How to run Windows on the Raspberry Pi

Your favorite MS OS on the Pi.
Ash Ash (330)
30 minutes

Want to run Windows on the Raspberry Pi? Maybe you want to emulate the Raspberry Pi on Windows. Either way, there is a relationship between Windows and the Raspberry Pi.

Can you run Windows on the Raspberry Pi?

In short, yes. It's possible to both install a native Windows image for the Pi and emulate older editions of Windows.

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Windows 10 IoT Edition

If you want to run an official Windows image on the Raspberry Pi, you'll need Windows 10 IoT Edition. This special edition is designed for basic IoT functions, it is not a complete Windows 10 interface.

You can find instructions on the Microsoft website for installing Windows 10 IoT Edition on a Raspberry Pi.

Windows 10 Linux Skin

At the end of the day, you'll be hard-pressed to run a full Windows operating system on the Raspberry Pi. If you're mainly after the look and feel of Windows, you can look for a Windows themed Linux skin.

For example, this project on Gnome Look mimics the look and feel of Windows 10.

If you want to run specific Windows software on the Pi but don't care about the Windows GUI, you can try using software like Wine for compatibility. This application is designed to help run Windows applications in a Linux environment, like Raspbian.

You can emulate older Windows editions on the Raspberry Pi with the help of a virtual machine, like QEMU. Versions like Windows 98 don't require much power in the way of hardware, making the Raspberry Pi a feasible platform.

Raspberry Pi Desktop

When most people talk about emulating the Raspberry Pi, they're referring to the Raspbian OS. If you've got a Windows machine, you can emulate Raspbian with the help of software like VirtualBox. You can use the Raspberry Pi Desktop image when setting up the virtual machine.

If you found this guide useful, check out our guide on how to install Android on a Raspberry Pi and how to install OpenCV.

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