Windows 10 Cloud will run Win32 apps, but only from the Windows Store

Build 15025 of Windows 10 Cloud leaked onto the web just a few weeks ago, giving us a first look at what we can expect from this newly locked-down edition of Windows. Curiously, that leaked build had blocked Win32 apps from everywhere, including the Windows Store, which caused some reports to incorrectly claim Windows 10 Cloud wouldn't be able to run Win32 at all.

Today, we can confirm that Windows 10 Cloud will be able to run Win32 apps from the Windows Store, much like on any normal edition of Windows 10. That means you can run apps like Slack on Windows 10 Cloud. This is excellent news for both users and developers, as it means you won't be locked out of the Win32 ecosystem entirely if developers wish to add their programs to the Windows Store.

This news is confirmed thanks to a much newer Windows 10 Cloud leak that appears to be untouched and working as expected. You still can't run CMD or Regedit, but we've confirmed the ability to download Slack, Tweeten and other Win32 apps from the Store, which run perfectly fine.

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What's more, Microsoft has updated some of the dialogues when trying to install a program from outside the Windows Store on the latest build of Windows 10 Cloud. When attempting to install a browser like Google Chrome, Windows 10 will popup a message telling you why Edge is better, instead of just saying Chrome can't run on this edition of Windows.

Windows 10 Cloud will be the first edition of Windows since Windows RT that can't run Win32 apps from the web. With Windows RT, it was an architectural limitation with x86 programs, but with Windows 10, it's simply a security measure that also encourages users to upgrade to Windows 10 Pro if they really do need to run Win32 programs. It's highly likely that Windows 10 Cloud will be aimed at enterprise and education, rather than consumers. We'll hopefully learn more about Windows 10 Cloud over the next few months.

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.

  • Nice. Now all those devs throwing exe and msi on can securely distribute their apps via the Store. First step to proper security in Windows.
    Now next big announcment must be: Windows Cloud is Free (at least for the hardware partners).
    LOVE IT!!!
  • And of course be made to pay a commission to Microsoft for it.
  • In this way I want to see the 32 bit apps arrival via windows store
  • Do you mean x86?
  • *win32
  • I have no idea about programing but would this be the first step to lure devs on windows store. I mean first they put their programs then decide to convert it to uwa. Couldn't that be a possibility?
  • It seems that Microsoft is making it very easy for devs to bring their apps over to Microsoft Store. Hopefully over the next few years it really fills up.
  • Not sure, why the concept of different ISAs is so hard to grasp. The "architectural" limitation with Windows RT devices was _NOT_ being unable to run Win32 Apps but being unable to run x86 apps. On top of this, there was the "artificial" limitation of not beeing able to run Win32 apps. The second "artificial" limitation could be worked around with setting your RT device into test-mode, such that it could actually run Win32 apps. CPU ISA and the availability of a certain runtime environment and API like Win32 are two orthogonal issues.
  • @Cruncher04; I am not an expert in this but on RT was for ARMs Chips and Microsoft made that very clear from a year before RT was marketed but I really don't get is why folks thought you can run those programs or apps on such a weak processor.
  • Man oh man, it's still going to confuse people like the, RT did and in my opinion its a bad move.
  • The name alone should be less confusing. No one knew what RT meant. People understand what Cloud means. Plus, buyers would still have the option to upgrade their machines if they really need to install programs from outside the store. That was never an option with RT.
  • I'd have to agree I think they are marketing this towards x86 based systems as a more locked down version of windows instead of having it on incompatible hardware that is what windows on arm is going to be for putting windows on arm chipsets so there is less confusion.
  • Yeah I never understood why they didn't go with a simpler name like Windows Lite or Windows Mobile or Window Net or anything that lets people know this is not full Windows 
  • How is it cheeky Zac to recommend Edge as the default browser? I get plagued to install Chrome when I update Flash Player, visit YouTube, sign into my Gmail or browse with Google! Google plague users with these messages and half the time users probably don't even know they've installed it or are using it! Back on topic, and this is a good thing. It could mean more developers sucking it up and adding their apps to the Windows Store (except for Google)!
  • You knew what, my Google analytics don't even recognise Edge browser. It's recognised as chrome all the time and at least my wife use Edge!
    I would call that cheeky.
  • Google URL shortener info page also sees edge visits as chrome visits. I think edge does that on purpose (showing itself as chrome to all websites) to avoid issues with certain websites that require specific browsers. So if the list of supported browsers has chrome on it but not edge, the website would open on edge since it would see it as chrome.
  • I hope the Surface RT is able to run Windows 10 Cloud, even if x86 app virtualization​ won't work.
  • I had an Atom tablet that was more powerful than Surface RT. After I have updated it to Windows 10, it became uselessly unresponsive. So you are sure you want that?
  • Well I don't use the Surface RT for anything other than browsing and watching video, so as long as that still goes as smooth as Windows 8. I just really miss Edge and Cortana. I hope they make a general image available for ARM tablets so that I can at least try it out. Otherwise I might just buy a new tablet..
  • I wouldn't get my hopes up. Plus Microsoft is in the business to make money. I think they justify not updating the surface rt bc of all the backwards compatibility they do for Windows. They benefit more from you buying a new device. And 5 years for a tablet is a long life. I wonder what's the expected lifetime for tablets now that smartphones are (ridiculously wasteful), one year now. I would just chalk it up and get a new tablet. Good luck.
  • I have a Surface 3 which uses an Atom processor and it runs W10 just fine.
  • Sure you do. If I talk about problems on VW Golf 1 what's the point of owner of VW Golf 7 saying there are no such problems on his model?
  • No it isn't as smooth. As said it is hardly usable on a bit more powerful device. On RT I would guess that you couldn't scroll literally anything.
  • The Surface 2 sports 4x Cortex A-15, which are about as powerful as the Cherrytrail 4 core in the Surface 3.
  • Looking forward to the commercials, "Windows 10 Cloud, can't get viruses from the web, like a Mac can"...😉
  • The consumer industry would be so shocked as I still commonly hear "macs can't bet viruses". Ms should have pushed that notion while properly explaining what rt was but ms...
  • So what does this mean for mobile? Is this going to be something similar to the Elite x3's HP workspace?
  • if you mean windows 10 on ARM it will get emulation win32 phone/desktop. Cloud will market mostly at school
  • As long as there's some way, for myself as a consumer, to access the cloud portion I'll be happy. And this news of Windows on arm is very exciting. Perhaps the fabled surface phone will actually make good use of these features.
  • coming in creator update
  • Perhaps Google will package for the Store. As an Edge user, doesn't matter here, but they may. Wonder if similar messages exist for other apps.
  • A lot of ppl would have to run w10c.
  • Please run on ARM. Surface 2 is my only tablet 🤓😭🙃
  • And Microsoft just shot themselves in the foot again, cripling Win10 cloud to only Windows Store listed apps makes it rather limited and we have seen in the past how that turned out. This seems like another ploy to get devs to submit to the rule of the Windows Store and lose their independance.  
  • Considering the number of devs who load their app offerings up with useless toolbars, ad ware, crappy search engines, and the like that force me to go through my installs with a fine-toothed comb lest they screw up my computer, I am A-OK with scaling back some of that much-toted independence.  For every nice program on the web that is a simple, straightforward install, there are ten shady ones that can really screw up your computer with all their extras.  Plus having your program/app purches in one spot that you can easily install across multiple computers is nice.  The only people complaining about it being limited to the store are people who don't even plan to use it.
  • I agree. Honestly, as I've gotten older the desire to tinker with my computer has gone away. I, now, would rather deal with uwp then full programs in most cases. Easy to manage multiple devices.
  • And don't forget the automatic updates! One thing I hate about all the shareware and freeware and even major full applications (thinking about Corel Draw! suite) is the need to download and install new versions every few weeks or months to get the updates. Not a big deal if you only have 1 or 2, but if you have a lot, practically every few days one of them wants you download an update and install it (shutting down the program to do it). With Store apps, that pain is all gone.
  • How did ms do that? It's not a if they replaced other skus of Windows. If you want those capabilities, the options still exist. Plus, the general public doesn't want to manage .exe from the web and update from multiple sources, deal with reg edits and computer slowdowns over time. The store makes everything much easier to manage. I'm here and I don't like doing all if that stuff anymore. But even for those who don't mind... (start from beginning)
  • You already have a Windows that can run everything. Why would they make a new SKU that does what the current product already does
  • Hope this isn't how the mobile surface will work. Not paying for my win32 software a second time
  • I can just imagine all the support calls from friends and family: Them:  "I got a new computer and  I can't get Chrome installed... or my antivirus, or Steam, or that PDF reader that you told me to use that was better than Adobe, or my anyconnect VPN for work, or..." Me:  "What OS is it?" Them:  "Windows." Me:  "Yeah, but which version?" Them:  "I don't know -- it's Windows 10 I think." Me:  "Type 'ver' at the Command Prompt." Them:  "It won't let me open the Command Prompt." Me:  "I think you bought a Chromebook by mistake..."
  • will most likely not be aimed at the average consumer.
  • Definitely made for the average consumer...Likely family or friends will recommend it for those who give them constant tech support calls. To help curb the amount of issues the average consumer can create on their PC.
  • Well, on the creators of update looks like that will get a lot easier for all user.
  • Definitely, thats my thought too. Windows 10 cloud is for small and medium size businesses.  For the consumer market (gamers, graphic designers, animation professionals) they will always require software from Steam, Autodesk, Adobe, etc which is not hosted in the Windows 10 appstore.  It would be great if these companies could publish their software, but I doubt steam wants to to this, since users that never heard of Steam will also find AAA games in Windows 10 appstore, so Steam is a competitor with Windows 10 appstore. 
  • That's the problem, Windows 10 Cloud is not target product for consumers, its a target product for small and medium size enterprises which have deployments using Azure and want to be free of viruses and reduce costs on security infrastructure.
  • Indeed
  • Yeah, with RT, instead of highlighting the features and benefits they had hipsters dancing around a table...utter crap!
  • I still say I disagree with most the criticism of those commercials. IT was an entertaining commercial. They should have just made another commercial before that one introducing Surface or they should have added some things to the beginning of it where they talked about the device, but those are the types of ads that usually get people's attention. 
  • I dont get it. If this is an option you cab turn on and off in the creators update, why do we even need Win Cloud?
  • On Windows 10 Cloud, this option is on by default and it is permanent.
  • They need something to take on the Chromebook market. Can't sell the idea to schools and then have kids turn the feature off and install whatever they want.
  • I see this wonderfull for medium and small enterprises which want to start using Microsoft Azure services like data warehouse, OLAP services in a secure way with available report and visualization apps for their employees via Windows 10 store apps.  The Windows Azure is now powering up many new ideas and having all these great security and authentication mechanisms will let enterprises save a lot on costs for mantaining security in their business users.
  • I hope Microsoft can fix their flawed understanding of language, etc. before they release Windows 10 Cloud... Consider this:
    * I live in Europe
    * I have chosen to use (US) English as UI language for Windows -- even though English is not the standard language where I live
    * Windows 10 currently chooses UI language for *apps* based on the *region*/country I live in, and *not* on the UI language of Windows. How is it possible to think that this is meaningful??????????? I mean, how in the world????????? Ah. And if you wonder why I choose English as UI in Windows... It is because I *choose* to do so. (And also because it simplifies life, e.g., searching for solutions to problems, having a unified language in all programs I use, etc., etc., etc.)
  • Thanks for running down this confirmation.  It certainly seemed this would be the case, but it's good to know for sure.
  • Considering that similar lockdown can be set on a standard version of Windows 10 with some settings, enteprises can already get this behavior using policies without a new SKU and with the flexibility to easily switch these settings back anytime if they want to.
    ​Also, I don't see Microsoft making a SKU specifically for enteprises to provide for cheaper than the Pro version, that doesn't really make sense.
    ​So I believe this will be targetted at consumers, installed on cheaper tablets, effectively replacing "Windows with Bing" and free Windows on sub 9" displays.
  • I really like this idea. For installing it on non-tech users. I'm doing similar thing disabling the admin access on the friends n family accounts of the computer that I support. If this can be enrolled to an MDM or have support for teamviewer it will be awesome.
  • :))) another failed attempt of MS to make devs adopt uwp. Ain't gonna work!
  • I'm not really sure why they made another SKU, when they already have Windows 10 Mobile, but they need something to compete with the so-called ease and simplicity of mobile devices and Chromebooks. They need something quick and simple. Maybe this will be Windows on a USB stick or something like that.  This will be a success if they don't make the same mistake they did with RT. Windows users are obviously the most simple people in the world. You have to make everything monkey proof. It's so easy for them to understand what Chromebooks are or that iOS is not MacOS, but it's hard for them to understand different flavors of Windows. They need to do a much better job of letting people know that one thing is Full Windows and this is something completely different. They're marketing, documentation, and everything needs to make it very clear to everyone what this really is. They have to kill confusion from the jump. Advertise it as a lightweight version of Windows that runs apps from the store. Advertise it was a Windows you don't need disc or to install programs from the Internet or something like that. Just get the damn point across. That will go a long way.   Now of course this only works if Microsoft stops half-assing it in getting more UWP apps created. Take away companies like Google and Apple. Take away the top 1 or 2 apps like Snapchat. How much are these other apps really making per year for their companies. It's probably a fraction of what Microsoft makes in a quarter. It's probably nothing compared to what they've invested in various products and acquisitions. I keep hearing Microsoft tried to incentivise or pay developers to make apps, but I want to see the numbers on who it was and how much. There is no way some of these people are making what Microsoft just throws away each year. Even Snap Chat isn't worth what Microsoft has spent on some of these deals. But then again it's not like people are running a lot of apps on Chromebook. They just need to get the extension situation straight on Edge. They need to do whatever they have to do to get the apps their competitors have on their Windows-alternative devices. They need to make sure they have whatever those time-wasting apps people are using when they should be working.