Windows 8 ARM details revealed in massive blog post

As we reported on Thursday, Microsoft posted up a huge update to its official Windows 8 developer blog. In the massive 8,617 word post, Microsoft's lead on Windows 8, Steven Sinofsky, reveals a lot more about Microsoft's plans for Windows 8 for ARM-based processors and devices. Previously, Microsoft has been pretty silent about what the differences will be between Windows on ARM (or WOA as Microsoft refers to it) and the more traditional Windows 8 that will run on for x86 (Intel/AMD) processors.

There's just no way to crunch down all of what Sinofsky wrote but here are the broad highlights of his post:

Windows 8 ARM will be used just like Windows 8 x86

Sinofsky states at the beginning of the blog that users of Windows 8 on ARM-based hardware will have the same user experience as those who use Windows 8 on x86-based devices. He says:

You will sign in the same way. You will start and launch apps the same way. You will use the new Windows Store the same way. You will have access to the intrinsic capabilities of Windows, from the new Start screen and Metro style apps and Internet Explorer, to peripherals, and if you wish, the Windows desktop with tools like Windows File Explorer and desktop Internet Explorer.

Office 15 will be included in Windows 8 ARM devices

Microsoft Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and OneNote will all be included in some way in Windows 8 ARM devices, with Sinofsky saying that the full desktop UI will be there along with touch screen capacities.

Don't look for a Windows 8 ARM software box in a retail store

The ARM version of Windows 8 will only be available to consumers when they purchase an ARM product with Windows 8 already installed. It will not be sold as a separate software product.

Windows 8 ARM has three processor partners

Microsoft is working with NVIDIA, Qualcomm, and Texas Instruments to help develop Windows 8 ARM and to make sure that the OS works well with any ARM hardware that has processors made by those companies.

The familiar Windows desktop UI will be a part of Windows 8 ARM

Sinofsky states it was important for Microsoft to retain the familiar Windows desktop enviroment for the ARM version instead of ditching it for the Metro interface. He states:

To us, giving up something useful that has little cost to customers was a compromise that we didn’t want to see in the evolution of PCs.

You don't "turn off" a PC with Windows 8 ARM installed

Sinofsky states that instead of the usual hibernate and sleep modes, a PC with Windows 8 ARM will operate under Connected Standy power mode, which is something Microsoft discussed in detail an earlier Windows 8 blog post. He states:

When the screen is on, you have access to the full power and capabilities of the WOA PC. When the screen goes dark (by pressing the power button or timer), the PC enters a new, very low-power mode that enables the battery to last for weeks.

Developing Windows 8 on ARM takes a lot of work

Creating the next version of Windows to work on ARM processors is harder than it might seem at first. Each Windows 8 ARM-based hardware device will be, in some way, unique, unlike x86 based Windows PCs which all share a common standard. Sinofsky states:

Engineering for ARM starts with the work we did to architect the Windows kernel so it could boot and run on ARM. As you might imagine, this was a significant effort. Some might believe that this is work along the lines of porting or merely re-compiling the code for a new instruction set. There’s much more to the work than that when it comes to the kernel and the parts of Windows that connect with hardware. Along with the kernel work, we also had the work to develop the ARM compilers and tools (including Visual Studio), for building Windows.

Booting, devices, and buses

Sinofsky goes into a lot of technical detail in the blog about how Windows 8 on ARM will handle the boot process, using both UEFI firmware as well as firmware-based TPM. He also goes into detail on how Windows 8 ARM hardware will load device drivers stating, " ... we had to build several new drivers for new types of low-power busses, plus device drivers that support connections to those busses."

DirectX support

Windows 8 ARM hardware products will support DirectX-based GPUs that will be used to help accelerate graphics in the upcoming Internet Explorer 10 web browser, along with Metro-based apps and the Windows UI

Other Windows 8 ARM features

If you get a Window 8 ARM-based product you can expect additional driver support for features like printers, mobile broadband connections, GPS, Bluetooth and being able to automatically update software via Windows Update. It will also support tablet features like sensors for moving the Windows 8 display from portrait to landscape mode, among others.

Showing Windows 8 ARM in action..on a Windows Phone

The blog post also had pictures of an early build of Windows 8 ARM running on an early Windows Phone model, made by ASUS. Sinofsky says, "Early in the development of WOA, the only hardware we had were existing ARM devices such as phones (ARM tablets didn’t yet exist)."

Testing Windows 8 ARM

Microsoft couldn't just buy a bunch of hardware and servers to test Windows 8 on ARM like they could for the x86 version of the OS. It had to come up with something new. Sinofsky states:

We consolidated hundreds of ARM development boards along with a custom I/O board into a rack assembly connected to our testing infrastructure. Our original design focused on density supporting 300 ARM devices in one rack, but we ultimately preferred the diagnostics and availability of a custom I/O board in the 1U setup.

You can see a picture of the ARM testing rack below. Sinofsky each of their custom build racks holds 32 PCs running Windows 8 ARM and Microsoft will have 100 of these racks assembled for Windows 8 ARM testing.

Still no running or emulation of Windows 8 x86 apps on Windows 8 ARM

While Microsoft has been fairly clear about this point before, Sinofsky has once again confirmed that no Windows 8 ARM product will be able to run native x86 apps or allow for any emulation of those kinds of apps. If developers have already have made apps for Windows 8 X86, they will need to do some programming to make them work on Windows 8 ARM. Sinofsky states:

Many apps will be best served by building new Metro style front ends for existing data sources or applications, and communicating through a web services API. ...Other existing applications will be well served by reusing large amounts of engine or runtime code, and surrounding that with a Metro style experience.

Windows 8 ARM-based PCs will be labeled as such

Sinofsky says that when a consumer purchases a Windows 8 PC, there will be labeling that will make it clear if such a PC is based on the x86 processor or based on the ARM-themed processor.

Microsoft will be sending out a few Windows 8 ARM-based devices for testing

The company plans to offer a "low volume" of Windows 8 ARM-based PCs to a certain number of developers and hardware partners for testing purposes in the near future. Sinofsky states that these PCs are designed for development and diagnostic purposes only and are not supposed to be representative of final Windows 8 ARM-based products

Microsoft knows that leaked screenshots of Windows 8 ARM PCs showing up on the web are inevitable

If you think that you have a shot at getting one of these Windows 8 ARM development PCs, you might want to think again. Sinofsky says these PC have already been claimed. He states:

We are talking about this not to tease you or to solicit nominations, but because we know word will get out and images of these will be on the web. The devices are all already spoken for and allocated. On the one hand it seems a little cruel to dangle this in front of you, but on the other hand it is worth considering that this level of transparency is a hallmark of how we develop Windows.

Images via Microsoft

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Please confirm my understanding that a user wont be able to install any Windows Desktop programs on ARM even if they existed. The only new programs you can instal on an ARM based machine must have been written for Metro on ARM.

derekaw said,
Please confirm my understanding that a user wont be able to install any Windows Desktop programs on ARM even if they existed. The only new programs you can instal on an ARM based machine must have been written for Metro on ARM.

On ARM only signed "desktop" programs are allowed.

MFH said,

On ARM only signed "desktop" programs are allowed.

Do developers have access to create these programs or just MS?

derekaw said,

Do developers have access to create these programs or just MS?


Only MS - the point of signing. It may happen that selected developers get access to these APIs from MS (as it happend with WP7)…

Any app in the windows store will be signed by microsoft following a screening process.
"Signing and publishing. In this final step, we'll sign the packages you submitted with a trusted certificate that matches the technical details of your developer account. This provides customers with the assurance that the app is certified by the Windows Store and hasn't been tampered with. We'll then publish your app packages to the Store, along with all of the other data that will be visible in your app listing page, so that millions of Windows 8 users will be able to find, acquire, and enjoy your app."
Not sure if this applies to desktop apps as well as metro apps.

Is a windows program written for Metro the same on 86 and ARM? The answer is no right? So if I want to write a Metro program I need to write it twice?

Never mind what the geeks say, does anyone think Windows 8 will sell 100 million copies in the first full quarter of release? That's the only metric that matters.

..no existing x86 or x64 apps will run on the ARM version of Windows...

In my opinion WOA will have the fatal future just like Windows 7 starter (someone still remember it ? ).
Microsoft can't hold the stick at both ends.

alexalex said,
..no existing x86 or x64 apps will run on the ARM version of Windows..

Not a big surprise seeing as the ARM processor isn't x86 compatible, hardly Microsoft's fault. I'm sure you'll see ARM builds of the more popular programs, and of course the dotNET based stuff will run regardless of what processor it's on.

Max Norris said,
of course the dotNET based stuff will run regardless of what processor it's on.

See post above about native code.

.NET stuff will only run if you set your output target to "Any CPU". during the push toward x64 many .net apps were targeting x64. those would need to be recompiled.

alexalex said,
..no existing x86 or x64 apps will run on the ARM version of Windows...

In my opinion WOA will have the fatal future just like Windows 7 starter (someone still remember it ? ).
Microsoft can't hold the stick at both ends.

You have no idea what your talking about, sorry but you dont.

Arm = iPad competitor. You want the benefits of long battery and dont need legacy apps - ARM. Metro apps will be here in abundance soon enough, look at iPad apps and realise that was staning start, Windows 8 for ARM and non ARM in terms of metro apps will have a massive following of devs from the get go.

dotf said,

See post above about native code.

.NET stuff will only run if you set your output target to "Any CPU". during the push toward x64 many .net apps were targeting x64. those would need to be recompiled.


Totally stupid! The Common Intermediate Language is 100% platform independent…

dotf said,
Visual C++ 11 comes with ARM compilers.

Desktop applications can be built (recompiled) for ARM, but will they.....................

I think it will be too expensive to convert software to ARM just because the platform exists. I think the only software that will be converted to run on ARM will be consumer level software that is ideal for tables with ARM. Like Quicken for example. But it makes more sense to just create a Metro version that is better designed for a tablet. Keep in mind that right now ARM is only for tablets. Or have they mentioned an ARM based desktop computer?

dotf said,
Visual C++ 11 comes with ARM compilers.

Desktop applications can be built (recompiled) for ARM, but will they.....................

Visual Studio 11 will only come with ARM compilers that target WinRT and will only compile Metro apps. They wouldn't give us Win32 API compilers for ARM.

I'm concerned as a software developer that writes business software that won't be redone in Metro. I'm worried my customers will buy a new Windows 8 tablet, only to find my software won't install on it. I hope they make this clear to the consumer when available.

rev23dev said,
I'm concerned as a software developer that writes business software that won't be redone in Metro. I'm worried my customers will buy a new Windows 8 tablet, only to find my software won't install on it. I hope they make this clear to the consumer when available.

In other words, you are thinking your customers will buy only WOA tablets, slates, and netbooks, ignoring fully x86/64 tablets, slates. netbooks, etc.

Is your customer base (since you mentioned line-of-business software, we're talking enterprises) that clueless? (Rather, is the support staff that clueless?)

rev23dev said,
I'm concerned as a software developer that writes business software that won't be redone in Metro. I'm worried my customers will buy a new Windows 8 tablet, only to find my software won't install on it. I hope they make this clear to the consumer when available.

They already have... You have NOTHING to worry about.

You may have to recompile and change some x86 specific code for the ARM version, but you are not forced to use Metro and you are not forced to give up your existing work.

When Microsoft FIRST demonstrated Win8 running on ARM, they were running a 'recompiled' version of Firefox on the REGULAR desktop and 2010 Word and Excel, just recompiled also running on the desktop.

Hit MSDN/Technet and talk about your concerns, you truly have nothing to worry about unless you don't plan on updating your software to run on ARM.

PGHammer said,

In other words, you are thinking your customers will buy only WOA tablets, slates, and netbooks, ignoring fully x86/64 tablets, slates. netbooks, etc.

Is your customer base (since you mentioned line-of-business software, we're talking enterprises) that clueless? (Rather, is the support staff that clueless?)

Business software, yes. Enterprise, no. It's software for tattoo shop management. They can't be expected to know this stuff.

PGHammer said,

Is your customer base (since you mentioned line-of-business software, we're talking enterprises) that clueless? (Rather, is the support staff that clueless?)

Good point, but +rev23dev did not say their customers are enterprise customers. Maybe +rev23dev makes software for regular consumers.

rev23dev said,

Business software, yes. Enterprise, no. It's software for tattoo shop management. They can't be expected to know this stuff.

The ARM version will be very clear in its difference to std x86, this I have no doubts over as MS know they need to be, its a simple as that. Now whether a**holes in stores selling can use a little brain power and not just the usual 'bu***it my way through a sale' jive is another. MS need to make it 100% clear on packaging (force hardware makers to do so also) that this ARM based windows tablet your about to buy will not run ANY programs you already have unless the makers of such programs have said so (including drivers for hardware like printers/scanners/webcams etc).

I think they know this, I'm sure they know this, I'm not worried.

thenetavenger said,

They already have... You have NOTHING to worry about.

You may have to recompile and change some x86 specific code for the ARM version, but you are not forced to use Metro and you are not forced to give up your existing work.

When Microsoft FIRST demonstrated Win8 running on ARM, they were running a 'recompiled' version of Firefox on the REGULAR desktop and 2010 Word and Excel, just recompiled also running on the desktop.

Hit MSDN/Technet and talk about your concerns, you truly have nothing to worry about unless you don't plan on updating your software to run on ARM.

It seems you missed this part of the blog post: 'WOA does not support running, emulating, or porting existing x86/64 desktop apps.'

You might be able to recompile your code for ARM, but you won't be able to run it. The only software available for the desktop on WOA will be Office, desktop IE, Windows Explorer, etc. 'Consumers obtain all software, including device drivers, through the Windows Store and Microsoft Update or Windows Update.'

Cuppa said,

It seems you missed this part of the blog post: 'WOA does not support running, emulating, or porting existing x86/64 desktop apps.'

You might be able to recompile your code for ARM, but you won't be able to run it. The only software available for the desktop on WOA will be Office, desktop IE, Windows Explorer, etc. 'Consumers obtain all software, including device drivers, through the Windows Store and Microsoft Update or Windows Update.'

That wording is a bit odd. Why can't you "port" your app? Unless they mean you can't just recompile and be done, I don't think anyone expects that to be the case. But you should be able to move your win32 c++ app over to a winRT c++ app and have it run on ARM fine. It all depends on how much you are willing to do, or have to do on your apps.

It just sounds to me that "desktop" apps will be limited on ARM so you will just have to "port" your app to a metro app.

Cuppa said,

It seems you missed this part of the blog post: 'WOA does not support running, emulating, or porting existing x86/64 desktop apps.'

You might be able to recompile your code for ARM, but you won't be able to run it. The only software available for the desktop on WOA will be Office, desktop IE, Windows Explorer, etc. 'Consumers obtain all software, including device drivers, through the Windows Store and Microsoft Update or Windows Update.'

Yep, that's exactly the part that I had read, too.

dotf said,

and check channel9.msdn.com for the 'going native' event where they talk about C++ 11.
Lots of stuff for ARM in C++ 11.

Actually support for C++11 is pretty limited…

"The familiar Windows desktop UI will be a part of Windows 8 ARM"

This sentence proves a lot of tech gurus wrong. They were so sure this wouldn't happen.

FMH said,
"The familiar Windows desktop UI will be a part of Windows 8 ARM"

This sentence proves a lot of tech gurus wrong. They were so sure this wouldn't happen.

Yep. I love when people get proven wrong!

FMH said,
"The familiar Windows desktop UI will be a part of Windows 8 ARM"

This sentence proves a lot of tech gurus wrong. They were so sure this wouldn't happen.

When it first boots up the absence of the start orb will probably confuse most, I did read somewhere it reappears if hovered on.

thealexweb said,

When it first boots up the absence of the start orb will probably confuse most, I did read somewhere it reappears if hovered on.

Yup. But confuse is a small word! They'll be shocked.

thealexweb said,

When it first boots up the absence of the start orb will probably confuse most, I did read somewhere it reappears if hovered on.

When it first boots up, you're not presented with the desktop anyway, it goes straight to the start screen :3

~Johnny said,

When it first boots up, you're not presented with the desktop anyway, it goes straight to the start screen :3

If the missing start orb causes confusion, the start screen will cause mind****.

thealexweb said,

If the missing start orb causes confusion, the start screen will cause mind****.

So your imagining walking into PC world, being shown a few PC's, choosing one, taking it home.......and then notice how different it looks?

Seriously think real world, the people that buy from shops will see it in shops, the people that install themselves will know what to expect.

duddit2 said,

So your imagining walking into PC world, being shown a few PC's, choosing one, taking it home.......and then notice how different it looks?

Seriously think real world, the people that buy from shops will see it in shops, the people that install themselves will know what to expect.

Okay then they'll be confused prior to purchase, it doesn't really matter if metro is good or bad the average tectard's inital thought will be "what the hell is this?" upon seeing the start screen.

thealexweb said,

Okay then they'll be confused prior to purchase, it doesn't really matter if metro is good or bad the average tectard's inital thought will be "what the hell is this?" upon seeing the start screen.

Speak for yourself

thealexweb said,

Okay then they'll be confused prior to purchase, it doesn't really matter if metro is good or bad the average tectard's inital thought will be "what the hell is this?" upon seeing the start screen.

Maybe or maybe not. It depends on what the device is really. If we're talking about arm tablets then i doubt they'll react that way at all. Many people see a tablet as is, not a cut down PC like MS says, which is sorta true. In that sense they'll look at thestart sceen as the new touch UI it is and just use it.

Not having the start orb might bother some but each tablet (and PC/laptop) will have a hardware start button instead.

But obviously people are going to hack it to work on different setups. Would it be possible to run on the iPad3? as 2's res is too low to allow Metro.

Zain Adeel said,
But obviously people are going to hack it to work on different setups. Would it be possible to run on the iPad3? as 2's res is too low to allow Metro.

The iPad 1 and iPad 2 have a screen resolution of 1024x768.

Metro works just fine at 1024x768. The only thing that's disabled at that screen resolution is the split-screen mode that lets you pull up two Metro applications at once (that requires at least 1366x768)

Zain Adeel said,
But obviously people are going to hack it to work on different setups. Would it be possible to run on the iPad3? as 2's res is too low to allow Metro.

Writing drivers is hard.
Unless the iPad costs less than a Win8 tablet, I don't see why anyone would want to make iPad drivers for Win8. A lot of people program for fun; few people program low-level kernel drivers for fun.

Aethec said,

Writing drivers is hard.
Unless the iPad costs less than a Win8 tablet, I don't see why anyone would want to make iPad drivers for Win8. A lot of people program for fun; few people program low-level kernel drivers for fun.

pulling out your eyes with hooks sounds more fun!

It's not the real deal if it's not an open platform for app distribution. Sadly, many fanboys will still go and buy WOA tablets leaving no incentive for Microsoft to fix this. It's the Apple-ification of Windows that no one seems to object to.

xpclient said,
It's not the real deal if it's not an open platform for app distribution. Sadly, many fanboys will still go and buy WOA tablets leaving no incentive for Microsoft to fix this. It's the Apple-ification of Windows that no one seems to object to.

I agree it's a bad move, if in the future the legacy UI gets dropped from x86 and Arm Microsoft like Apple will achieve total control over their platform

thealexweb said,

I agree it's a bad move, if in the future the legacy UI gets dropped from x86 and Arm Microsoft like Apple will achieve total control over their platform

And why would the legacy (Win32) API go away?

The very reason that Win32 has a place is that not just legacy application support quite a number of *new* applications, games, etc., will be plain and simply unsuitable for WinRT, and thus for ARM. ( I mean *seriously* - could you see Diablo IV on WinRT? The next Syndicate? Heck - even *Outlook* is missing from Office for WinRT/ARM.) You might have Adobe Reader for WinRT, but not Acrobat Professional. Photoshop Elements - not the full version of Photoshop.)

xpclient said,
It's not the real deal if it's not an open platform for app distribution. Sadly, many fanboys will still go and buy WOA tablets leaving no incentive for Microsoft to fix this. It's the Apple-ification of Windows that no one seems to object to.

Where do you conclude that the only mechanism for App distribution is through the marketplace?

Even WP7 isn't fully 'locked' to the Marketplace, and is getting new options for corporate and personal deployment of Applications outside of the Marketplace.

With base x86 frameworks ALSO available, there is not a 'metro' only lock in either.

Wow, I swear people sit up at night trying to find something to complain about even if it isn't real.

thenetavenger said,

Where do you conclude that the only mechanism for App distribution is through the marketplace?


WOA does not support running, emulating, or porting existing x86/64 desktop apps. Code that uses only system or OS services from WinRT can be used within an app and distributed through the Windows Store for both WOA and x86/64. Consumers obtain all software, including device drivers, through the Windows Store and Microsoft Update or Windows Update.

Just like Windows Phone, there will be options available for enterprise developers for WOA.

I think that maybe in the future the legacy programs might go away but not anytime soon. In order for that to happen all software will have to be re-written including software ware used to make software. There are too many large software and other software out there. That is why Microsoft is still supporting all of the legacy frameworks and software. That is why there is still a Desktop mode vs the Metro mode. I can't imagine anyone editing HD video in Desktop mode on a tablet. That would be crazy. My kick ass computer takes forever right now as it is.

But like you said, if Windows Desktop went away in the future it definitely would be sad.

thealexweb said,

I agree it's a bad move, if in the future the legacy UI gets dropped from x86 and Arm Microsoft like Apple will achieve total control over their platform


But you talk like just because there is an ARM version, and in that ARM version there is more control (which is there due to the fact that its ARM and requires quite a bit more control to meet expectatiosn in terms of bettery life etc) that this is the entire road map for windows.

There is the standard x86 version as well, we get all the features of ARM (in fact they get a subset of our features, nearly all but not quite - drivers are needed, and they cant run x86 apps) but so what, the aRM build gives an oiption and will present a truely compelling tablet experience but if you want full blown windows that supports photoshop etc then go x86 and have a little less battery but more power.

Choice is good, it really is.

thenetavenger said,

Where do you conclude that the only mechanism for App distribution is through the marketplace?

Even WP7 isn't fully 'locked' to the Marketplace, and is getting new options for corporate and personal deployment of Applications outside of the Marketplace.

With base x86 frameworks ALSO available, there is not a 'metro' only lock in either.

Wow, I swear people sit up at night trying to find something to complain about even if it isn't real.

Either you did not read the blog post at all or you read it but you are one of those MS defenders who will defend them no matter what. Impossible to have any objective discussions with people like you.

xpclient said,

Either you did not read the blog post at all or you read it but you are one of those MS defenders who will defend them no matter what. Impossible to have any objective discussions with people like you.

While the point you are trying to make seems to be true for WOA because Win32 desktop apps just cant run on ARM anyways, How "open" the ARM version is depends on how you look at it as a whole at this point. MS is making it pretty clear that WOA is part of the device you buy as much as anything else compared to the x86-64 Win8 that you can just buy and install yourself.

The distinction being made is a clear one here and why the marketplace is the way to get apps for WOA. But at the same time you or anyone here doesn't know how open it will actually be. If all it takes is a registry change that lets you load WinRT apps on your own then there really is no problem imo.

Besides, and this is the key, people, the vast majority who will buy a ARM tablet with win8 don't care if the marketplace is the only option for there apps. Your fears, for lack of a better word are limited to a very small subset of power users out there.

In the end though it's still windows, and people will quickly find ways to side step the marketplace for their WinRT apps. I'd bet on it and that MS doesn't do anything about it either.

GP007 said,

While the point you are trying to make seems to be true for WOA because Win32 desktop apps just cant run on ARM anyways, How "open" the ARM version is depends on how you look at it as a whole at this point. MS is making it pretty clear that WOA is part of the device you buy as much as anything else compared to the x86-64 Win8 that you can just buy and install yourself.

The distinction being made is a clear one here and why the marketplace is the way to get apps for WOA. But at the same time you or anyone here doesn't know how open it will actually be. If all it takes is a registry change that lets you load WinRT apps on your own then there really is no problem imo.

Besides, and this is the key, people, the vast majority who will buy a ARM tablet with win8 don't care if the marketplace is the only option for there apps. Your fears, for lack of a better word are limited to a very small subset of power users out there.

In the end though it's still windows, and people will quickly find ways to side step the marketplace for their WinRT apps. I'd bet on it and that MS doesn't do anything about it either.

Yes we know how open exactly WOA is going to be thanks to Mary Jo Foley who clarifies Microsoft's plan here: http://www.zdnet.com/blog/micr...esktop-is-still-there/11845 "WOA (Windows on ARM) platforms will require that all desktop binary images be signed with a trusted Microsoft certificate. Any unsigned code will fail to load … This … does not cover Metro Style applications for which there is a separately documented signing requirement and developer licensing" Like Windows Phone, I believe Microsoft may give these trusted certificates to select developers. They probably took this whole decision of not allowing desktop apps on ARM for battery life and no other reason or else the device's battery life will be drained faster. And that's a bit of a shame. Meaning you can only have great battery life or you can have the power of desktop apps, you can't have both.

xpclient said,

Yes we know how open exactly WOA is going to be thanks to Mary Jo Foley who clarifies Microsoft's plan here: http://www.zdnet.com/blog/micr...esktop-is-still-there/11845 "WOA (Windows on ARM) platforms will require that all desktop binary images be signed with a trusted Microsoft certificate. Any unsigned code will fail to load … This … does not cover Metro Style applications for which there is a separately documented signing requirement and developer licensing" Like Windows Phone, I believe Microsoft may give these trusted certificates to select developers. They probably took this whole decision of not allowing desktop apps on ARM for battery life and no other reason or else the device's battery life will be drained faster. And that's a bit of a shame. Meaning you can only have great battery life or you can have the power of desktop apps, you can't have both.


Did you notice that she also said:

"As I noted before, I don't know anything about the source of this info."

You're going off of a Russian forum poster. Regardless why do you care about the desktop or desktop apps so much for the ARM version that will find it's way on tablets in the end? I believe in the end of the day ARM devices will use new WinRT apps on the start screen 90+% of the time. The desktop is an afterthought on these devices.

"The ARM version of Windows 8 will only be available to consumers when they purchase an ARM product with Windows 8 already installed. It will not be sold as a separate software product."
heh we'll see how long that holds up

este said,
"The ARM version of Windows 8 will only be available to consumers when they purchase an ARM product with Windows 8 already installed. It will not be sold as a separate software product."
heh we'll see how long that holds up

How, exactly, do you think people can change the OS on an ARM device? They're not like IBM compatible computers in that regard.

este said,
"The ARM version of Windows 8 will only be available to consumers when they purchase an ARM product with Windows 8 already installed. It will not be sold as a separate software product."
heh we'll see how long that holds up

See my post above, and then ask yourself, really?

Modders/hobbyists and builders will still gain access to it and play with it, but selling it at Walmart for grandma to accidentally pick up and call support because it won't load on her PC would be freaking nuts.

Just to 'check' your thinking, what store do you buy your copies of Android and iOS?

Heck, what store do you buy your copies of WinCE or Windows 7 (NT) Embedded?

You don't, you get access to them as builders/developers or you buy a device/product that already has them installed.

este said,
Oh yea, I know, I was referring to the first portion of the statement I quoted really.

Huh? The first portion seems to be saying the same thing as the second portion... Lol

By not offering Window 8 Arm alongside Windows 8 x86 in shops it means anyone wanting to use it on a Arm device that somehow supports it will have to pirate it because there is no legal way of obtaining it

thealexweb said,
By not offering Window 8 Arm alongside Windows 8 x86 in shops it means anyone wanting to use it on a Arm device that somehow supports it will have to pirate it because there is no legal way of obtaining it

I think its mentioned why that is the case. U cant just install it on any ARM device. You will need hardware specific drivers from manufacturers to let windows access the hardware. Else it wont work.

Zain Adeel said,

I think its mentioned why that is the case. U cant just install it on any ARM device. You will need hardware specific drivers from manufacturers to let windows access the hardware. Else it wont work.

Indeed it wouldn't be easy but some people like to tinker...

thealexweb said,
By not offering Window 8 Arm alongside Windows 8 x86 in shops it means anyone wanting to use it on a Arm device that somehow supports it will have to pirate it because there is no legal way of obtaining it

Porting something like this between differing devices is not trivial. The hardware wasn't designed with the same universal installability of x86.

It doesn't sound like there will be a real BSP to speak of, either. It'll only be supported for specific chips, each of which will require its own compile on Microsoft's end.

/embedded developer who has done work with ARM devices.

thealexweb said,
By not offering Window 8 Arm alongside Windows 8 x86 in shops it means anyone wanting to use it on a Arm device that somehow supports it will have to pirate it because there is no legal way of obtaining it

There are non-pirate ways to obtain it for serious modders/hackers.

Think along the lines of WinCE and Windows 7 (NT) Embedded, that are available to anyone with Technet/MSDN subscriptions.

These are also not something you can buy at Bestbuy, and are for very specific hardware, even more so than the ARM version of Windows 8.

Also remember emulation versions to run on your existing x86 desktop for development, just as you do with WP7, WinCE, etc. Which will be running the Win8 ARM OS version.

Then there is also a possibility of availability in the lower supply chain as OEM versions, as Windows 7 is now sold to computer makers that even hobbyists have access to as a one person 'builder'.


The driver support will be an issue, which is why Microsoft is not going to sell these over the counter at BestBuy or Frys, as customers would try to load it on a who in hell knows what devices, and then complain or eat up support asking why it doesn't run properly on their ARM based refrigerator that shipped with WinCE 10 years ago.

There will be a healthy modder/custom builder access and usage of the software, especially if you just consider the Windows 8 Embedded ARM version that will be offered, that has driver templates and sample code, as WinCE does now.

Seriously, if you were Microsoft, would you take the time to release a 'retail' version, and have to deal with all the users that are confused or are trying to get it run on their iPad?

thealexweb said,
By not offering Window 8 Arm alongside Windows 8 x86 in shops it means anyone wanting to use it on a Arm device that somehow supports it will have to pirate it because there is no legal way of obtaining it

I can't imagine many people building their own ARM device as would be far more likely (and common) for an x86 machine... Additionally, what you would probably find if the put WOA on the shelf next to Windows 8 x86 would be mass confusion as people bought WOA for x86 machines... It would not be a winning idea for Microsoft.

Yep, People think its easy to to port an OS and don't think about drivers. Android is an open OS and almost or all of what it uses is open including the drivers. That is why people can easily get Android up and running on different devices.

I am not familiar with Apple but I do not think people are porting it to other devices. That is because there are no drivers.

All windows will run on ARM the drivers will not be open and no one will be able to get the drivers to work on other devices unless the device is using the same hardware and the drivers happen to work. There will be different scenarios where you can't get Windows to run on other hardware, you can but then lack features do to the lack of drivers, and possibly get Windows to run on another device with most or all of the drivers working.

thealexweb said,
By not offering Window 8 Arm alongside Windows 8 x86 in shops it means anyone wanting to use it on a Arm device that somehow supports it will have to pirate it because there is no legal way of obtaining it

No ARM devices out there use the UFEI bois or the TPM needed to boot W8 for ARM, so its a non starter. Seriously I wanted it to be that simple but its just not going to be, I now thatnk the lord that the HP touchpads sold out before I could get one (as my intention was to run it till windows 8 for ARM was released).

I do actually think this is better though, I want W8 to be a solid platform and the only way they're going to do this (at least in version 1 of moving to ARM) is to have a heavy 'ARM' tactic of control over the hardware (to some degree).