 11 like 64GB of storage and a dual-core processor. However, the workaround bypasses the TPM 2.0 requirement, so that can be ignored.

How to create a custom ISO file to bypass the Windows 11 TPM 2.0 requirement

  1. Mount the Windows 11 ISO file using DiskImageMounter
  2. Copy contents of the install media into a new folder on the desktop
  3. Unmount the Windows 11 image file
  4. Open the Windows 10 install image using DiskImageMounter
  5. Open the "sources" folder
  6. Copy "Install.wim" onto the desktop
  7. Unmount the Windows 10 ISO file
  8. Edit the "Install.wim" file extension using "Get Info" in the right click menu
  9. Select "Name & Extension" and rename the file to "Install.esd"
  10. Open the new folder containing the Windows 11 ISO contents from earlier
  11. Open the "sources" folder
  12. Delete the "Install.esd" file located there
  13. Move the new "Install.esd" file you modified into the "source" folder
  14. Use an ISO file maker app to convert the Windows 11 folder into an ISO file

Install Windows 11 from a custom ISO file in Boot Camp

  1. Open Boot Camp
  2. Choose the custom ISO file for the "ISO Image"
  3. Click "Install"
The Windows 11 installer should run via Boot Camp from here. Follow the on-screen prompts to get Windows 11 up and running.

The Windows 11 Boot Camp installer will be open when the operating system boots for the first time. Follow the prompts to get the compatibility drivers installed and finish the installation.

We do not recommend this procedure for most. There are no guarantees that the updates between reveal and release will not break the installation, and it remains to be seen if Microsoft will implement more robust TPM 2.0 checks prior to launch.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 55
    Good luck updating it. There will be helper utilities available from third parties to get Windows 11 installed on "incompatible" computers but updating it will require a reinstall. That's already true for Windows installs on external drives.
    dysamoria
  • Reply 2 of 55
    jdb8167jdb8167 Posts: 613member
    Ironic considering Nadella was practically begging Apple to port Messages to Windows. I think that at the same time as that request that they disable official Mac support for Windows should be examined by anti-trust investigators. Seems fishy to me. /s
    caladanianbyronl
  • Reply 3 of 55
    StrangeDaysStrangeDays Posts: 11,395member
    One weird trick...
    GeorgeBMac
  • Reply 4 of 55
    mcdavemcdave Posts: 1,698member
    Not the future of the Mac, let Windows go.
    Fidonet127KTR
  • Reply 5 of 55
    lkrupplkrupp Posts: 9,304member
    Accept the inevitable. The days of Windows on a Mac are coming quickly to an end. So are the days of the macOS on PC hackintosh. 
    Fidonet127
  • Reply 6 of 55
    zeus423zeus423 Posts: 110member
    I can live fine without Windows.
    KTRStrangeDaysNemo8408
  • Reply 7 of 55
    Fidonet127Fidonet127 Posts: 257member
    Where is the people complaining they can’t run Windows on their Intel Mac? I’ve said it before, but Windows on a Mac was always a side benefit. 
    StrangeDayslongpath
  • Reply 8 of 55
    rcfarcfa Posts: 994member
    Well, Windows 11 ARM Edition is just a matter of time. “Ancient” Intel Macs will be stuck with Win10, and “modern” ARM Macs will get Win11-ARM, with x86 emulation…

    So basically, M$ is helping Apple sell more Macs.
    People requiring intel based Win11 will be able to buy any of the many TV-dongle PCs, and access them with RDP: no fickle BootCamp, no nasty recurring licenses for Parallels, etc.

    longpathGeorgeBMac
  • Reply 9 of 55
    fastasleepfastasleep Posts: 5,477member
    How about a sentence that says what TPM 2.0 is?
    StrangeDaysstevenozdysamoria
  • Reply 10 of 55
    sflocalsflocal Posts: 5,661member
    mcdave said:
    Not the future of the Mac, let Windows go.
    lkrupp said:
    Accept the inevitable. The days of Windows on a Mac are coming quickly to an end. So are the days of the macOS on PC hackintosh. 
    zeus423 said:
    I can live fine without Windows.
    Where is the people complaining they can’t run Windows on their Intel Mac? I’ve said it before, but Windows on a Mac was always a side benefit. 
    Many of us bought Macs with the intent of also using them to run Windows.  I am one of them, and know many that can't divorce Windows entirely.  That Macs could run Windows was key for me buying my first Mac back in 2008.  I even bought a new 2020 iMac knowing this will most likely be my last Intel machine, and can run Windows for many years to come until both ASi Macs, and maybe even Windows ARM will have been fully baked when I'm ready to get another new Mac.
    cgWerkslongpathGeorgeBMacstevenozdysamoriamariowincochemengin1muthuk_vanalingam
  • Reply 11 of 55
    cgWerkscgWerks Posts: 2,682member
    mcdave said:
    Not the future of the Mac, let Windows go.
    Wish I could, but not quite that easy. Hopefully software devs will wake up (or, more to the point, users will and demand Apple Silicon compatible software from developers) and get on the Mac, but currently there is a lot of stuff that is Windows only. Even if that starts changing, I think we're talking many years. This creates a problem for which the solution seems to be multiple computers.

    rcfa said:
    Well, Windows 11 ARM Edition is just a matter of time. “Ancient” Intel Macs will be stuck with Win10, and “modern” ARM Macs will get Win11-ARM, with x86 emulation…
    I hope so, but isn't there then a similar issue with a lot of the apps people are needing to run possibly not running on Windows ARM? I mean, could you fire up some heavy Windows 3D CAD or animation software on Windows ARM?

    And, that's the problem with the above second machine. Instead of buying a powerful Mac that can do both, you might need a powerful Mac AND a powerful PC, which equals lots of $$$. If you just need a powerful Mac/PC, and then a cheap-simple other platform to run a few simple things, then it isn't as big of a deal (well, aside from having to figure out the keyboard/mouse/trackpad, and display issues for multiple machines).
    dysamoria
  • Reply 12 of 55
    I wonder if Parallels will solve this, usually they are pretty quick.

    However, given that I only run a couple of engineering apps on my Mac Windows VM, I will stick with Windows 10 until death, probably.
    longpathapplguystevenoz
  • Reply 13 of 55
    longpathlongpath Posts: 351member
    By the time that Windows 10 goes away entirely, either virtualization on M series processors will have matured or the market will have answered the need with some innovations that have yet to make themselves known. Having to boot between one or the other is a workflow limitation I prefer to avoid.
  • Reply 14 of 55
    bleabbleab Posts: 23member
    sflocal said
    Many of us bought Macs with the intent of also using them to run Windows.  I am one of them, and know many that can't divorce Windows entirely.  That Macs could run Windows was key for me buying my first Mac back in 2008.  I even bought a new 2020 iMac knowing this will most likely be my last Intel machine, and can run Windows for many years to come until both ASi Macs, and maybe even Windows ARM will have been fully baked when I'm ready to get another new Mac.
    Of the 20 million Macs that sell a year, if over 2 million of those ever see bootcamp I would be shocked. Of those at most 2 million yearly that are now without bootcamp, most will just get an HP or Lenovo desktop - one with a recent Intel Core i5 and an Nvidia or AMD GPU can cost as little as $500 so not that big of a deal - to complement their primary Mac device. Of the very few remaining that will actually ditch macOS completely over this, they will be replaced several times over by the new customers that Apple Silicon will attract. So they will sell more Macs and will be able to redeploy the programmers responsible for bootcamp to much better tasks. No downside to this for Apple.
    Fidonet127ArchStantonstevenoz
  • Reply 15 of 55
    Fidonet127Fidonet127 Posts: 257member
    sflocal said:
    mcdave said:
    Not the future of the Mac, let Windows go.
    lkrupp said:
    Accept the inevitable. The days of Windows on a Mac are coming quickly to an end. So are the days of the macOS on PC hackintosh. 
    zeus423 said:
    I can live fine without Windows.
    Where is the people complaining they can’t run Windows on their Intel Mac? I’ve said it before, but Windows on a Mac was always a side benefit. 
    Many of us bought Macs with the intent of also using them to run Windows.  I am one of them, and know many that can't divorce Windows entirely.  That Macs could run Windows was key for me buying my first Mac back in 2008.  I even bought a new 2020 iMac knowing this will most likely be my last Intel machine, and can run Windows for many years to come until both ASi Macs, and maybe even Windows ARM will have been fully baked when I'm ready to get another new Mac.
    Great. We bought our 2009 iMac with the idea it could run Windows too. I ran Windows within Parallels. I grew tired of the yearly fee to keep Parallels updated for a minor part of our workflow and now we have not ran Windows at home for years. There is no argument about that people want to run Windows on their Mac or even that Windows is the dominant desktop OS. My humor is all the people complain that Apple went a direction that makes it harder to run Windows and now MS has now made it harder to run Windows on the Macs, even though they are Intel. It still doesn’t matter if people want to run Windows on the Mac, as it was always a side benefit to run Windows on the Mac. 
  • Reply 16 of 55
    Some distinct overreaction going on in this thread. Any requirement for Windows 11 is a looooong ways away. I have a few customers still using Windows Server 2012. Software that only recently started dropping off update support for that 2012. I had customers just 2 years ago still using Windows XP and they were holding on to it for dear life.  Most everything still worked or only in the past year or so dropped off These examples are both business customers. 
    For those with Macs that must run Windows, the period of time until you’re SOL is a loooong time. That’s is if you ever become SOL.  A lot can happen between now and then. If there’s a market need then the market usually finds a way to accommodate that need. So for the time being just relax. 

    One thing that is on your side for those needing windows 11 on a Mac? There’s a vocal contingent on forums saying Apple must accommodate those who need non App Store apps(and devices) in an iOS device. That Apple must change iOS to accommodate. Well given their underlying logic you can be sure they’ll be fighting this next fight to make Microsoft change 11 to accommodate the needs of all users /s
    edited June 26 Fidonet127GeorgeBMac
  • Reply 17 of 55
    The other humor about this, is many Windows computers will not be able to run Windows 11, even if they a year old, got great GPUs or even great CPUs. Gen 1 Threadripper CPU are not compatible. 
  • Reply 18 of 55
    GeorgeBMacGeorgeBMac Posts: 9,869member
    sflocal said:
    mcdave said:
    Not the future of the Mac, let Windows go.
    lkrupp said:
    Accept the inevitable. The days of Windows on a Mac are coming quickly to an end. So are the days of the macOS on PC hackintosh. 
    zeus423 said:
    I can live fine without Windows.
    Where is the people complaining they can’t run Windows on their Intel Mac? I’ve said it before, but Windows on a Mac was always a side benefit. 
    Many of us bought Macs with the intent of also using them to run Windows.  I am one of them, and know many that can't divorce Windows entirely.  That Macs could run Windows was key for me buying my first Mac back in 2008.  I even bought a new 2020 iMac knowing this will most likely be my last Intel machine, and can run Windows for many years to come until both ASi Macs, and maybe even Windows ARM will have been fully baked when I'm ready to get another new Mac.

    #MeToo....
    My grandson would not have made it through 8th grade without Windows on his MacBook Air.
    dysamoria
  • Reply 19 of 55
    GeorgeBMacGeorgeBMac Posts: 9,869member
    bleab said:
    sflocal said
    Many of us bought Macs with the intent of also using them to run Windows.  I am one of them, and know many that can't divorce Windows entirely.  That Macs could run Windows was key for me buying my first Mac back in 2008.  I even bought a new 2020 iMac knowing this will most likely be my last Intel machine, and can run Windows for many years to come until both ASi Macs, and maybe even Windows ARM will have been fully baked when I'm ready to get another new Mac.
    Of the 20 million Macs that sell a year, if over 2 million of those ever see bootcamp I would be shocked. Of those at most 2 million yearly that are now without bootcamp, most will just get an HP or Lenovo desktop - one with a recent Intel Core i5 and an Nvidia or AMD GPU can cost as little as $500 so not that big of a deal - to complement their primary Mac device. Of the very few remaining that will actually ditch macOS completely over this, they will be replaced several times over by the new customers that Apple Silicon will attract. So they will sell more Macs and will be able to redeploy the programmers responsible for bootcamp to much better tasks. No downside to this for Apple.

    Apple didn't get where it is by caring only and exclusively about sales and profit.
    Quite the opposite really....

    There is no downside to Apple to enable Windows to run under Bootcamp.  None.
    Just ideological hubris.
    dysamoria
  • Reply 20 of 55
    GeorgeBMacGeorgeBMac Posts: 9,869member
    sflocal said:
    mcdave said:
    Not the future of the Mac, let Windows go.
    lkrupp said:
    Accept the inevitable. The days of Windows on a Mac are coming quickly to an end. So are the days of the macOS on PC hackintosh. 
    zeus423 said:
    I can live fine without Windows.
    Where is the people complaining they can’t run Windows on their Intel Mac? I’ve said it before, but Windows on a Mac was always a side benefit. 
    Many of us bought Macs with the intent of also using them to run Windows.  I am one of them, and know many that can't divorce Windows entirely.  That Macs could run Windows was key for me buying my first Mac back in 2008.  I even bought a new 2020 iMac knowing this will most likely be my last Intel machine, and can run Windows for many years to come until both ASi Macs, and maybe even Windows ARM will have been fully baked when I'm ready to get another new Mac.
    Great. We bought our 2009 iMac with the idea it could run Windows too. I ran Windows within Parallels. I grew tired of the yearly fee to keep Parallels updated for a minor part of our workflow and now we have not ran Windows at home for years. There is no argument about that people want to run Windows on their Mac or even that Windows is the dominant desktop OS. My humor is all the people complain that Apple went a direction that makes it harder to run Windows and now MS has now made it harder to run Windows on the Macs, even though they are Intel. It still doesn’t matter if people want to run Windows on the Mac, as it was always a side benefit to run Windows on the Mac. 

    Microsoft's adding TPM 2.0 to Windows 11 requirements was about security -- not Apple products.
    KTR
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