Windows on Arm

Windows has traditionally run on machines that are powered by x86 / x64 processors, but more recently, also runs on devices powered by Arm processors.

Arm-powered devices are particularly interesting because the power-frugal nature of the Arm architecture enables these devices to offer longer battery life while delivering great performance. Arm Systems on Chip (SoC) often include other key features such as a powerful CPU, GPU, Wi-Fi & mobile data networks, as well as Neural Processor Units (NPUs) for accelerating AI workloads.

Build Windows apps that run on Arm

Windows 10 enables existing unmodified x86 apps to run on Arm devices. Windows 11 adds the ability to run unmodified x64 Windows apps on Arm devices! This ability to run x86 & x64 apps on Arm devices gives end-users confidence that the majority of their existing apps & tools will run well even on new Arm-powered devices.

For the best performance, responsiveness, and battery life, users will want and need Arm-native Windows apps, which means that developers will need to build or port Arm-native Windows apps.

Virtual Machines

You can create and deploy Windows 11 Arm64 VMs with with Ampere Altra Arm–based processors on Azure. Learn how in this Quickstart article.

Learn more about using Windows on Arm Virtual Machines:

Arm developer devices

Developers need Arm devices upon which to build and test Arm-native Windows apps. Several Arm-powered devices are already available from Microsoft partners. These portable devices, whether a laptop form-factor device or convertible-tablet, offer great performance, battery life, and run the growing array of Arm-native developer tools.

Windows Dev Kit 2023 (code name “Project Volterra”) is the latest Arm device built to support Windows developers, AI researchers, and developers looking to integrate AI into their apps and experiences.

Support for existing Windows apps on Arm

App Types graphic.

Windows on Arm runs native Arm apps, as well as many unmodified x86 & x64 apps, but for the best performance and battery life, apps should be built to be Arm-native wherever possible. Windows apps can be built using many different tools and technologies, including native C/C++ Win32 apps, classic .NET Framework WinForms/WPF apps, modern .NET or MAUI apps, or even apps built using Java, Python, node, etc.

Find tools for Arm development

Tools graphic

Microsoft is continuously delivering Arm-native developer toolset updates to build and port apps that natively target Windows ARM-powered devices just as easily as when targeting x64. Supporting app development for Arm, on Arm.


We use the term Arm as a shorthand for PCs that run the desktop version of Windows on Arm64 (also commonly called AArch64) processors. We use the term Arm32 here as a shorthand for the 32-bit Arm architecture (commonly called Arm in other documentation). PCs powered by Arm provide great application compatibility and allow you to run your existing unmodified x86 win32 applications. Arm apps run natively without any emulation, while x86 and x64 apps run under emulation on Arm devices.

Arm64EC - Help for updating Windows apps to run on Arm

Arm64EC graphic.

Arm64EC (“Emulation Compatible”) enables you to incrementally build new apps, or port existing apps, to take advantage of native Arm performance where possible, while utilizing existing x64 code & libraries until fully migrated. Learn more:

Additional tips for developing Windows apps that run on Arm devices

  • We recommend using MSIX to package your app for distribution. For more information on how MSIX supports Arm and Arm64, see App package architectures: Arm and Arm64.

  • Not all Visual Studio projects are configured to launch projects locally when you start debugging (F5) from an Arm device. You may need to configure Visual Studio for remote debugging, even though your app is running locally. For more information, see remote debugging.

  • To find and install the recommended packages on Visual Studio, visit the Visual Studio downloads page.

    • For the Remote Tools for Visual Studio 2022, scroll below the All downloads section and expand the Tools for Visual Studio 2022 drop-down menu. Remote Tools for Visual Studio 2022 will be listed there. Be sure to check the Arm64 radio button, then Download.
    • For the Microsoft Visual C++ Redistributable, scroll below the All downloads section and expand the Other tools and Frameworks drop-down menu. Microsoft Visual C++ Redistributable for Visual Studio 2022 will be listed there. Be sure to check the Arm64 radio button, then Download.
    • If you are using an older version of Visual Studio, select the Older Downloads link at the bottom of the page to search for the downloads associated with your version of Visual Studio.
  • When a user installs your app on an Arm device from the Microsoft Store, Windows 11 will automatically select the optimal version of your app that is available. If you submit x86, Arm32, and Arm64 versions of your app to the Microsoft Store, the operating system will automatically install the Arm64 version of your app. If you only submit x86 and Arm32 versions of your app, the operating system will install the Arm32 version. If you only submit the x86 version of your app, the operating system will install that version and run it under emulation.

  • When given the choice of app architecture, choose the 32-bit x86 version to run the app's 32-bit version on a Windows on Arm PC. If an app's x64 Win32 version doesn't work, most apps will have an x86 version available.

  • For more information about architectures, see App package architectures.

App Assure Arm Advisory Service

While our guidance to Add Arm support to your Windows app walks through how to create an Arm-optimized version of your app(s). The App Assure Arm Advisory Service is available to help if you get stuck. This service is in addition to our existing promise: your apps will run on Windows on Arm, and if you encounter any issues, Microsoft will help you remediate them. Learn more.

Sign up for Windows Arm Advisory Service.

Additional resources

External resources