Microsoft has finally gotten around to documenting the limitation of running Windows 10 on an ARM powered device. We’ve always known that there would be compatibility issues with the range of devices set to be released later this year, but the details of which were kept under wraps until now.
The information, which appears on the Microsoft Windows Dev Centre, provides a full detailed list of what can be expected to happen when running on the ARM architecture. A list that we’ve compiled below.
- x64 applications will not run. The architecture currently only supports 32-bit x86 applications, although Microsoft has said that it will release an update for 64-bit support at some point in the future.
- x86 drivers will not work either. This essentially means that developers will have to create specific ARM64 drivers for their applications. It also means that any app that require x64 or x86 drivers will not work until a patch is released.
- Utilities that modify the Windows interface will not work. This refers to applications like cloud storage, assistive technologies (usually for the sight impaired), input method editors, and shell extensions. All of which will need to be rebuilt to run on an ARM system.
- OpenGL 1.2 and later will not work, nor will any application that requires hardware-accelerated OpenGL. Windows 10 on ARM supports DirectX 9 through 12, but that’s about it. Games that require older versions of DirectX will similarly not work.
- Windows Hyper Visor will not work. This is not entirely surprising, since the target market for ARM-based laptops are unlikely to require this feature. That said, it puts an end to the assumption that Hyper-V will work on every Windows system.
That’s not an entirely crippling list of limitations, and getting it out there will help prevent surprises from dampening the user experience. That said, it sure looks like there’s still a lot of work that needs to be put in to get Windows 10 on ARM working as seamlessly as it does on x86 machines.