In December 2020, Microsoft announced x64 apps emulation support for Windows 10 on ARM devices running preview builds from the Windows Insider program. Previously, Windows 10 on ARM supported only x86 emulation, a big downer for many users looking to get an ARM-based computer with Windows 10. x64 apps support brought not only improved compatibility but significant performance uplifts as well.
A year after the announcement, x64 emulation is now publicly available with one major caveat: only on Windows 11. If you have a Windows PC with an ARM processor and you do not plan to upgrade it to Windows 11 any time soon, do not expect Microsoft to deliver x64 emulation to you.
Microsoft confirmed it does not plan to bring x64 apps emulation to Windows 10 with the following statement to Thurrott.com:
"We have received questions about the status of x64 emulation in Windows 10. Microsoft wants to share an update that x64 emulation for Windows is only generally available in Windows 11. For those interested in experiencing x64 emulation, a PC running Windows 11 on Arm is required. Microsoft is committed to supporting customers on Windows 10 on Arm through October 14, 2025."
The software giant did not explain why it decided to leave Windows 10 on ARM users behind. There might have been some technical reasons behind the decision, but it is also not difficult to imagine Microsoft creating artificial limitations to force-upgrade users to Windows 11.
For people with regular laptops and desktops, Windows 11 may not offer enough reasons to justify the early upgrade. Users of ARM-based computers, such as Surface Pro X, now, on the other hand, have a solid reason to pull the trigger and move to Windows 11. Of course, they are free to stay with Windows 10 and x86 emulation only.
It is worth mentioning that all Windows on ARM computers officially support Windows 11, which means users should have no problems with upgrading their systems. According to its hardware requirements, Windows 11 supports the following CPUs from Qualcomm: 850, 7c, 7c Gen 2, 8c, 8cx, 8cx Gen 2, Microsoft SQ1, and Microsoft SQ2.
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