Windows 10 on ARM: Features and Limitations

January 31, 2020
Rod Hatley

With the entry of Windows 10 ARM-based Windows Tablet PC’s that have come onto the market, these systems will catch the eye of many mobile professionals.  The ARM-based CPU’s used in these systems are similar to those CPUs used in modern mobile phones. What are the Windows 10 on ARM features and limitations?


Windows 10 ARM-based systems promise:

  • Always connected to the Internet – Many of these units feature an integrated LTE cellular network device which keeps the unit connected anywhere WiFi is not available if you have a service plan.
  • Instant on – When waking up from sleep, the unit is fully operational much faster than a traditional Windows notebook / tablet system.
  • Exceptional Battery Life – All-day battery life for those on the go.


While Windows 10 on ARM has some very compelling features, there are some limitations that anyone looking at these units should be aware of:

  • Windows 10 ARM CPUs are like the CPU you have in your mobile phone.  They are not powerful CPU’s for intensive business applications like the Intel Core i5 or i7 series CPUs. 
  • 64-bit apps will not work.  32-bit Windows applications will run as emulated applications.  These emulated applications will look the same, but performance may not be the same as you are used to on a more powerful computer system. 
  • Hardware drivers – While the computer itself will have all the drivers needed, the problem is with peripherals like printers, scanners, etc.  Unless the drivers are updated to support Windows 10 on ARM, you may have devices that will not work.  Even network-based printers have been a challenge. 
  • 3rd Party Anti-Virus product may not work.  Windows 10 includes Windows Security which will protect users from malware / viruses, but many companies use an enterprise wide AV product which may not work. 

These new Windows 10 on ARM devices will bring in a new wave of features and capabilities, but don’t assume everything will work just because it runs Windows 10. 

Here are a few popular Windows 10 on ARM Tablets that are available on the market:

  • Microsoft Surface Pro X
  • Samsung Galaxy Book2

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