Install SQL Server on Windows In Parallels: M1/M2 Without Docker

In this tutorial, we are going to share with you a working solution that allows us to run Microsoft SQL Server on M1/M2 on Parallels Desktop without using Docker.

Install SQL Server on Windows In Parallels: M1/M2 Without Docker

At this point, changing architectures is like a party trick when it comes to Apple. One of the most renowned features of nerds/geeks when Apple was on the Intel world was the ability to dual boot and run Windows applications natively on the machine.

However, now that Apple has switched to Arm-Based architecture, the ability to run arm-based Windows applications on the mac has become a diminishing dream.

Even with tools such as Parallels desktop that allows us to run Windows on Mac and the associated applications, you are bound to encounter applications that cannot natively run on arm.

One such application is SQL Server. Over the years, I have searched for a solution of running SQL Server graphical interface on arm-based Windows when using Parallels desktop.

Although most solutions will tell you to run on Docker, I have recently faced many issues on Docker desktop and even if we get it running, using SQL Server on Docker is actually kinda annoying and requires an unnecessary amount of work.

That is why I decided to figure out a different solution and luckily, I found one thanks to one awesome open-source developer.


Now before we begin, it is good to ensure that we have a similar or near-similar environment to ensure maximum compatibility.

  • Apple M1/M2
  • Parallels Desktop (tested on v19.0.0 (Build: 54570)
  • Windows 11 for ARM64.

Once you have the neccessary tools installed and configured, let us proceed with the installation.


The installation methods and scripts provided in this tutorial supports the following editions of SQL Server.

  • Microsoft SQL 2019 Express.
  • Microsoft SQL 2019 Developer.
  • Microsoft SQL 2022 Express.
  • Microsoft SQL 2022 Developer.

Installing SQL Server on M1/M2 Parallels Desktop

To install, start by launching Windows PowerShell as adminstrator and execute the command below:

Set-ExecutionPolicy RemoteSigned

Once you run the command above, it will set the execution poly to allow you to external PowerShell scripts.

The next step is to download the Installer Powershell scripts. The link to download the PowerShell scripts is provided below:

Head over the folder where you have stored the zip file. In most cases, this should be in the Downloads folder.

Right clikc the zip and extract the contents of this zip.

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Ensure to extract the files in the C:/ in the Parallels VM.

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In the extracted files, you will find the following files.

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In the next step, launch Powershell ISE with administrator privileges.

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Open the .ps file for the version of SQL Server you wish to install. For example, say we want to install SQL Server 2022, we can open the install2022Express.ps1.

Open the file with PowerShell ISE and click run.

If you do not want to use PowerShell ISE, you can right click the corresponding .bat file and wait for the setup to being. The scripts will take care of everything from install to configuration.

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This process will automatically download and install the latest SQL Server along with SSMS.

By default, access to SSMS is granted via Windows Authentication only.

The provided scripts have a default Collation of SQL_Latin1_General_CP1_CS_AS.
Should you desire to modify this setting, you can do so by editing the variable $sqlInstallArgs within the respective .ps file before proceeding to execute it in previous step.

So relax and let everything is setup.


In this tutorial, we showed you all the steps and tools you can use to download and run Microsoft SQL Server on Windows running on M1/M2 on Parallels Desktop.

We want to say special thanks to Ayusha Jaiswal for making this possible. You can find his work here:

Salute to open-source devs like him!

:) We will see you in the next one, ator Gator!

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