Microsoft Makes Windows 10 on ARM Available Virtually

Posted on May 21, 2020 by Paul Thurrott in Windows 10 with 0 Comments

With Windows 10 version 20H2, Windows 10 on ARM will finally support Microsoft’s Hyper-V virtualization platform. But Windows 10 on ARM was never available virtually as a guest. Now, finally, it is.

“We added the ability to install Hyper-V on [Windows 10 on ARM PCs] such as the Surface Pro X running the Enterprise or Pro editions of Windows 10,” the latest Windows Insider blog post poorly explains, as always. What this release means is that you need a Windows 10 on ARM-based PC that has a Microsoft SQ1, Qualcomm Snapdragon 8cx, or Qualcomm Snapdragon 850 processor. “Today, we are offering [a] [Windows 10 on ARM] [virtual hard drive] (VHDX) for Windows 10 Insider Preview Build 19624, so that Insiders can run Windows 10 [on ARM] as a guest OS in Hyper-V.”

This announcement was coincidental to the release of Windows 10 Insider Preview build 19631 to the Fast ring, which we’re ignoring because it has no new features. That the VHDX Microsoft is releasing today is for an older build is, of course, classic. But the firm notes that it will “regularly release updated VHDX downloads for newer Insider Preview builds going forward.” So maybe they’ll catch up to each other at some point.

There are two caveats to the ability to run virtual versions of Windows 10 on ARM as guests under Windows 10 on ARM: Hyper-V only works on these systems when running Windows 10 Insider Preview build 19559 or newer. And nested virtualization is not supported.

But there’s any even bigger caveat that this blog post never mentions: No, you cannot install the Windows 10 on ARM VHDX on an Intel-type (x86-64 or x64) Windows 10 PC.

You can run the first Windows 10 on ARM VHDX here.

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