Microsoft debuted Windows 10 for ARM-based processors in December last year, first showcasing Snapdragon 835-powered devices at Qualcomm’s Snapdragon Tech Summit. At CES 2018, many more devices from the traditional Microsoft OEM partners were showed off, but these are also yet to hit markets.
Since many reviewers and tech writers are yet to use the ARM Windows devices, there was very little information on what’s different from the Intel or AMD versions, compared to Windows 10 on ARM. In order to provide more clarity, Microsoft recently published documentation highlighting the limitations of the new platform, which might put off some power users:
Only ARM64 drivers supported
Windows 10 on ARM will only be able to emulate ARM64 apps and drivers implements for other architectures (including x64 and x86) are not supported on the platform. Apps that require their own customer driver will need to be ported to ARM64 in order to work. However, in certain scenarios, apps may run as x86 under emulations but the driver portion of the app should be ported to ARM64.
x64 apps are not supported
Windows 10 on ARM doesn’t support emulation of x64 apps, which means that 32-bit apps will not work on the platform. Since the ARM64 machines support 64-bit apps, developers will have to switch to the new API in order to make their apps work on the platform.
Some games won’t work
Games and apps that make use of OpenGL version 1.1 or later or ones which require hardware-accelerated OpenGL won’t work on the platform. Additionally, Windows 10 on ARM won’t support games that rely on “anti-cheat” drivers.
Limited shell customization
As Microsoft notes, “Native OS components cannot load non-native components.” Which means that apps that customize the OS, including input method editors, assistive technologies, and cloud storage applications, won’t work on the platform. Essentially, any program that customizes the shell won’t work on Windows 10 on ARM.
Apps that have been developed specifically for mobile devices won’t work properly. They may appear “in the wrong orientation, present unexpected UI layout or rendering” or fail to start altogether.
No Hypervisor Platform
Users will not be able to run or create any virtual machines that make use of Hyper-V, not even with a third-party solution.