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Here is Windows 11 running on a Lumia 950 XL just because that's what the internet is for

Lumia 950 XL
Lumia 950 XL (Image credit: Daniel Rubino / Windows Central)

What you need to know

  • The Windows 11 preview for Insiders was released this week.
  • There's a long history of people installing Microsoft's OS on weird hardware.
  • A video showing Windows 11 running on a Lumia 950 XL shows just how flexible the OS can be.

With the official Windows Insider build of Windows 11 now available, we can begin the process of putting it on anything with a processor, including a Raspberry Pi 4.

Now, for no real significant reason, Windows tweaker and engineering student Gustave Monce has managed to get Windows 11 running on a 2015-era Lumia 950 XL.

Of course, people have been putting Windows on random computing objects for years. We put Windows 10X on a Surface Pro, and a few years ago, someone put Windows 95 on an Apple Watch, so this is nothing new. But it's still nice to see that it is possible with some clever modifications to the OS.

Whether Windows 11 on a six-year-old phone is actually helpful in 2021 remains to be seen.

It does make you wonder about those Windows 11 processor requirements though. As we've mentioned, older CPUs can run Windows 11, but Microsoft is just not letting them, likely for security reasons.

But hey, if this phone can run it, there is hope for your aging laptop too.

Daniel Rubino is the Executive Editor of Windows Central, head reviewer, podcast co-host, and analyst. He has been covering Microsoft here since 2007, back when this site was called WMExperts (and later Windows Phone Central). His interests include Windows, Microsoft Surface, laptops, next-gen computing, and arguing with people on the internet.

22 Comments
  • Microsoft really needs to hire this guy
  • How did the joke go again? "But can it run Crysis?"
  • I think it was Doom.
  • How about on my Duo?
  • IIRC, the telephony elements were removed from W11.
  • Well let's make 'em put it back asap, this is unbearable. Full Windows on a phone... this is the future. Well technically only a "pocketable device" since no telephony... so let's put the telephony back, and see the phoenix rise from the ashes.
  • Contiuum had so much potential and flexibility. 1)It's cheaper and costs effective to send a employee a work phone and a miracast dock via post compared to a laptop or a full desktop setup. Plus IT only have to set up a single device per employee. So less troubleshooting and high ability for rapid roll out. 2)orgs only need to have monitors and miracast receiver. Said receiver could be hidden behind the monitor. 3)Geo location, WiFi policies and group policies for data management and security. 4)Bluetooth keyboard and mice provide a wire free experience. 5)due to hardly any wires - santizing a desk is a breeze. 6)accessory makers make more money. We finally get Qi enabled rollable pads to charge a Bluetooth keyboard and mice at affordable price points. 7)Microsoft and OEM partners make alot more Windows phone sales. 8)Microsoft and software + hardware partners make a tonne of money through increased O365 activations. GDPR concerns increase sales for on prem solutions. Increased bandwidth requirements push orgs to finally upgrading aging network eq and onsite servers. And so on. God Damned Bean Counters.
  • All valid points IMO. Ever since Satya Nadella got elected as CEO, I always wondered why killing the WP business was a smart move, the only move I truly questioned that he made. He always seems to play the long game, and I respect that. Now I just hope he had something in mind to take a slice of the mobile market again sometime in the future (entering from the business side instead of consumers, probably). Maybe we're close to seeing something like this realized. Make W11 available on the Qualcomm chips first, then only a small step away from making the OS more generally available on new mobile chips.
  • I think, it was Shareholder pressure combined with Bean Counters pushing for sharp stockholder gains in a short period. As massive layoffs are unfortunately the quickest way to increase profits for a large corporation that has multiple revenue streams. This is because the wage bill is usually first expense that is scrutinized and easy to “control”, plus it's also the largest monthly expense when done by the book. Secondly and more importantly, Steve Ballmer was ousted by short sighted shareholders due to the acquisition of Nokia's D & S division. So, in summary shutting down the mobile division was appeasement. Appeasement never works. In regards to mobile, given the fact that Win32 and ARM code can now be run concurrently. I am hoping that any mobile device running W11 will extend on continuum. So when the device is plugged in via type-C to the dock. It will provide enough juice to run Win32 emulation and ARM codes - effectively allowing users to run full programs when docked. Effectively a providing full desktop PC experience. This is completely doable thanks to ARM64EC - 1 reason why I see ARM64EC as a game changer.
  • "I always wondered why killing the WP business was a smart move, the only move I truly questioned that he made.", same especially since Surface products are quite popular now and both together would have been good for the apps. Personally I would have liked to see if they instead kept WP alive but perhaps on a tighter budget (eg releasing only 2 phones per year, 1 low midrange and 1 high midrange).
  • @ochhanz A very low range and decent high end would be best play. Volume of low end sales would effectively pay for high end version sales. As there are plenty of folks who want a third ecosystem and would happily pay for a high end version.
  • I can only imagine, if this was to happen in the future, MS would only consider it around the third or fourth generation of Duo or whatever successor will be created. But, it's fun to consider the possibilities, with Android apps being able to run on the system.
    This will largely depend on how well this Amazon/MS partnership works in drawing in more Devs to creat apps. If this works out, maybe... just maybe, we can see the Alexa app integration, withen Windows 11. I'd prefer Cortana, but they aren't doing much with it.
  • ... pulls out 950xl, starts updating apps and seeing if the insider program is working. Nope. I really miss using this phone.
  • Same... I am using Sailfish X with android apps. Grating my brain cells with a rusty cheese grater would be a better experience compared to the woeful outlook app on Android. App is only functional for upto 4 accounts and any more it is a P.I.T.A to use day to day.
  • No.....the internet is for running Doom on a pregnancy test.
  • Looks fun, but I'm guessing the phone loses its telephony stack as W11 has no such software written into the OS, as far as we know....so his 950 is less of a phone and more of a small tablet 🙂 I'd still LOVE to see Windows 11 on a surface duo. Seems Microsoft have solved the age old app gap problem by getting Android apps to run on W11, and my surface Pro X is absolutely humming along on W11. So...Windows 11 runs wonderfully on Arm, the app gap has been solved, and Microsoft just so happens to have a very unique and pretty damn awesome phone out in the market...what's stopping them from bringing it all together.... Windows on Duo...do it, Microsoft..do it 😁
  • Crazy... I have an old YogaBook with an Atom processor. Just installed W11 - took ages - but working fine
    I remember when I got this off eBay some years ago and it was really sluggish, but as windows slimmed-down over the years it worked really well. Was hoping at some point Win10x would make it even zippier before it was debunked, but W11 is looking OK so far - Excel loads in 5sec; can't complain :)
  • Yeah, but will it run on an HTC HD 2?
  • I really wish someone would try this on the HP Elite x3.
  • port it to Android and I'll be the 1st to install it.
  • @Hirox K. Plenty of Android OEMs heck Microsoft is one of then via the Duo.... So i don't get this clamoring affliction some have for Android. Microsoft has now made a Android device and tried to appease this affliction and where has this gotten them? 15 minutes of fame and what else? Appeasement never ever works.
  • This is really interesting. We have Android emulation and now can run on a smartphone. More interesting evidence they might be a Windows 11 mobile out there???