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Windows 10 on ARM Runs All Win32 Apps Unmodified

We've known that Microsoft is developing a new version of Windows 10 specifically to run on ARM for quite some time now. In fact, the first Windows 10 on ARM PCs using Qualcomm's Snapdragon 835 processor are expected later this year. Yesterday, Microsoft made it clear the ARM version of Windows 10 is a fully-functional and seamless experience.

A Windows 10 on ARM video was released yesterday at Build 2017. You can watch it below. It goes into detail about how Microsoft manages to emulate x86 Win32 applications on the ARM platform. But the biggest takeaway from the video for end users is just how seamless it is.

An ARM PC running Windows 10 can be treated just like any other PC. That means any Win32 application can be downloaded, installed, and run unmodified and as if you're on an x86 machine.

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Windows 10 on ARM translates all the x86 instructions to ARM64 at runtime so as the user gets the exact same experience regardless of what their base hardware is. Those translations are also cached, meaning over time all the applications you use regularly will improve in performance. The example Microsoft uses in the video above is 7-Zip, which is downloaded from the web and installed.

With no application restrictions and no requirement to use the Windows Store for software, Windows 10 on ARM is much less restricted than Windows 10 S. It's what Windows RT should have been, and it's sure to prove popular with manufacturers offering ARM-based PCs.

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