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Windows 10 on ARM to Get 64-Bit x86 App Support Next Year

Posted September 30, 2020 | Windows | Windows 10 | Windows 10 on ARM

We already knew that Microsoft was bringing support for 64-bit x86 (x64) apps to Windows 10 on ARM. But now we have a schedule.

“We will … expand support for running x64 apps, with x64 emulation starting to roll out to the Windows Insider Program in November,” Microsoft’s Panos Panay explained. “We are working closely with Acer, HP, Lenovo, Samsung[,] and Surface to bring these Windows 10 on ARM innovations and products to our shared customers.”

“Windows Insider Program in November” probably means that Insiders in the Dev channel will be able to access x64 emulation at that time and that the code will ship to mainstream users by the end of 2021, probably in Windows 10 version 21H2.

Will this support put Windows 10 on ARM over the top? Not exactly: PCs built with this system will still be unable to use the millions of x86/Intel-type hardware drivers out that those with normal PCs can access. But this is a big step, even if emulated apps are very slow at first. And along with continued improvements to Qualcomm’s PC chipsets and Microsoft’s OS code, it should solve the biggest compatibility issues.

Aside from this x64 emulation news, Panay also shared a few other tidbits about Windows 10 on ARM. Microsoft Edge will be “faster while using less battery,” there’s a new native version of Teams coming soon, and Visual Studio Code is being updated and optimized for the niche platform.

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