Surface RT hacked to run legacy x86 Windows programs

Surface RT hacked to run legacy x86 Windows programs
The entrepreneurial spirit over at XDA-Devs has managed to achieve another miracle - a beta tool has been making the rounds for about a month that lets you run legacy Windows apps on your Microsoft Surface RT tablet, rather than only apps from the Windows Store.

Don't get too excited, as for now you can't just fire up Photoshop or AutoCAD 2013 on the ARM-based slate, but the tool seems pretty handy anyways, at least for programs that are fairly light on resources like WinRAR or even games like Heroes of Might&Magic, which have been tested by the developer to work.

He encourages you to try his emulator and list in the thread what works and what doesn't, so he can get on it. The tool "emulates x86 instructions and passes Windows API calls to WinRT kernel with necessary modifications," and that's how running x86 apps on an ARM-based tablet is achieved. Naturally, your Surface RT needs to be jailbroken with a separate tool, and the other requirements are listed in the thread below.

source: XDA-Devs via RedmondPie

Related phones

Surface RT
  • Display 10.6" 1366 x 768 pixels
  • Camera 1 megapixel
  • Processor NVIDIA Tegra 3 T30, Quad-core, 1300 MHz
  • Storage 32 GB



1. boosook

Posts: 1442; Member since: Nov 19, 2012

These are real hackers!

2. shuaibhere

Posts: 1986; Member since: Jul 07, 2012

Now rt seems to be a cool device....

3. tusshharish

Posts: 342; Member since: Oct 23, 2012

i like rt much more after read this..........

4. cezarepc

Posts: 718; Member since: Nov 23, 2012

Just wow. I was eyeing the Pro but is turned off with the price. If the devs can make RT run vba I'm all for it.

14. jsdechavez

Posts: 807; Member since: Jul 20, 2012

I wonder how pixelated that would look like in a tablet. Emulators with my Xperia play, the best!

15. cezarepc

Posts: 718; Member since: Nov 23, 2012

What I meant was Visual Basic not Visual Boy :p

5. yowanvista

Posts: 341; Member since: Sep 20, 2011

Emulating x86 on ARM with a very low clock speed. People are going to learn very fast why Microsoft didn't build their own compatibility layer.

6. _Bone_

Posts: 2155; Member since: Oct 29, 2012


7. Birds

Posts: 1172; Member since: Nov 21, 2011

To be honest, it's all been possible this whole time. I know that is cliche to say but Microsoft - I guess- thought that Rt could cannibalize W8..... That is why they put restrictions on it. But anyways, I took my Surface Rt back to bestbuy after the first week. Very good device but I'm going to wait to Windows RT advances in the future because I definitely want to invest more into it..>The device is just charming.

8. pookiewood

Posts: 631; Member since: Mar 05, 2012

It's only going to get better why return it?

13. -box-

Posts: 3991; Member since: Jan 04, 2012

agreed. Use the heck out of it and enable the reporting to Microsoft about usage ("Customer Experience Program", I think) do they can continue improving it.

18. pfroo40

Posts: 28; Member since: Jun 12, 2012

I've had my surface for a week now and I think it is fantastic. I've owned ipads and android tablets before, and in my opinion the surface is on a completely different level. It isn't quite where I think it is capable of being, but it is a great device. I find myself using it almost exclusively instead of my i7 laptop or i7 desktop.

9. gaurang

Posts: 94; Member since: Nov 16, 2012

if android tablets cud do the same thing(i know they do,but not good) trolls would start saying the openess of the os and linus and stufff....and the whole page would be flooded with comments praising android....(from a former android fan)

12. shuaibhere

Posts: 1986; Member since: Jul 07, 2012

I'm an android fan...and no one hear bashed win rt...ofcourse we did before hearing this.... See my post i have only praised it.. I dunno why all you guys act as former android fans when it comes to case like this..

10. MC1123

Posts: 1256; Member since: Nov 12, 2012

lets see how will ARM winRT handle X86 apps!

11. mew7946510

Posts: 55; Member since: Nov 10, 2010

If this doesn't become illegal, I'll go for RT!

16. ajac09

Posts: 1482; Member since: Sep 30, 2009

+ 1 for the surface speed it up and it maybe appealing ( and let me play at least some strategy games on it lol)

17. FireDragon

Posts: 117; Member since: Nov 13, 2009

To be honest, I have been waiting and some how knew this will be happen. Of course it will run light software but there are many of them too to take care of many things. Good job guys. Good job. RT should be able to execute those programs out of the box in my opinion.

19. krimHD

Posts: 106; Member since: May 23, 2012

Now we are talking more Apps, i guess you can run android apps on it with blue stack i think.

20. Bilpocalypse

Posts: 301; Member since: Oct 13, 2012

WinRT emulating Win8 emulating Android... that's Inception level emulation.

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