Hackers boot Windows 11 on Android and Windows Phones

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Microsoft Windows 11 devices

(Image credit: Microsoft)

The Windows 11 Insider preview is now available for people to mess around with and that means enthusiasts and hackers are already doing weird and wonderful things with it. You know, like porting it onto Android phones (via Windows Latest). It isn’t really designed to be used in such ways, and the phones that have had Microsoft’s unreleased OS squeezed into them don’t really work very well and can’t make calls, but it does run. 

And for some, that’s reason enough to do it. 

Windows 11 is obviously designed for traditional PC platforms like desktop PCs and laptops, but it’s also got its eye on the lucrative tablet market and supports ARM (Snapdragon) processors as well and Intel and AMD x86 CPUs. 

It’s that Snapdragon support which has caught a few developers’ attention though, as this has allowed them to install the OS onto some of the more powerful smartphones around, specifically those that use Snapdragon 845 and 855 chips. There’s still plenty of work to get the OS on these devices though, as custom tools need to be created, such as functioning bootable UEFI environments.

Phones like the OnePlus 6T and Xiaomi Mi 8 have been the testbeds for project “Renegade” and the developers have already managed to boot the OS on those devices, although plenty of features don’t work and the phones themselves can’t make any calls either. And given phone functionality isn’t really part of the remit of Windows 11, don’t get your hopes up too much for such projects. Still kudos to Xilin Wu and the rest of the Renegade team for getting this far.

Yes it can (for real this time, running natively, not RDP)
…at least for now
See this SoC is armv8.0, not 8.1, it doesn’t support atomic instructions 🙃 pic.twitter.com/TReBQlQZRVJune 29, 2021

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Meanwhile, another enterprising developer, Gustave Monce, has managed to install the Windows 11 preview onto a Windows Phone, namely the Microsoft Lumia  950 XL. Microsoft discontinued its own Windows Phones program back in 2017, but here we are running a full install of Windows 11 in 2021. This phone can make calls and send and receive messages too, after the developer ported drivers from Windows 10 Mobile. 

Windows 11 has made its way onto the Raspberry Pi 4 as well as plenty of desktop PCs and laptops. Some PCs have stated they’re not compatible with Windows 11 without a bit of UEFI/BIOS tweaking, but if developers can get it running on a phone, it’s probably worth putting in the effort to get it running on a gaming PC.

Alan has spent far too much of his life in World of Warcraft and playing Magic the Gathering to be a normal human being, which is why he has retreated to the warm embrace of gaming hardware.