Microsoft Windows 10 on ARM Limitations Revealed: no Hyper-V or OpenGL Support

Late last year, Qualcomm formally announced the Snapdragon 845 system-on-chip at its annual technology summit. But the 845 wasn’t the only thing the company spoke about during the event. Microsoft is collaborating with Qualcomm to get x86 Windows programs up and running on ARM chips, and it was during the summit we heard more about the project. Initially, it seemed as though Windows apps would run the same on ARM chips as on x86 chips. However, we’ve now learned some of the limitations.

Thanks to a leaked Microsoft support document (courtesy Paul Thurrott), here’s what we know about Windows 10 on ARM-based devices:

  • 64-bit applications will not run on this new type of hardware (at first).
  • Desktop applications will run, but only 32-bit versions — support for 64-bit apps will be added later.
  • Certain classes of applications will not run. This includes, but is not limited to, utilities that modify the Windows user interface, input method editors (IMEs), assistive technologies, and cloud storage apps.
  • Hyper-V will not work on the platform. Hyper-V, formerly known as Windows Server Virtualization, is used to create virtual machines on x86-64 systems running Windows. So if this was of interest to you, be aware that it isn’t going to work on ARM chips.
  • Some older games and graphic applications will not work because the Windows 10 on ARM platform lacks support for OpenGL. It supports DirectX 9, DirectX 10, DirectX 11, and DirectX 12, but apps and games that use hardware-accelerated OpenGL are a no-go.

While Qualcomm was showing off the Snapdragon 845 for upcoming smartphones, the Snapdragon 835 received some love, too. Microsoft talked about its partnership with Qualcomm, and we learned about the benefits of Windows on ARM devices, which include longer battery life, near-instantaneous wake from sleep, and background downloads of emails and other updates even when devices is switched off. OEMs such as Lenovo, HP, and ASUS were in attendance to show off new products.

However, no matter how much hype surrounds Windows on ARM devices, it’s clear that there’s some work to be done before it’ll replace conventional x86 laptops and tablets.

Source: Paul Thurrot