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SmartSDR v 3.5.9 on Windows 11 ARM Parallels VM


After having SmartSDR v3.5.9 crashing on my Windows 10 machine (I have a support ticket in for this), I tried installing SmartSDR v 3.5.9 on a Windows 11 ARM Parallels VM on my M1 Macbook Pro.

The good news was that the core application works flawlessly - I can connect to and run my 6400 without problem from the Win11 VM.

There are two challenges - First is that the CAT install fails with the error:

"SmartSDR CAT requires the FlexRadio Systems FlexVSP driver to be installed. Please reinstall SmartSDR to install this driver."

When I tried reinstalling, I receive the same error. When I follow the pointers to look for the FlexVSPInstall file, I can find the 32-bit file (no 64-bit file), but cannot find any way to run the file as administrator. After trying to solve the "run as administrator" issue with an unlicensed (free) version of Windows 11 without luck, I tried running the VSP installer, but it does not work.

The DAX install doesn't fail, but DAX won't connect. So DAX won't install and work correctly on the VM either.

With my Windows 10 install failing, I need CAT and DAX to work on the Windows 11 to enable x86-based KISS packet TNC's and other packet apps to work well in my M1 Mac Parallels environment. It seems that most of the applications - the Direwolf TNC, Winlink Express, Outpost (needed for RACES work), VARA FM and HF - seem to work ok on my Windows 11 VM's with x86 compatibility with my HT and FT-818ND - but I can't get things working with my Flex 6400/Transverter.

So.... with all this said, had anyone cracked this way of using SmartSDR on ARM-based Macs? ANy guidance is appreciated.


Scott KK6IK



  • wp4oxg
    wp4oxg Member ✭✭
    edited December 2023


    I don't think it will ever work. The W11 for ARM has a x86 translation layer for user-mode applications (like Rosetta for MacOS), which only work for applications and not for drivers. The Windows drivers have to run in the processor native mode: in your case ARM. That means that the CAT and the DAX drivers won't work, ever, at least with the x86 version of them (and I doubt an ARM SmartSDR version will come for W11).

    Your best bet is to use the SmartSDR software for macOS which is compatible with M1 (and should work with M2/M3), assuming it fits you.

    Best regards,

    Naubert, WP4OXG

  • snacey0103
    snacey0103 Member ✭✭

    @Mike va3mw

    Any chance that Flexradio is working on a Win 11 ARM compatible driver that would work on MacOS Parallels anytime soon? I really need this to allow use of Win 11 CAT and DAX to enable me to run the huge variety of x86-based Ham applications on my M1 Mac. I am meeting more and more HAMs that want an answer to this issue - and to enable them to get away from Intel/Win10-11.

    It seems that an Win 11 ARM-compatible FlexVSP COM driver is what is needed. SmartSDR x86 itself comes right up and runs fine on an M1 Mac, Parallels v19.2.1, Win 11 ARM VM.

    BTW - I love hearing you chat on Ham Radio Workbench every couple weeks. Keep it up. I may also give you a call on the FlexRadio customer line!

  • Mike-VA3MW
    Mike-VA3MW Administrator, FlexRadio Employee, Community Manager, Super Elmer, Moderator admin

    At this time, there is nothing on the road map regarding ARM.

    Make sure this is in the New Ideas section (I can't move it there) so that others can vote on it as a requirement.


  • snacey0103
    snacey0103 Member ✭✭

    I copied (vs moved) the request to the New Ideas section.

    SmartSDR Windows is soooo close to being able to provide full functionality on Win 11 ARM under Parallels.... Just one thing more to do :)


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