Surface Duo gets one step closer to running full Windows 11 on its dual screens

Surface Duo 2020
Surface Duo 2020 (Image credit: Daniel Rubino / Windows Central)

What you need to know

  • Gustave Monce posted some new videos and photos of full Windows 11 running on the original Surface Duo.
  • The big break in its development has the OS running independently on both displays simultaneously.
  • There are still many things that don't work, including LTE, touch, and some driver issues.

In late January, we reported on a small independent project by developer Gustave Monce to try and get Windows 11 running on the original Surface Duo. Monce is no stranger to such projects, having brought Windows to old Lumia smartphones for those who like to live on the Edge.

That project for Surface Duo has now hit a significant milestone by getting Windows 11 to run on both displays simultaneously, akin to a dual-monitor setup. It's been no small feat to accomplish such a task. In a video shared by Monce, he noted that performance is better than expected (especially compared to a Lumia 950 XL, calling the performance gap an "ocean"), and even thermals are "very good."

In the video, Monce controls the OS via Bluetooth mouse (USB works too), stating that, critically, there is no support for touch just yet, but that may be fixed "soon."

In a follow-up clip, Monce demonstrates shaders and even the Adreno GPU are all working well.

Of course, while the project is impressive, there are still many problems that need to be solved for this to be something we could recommend. Touch is the biggest issue, although it seems like that is something solvable given some time. Support for LTE is another, in addition, to support for all the sensors like hall (to detect open and closing power states), gyroscopes for rotation, and the camera. The good news is that these don't seem impossible but require some more experimentation.

Currently, there's no support for any of this work on Surface Duo 2.

The bigger question is will this be useful to regular people? Probably not, as there is not a lot you can do with a tiny Windows 11 PC, even with dual screens, no matter how cool it is to see. Still, if it can be configured as a dual-boot option, running Windows 11 as an option could be a fun experience at the very least and make the $400 price for Surface Duo a worthy investment for those who like to tinker and push the boundaries.

Interestingly, Monce teases, "You know what OS we're trying next," which hints at trying to get "Andromeda OS" to run on Surface Duo, as was the original plan for the dual-screen computer back in 2018. Monce helped our senior Windows editor Zac Bowden get Andromeda running on a Lumia 950, so it looks pretty probable he'll want to try to get it on Duo's actual hardware this time. That could undoubtedly be more exciting, even if that OS was never actually finished.

For more information about this Windows on ARM project, you can head to GitHub to learn how to get Windows 11 on your Surface Duo, but, as noted above, you may want to wait until more work is completed first.

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.