Surface Pro XSource: Daniel Rubino/Windows Central

What you need to know

  • Microsoft discussed the status of x64 emulation for Windows on ARM today.
  • The company confirmed that a PC running Windows 11 on ARM is required to utilize x64 emulation.
  • Microsoft notes that x64 emulation for Windows is only generally available in Windows 11.

People with the Surface Pro X, Galaxy Book Go, and other Windows on ARM devices will have to upgrade to Windows 11 to utilize x64 emulation. Microsoft discussed the emulation of x64 apps today alongside the announcement of the Windows 10 November 2021 Update and Windows 10 shifting to only one major update per year.

Microsoft explained that x64 emulation for Windows is only generally available in Windows 11. It added that people that want to experience x64 emulation will need to upgrade to Windows 11 on ARM. Microsoft's phrasing suggests that x64 emulation will not roll out to Windows 10 on ARM PCs at any point in the future.

Microsoft tested x64 emulation on Windows 10 on ARM for around one year, but the feature will not ship to the older OS.

Windows 10 on ARM will receive support and security updates until October 14, 2025. After that date, it will fall out of support.

While many big-name apps, including Microsoft Teams, can natively run on Windows on ARM hardware, there are some programs that require emulation. Many video and photo editors are x64 apps. Several games are also x64, though even with emulation, devices like the Surface Pro X won't compete with the best gaming laptops.

Our executive editor goes into depth regarding app compatibility in his Surface Pro X review.

The ability to run x64 apps may be more important for devices that run Qualcomm's upcoming ARM processors built by the Nuvia team. These processors could rival Apple's M-Series chips, which would be a big win for Windows 11 on ARM PCs.