Windows on ARM Will Support Desktop Mode, But Won't Emulate Legacy Apps

Illustration for article titled Windows on ARM Will Support Desktop Mode, But Won't Emulate Legacy Apps

Ever since Microsoft decided Windows 8 will support ARM-based CPUs, many wondered if that meant the traditional desktop experience would be supported as well. And if so, what about all the legacy apps developed for x86 CPUs? Windows 8 boss Steven Sinofsky has spoken. Yes, desktop mode is coming, but the old apps aren't.


In the midst of an epic meditation on the topic, Sinofsky explains that ARM-based devices will rely heavily on Metro-style apps (which is to say, those developed for WinRT), but will have optimized desktop versions of Microsoft Office and Internet Explorer at launch. As for the old apps, here's why you won't be able to run them:

Previously we have detailed that WOA will not support any type of virtualization or emulation approach, and will not enable existing x86/64 applications to be ported or run. Supporting various forms of emulation runs counter to the goal of delivering a product that takes a modern approach to system reliability and predictability-by definition, existing code has not been optimized for the platform the way WOA has. Virtualized or emulated software will consume system resources, including battery life and CPU, at unacceptable levels. Emulation and virtualization of existing x86/64 software also require the traditional PC environment of mouse and keyboard, which is not a good assumption for WOA PCs.

Sounds like Windows 8 Tablets could be pretty badass, no? [Microsoft]



I really hope apps will be buildable for WOA's Desktop. Otherwise, being used only for Office and Windows utilities is pretty shitty. Nobody seems to agree on the extent to which this desktop is usable as a development platform either.