Microsoft removes document detailing limitations of Windows 10 on ARM

Remigio Civitarese
Febbraio 19, 2018

When Microsoft first announced it was working with Qualcomm to port its Windows 10 operating system to the company's Snapdragon Arm chips, it was at pains to distance the project from the disastrous and quickly-abandoned cut-down Windows RT.

Developer Ben in a tweet has confirmed that it's possible to hack Microsoft Lumia 950 XL and run Windows 10 ARM on it, but it's hard. This list must have been published by accident, as the software giant removed it over the weekend so only cached copies of the information are available. "Bootstrapping a normal Windows 10 ARM (not PE) means bootstrapping own AArch64 firmware and drivers, which will be hell hard", he explains.

Windows 10 on ARM limitations:Only ARM64 drivers are supported.

x64 apps are not supported.

"With Windows 10 we have created the most secure version of Windows by simplifying the platform and developing Windows Defender Advanced Threat Protection - unified platform for endpoint security that helps to stop intruders". Microsoft is planning to support these in the future at some point, though.

Certain games don't work. Microsoft says that games and apps that use a version of OpenGL later than 1.1 or that require hardware-accelerated OpenGL won't work on Windows 10 on ARM. Basically, Windows 10 on ARM brings mobility to the laptops as it has a power-efficient design, impressive battery life and always connected data connection.

Apps that customize the Windows experience may not work correctly. Apps like assistitive technologies or input method editors won't work properly on Windows 10 on ARM. Cloud storage apps commonly use shell extensions (for example, icons in Explorer and additions to right-click menus); their shell extensions may fail, and if the failure is not handled gracefully, the app itself may not work at all. Some apps that have been coded for Windows Phone won't work correctly and could appear in the wrong orientation or have UI layout problems. Running any virtual machines using Hyper-V on an ARM device will not work.

It seems that for most Windows users, Windows 10 on ARM will support common apps and scenarios. We're still waiting to test an ARM-powered Windows 10 laptop to see if the battery life is what has been promised, and whether performance for desktop apps is reasonable enough.

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