Can I install any version of Windows on a Mac?

Some Mac models allow you to install Windows natively. Others, on the other hand, need third-party programs to run this system. However, whatever the Mac model, the question may arise which version of Windows can be installed, and which cannot. And also, if it is possible to do it natively depending on the version of Windows. So in this post we are going to see how the situation is.

Windows 10 natively on Mac with Intel

Windows 10, released in 2015, has become quite the standard system. So much so, that Mac computers with Intel processors can run this version natively thanks to the BootCamp function. This allows you to make a hard disk partition (virtually) on the Mac, in order to have a free space where be able to install windows 10 and manage and store files.

Thus, only computers with an Intel processor (it does not matter if they are laptops or desktops) support a native installation and boot of Windows 10. However, the case of Windows 11 is somewhat different since if we want to install it cleanly, we will have to make use of Parallels Desktop, which is a virtual machine software authorized by Microsoft, which runs Windows while macOS is still running, without us having to restart the computer.

Apple Silicons work differently

The Boot Camp functionality, while present on Macs with Apple processors, is not functional. And that limits how we can run Windows, as well as the versions that are going to be supported. In the case of these computers we can run Windows 10 and Windows 11 through Parallels Desktop.

However, both computers with Intel processors and Apple Silicon processors have one weakness in common: What happens to earlier versions of Windows? It may be the case that we need to run older versions of Windows to handle some software or peripherals. In this scenario, if what we want to install is Windows 7, for example, then we must opt ​​for a virtual machine in both cases.

Older versions of Windows on Mac

Windows 7, Windows Vista, Windows XP and even the classic Windows 98 or Windows 95. It is true that these versions, more than old, are practically obsolete. Microsoft has bet everything on Windows 10 and 11, and if we take into account the current technological ecosystem, we can do little with such old versions.

virtual box apple silicon

But thanks to programs like Virtual Box, one of the oldest virtual machines out there, we can create a virtual hard drive partition to install and run those versions while macOS is running. Thus, we will not need to restart the computer, and we will only have to open the program. Of course, keep in mind that if you install versions that are too old, such as Xp, 98 or 95, you may encounter compatibility problems with certain elements. Of course, Virtual Box is prepared to support these versions, and is compatible with Intel and Apple Silicon processors.