Windows RT Gets Jailbroken to Run Desktop Windows Applications

It appears that there’s no technical limitation to run x86 apps on Windows RT

By on January 7th, 2013 06:03 GMT

Even though Microsoft has said so many times that Windows RT is the best way to enjoy the new Windows 8 features on a tablet, many have criticized the operating system for not supporting legacy Windows apps.

The reason was pretty much obvious: since it was developed for ARM devices, Windows RT could only handle ARM-optimized processes.

A post on the Surfsec blog, however, reveals a way to jailbreak the Windows RT operating system in order to run unsigned desktop applications on Windows RT.

This means that users who successfully get past Microsoft’s limitation could launch traditional Windows apps on a Surface RT or on any other tablet using the new operating system.

The blog post claims that “banning traditional desktop applications was not a technical one, but a bad marketing decision” and that “Windows RT needs the Win32 ecosystem to strengthen its position as a productivity tool.”

“Windows RT is a clean port of Windows 8. They are the same thing and MSFT enforces Code Integrity to artificially separate these platforms. It does not stop pirates from modifying store apps (and their license checks) because store apps are the only things that can actually run unsigned. The fact that this method works on Windows 8 as well shows how similar the systems are. You can even enforce Code Integrity on Windows 8 to see what Windows RT feels like!” the blog post reads.

Even though this sounds like very good news for Windows RT users, there are several shortcomings that must be taken into consideration.

First, running an unsigned desktop application on Windows RT comes down to several steps, so it may take some time until you figure out the trick. Second of all, the jailbreak would only last until you restart the device, but given the fact that tablets usually provide great autonomy, some people keep their devices turned on all the time anyway.

We’ve reached out to Microsoft for an official comment on this, so we’ll update this story as soon as we get an answer.

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