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Microsoft's Emulator to Run x86 64-Bit Windows Apps on ARM Devices Arrives as a Beta



It’s arriving a bit late, but Microsoft has finally released the company’s emulator to run x86 64-bit Windows applications on ARM devices. 

The emulator, which was originally supposed to arrive last month, addresses a glaring hole with Windows 10 devices built on ARM processors: They can’t run traditional 64-bit Windows apps designed for Intel or AMD systems.  

The limitation has hurt the appeal for products including the Surface Pro X and the Samsung Galaxy Book S. But now device owners can try out the new 64-bit emulator, which is arriving as a preview through the Windows Insider beta program.   

“In this preview, you can install x64 apps from the Microsoft Store or from any other location of your choosing,” wrote Microsoft program manager Hari Pulapaka in a blog post. “You can try key x64-only productivity apps like Autodesk Sketchbook, as well as games like Rocket League.”  

Still, the emulator isn’t a perfect solution. The company’s ARM-based Windows devices already come with an emulator to run x86 32-bit Windows applications. But the performance can sometimes be sluggish. As a result, Microsoft is still hoping software developers will eventually port their products to the ARM architecture, ensuring that the programs can run smoothly.  

The company also warns that the new 64-bit emulator may not work with every program. So expect a hit-or-miss experience. Nevertheless, Microsoft plans on refining the emulator over time before the official release. 

The emulator is available to Windows Insider members as preview build 21277. It can be downloaded through the Dev Channel. Anyone can sign up for the Windows Insider program.

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