Windows 10 on ARM on Raspberry Pi is off to a good start

JC Torres - Feb 9, 2018
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Windows 10 on ARM on Raspberry Pi is off to a good start

Windows 10 is popping up in some odd places, like old phones and ARM boards. It’s all unofficial, of course, but it might still serve to spark some interest in taking Microsoft’s operating system to places where Microsoft itself might have given up on. We’ve seen both Windows RT and a smidgen of Windows 10 on ARM running on Lumia phones. Now Dutch developer Bas Timmer, a.k.a. @NTAuthority, has brought Windows 10, again its ARM version, to a device that Microsoft already half supports: the Raspberry Pi 3.

The Raspberry Pi, or RPi to its fans, has become the go-to single-board computer or SBC for many a DIY project, mod, or hack. Its meager hardware, not to mention its ARM processor, doesn’t exactly lend itself well to running a heavyweight operating system like Windows 10 on it. Or does it?

Things might have changed a bit when Microsoft started its Windows 10 on ARM thrust. While practically focusing on Qualcomm Snapdragon processors, it still opened the door for running a more or less desktop version of Windows 10 on ARM devices, like the said Raspberry Pi. That’s more or less the same desktop experience you’d get on any x86 computer, save for the limitation of running only Windows Store apps that are compiled for ARM as well.

It’s not perfect, mind. Not even close. Currently, it only uses one of the four Cortex-A53 cores on the Raspberry Pi 3, which means it’s painfully slow. And, as mentioned, your software choices are limited, but Windows 10 on ARM does x86 emulation, but you’ll probably not want to try that yet given its performance.

Microsoft actually does already have an officially supported version of Windows 10 for the RPi, but Windows 10 IoT Core, as it is called, is a streamlined and simplified version meant for, as its name says, IoT projects. Definitely not for running a full-blown desktop. How far this little RPi project will go, only Timmer will be able to say. But it definitely has Windows fans talking.


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