Here Are All The Things Windows 10 On ARM Can't Do

Image: kevinpartner / Pixabay

OK, time to cool your jets: Yes, Windows 10 can run natively on ARM platforms... with some limitations. Microsoft has released documentation outlining exactly what those restrictions are and well, there's a lot.

Probably the biggest limitation is support for x64 applications. While x86 emulation is available, Windows 10 on ARM won't have a bar of its bit brother (terrible pun intended).

Understandably, drivers must be complied for ARM to work and any program that assumes you're running Windows on a desktop platform will likely explode:

As with all architectures, kernel-mode drivers, User-Mode Driver Framework (UMDF) drivers, and print drivers must be compiled to match the architecture of the OS. ... Native OS components cannot load non-native components. Examples of apps that commonly do this include some input method editors (IMEs), assistive technologies, and cloud storage apps. IMEs and assistive technologies often to hook into the input stack for much of their app functionality.

Some 3D games may also run into trouble, as only OpenGL 1.1 is supported... and that's not even hardware-accelerated apparently. Good news on the DirectX front however: APIs from 9 to 12 (so all the relevant ones) will work fine for x86 applications.

Finally, forget about virtual machines using Hyper-V. Not that surprising, considering there's enough emulation going on as it is.

Microsoft has a small troubleshooting section available, which you'll find on the same page.

Limitations of apps and experiences on ARM [Microsoft, via Neowin]


    Most of this probably doesn't matter for the kind of end users who will want these devices - most of their general apps are probably 32bit anyway, and most people don't care about no VM support.

    But issues with UWP apps, need for native drivers, and some other software incompatibilities? The question for end users will be whether it's worth hoping for support or just giving up and either getting an x86 laptop (with full support) or continuing on with their iPad.

      Drivers shouldn't be too much of an issue except for printers. All the hardware in the machine will come with correct drivers out of the box. If these take off, I'd expect to see printer drivers start to appear as well.

        True, but this is a chicken and egg scenario - the platform will die without adequate support but it won’t get adequate support unless people use it... which they won’t if it has inadequate support.

          I don't think so. Most people that buy a machine buy based on price and whatever specs the seller advertises. The average person doesn't and probably won't care about the CPU architecture at purchase time.

            Well they certainly did with Windows RT - granted a different case since it lacked an x86 emulation layer, but the reason people choose Windows is for compatibility.

    Would wireless/network printing work? I wonder if printers that can print with android/ios would work.

    Good to see Windows run on it, but it seems you'd get more practicality out of it of you ran Raspbian or other common Linux-based Pi distros...

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