Windows 11 on Surface Duo 2 is becoming a reality for those daring enough

Windows 11 on the Surface Duo 2
(Image credit: Gustave Monce)

What you need to know

  • Developer Gustave Monce has released the initial package to install Windows 11 on Surface Duo 2.
  • Monce has previously released tools to get Windows 11 on the original Surface Duo, which now is mostly working.
  • The release is still incredibly early as only one core of the SoC is working and there is no touch support yet for the dual displays.
  • The full project is viewable on GitHub

You must give it up to those who bravely tinker with expensive hardware to get it to run software it wasn’t intended for. Such is the case with the Microsoft Surface Duo 2, its dual-screen Android smartphone, which is getting some early tools to get it to run the full Windows 11 operating system.

Gustave Monce, also known as @gus33000 on Twitter, released Version 2211.16 of his Surface Duo 2 drivers. The entire project is posted on GitHub including directions on how to get it all to work – it’s not for the faint of heart.

This project is one of a few Monce has been working on with the Surface Duo series. Since both devices run Qualcomm Snapdragon processors getting Windows 11 on ARM to run on them is doable. The problem arises with all the other hardware like sensors, cameras, touch displays, cellular, GPS, and more, which require drivers and a lot of testing.

What works (and what doesn't) on Surface Duo 2 with Windows 11 as of November 5, 2022. (Image credit: Gustave Monce)

Monce notes that this is just version 1 of the project, and while it is still exceedingly early, “there's also some cool things working.” On the GitHub status page for the project, you can see that the left display panel, thermal sensors, lid hall sensor, Modern Standby, USB C, buttons, and charger are all working. While the processor works (obviously), only one core from the Qualcomm Snapdragon 888 is running out of eight.

As to what is not working, well, it’s a lot. Cellular (calls, data, texts, LTE), GPS, touch, pen digitizer, Wi-Fi, vibration motor, Bluetooth, camera, NFC, and more are all on the list. As such, Windows 11 on Surface Duo 2 is not even close to being a usable operating system for everyday use.

Monce also remarks on some serious caveats to the installation that you should be aware of:

  • You will have to back up your data, as the installation process wipes it.
  • You will lose NFC payments with an unlocked bootloader.
  • It isn't really ready for you to use outside (no touch etc).
  • No warranty of any kind.

That last part is crucial because if you get your Surface Duo 2 in an unusable state, there is little recourse for official support. That said, Monce is more than willing to help anyone who runs into issues via his Telegram channel or Twitter.

Getting Windows 11 on Surface Duo 2 is a bit ironic. As we’ve noted in the history of the original Surface Duo, Microsoft had intended these devices to be running a new version of Windows internally dubbed “Andromeda OS.” That project, however, fell apart due to missed milestones. But instead of scrapping all the development of the hardware, Microsoft decided to put Android 11 on it with the blessing of Google.

While Surface Duo was never intended to run full Windows 11, like this project, it’s still a fun thing to see working, even at this early stage. Questions remain if such a device would be practical for everyday use due to the small displays, but it goes to show you just how versatile Windows can be.

Daniel Rubino

Daniel Rubino is the Editor-in-chief of Windows Central. He is also the head reviewer, podcast co-host, and analyst. He has been covering Microsoft since 2007, when this site was called WMExperts (and later Windows Phone Central). His interests include Windows, laptops, next-gen computing, and watches. He has been reviewing laptops since 2015 and is particularly fond of 2-in-1 convertibles, ARM processors, new form factors, and thin-and-light PCs. Before all this tech stuff, he worked on a Ph.D. in linguistics, watched people sleep (for medical purposes!), and ran the projectors at movie theaters because it was fun.