Microsoft Introduces x64 Emulation to Windows 10 on ARM PCs

Image: Microsoft

Those of you who own a Surface Pro X or other Windows 10 on ARM device may want to check out Microsoft’s latest preview build (21277), as it introduces a feature that’s been long awaited: support for x64 apps. This is a major boon for fans of productivity software and games such as Autodesk Sketchbook and Rocket League, as these programs are available in 64-bit versions only. The new emulation capability also allows applications with both x32 and x64 support (e.g., Google Chrome) to run in 64-bit.

“When we first launched Windows 10 on ARM in late 2017, the long tail of apps customers needed were dominated by 32-bit-only x86 applications, so we focused our efforts on building an x86 emulator that could run the broad ecosystem of Windows apps seamlessly and transparently,” Microsoft explained.

“Over time, the ecosystem has moved more toward 64-bit-only x64 apps and we’ve heard the feedback that customers would like to see those x64 apps running on ARM64. That’s why we are working on expanding the capability of our emulation to include x64 applications and sharing this first preview to gather feedback.”

For best app performance, Microsoft is recommending that Samsung Galaxy Book S, Lenovo Flex 5G, and Surface Pro X users update to the preview version of Qualcomm’s Adreno graphics driver.

A preview version of the ARM64 C++ redistributable can also be downloaded to enable running both ARM64 and x64 C++ applications simultaneously. “These steps will not be required in future Insider Preview builds,” Microsoft noted.

Recent News