Troubleshooting Windows 11 VM Activation in Parallels on Mac


Hi All,

Hey all. We allow users to run Windows 11 VM in Parallels on a Mac. It’s Pro edition installed, no key, and the users cloud assigned licensed takes over and enrolling steps up to Ent and is activated. Does anyone know if this approach is supported and correct? The very rare time Windows won’t activate but got me thinking if this is the correct method or not and if not what is.

Posted by Chris Evans  in HTMD FB Group

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Answers ( 2 )


    Replied by Hugh Baker

    Adam Brewer Was just considering buying a Mac and doing exactly this. Thanks for your answer.

    Replied by Lukas DeejayTechpro

    Adam Brewer yep that’s the way. It’s also worth noting Pro volume licenses as a base license would not be compliant too, you would need full Retail Pro licenses as a base for every VM.
    System builder licenses are also not allowed for VMs as well.

    Replied by Chris Evans

    Adam Brewer Wicked thanks Adam. I knew this with physical hardware but not VM. I wonder if MAK keys can be used for the Pro set up.


    Fore More Details Best Guide to Install Windows 11 using Parallels Desktop on macOS

    Replied by Adam Brewer

    Windows Enterprise is effectively a “step-up” license. It requires a proper Windows Pro license underneath it. On physical hardware, like a Dell or Lenovo PC, it comes with an underlying Windows Pro OEM license. Even if you reimage the device with an Enterprise ISO, the Pro OEM license is tied to the hardware and counts as your “underlying” Pro license.
    With a Parallels VM, you must purchase a full Windows Pro license and then you can use user-based licensing to “step-up” to Enterprise. Installing a Pro image that you don’t own a license for and then activating Windows Enterprise is not compliant, even if it appears to “work”.
    Microsoft licensing is not always enforced through technical means.

    Replied by Jeff Irvine

    Adam Brewer yup, this is the answer.

    Replied by Lloyd Cutler

    Adam Brewer yep!

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