Windows is best known as the operating system for regular x86 PCs, but Microsoft’s operating system can be found on several types of devices with non-traditional form factors. The Windows on ARM segment is also growing, thanks to Windows 11’s 64-bit emulation capability. When it comes to smartphones, however, the Redmond-based tech giant has long since given up on competing with Android. and iOS with its own operating system.
Despite Microsoft’s shy stance towards the mobile ecosystem, modders have been working for years to bring Windows to existing smartphones. Since Windows was never meant to run on such devices, they have to bypass low-level firmware to get it to boot. Naturally, the aftermarket development community has to make many modifications to the main installer and write device-specific drivers. It would be very difficult for someone to perform the required steps without having a strong background in this field, but when done correctly, we can achieve collaborative ventures like the Project Renegade.
There are many reasons why there is no easy way to install Windows on a standard Android device. In a nutshell, keeping your smartphone up to date with custom ROMs is one thing, but replacing the Board Support Package (BSP) with a standardized software interface between the OS and the platform firmware is a much bigger scenario. complex. Even though modern bootloader implementations on smartphone chipsets support the Unified Extensible Firmware Interface (UEFI), the boot sequence on these platforms is often customized by the respective OEMs. Therefore, booting any arbitrary ARM64 UEFI compatible operating system is not possible immediately. This is where Project Renegade comes in handy.
The first step is to create a firmware interface from scratch, for which the developers of the Renegade project suggest compiling a Tianocore EDK II image on top of the target smartphone’s bootloader. You can also find precompiled binaries for some devices under the Releases section of the corresponding GitHub repository. Then download the ARM64 version of Windows 10 or 11 from UUP Dump and prepare the installer manually. Since wiping all internal storage can harden the device, the partitioning job only changes the
/userdata partition. After applying the WIM package from Windows Preinstallation Environment and integrating the drivers, you should see Windows start on your phone.
Based on the addition of other contributors who can maintain or port specific devices, the Renegade Project developers hope to see the list of supported devices grow. Speaking of which, here is the official list of devices confirmed to boot Windows 10/11 ARM64 variant with more or less success.
- Long live
We’re really excited to see how this initiative turns out, as it looks like a promising alternative for those who like to have the same Windows experience from their PC on their phone. To learn more, check out their website, where you can find everything about this project. If you want to contribute to the Renegade project, check out the source code on GitHub.