Microsoft already offers Windows 10 IoT Core to install on a Raspberry Pi, but thanks to the recent launch of Windows 10 on ARM, one skilled developer managed to install the actual full version of the operating system on the single-board computer.
Windows 10 on ARM is one of Microsoft’s most recent projects, and it allows the installation of full Windows on systems powered by Qualcomm Snapdragon processors, typically used on mobile devices.
With special tweaks to get them ready for full Windows 10 running on PCs, Snapdragon chipsets and Windows 10 on ARM make it possible for devices to achieve stunning battery life like one week per charge.
Dutch developer Bas Timmer, known on Twitter as @NTAuthority, managed to install this version of the operating system on a Raspberry Pi 3 with a Broadcom BCM2837 ARMv8 processor, though at this point, there are several problems to deal with.
For example, it looks like Windows 10 on ARM only runs on just one of the four CPU cores, and this obviously leads to rather limited performance. Furthermore, Timmer says that he occasionally hits an error reading “unsupported processor,” though at first the operating system runs just fine.
One of the best things about Windows 10 on ARM in general, and Windows 10 on ARM installed on a Raspberry Pi 3 in particular, is that it makes possible to run legacy Win32 software just like a fully-featured desktop computer.
Taking into account the price of a Raspberry Pi 3, which at this point is $35, this certainly opens new doors for developers and researchers looking for an affordable way to run the full Windows 10, without having to spend a fortune on more advanced computers.
Obviously, such a project comes with hardware limitations that eventually impact performance, but these are just the early days of Windows 10 on ARM powering a Raspberry Pi 3 and many more refinements are expected shortly.