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Microsoft spills the beans on limitations of Windows 10 on ARM

Microsoft has been working on bringing Windows 10 to ARM chipsets for a couple of years now, with the first supported PCs set to go on sale this year. While Microsoft has demonstrated Windows running on ARM before, it has kept quiet about its various limitations. That changed this week when Microsoft accidentally published the details, before promptly erasing them.

While Microsoft’s official page no longer lists the limitations of Windows 10 on ARM, cached copies of the information are still available and sites like Thurrot managed to get the word out beforehand. So what are the limitations of Windows 10 on ARM? Well there are several big ones, one of them being the lack of support for x64 apps, and the lack of x86 driver support.

Image Credit: Qualcomm

Windows 10 on ARM can only support ARM64 drivers. The OS can run x86 apps via emulation, but the lack of driver support could prove to be an issue when it comes to supporting some hardware and peripheral setups. Next on the list is the lack of support for x64 apps, which can’t run natively or be emulated currently- Microsoft is planning to support this in the future though.

Certain apps won’t run, such as those that modify the Windows user interface. This includes input method editors, assistive technologies and cloud storage apps. In addition, apps that assume that all ARM-based devices are running Windows Phone OS may not work correctly, leading to UI errors or failing to load up at all, the impact of this is expected to be minimal though.

Finally, games that use a version of OpenGL 1.1 or later, or games that rely on anti-cheat drivers, won’t work. For now, that is the full list from Microsoft, whether or not these limitations will be worked out over time remains to be seen. Microsoft did take down the original post, so there is the possibility that some portions of information needed correcting, either that, or Microsoft just wasn’t ready to reveal this yet.

KitGuru Says: Windows on ARM was bound to have some limitations, but the interesting thing here is Microsoft’s apparent need to keep the details under wraps. Either way, it is all out there now, and when Windows ARM PCs begin selling this year, it will all be brought to light once again.

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