After announcing the arrival of the function already last September, Microsoft has finally made available a first version of Windows 10 for ARM capable of emulating apps and programs designed for x64. Do ARM PCs Now Have a Chance Against New Apple Silicon Macs?
Until now, Windows 10 PCs based on ARM architecture were able to run through emulation only applications and programs designed for Intel 32-bit architecture or native code compiled for ARM32 or ARM64 architectures. With this new update, Microsoft finally makes all the software designed to run on the classic version of Windows 10, even 64-bit ones, executable also on these computers.
The execution through emulation of the x64 code is undoubtedly a huge step forward to bridge the gap between the number of apps optimized for ARM architecture and classic PCs.
“In this preview, you can install x64 apps from the Microsoft Store or any other location of your choice,” Microsoft said. “You can try key x64-only productivity apps like Autodesk Sketchbook, as well as games like Rocket League. Other applications, such as Chrome, which today run on ARM64 as 32-bit applications, can run in 64-bit using the new x64 emulation capability”.
According to Microsoft, the update is still in development and takes longer to finalize. The Windows 10 update that enables the new feature is for now available, in fact, only for Insiders who use the Windows builds of the Dev channel . The build in question is 20277 , however this is an optional update and will not be installed automatically.
Microsoft recommends installing the latest Qualcomm graphics drivers and downloading the preview version of ARM C++ redistributable, which will not be necessary when the update arrives as a stable release.
Unfortunately, you won’t have to hope for the same performance Apple has managed to achieve for its new Apple M1 chip-based Macs. The performance gap is substantial and may never be bridged due to hardware changes on the Apple chip that improve performance when running emulated x86 / x64 code.