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Microsoft to bring 64-bit x86 Windows apps to ARM-powered PCs with new emulator

By on September 30, 2020 0

If you have a Windows 10 PC built on an ARM processor, you’ve probably realized that your system comes with one key limitation: it can’t run traditional 64-bit Windows apps designed for Intel or AMD systems.

But on Wednesday, Microsoft revealed in a blog post that it is working on a solution: The company is preparing an emulator for ARM-based devices capable of running 64-bit Windows x86 applications.

The emulator will begin rolling out in November in beta through the Windows Insider program, which anyone can sign up for. The company made the announcement as Microsoft said more application partners are adopting Windows over ARM, which includes products such as the Surface Pro X, Lenovo Flex 5G, and Samsung Galaxy Book S.

The emulator promises to make the products a bit more attractive. Windows on ARM devices are best suited for running 32-bit and 64-bit applications specifically designed for the ARM architecture. But many software vendors have yet to port their PC applications to architecture. As a result, ARM-based hardware faces a limited application library compared to all the traditional applications available for an Intel or AMD Windows PC.

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Microsoft has not revealed anything else about the emulator. So we’ll have to wait and see if it goes well or if it ends up providing a mediocre and slow experience. Currently, Windows 10 on ARM devices can only run 32-bit Windows x86 apps through an emulator. However, running 32-bit apps can still be slow, as we pointed out in our Surface Pro X review. So don’t be surprised if the emulator comes with some limitations.

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