More ARM small print – Windows Server 8 will not run on ARM chips

Speaking at Microsoft’s Build conference, Bill Laing, Microsoft corporate vice president for the server and cloud division, demonstrated some of the new features of Windows Server 8.

While Microsoft is embracing the ARM processor architecture for its next Windows client operating system, Windows 8, the company has no immediate plans to develop an ARM-based version of its next Windows Server, the company executive in charge confirmed.

The next generation of the server operating system features new capabilities such as a revamped, command line-based PowerShell that will allow administrators to control multiple machines, and a new management console for blending in-house servers and cloud resources into a single view.

 “The answer in the short term is no,” Laing said, when asked if Microsoft is contemplating an ARM-based Windows Server.

The ARM processor has seen a revival in interest over the past few years, because they require less power to run than competitor Intel’s x86 chips.

There are 2 major problems with porting ARM chips to run a Server OS.

  1. Server OS’s are typically written for 64 bit processors. Current ARM processors are limited to 32 bit.
  2. Having a lower power consuming processor doesn’t really solve too many problems in a server as other components (memory, motherboard etc) are more power intensive.

Now, Laing did not say that Microsoft would never consider developing an ARM-based version of Windows Server, but said the company has no immediate plans for doing so now.

So.. never..



  • Konanyao

    Well i have to admit that i am a bit surprised that Windows 8 Server won’t run on ARM.
    This said, the fact that ARM CPU are 32 bits only does not help to have Windows Server, which are exclusively 64 bits, been ported to this architecture.
    I guess that it is not before Windows 9 server that we shall see a ARM version of Windows 8 if at all.