Deploying, managing, and supporting Windows 10 on ARM in the enterprise

Published Feb 08 2021 09:36 AM 6,860 Views

Windows 10 on ARM devices carry the same productivity as the Windows 10 operating system you know and love. We’ve been working closely with OEM partners and Surface to bring Windows 10 on ARM benefits to the world—from form factor evolution with thin and light designs to increased battery capabilities, LTE connectivity, and integrated eSIM support to name a few.

Over the last few years, we’ve continued to innovate with ARM. From a software perspective, we have tailored Windows to take advantage of the ARM processors’ unique capabilities and provide a strong PC experience. For example,

  • Windows takes advantage of the ARM processor to provide longer battery life when browsing the web with Microsoft Edge, watching videos, and providing an “Instant On” experience when pressing the power button.
  • Windows intelligently switches between Wi-Fi and LTE connectivity, including handling roaming data on LTE to avoid bill shock.
  • All of Windows, the apps included in Windows, and Office, are optimized for running on Windows on ARM. Visual Studio supports the full development and coding experience to optimize apps for Windows on ARM.

In my post today, I hope to help you better understand the Windows 10 on ARM platform and how it might support your enterprise ecosystem.

Application ecosystem

Enterprise application compatibility is an important achievement for the Windows 10 on ARM platform. The application ecosystem supports a native ARM32 and ARM64 application system as well as both an x86 and forthcoming x64 emulation subsystems to include Universal Windows Platform (UWP) apps from the Microsoft Store along with traditional Windows apps. Apps with a dependency on the full .NET Desktop CLR runtime will run in x86 emulation. An x64 emulation in preview for Windows 10 on ARM PCs to the Windows Insider Program was unveiled in December 2020 and expanded capabilities are in the works.

Productivity

Office has been optimized for ARM64 to take advantage of the improved performance of these devices. Microsoft 365 Apps for Enterprise, coupled with a native ARM64 version of the Microsoft Teams client, can enable your enterprise to quickly adopt Windows 10 on ARM and achieve increased productivity.

Browser

While most browsers run natively on Windows 10 on ARM, the new Microsoft Edge offers a first-class solution to improve performance with native ARM64 support beginning in Windows 10, version 20H2. This also translates into increased mobility life for browser-intensive work.

Mobility

Windows 10 on ARM devices are thinner and provide an increased battery life (especially when running native applications), making it easy for you and your end users to take a device anywhere with you and power the entire workday. Windows 10 on ARM devices achieve this by taking advantage of reduced power consumption in ARM64-compatible processors and System-on-a-Chip (SoC) design.

Deployment

Designed as part of a cloud-first ecosystem, we recommend that you leverage rapid deployment technologies like Windows Autopilot to deploy and provision corporate devices running Windows 10 on ARM. The processes to use Windows Autopilot on Windows 10 on ARM are the same as x86 and x64 platforms of Windows 10.

Manageability

We know some customers may continue to want to use Microsoft Endpoint Configuration Manager, so we added support for Windows 10 on ARM in Configuration Manager, version 2002.

Using Windows Autopilot to deploy and provision Windows 10 on ARM lets you take advantage of Microsoft Endpoint Manager to deploy configuration profiles, compliance policies, and deliver 32-bit and 64-bit applications, as well as applications that are not ARM-native. You can manage devices exclusively through the cloud using Microsoft Endpoint Manager or through co-management via Configuration Manager.

Windows 10 on ARM also mirrors the same support for the configuration service providers (CSPs), for each corresponding SKU, as the other platforms outlined in the configuration service provider reference.

Like other Windows 10 platforms, you can also auto-enroll ARM64 devices into MDM using Group Policy.

App deployment

When deploying apps, the Intune Management Extension (IME) for Microsoft Endpoint Manager is supported and runs as an emulated x86 agent. The extension is installed after enrollment similar to x86 and x64 Windows 10 platforms. Scripts run as x86, like PowerShell runs emulated as x86 when running on Windows 10 on ARM. You can see the app types supported on ARM64 devices to understand more about verifying installation on ARM64 devices.

Users can also leverage a native ARM64 version of the Company Portal to install applications made available to Windows 10 on ARM devices. To learn more about leveraging Microsoft Endpoint Manager to install applications via the Intune Management Extension, see Win32 app management in Microsoft Intune.

Windows servicing

Cloud-first devices can leverage Microsoft Endpoint Manager and manage Windows 10 software updates in Intune using Windows Update for Business policies.

You can also continue to use the Configuration Manager and Windows Software Update Services (WSUS) to keep your Windows 10 on ARM devices up to date. However, we recommend that you shift these workloads to the cloud by enabling co-management. You can read more about how to integrate with Windows Update for Business and co-management workloads to better understand their configuration.

Security platform and virtualization

Windows 10 on ARM works in conjunction with the Microsoft 365 security stack including the built-in Defender, as well as Microsoft Defender for Endpoint—formerly Microsoft Defender Advanced Threat Protection. Secured-core PCs like Surface Pro X are secure by default. Currently, virtualization support is limited to provide support for virtualization-based security. However, full Hyper-V support is coming and is currently available for testing in Windows Insider Preview Builds.

Application compatibility

Microsoft is committed to ensuring customers have a great compatibility experience with Windows 10 on ARM64 devices like the Surface Pro X.

App Assure now assists with Windows 10 on ARM64 PCs if you run into any compatibility issues or blockers once you begin testing your enterprise applications on Windows 10 on ARM.

To minimize any potential issues, I encourage you to learn more about how x86 emulation works on ARM as current support for x86 applications and forthcoming support for x64 applications expand Windows 10 on ARM’s application compatibility. You can test x64 emulation today using the latest Windows Insider Preview builds.

Troubleshooting

Sysinternals tools can be used for deep analysis, debugging, and troubleshooting the ARM64 platform. Many of these tools have been ported over to the ARM64 platform and can be downloaded directly from the Sysinternals website.

For more information

We invite you to dive deeper into deploying, managing and servicing Surface Pro X and to check out the Microsoft Ignite session about using Surface Pro X in the modern workplace as it specifically describes the deployment of Windows 10 on ARM devices.

4 Comments
Occasional Visitor

I've been a fan of the Surface since the Pro2 was released - I actually still have it on my desk at home. Unfortunately I bought a ProX last year and have been soundly disappointed by it's limitations and the amount of software that won't run on it. 

Beautiful device, amazing battery life but when you have to install software (eg Camtasia) on a Pro2 because it won't run on the ARM processor it's deeply frustrating. 

I tried to express my frustrations with the retailer and with MS when I originally purchased it but no one seemed interested so I've been stuck with it since, and feel stuck. 

I would want to know ARM operates the same as an Intel processor before I bought one ever again; not that "it's always improving".

Microsoft

Sorry to hear you're unhappy with your Pro X @richard_b_bne . You nailed it: Snapdragons are not Intels. Personally, I'm happy about that. I laid my Intel device aside in late 2019 and have been using my Pro X exclusively ever since. Never looked back. But it's true, changing the platform can mean changing habits and apps. So for my screen recording needs I use Screenbits on the Store and for editing I use Windows' internal Photos app. Works great for me, but maybe only because my video editing needs are modest. The good news is you have a choice of platforms in the Windows Ecosystem, each best suited to certain people and use cases.

Occasional Visitor

Someone knows where can i get the preview driver emulation x64 for Adreno 630 Windows-On-Arm devices? There is some for surface and Lenovo, which are adreno 680 and so, but i can't get for SD850 and Adreno 630 (Matebook E 2019, Lenovo C630 and others). Very Grateful in advance 

Regular Visitor

I had been using Windows for 27 years, up until Windows 7. Two facts prompted me to upgrade to a better platform. I decided that I since I was going to have to change everything when upgrading to Windows 8, I decided that I would rather use a platform that allowed me to run everything. I also was studying computer science at the time and I was thinking that having a platform that I could run everything made more sense than running a Windows platform. I continued to have Windows 8 and 10 in a virtual machine, which is was more stable than on actual hardware. In the intervening years, I have discovered that I do not need Windows as I am only booting the virtual machine to install updates. From what I have read, the Apple M1 based Macintoshes outperform the Surface Pro X by a wide margin. In my field (computer security) it is useful to keep up various operating systems and I just find it wasteful to purchase a machine to rarely use the computer. It would be great to be able to have Windows 10 on ARM opened up to run in virtualization on the Apple M1 Macintoshes or run natively on the Raspberry Pi 4.

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Last update:
‎Feb 08 2021 09:41 AM
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