Windows RT Desktop Apps Start to Show Up Thanks To Jailbreaking Efforts

The jailbreaking scene for Windows RT devices is still in very early stages, but it seems to hold a lot of future potential for both enterprise and casual consumers.

Devices like the Surface RT have excellent battery life and low-weight attractive designs but are in many ways held back from more serious “production” uses do to limited applications available through Windows Store at the moment. While Windows Store apps might prove more than good enough for many users, those who plan to hook their Surface up to a keyboard, mouse and maybe even larger monitor wouldn’t mind getting a little more out of the device through jailbreaking.

So what’s out there for Windows RT desktop applications right now? While there still isn’t tons, a lot of effort has been made over the course of the last few weeks, since the jailbreak was first discovered. This first apps aren’t exactly “ultra-productive” but they show that the idea of converting x86 desktop applications is certainly possible.

Okay, so here’s the list so far:

7-Zip: A popular archiving utility for special compressed files types.
Miranda IM: An instant messenger desktop client.
TightVNC: A remote desktop client solution.
Quake 2: A popular, though quite old open-source 1st person shooter.
DosBox: DosBox allows you to run many legacy DOS applications from the DOS/Win 3.1 days.

Additionally there is an x86 emulator out there, though it has limited app-running abilities at the moment, and runs most programs v ery slowly. Interestingly enough, there are even a few apps that work just fine without any kind of alternations needed, such as Keepass Portable, BiTorren, MonoTorrent and screen capture utility “IceChat”.

The biggest downside to a jailbreak for Windows RT is that you will need to “unlock” it by running special software each time you restart your Windows RT device. While not that hard or time-consuming at all, it is still a bit of a minor annoyance.

Microsoft has also alluded to the fact that future Windows RT updates might eventually patch up the current method used for jailbreaking. The bottom-line is that if you ABSOLUTELY need desktop support, go with Windows 8.

If you’d rather stick with Windows Store and maybe tinker around with a few extra desktop apps as long as the “door is open” for it, then go with Windows RT. Honestly though, I have a feeling that even if a jailbreak fix is issued, hackers will find a way around it. Once that door is opened, it seems very difficult to close.

Do you see practical business/everyday uses for a Windows RT jailbreak or is it just a fun project with limited real use?

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  • Kevin Burgess

    The x86 emulator is the most interesting to me, but methinks it just does not have the underlying firepower (ARM processor) to produce acceptable performance.