Running Windows on a phone has long been a dream for Microsoft
enthusiasts, especially after the company discontinued their
Windows Phones. While we may never see Microsoft’s vision for a
phone running Windows 11, some young developers have shown us a
preview of the operating system running on Android phones.
Microsoft recently started rolling out the first Windows 11
preview to Insiders, and naturally, some of the tech
enthusiasts decided to try their hand with running desktop
Windows on Android phones from companies like OnePlus and
These efforts are in their early stages, but the lead developer
Xilin Wu behind the project
“Renegade” told us Windows 11
ARM64 can be installed on Snapdragon 845 phones, while
Snapdragon 855 is partially supported by the edk2-sm8150 port.
Thanks to the work done by the Renegade team, some developers
have successfully booted the operating system on the OnePlus 6T
and Mi 8. However, much of the operating system (OS) is
unusable. For example, calling is currently not supported,
according to the developer.
To run the desktop operating system on Android phones,
developers have created their own tools/drivers and enabled a
custom UEFI environment for Snapdragon 845.
That’s because Qualcomm’s xbl (UEFI firmware) and abl (which is
required for loading Linux kernel) are signed on retail
devices, and they cannot be modified. As a result, it’s
impossible to boot Windows using a stock bootloader.
Remember that Microsoft didn’t intend for the desktop version
of Windows 11 to reach smartphones. The support for Arm
architecture in Windows 11 and custom tools and drivers created
by these talented developers make it possible.
So far, we’ve seen Windows 11 running on OnePlus 6T, Mi 8 and
some Snapdragon prototypes only.
These efforts might serve little practical purpose as Windows
11 is not really optimized for mobile form factors and
mobile-friendly features like calling is not available, but
it’s still an impressive feat.
In addition to Android phones, it’s also possible to run the
new Windows on
Raspberry Pi 4 and
Lumia 950 XL (calling is supported).
However, don’t get your hopes up yet, as the project is far
from perfect on Android phones and is largely a proof of
concept at this point, with multiple issues with touch screen,
cellular connectivity preventing you from using the phone as
your daily driver.