Microsoft removes document showing limitations of Windows 10 on ARM

By midian182 · 9 replies
Feb 19, 2018
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  1. It was way back in December 2016 when Microsoft announced its plans for Windows 10 on ARM devices. A year later, Asus, HP, and Lenovo unveiled the first of these laptops, and while they may boast an “all-day” battery life, a recent document published by Microsoft has revealed some of the platform’s limitations.

    First spotted by Paul Thurrott, it appears that the Redmond firm posted the "Limitations of apps and experiences on ARM" document by accident, seeing as it was removed over the weekend. But if you didn’t catch it first time around, there are cached copies available.

    We already knew that Windows 10 on ARM does not support emulation of x64 (64-bit) apps and can only run 32-bit desktop applications. The document reiterates this but Microsoft is planning to introduce support at some point in the future. It also says that while it can run x86 apps, it can’t use x86 drivers—it will require native ARM64 drivers instead. This means limited hardware support compared to the standard version of Windows 10, making it more like Windows S.

    There’s bad news for gamers, too, as Microsoft says certain titles won’t function. Older games and apps that use hardware-accelerated OpenGL or versions of DirectX older than DX9 won’t run, and neither will games that use anti-cheat technologies.

    The Windows Hypervisor Platform is not supported on ARM, so users won’t be able to run virtual machines using Hyper-V on the devices. And apps that customize the Windows user experience, such as assistive technologies, shell extensions, and input method editors, will not work. It’s noted that cloud storage apps that use shell extensions, including Dropbox, may fail unless they are recompiled for Windows on ARM.

    Finally, apps that assume all ARM-based devices are running a mobile version of Windows may appear in the wrong orientation or present unexpected UI layout issues.

    Despite these limitations, the majority of modern apps and games should run on Windows on ARM devices, but the fact Microsoft pulled the page suggest it’s worried that potential buyers could be put off. We’ll learn more once the first devices go on sale.

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    Last edited by a moderator: Feb 19, 2018
  2. JaredTheDragon

    JaredTheDragon TS Guru Posts: 402   +266

    Still waiting for a reason to think that using ARM chips for actual computing is a good idea. No 64-bit, no way.
  3. trparky

    trparky TS Evangelist Posts: 354   +219

    If you need really low power, ARM is the way to do it. So far, try as they might, Intel has yet to produce an x86 chip capable of the kinds of low power usage that ARM chips have which results in a very long running time on battery.
  4. JaredTheDragon

    JaredTheDragon TS Guru Posts: 402   +266

    Yes, but low-power doesn't mean high-efficiency, necessarily. For example, both AMD and Intel's low-power chips still demolish ARMs designs for power-per-watt efficiency. But with Windows for ARM, we can't even properly test or utilize ARM since it doesn't even support >4GB applications. I don't even know if Maya ships with a 32-bit version anymore.
  5. trparky

    trparky TS Evangelist Posts: 354   +219

    Yes and I understand that but Maya isn't going to be running on systems like these. The ARM chip-based Windows systems are going to be systems that run in the field doing low-power, low-computing activities. You don't need a lot of power for all things.
    JaredTheDragon likes this.
  6. JaredTheDragon

    JaredTheDragon TS Guru Posts: 402   +266

    Agreed, that would be their purpose. What's the TDP on the Snap 845 for example? I believe it's 5W, vs. around 15W from AMD or Intel. That's 3x the power roughly, but what's the performance gain? That's pretty much what we'd need to know to make a decision for something like that. If it's only a 300% gain, then it's even-Steven. If it's say 400% or higher, then the ARM chips lose.
  7. trparky

    trparky TS Evangelist Posts: 354   +219

    I don't know, I've not looked into it that deeply.
  8. Eddo22

    Eddo22 TS Booster Posts: 168   +11

    "Older games and apps that use hardware-accelerated OpenGL or versions of DirectX older than DX9 won’t run"

    DGVoodoo2 Wrapper to the rescue! (at least for d3d)
  9. fktech

    fktech TS Addict Posts: 271   +79

    Stay away!!! Good Article, thanks for the warning.
  10. Ben Myers

    Ben Myers TS Enthusiast Posts: 68   +21

    Well, of course! This is a classic propaganda ploy, long practiced by totalitarian governments and Microsoft. Easy. Delete any negative information. Thereafter, deny that it exists.

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