Win32 app block on Windows 10 'Cloud' has already been bypassed

Microsoft's upcoming 'Cloud' variant of Windows 10 is an edition of Windows designed specifically for keeping users locked to the Windows Store when wanting to download apps and programs. It's a good idea for certain device types, however not everyone is pleased with the idea , especially considering how 'lacking' the Windows Store is right now.

See more

Well, perhaps you won't have to worry much once Cloud is available on the market. A Twitter user by the name of @never_released has teased that he has already bypassed the block, enabling Win32 programs to be downloadable and installable from outside the Windows Store, much like on any normal edition of Windows 10. The only extra step required is launching the Program from PowerShell, as SmartScreen still does a good job at trying to block a Win32 program from running.

Considering the Cloud variant of Windows 10 hasn't even been announced officially yet, it's pretty cool to see people trying to bypass the block already. The method for bypassing said block is yet to be revealed, and likely won't be for the foreseeable future, or at least until Windows 10 Cloud has been officially released. 

Being able to bypass the block might be useful for a few hardcore users, but the majority of people who Cloud is aimed at won't really know how to even begin bypassing a block like this. As a result, most normal people might just opt to pay Microsoft for a Windows Pro license if they really need a Win32 program running on their Cloud-based machine. Still, I'm pretty excited for Cloud as I can see its benefits, especially when positioned as a much more "secure version" of Windows.

Zac Bowden
Senior Editor

Zac Bowden is a Senior Editor at Windows Central. Bringing you exclusive coverage into the world of Windows on PCs, tablets, phones, and more. Also an avid collector of rare Microsoft prototype devices! Keep in touch on Twitter: @zacbowden.

  • Good luck with that on an ARM system. :)
  • Windows 10 on ARM devices can run Win32 programs via emulation now :)
  • I know, but Mike won't include the support for that in the cloud version. People will need to hack the support into the cloud version. Which will be fun to see.
  • I don't think that's true, but I guess we'll see.
  • Is there even any evidence Cloud is going to have an ARM/ARM64 variant? I've not seen it. 
  • I've heard it will run on ARM and x86. Not sure if that'll happen at the same time though.
  • Ah, so only on architectures fit for a shredder. That reassures me a little.
  • Well, obviously isn't Cloud supposed to be the successor to Windows RT?
  • No, it just seems to be a simple version of Windows. It is upgradeable to Windows 10 Pro. It isn't ARM specific.
  • Interesting, so it's Windows XP Starter edition again.
  • Vista and W7 starter as well
  • The more I see, the more I think Cloud will be replacing win Home.
    If they push the x86 to windows store converter hard and heavy enough then we could see Store versions of Chrome and other such popular software come pretty quickly.
    If we can get store versions of most popular software fairly quickly, then it could easily replace the Home version while being much more secure and less prone to crapware.
    Play games or run work software? pay $100 to upgrade to Pro. If Cloud is 'free' as expected then this will be a pretty big discount on Pro for gamers and heavy users who typically pay $140 for Pro OEM, or $200+ for Pro retail. Plus it would have the side-effect of bringing apps to the store and making it profitable. If they fail to bring the apps to the store, then this will suck. But if it all goes according to plan then it will be better for everyone.
  • CaedenV It's simply another version of RT, it failed before, it will fail again for obvious reasons.   You have a ton of "if" and "plan", there in lies the problem for MS.   Its a hard sale, if you are consumer and you want a wall garden there are better products i.e. iOS/Android/ChromeOS, if one is into win32 why would someone want this device?  The developers that provide the millions of programs (win32) and in many cases free or opensource, are not going to jump on board for obvious reasons.   Of course, I am still not sure why MS thinks people are going to go buy laptops or desktops to run mobile apps anyway, although there could be a small case for such devices in schools.    
  • Mobile apps? The Windows Store is just Mobile apps now?
  • You won't have to pay if you install kmspico inthe first place. So, paying dollars for Windows 10 Pro does not make any sense. (at least not to me)
  • You're talking about two different editions of Windows, Zac
  • What? Windows 10 on ARM isn't an edition of Windows, it's an architecture. Any edition of Windows 10 can run on ARM, including Cloud, Home, Pro, etc.
  • Not correct.   Any edition that has been compiled and has device drivers for all subsystems can run on ARM.  There's a difference. 
  • there is, but that's not the point being made. the conclusion is still the same.
  • You misunderstand my point. Any edition of Windows 10 can run on ARM if the device maker wants.
  • Source please.
  • WINAPI is NOT an architecture bound API. Moreover Windows Runtime rely upon WINAPI and COM APIs. WINAPI APIs is already targattable for ARM architectures.
  • So, the upcoming cloud-crapped Windows 10 version still has the chance to be useful. That's good.
  • I feel the security aspect of this is already useful especially for young children and inexperienced users, locked in is a good idea for some users. It may even help stop those there's something wrong with your pc phone calls.
  • Why wouldn't you just go buy iOS/Android/ChromeOS products?  (therein lies the problem, better and/or more mature products already on the table, and have been for years)
  • Because competition and user choice is good
  • because fanboys will always go the stupid way..dreaming of a quality MS...let them be in their ZERO quality world led by a incompetent CEO.
  • This can't come soon enough, especially to get Windows back into schools if that is one of the target customer bases. Can't stand seeing my kids bringing home crappy Chromebooks to do their homework (plus it bypasses MS Family Safety which I have on their laptops).
  • "Well, perhaps you won't have to worry much once Cloud is available on the market." I might be misunderstanding something, but I am not worrying at all. Once the Cloud is out on the market, I will still be running full Windows 10 and giving 0 crab.
  • What is the purpose of this Cloud thing? My daughter has a LEnovo ideaPad. Never runs a Win32 program unless I start it first. Nadella don't know what the hell to do with Microsoft.
  • Cheaper or even free license to Windows most likely, with limitations.
  • sometimes its not just the kid that's the problem, but the parent as well...
  • They are aiming this version at the Chromebook crowds (I.e. schools, etc.). That is all this version is, a way to take on Chromebooks head-to-head.
  • Seems like hacks or bypasses like this will get thwarted much faster with Windows as a Service. The updates come more often and can't be delayed indefinitely. I can only imagine that Windows 10 Cloud won't offer much in terms of deferring of updates. The race is on, I suppose?
  • This is pretty much irrelevant.... The lowend of the market in the consumer space would be arm not x86 Win32 is a bug not a feature to the enterprise & education market that opt for this sku Power users will opt for full windows devices.
  • see post below...
  • Has anyone tried installing Windows 10 Cloud ARM on a Surface RT or Surface 2 device yet?
  • It doesn't exactly work like that ...
  • This is pretty much irrelevant.... The lowend of the market in the consumer space would likely be arm not x86 Win32 is a bug not a feature to the part of the enterprise, education & consumer market (PCs for young kids, older parents, grandparents ect.) that opt for this particular sku for security & ease of management. I know i hate being IT Admin for my entire family lol. Power users will opt for full windows devices.
  • Not true.  W32 is REQUIRED for both Education and Enterprise... it is NOT a bug.. please...   consumer devices are not "managed"  despite your belief you are an IT admin ;)  Some of us actually are in the Enterprise.  ;)
  • read his post again. I can guarantee you're not reading it properly. he says the enterprise users that would opt to buy Cloud don't care about win32. That is undoubtedly true. If they cared about win32, they wouldn't be Cloud. Some of us actually know how to read ;)
  • what enterprise would use a locked down OS, relying on store apps, which btw are missing?? :)) Stop dreaming, really. An enterprise using an RT OS?? what on earth are you fanboys smoking?
  • Yet somehow Chromebooks are dominating the education market without win32 support. The enterprise is a different animal where the majority of specialized line of business apps will never be rewritten to UWP, however those same apps could easily be converted with centennial .... that's why I said the part of the market that opts for that sku for specific reasons.  IT admin staff benefit from all the things that can easily go wrong with WIndows, it's the main reason they are employed.
  • WIN32 enviornment is required to be installed to run UWP apps. You know, abstraction magic..
  • W10M runs UWP apps and doesn't have Win32 installed...
  • this is same reason i DON'T want full Windows 10 on mobile device, just win10m instead , and have uwp apps.
  • There's simply an option in the settings to allow win32 apps to be installed. It's not a hack. Basically, this Windows 10 Cloud just appears to be Windows 10 with a few extra options to lock it down.
  • I think Window cloud will turn into windows 10 for phone in future
  • It is full Windows with Win32 hidden behind a paywall. It leaked, you can install it today, it has nothing to do with phones. There is no sign Microsoft will continue to support devices
  • smaller than 6".
  • Could someone explain what all this means for "normal people" or is the article only aimed at non-normal ppl? Thanks :o)
  • "Normal People" are people who didn't understand Windows RT and won't understand this either. They will just be disappointed when they get it home and see they have to pay more to actually use it.
  • You call it being hacked/worked around cool, then say the benefits of it being more secure. Lol. Doesn't sound that secure
  • Locks can be picked, but not by everyone, therefore the lock still makes you more secure. No one ever said 100% impenetrable.
  • My post was more about how he said it's cool its been bypassed very easily, then goes on to say about the benefit of it being secure. As to your point, if a lock is so easily bypassed then it's broken and can be as good as useless
  • Who said it was easy? The guy didn't even reveal how to bypass the block. The only detail is that once it's "unlocked", you can only launch Win32 apps from PowerShell as opposed to the "normal" methods. Edit: typos
  • "The only extra step required is launching the Program from PowerShell". regardless if easy or not, the article is written as to imply that. I'm not to sure what point your making, my (tongue in cheek) point about Zac saying it's cool, then about benefits of it being secure. Or me saying that if a lock is easily bypassed then it's broken, which was about your point about nothing being 100% impenetrable? 2 very different points
  • The article states it has no idea how the bypass is implemented. Anything the article implies about it's ease is moot once reading comprehension is taken into account. And your lock comment needs to be taken in context of the conversation. We can easily create hypotheticals about random locks, but we're talking about this one and that its *not* necessarily easy. Win32 apps were hacked onto RT as well, but it was ugly and not easy, particularly for who the target audiences of this OS is aimed at. So I fail to see what your point still is. Are you just making an unrelated comment about locks now?
  • Looks like this will go around in circles, as we both fail to see each others points, especially as it seems we both think the other is making unrelated comments and that's not going to change.
  • This just shows MS should allow Win32 (Centennial) apps from the Store. Its just dumb not to do it. So MS won't..... :(
  • I think that's exactly what they are doing... Centennial is allowed to run on Cloud I am pretty sure :).
  • Windows cloud = win10 free upgrade replacement. It'll drive store purchases to make up for license sales with an upgrade path via license purchase. I clearly know Microsoft's product roadmap
  • Zac, can you please help us understand what the difference between Windows 8.X RT and Windows 10 Cloud is in principle. Didn't MS already prove that people don't want a Store locked OS? I think a small article or link to that info would be really helpful for folks, including me. Thanks!
  • I was wondering the same thing.
  • You latched on to *one* complaint about Windows RT. That is far from the only reason RT failed. Your question has almost the exact same answers as "What's the difference between Windows 8 and Windows 10?"  Ink Workspace? Windowed apps? Two really quick things I can think of that are different. And that's not addressing all the other improvements from 8 to 10. Oh, and this is upgradeable, RT wasn't. If I can only afford a cheap laptop, I may wait and save more and buy a laptop will full Windows vs RT. However, if I know I can just pay extra later, I may by Cloud now and upgrade later. So, this lifts a *lot* of barriers that existed with RT. Honestly, I'm surprised you didn't know how different Windows 8 and 10 were...
  • I might be missing something but this feels like Windows RT but with a different name. IT still has the ability to confuse consumers into thinking they can install regular programs. As for a free Windows didn't they have Windows 8.1 with Bing as the free option. I can't rememeber why they stopped doing that.
  • This isn't like RT because this should be full Windows but "security" restrictions set to only be able to install apps from the Windows Store. So x86 apps should be able to be installed if they are in the Windows 10 store.
  • Except that's the same as saying "Windows 10" is just "Windows 8" with a different name. Why is everyone suddenly forgetting all the other changes that were made between 8 and 10? Those still apply here. You'll still be able to have windowed apps. The mouse/keyboard experience will be much better than RT. You can upgrade as well. I fail to see how anyone doesn't see how this is better than RT...
  • Is this person running a VM of Windows 10 'Cloud'?  No wonder...  
  • Good lord! If you want to run Win32 apps, why bother with this in the first place? This is for people who make a hobby out of shooting themselves on the foot.
  • I figured it out! ​Windows Cloud will be a version of Windows that  will especially be tailored for the Surface Phone and here's why: ​Windows Cloud just needs to be a win32-free version of Windows (unable to run classic x86 apps so lighter), with cShell on top, which will have the UI scale across all 3 form factors (mobile, tablet and pc). Now comes the part where Microsoft made advancements with both continuum (and xbox to pc) streaming and have the Windows Phone be bundled with "dumb" devices like the HP lapdock and a tablet (essentially just a screen and battery, so low costs), onto which Windows Cloud (via the Surface Phone) will be able to stream in a seamless manner to these devices (which would also EXPLAIN THE NAME, people), with their appropriate tablet/desktop ui along for the ride, essentially replacing all devices in your house and the Surface with Windows Cloud becoming your centralised hub. This also explains why MS showed that they now can have one Windows installation can run multiple instances of shell (for having the start screen both on your phone and in continuum, at that video where they showed window mode) ​Comment if you disagree, I'm open to ideas!
  • Why require it to be free of win32? Personally, this concept you describe would benefit from win32 emulation when connected to a larger screen. Moreover, why would their plans revolve around the lowest end SKU?
  • I think Vlad may be on to something.
  • Cloud is designed to take on ChromeOS and Chrome books, primarily in the education market where Google and Chrome books dominate due to their low cost and easy management. The general consensus amongst teachers and students is they prefer Google environment to MS environment. (I work in education and we are a MS partner)
  • Have people actually downloaded the ISO for cloud or have they borked an existing windows install into thinking it's the cloud version, and have they done it using a VM? The bypass may not actually work properly on real hardware from a proper ISO as the win32 part may not actually install when the correct install procedure are followed   Its almost like me taking a laptop with a broken HD screen and hooking it up to my 4K TV to use as an external monitor then changing the resolution to 4k and then claiming that i found a hack to make my HD laptop work in 4K...
  • Benefits? Stop being blind. It's the same crap like RT was, relying on a Dead App Store! FFS, fanboys keep dreaming.
  • There are people that prefer UWP over Win32. I understand you are not one of them. Do you understand people have different opinions than yourself though?
  • While your points are valid, they are unfortunately poorly worded.