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Microsoft Reportedly Working on 64-bit App Emulation for Windows on ARM

Posted November 13, 2019 | Microsoft | Qualcomm | Snapdragon | Windows | Windows 10 | Windows on ARM


Microsoft’s Windows on ARM platform has been around for a little while now. And although there’s already a number of devices from multiple different OEMs running Windows on ARM, Microsoft only recently entered the market with its Surface Pro X.

The Surface Pro X showed that Microsoft is fully committed to Windows on ARM, and the company has also been hard at work getting more apps to work on Windows on ARM devices. The devices already support 32-bit apps via emulation, though that means that Windows on ARM devices can’t run apps that are only available on 64-bit. That could change soon, though.

Neowin reports that Microsoft is working on adding support for 64-bit apps on Windows on ARM. The company is apparently working on bringing x64 apps to Windows on ARM via emulation, though it’s not clear exactly when that will be available. The company would have to add support for 64-bit apps to its Windows on Windows abstraction layer that allows 32-bit x86 apps to run on ARM devices.

Microsoft could introduce support for 64-bit apps with Windows 10 21H1 sometime in the first half of 2021, but it’s all pretty uncertain for now. Considering the feature seems to be early in development, there’s also a lot of questions around how the emulation will actually work. Plus, there are also concerns around the emulated performance, which was one of the main reasons Microsoft didn’t make 64-bit emulation a thing on Windows on ARM in the first place. But considering the rate at which Qualcomm is upgrading its Snapdragon processors for Windows on ARM devices, the performance issues may no longer be a problem in the future.

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