The enthusiast community has thumbed a nose at Microsoft’s hardware requirements for Windows 11, with Insider builds demonstrated on Raspberry Pi hardware and the inevitable mobile phone.
The latter will delight Windows Mobile holdouts, still mourning the death of their beloved operating system and stung by Microsoft’s latest take on a telephone, which runs Android.
A video surfaced yesterday showing the operating system running on a Lumia 950XL, inadvertently demonstrating that the operating system is less than ideal on the small screen, even if such wonders as screen rotation appear to work well.
I got asked to make a video of Windows 11 on the Lumia 950 XL, so here you go:
A (very) quick (and rushed) look at Windows 11 running on a Lumia 950 XL after a day of workhttps://t.co/ziYixQCOZ7
— Gustave Monce (@gus33000) June 29, 2021
More usable, however, is Windows 11 on a Raspberry Pi. A post on Twitter seemed to show the soon-to-be fussy OS up and running on one of the Raspberry Pi Foundation’s finest, which, we’re pretty sure, is not noted for being equipped with chippery listed in Microsoft’s now infamous compatibility list.
— 七宮さん (@shichinomiya_s) June 29, 2021
Getting Windows running on phones, Pis, and all manner of Arm-based hardware seems second only to the “does it run Doom?” question asked by many a tech tinkerer when presented with something new. Windows 10 on a Pi has long been a staple and the ease with which Windows 11 can be coaxed into life is both a tribute to the enthusiasts involved and an indication how little has changed under the hood, from a hardware standpoint, in the current Dev Channel build of Microsoft’s new OS.
After a few hours of play we were also able to persuade a version of Windows 11 to run (somewhat sluggishly) on our Pi-400. Sure, a 16GB SD card was sacrificed in the process and the test mode indicator (along with the odd square window or two and some bits of Windows 10 on show) hinted that some unexpected hoops were being leapt though, but otherwise the experience was relatively painless, if a little slow. Still, at no point during the new Windows 11 OOBE did the operating system complain about the hardware behind the scenes.
As for how it works, the current Windows Insider Dev Channel builds do not yet enforce Microsoft’s hardware rules so there is every chance things will stop working once the final incarnation of the Arm version of Windows 11 drops. It also seems very clear that what worked for Windows 10 does not require too much in the way of tinkering to allow Windows 11 to boot (at least at this stage of its development).
Why any person would want to do such a thing is open to question. We like to think that the motivation is one of simply seeing what can be done with hardware and software, even if we have to admit that our Pi 400 seemed a whole lot happier running the Linux-based Raspberry Pi OS.
For now, Windows 11 on a Raspberry Pi (or phone for that matter) remains an intellectual exercise – a fun thing to try, but you wouldn’t use it for serious work. Or to write a contentious hardware compatibilty list. ®