Windows on ARM PCs are about to get some of the best customization software around, and you can test the apps now

Stardock applications including Object Desktop and Start11
Object Desktop Insiders can now get early access to several programs to test software and provide feedback. (Image credit: Stardock)

What you need to know

  • Stardock just announced Object Desktop Insider, which allows people to get early access to several programs from the company.
  • The first wave of Object Desktop Insider builds includes versions of Start11 v2, Fences 5, and Groupy 2 that support ARM PCs.
  • 2024 is expected to be a big year for Windows on ARM PCs, due in large part to Qualcomm's upcoming release of its Snapdragon X Elite processor.

Stardock has a wide range of apps that enhance the Windows experience and allow you to customize your PC. We've covered many of these apps in the past, including Groupy, Fences, and Start11. Today, Stardock announced Object Desktop Insider, which lets members gain early access to software that's still in testing.

Many of our readers will be familiar with Insider testing, as quite a few of them are Windows Insiders. The general concept is the same as what Microsoft does, Stardock provides early access to Insiders and then receives feedback based on real-world usage.

"With the Insider program being part of Object Desktop, this allows us to bring some features and products to our customers faster," explained Stardock in its announcement post of its Insider program.

"While the testing and validation of each build for stability occurs with all of our releases, Object Desktop Insider builds will contain newer features before they may be fully baked as we evaluate the scenarios of how a feature functions in the real world."

The first wave of builds for Object Desktop Insiders includes versions of Start11 v2, Fences 5, and Groupy 2 that support ARM PCs. Windows on ARM can run non-native apps through emulation, but performance and efficiency is better when apps are optimized for Windows on ARM. You can download the ARM builds of the apps from the Object Desktop dashboard if you've purchased the suite.

Stardock also shared that it is "experimenting with a new application that lets Object Desktop members have access to AI-tools without having to sign up for each service that comes online." That app is in its early stages, however, so it's not available for Insiders at this time.

A big year for Windows on ARM

Snapdragon X Elite benchmarks

Qualcomm's upcoming Snapdragon X Elite processor looks to deliver a massive boost to Windows on ARM computing when it launches in June 2024. (Image credit: Future)

Stardock is only the latest company to embrace Windows on ARM. You'll see several companies follow suit, since Qualcomm plans to release its Snapdragon X Elite processor later this year in June. That chip promises to compete with the best from Intel, AMD, and Apple. If it meets expectations, Windows on ARM could have its most viable processor to date.

Qualcomm shared benchmarks for the Snapdragon X Elite that show the CPU can outperform Apple's M2 Max and Intel's Core i9-13980HX. Leaked benchmarks back up those claims, though we'll have to see real-world usage and testing to know for sure.

Windows on ARM has had a long journey. It started with smartphone processors powering PCs and has evolved gradually. All the while, Microsoft has improved Windows itself to work better on ARM-powered systems. But all the operating system improvements in the world won't mean much if software has to run through emulation. Developers optimizing their apps for Windows on ARM PCs will make as much or more of a difference than anything Microsoft can do.

Google has an ARM version of its Chrome browser in testing. Brave already has a stable release of its browser that's generally available for Windows on ARM PCs. Now, we have Stardock working on ARM-optimized versions of its suite of apps.

Sean Endicott
News Writer and apps editor

Sean Endicott brings nearly a decade of experience covering Microsoft and Windows news to Windows Central. He joined our team in 2017 as an app reviewer and now heads up our day-to-day news coverage. If you have a news tip or an app to review, hit him up at