Windows 10 on ARM PCs will be able to emulate x64 apps later this year

Laurent Giret

Surface Pro X

Windows 10 on ARM is finally getting support for 64-bit legacy apps later this year. Microsoft’s Chief Hardware Office announced the news today on a blog post about the evolving the role of Windows PCs since the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic, highlighting the fact that Windows 10 on ARM PCs are starting to get real traction.

“We are excited about the momentum we are seeing from app partners embracing Windows 10 on ARM, taking advantage of the power and performance benefits of Qualcomm Snapdragon processors,” wrote Panay. Microsoft launched its own ARM-based Surface Pro X last year, though the app compatibility issues and poor performance offered by emulated 32-bit apps has been an ongoing problem.

“We will also expand support for running x64 apps, with x64 emulation starting to roll out to the Windows Insider Program in November,” Panay said today. Microsoft will also continue to push more developers to recompile their apps for the ARM64 architecture, and the company is leading the way with new versions of Microsoft Edge and Visual Studio code that run natively on Windows 10 on ARM. An ARM64 version of Microsoft Teams is also in the works, which should provide improved performance and reliability.

“For organizations, we’re committed to helping them ensure their apps work with Windows 10 and Microsoft 365 Apps on ARM64 devices with App Assure. 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,” Panay also said today. It’s still early days for Windows 10 on ARM, but Microsoft seems to do the right things to make sure the platform can finally take off.