The Raspberry Pi has been a revolution in the maker and educational segment, but until now to take advantage of its potential we always used Linux distributions, something that made many wonder if it would not be possible to use it with Windows .
The answer to that question is affirmative : two separate projects by independent programmers who have adapted Windows to Raspberry Pi show that it works in ARM architectures. There are limitations in that experience, but this is only the beginning.
Windows on ARM, a project created by a Spanish developer
Our Genbeta colleagues talked about the first of these projects, WoA (Windows on ARM), which has also been created by a Spanish developer named José Manuel Nieto .
The installer that Nieto has created allows the Raspberry Pi 3 Model B (or Model B +) to run Windows 10 following the steps indicated for example in Raspberry Para Torpes , although Nieto himself acknowledged in comments to Genbeta that ” the performance is poor on the Raspberry Pi . “
That’s because the hardware specifications of these miniPCs are very modest, and as explained “WoA is not prepared to work like this” since the operating system consumes many resources even ” without executing anything: bloatware, too many services “.
Nieto however was optimistic about the future since this project has just started its steps and “there is room for optimization”.
In this project, he reminded us, it has been vital the participation of the company MCCI that reactivated in an important way the development of the project by offering its USB TrueTask driver for Windows 10 ARM64 . That has been vital to be able to boost the development that depended to a large extent on the good functioning of these key ports for the operation of other sections in the RPi.
This optimism is demonstrated, for example, with the official drivers that already have Ethernet and USB , but for example the Wi-Fi or Bluetooth connectivity integrated in the Raspberry Pi 3 Model B / B + still can not be used in this project, and it would also be interesting to be able to start the system from storage systems other than the microSD and connected, for example, through the USB port.
WoR is the other current option
There is another additional project in this area and it is WoR (Windows on Raspberry Pi), which as in the previous case provides an installer that allows to create a Windows 10 image for ARM valid for Raspberry Pi.
In the official website we also find information about the components that work and those not in this project, and it is curious to discover how although the audio and the connectivity Bluetooth or WiFi do not work and the USB ports work in an unstable way , it is possible to connect to the internet by emulating a modem.
Helping both projects are the developers of the Pi64.Win community , which for example are working on the development of USB controllers for both WoA and WoR .
In the forums of the project you can consult the information on how to prepare everything to have those USB and Ethernet controllers running from the first moment, although here they also warn: the hardware support is limited and unstable . Even so the spirit seems to be as optimistic as that of José Manuel Nieto: there is a way to go, but these achievements show that running Windows 10 on the Raspberry Pi is possible.
Will the Raspberry Pi 4 be the answer to those limitations?
The launch of the Raspberry Pi 3 Model B + and its Compute Module 3+ has been the culmination of a generation of miniPCs that are asking for a shouting change.
Its own creator, Eben Upton, commented on it in the official announcement of that computer module, and revealed a few days ago that this model was “the latest in a product line based on 40 nm Raspberry Pi”. From here it is expected to expect significant changes in a Raspberry Pi that have endured very well the passage of time and the arrival of more powerful competitors (and something more expensive) that have not managed to snatch the crown.
Many ask for a Raspberry Pi 4 that best suits current needs. The limitations of the Raspberry Pi have become evident in recent times and the bottleneck posed by its USB ports or its GPU suggest important changes that further unleash the potential of a revolutionary miniPC.
It seems difficult to see a dramatic jump in performance, especially since one of the pillars of the Raspberry Pi has always been to stay in that range of $ 35 – although in the end you have to invest something more for the Micro SD or the power adapter –
In fact, you can run Windows 10 on those Raspberry Pi 4 is not even in mind of the makers of The Raspberry Pi Foundation, especially taking into account that the RPi approach has always gone more to the maker and educational segment that user domestic that could use a Raspbery Pi as desktop PC (something that incidentally can be done, but with Linux).
However that option would give a new impetus to the Raspberry Pi and probably would convince many users to start testing a product that is certainly much more than a possible ARM PC with Windows 10, but that would have a more attractive to achieve something well . It is time to wait and while, yes, we can enjoy these two projects, however limited they may be.