Windows 11 now benefits from x64 emulation for Arm-based PCs, Microsoft has revealed. That means that owners of Windows laptops powered by low-power Arm SoCs can now access apps and games intended for 64-bit chips, opening the door to a lot more software choices.
While many popular apps will run quite happily on Arm hardware without the need for emulation, there’s a long list of games and photo/video editors that simply won’t function. While emulation will never be as good as native support, it’s nonetheless extremely helpful to those using devices such as the Samsung Galaxy Book Go or Microsoft Surface Pro X.
The bad news, however, is that the feature’s inclusion in Windows 10 seems to have been abandoned, despite having been available in preview for Windows Insiders for nearly a year.
Microsoft quietly updated a December 2020 blog post (opens in new tab) announcing x64 emulation to reflect the change. “x64 emulation for Windows is now generally available in Windows 11,” an update at the top of the page reads. “For those interested in experiencing this, a PC running Windows 11 on Arm is required.”
That suggests that Microsoft will be removing the functionality with future Windows 10 Insider builds, presumably as an incentive to upgrade to Windows 11. And while you’ll likely be able to continue enjoying x64 emulation on older Insider builds, declining updates isn’t advisable for security reasons.
Microsoft remains committed to “supporting customers on Windows 10 on Arm through October 14, 2025” but such support doesn’t mean it has to continue work on x64 emulation, which was always a bonus, rather than a core feature.
Fortunately, the upgrade to Windows 11 is free to owners of Windows 10, though there are certain requirements that you have to meet. To find out if your PC or laptop is compatible, download Microsoft’s PC Health Checker and see for yourself (opens in new tab).