Windows 11

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Just in case anyone is wondering, I updated my Windows 10 machine to Windows 11 and everything worked exactly as it should. The previously installed version of OS ran normally and the installation of the latest version also worked fine. Good old Microsoft!

There is no difference in performance in any app as far as I can see. The major difference in 11 seems to be a light refresh of the GUI. Rounded corners on app windows and the task bar is centered rather than left justified by default. Major steps forward. But good news, no hair was pulled out over this upgrade!

  • Mark 

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Thanks, Mark. Nice to know. The rains have returned . . . For some of us. 

I have not been able to get Zemax running on my W11 VM on parallels on my Mac. 

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Are you running on the M1 Mac Don?

yes, Mac Studio M1 Ultra 20 core on W11 Parallels. Have you heard of any problems or successes?

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I had absolutely zero problems running on Intel-based Macs, but the new M1s don’t use Intel processors so I don’t know how well emulation will work. You’ll need a special version of Windows for ARM-based machines, but I don’t know how well anything works on that yet.

I mistakenly thought that W11 was ARM compatible.  I downloaded the ARM version from the Microsoft developer site. I was able to run zemax to the point it was asking me for my license. Good sign. I should be ok

Looking forward to faster NSC modeling!

Here is a link to the install process.


Thanks Again!

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Hey Don,

Please keep us updated on how you get on with your M1 Mac. I have a Mac Studio on order, arrives July sometime. I’m not expecting vastly different perfromance from OS, as it is still Intel based code and will presumably run under Rosetta, the translation layer that Apple provides for non-M1-optimized code. But who knows?

Can anyone from Zemax chip in with any insights on perfromance on Mac M1/Windows ARM?

Hi Mark

They said  that you can only set 8 cores max in parallels, not the 20 cores on the M1 ultra chip. They do not know when they will be able to update that setting to 20 cores. 

I gave up and shipped my Mac Studio back. I bought it specifically for Zemax, with nice to have for other programs. I cant justify the 6k price tag for photo editing.   I will continue to run zemax and my other engineering programs on my 10 core I9 PC, and use my Mac mini for general use.

I will buy it again when Parallels makes the 20 core settings upgrade. The M2 ultra may be out by then.


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I think you did the right thing. I don’t think OS is optimized for the ARM version of Windows, and I have no idea how well that version of Windows runs under emulation on the M1. For a production system I’d stick to Intel hardware and Windows.

When I get my MacStudio I intend to keep OS on my Windows machine and just Remote Desktop into it from the Mac. I will have a play with trying to get it to run on the Mac, but I’m not expecting it to be a production-ready platform at this time.

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Hi alL!


The M1 / ARM based Apple machines are not compatible with Zemax at this time as the licensing vendor (Thales LDK license types) we use doesn’t support it. And most customers that have tried Opticstudio have not even been able to open Opticstudio either, so there is likely some Windows features Opticstudio uses that aren’t yet compatible with ARM.  So for the forseeable future you will need an Intel Mac for Opticstudio.


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Thanks Don, I was pretty sure that was it.