Windows on Arm will support a lot more apps starting next month
- Microsoft has announced that 64-bit app emulation will be available for Windows on Arm next month.
- The function will first be offered to consumers in the Windows Insider Program.
- It allows users to run older 64-bit Windows apps like games and editing tools.
The first Windows on Arm laptops and convertibles were released in 2018 and offer Windows 10 on energy-saving Arm chips instead of x64 silicon from Intel and AMD. Microsoft used the emulation to allow 32-bit legacy apps to continue running on Windows on Arm. However, a 64-bit app emulation was previously not possible.
Now the Redmond company has announced (h / t: XDA developer) that it will actually bring a 64-bit app emulation for Windows on Arm next month. The company states that users of the Windows Insider Program will get the feature first, so users can generally expect to get it some time later.
This was one of the biggest omissions from Windows on Arm to date, as it meant that only 64-bit legacy apps like several creative Adobe apps and numerous games simply wouldn’t work on these computers (although 64-bit Arm Apps still work worked). So anyone who uses Adobe Premiere Pro CS5, the 64-bit version of Photoshop, or wants to play more games on Steam can theoretically do so, although performance, polish, and power consumption are yet to be seen.
However, there is still more room for improvement, especially when it comes to driver support on the Arm platform. In particular, Microsoft previously determined that drivers for hardware, games, and apps only work if they’re designed for Windows on Arm. In other words, those who rely on older peripherals seem largely out of luck for the time being. Hopefully we will see developments in this regard if Microsoft is not already focused on this issue.
Even so, our own Robert Triggs has been pretty pleased with the progress the platform has made lately. In particular, he found that even first-generation computers delivered significantly improved 32-bit app emulation and a wider range of native apps. However, both Rob and our Gary Sims agree that price is still a major barrier to entry for Windows on Arm computers.
Next: Microsoft Surface Pro X Review – All the pros and cons of Windows on Arm in one laptop