20 Feb 2013

As we know and have mentioned on our Podcast several times, Surface RT is highly restricted to only one single x86 legacy program and that is the Office software that comes on the tablet.  All other x86 legacy applications can't run on the device, until now.  Thanks to mamaich on the XDA developer forum, the ARM tablet can run classic windows games in fact, at least some.

This emulation is done using a tool that emulates an x86 environment on the ARM system and allows RT to execute API calls without a major use of system resources.  According to the developer, he is planning on releasing a standalone tool so that its automatically emulated each time Surface RT boots or each time the app is executed.

Some of the applications that are working include these among other small ones:

  • WinRar
  • 3D Pinball (Windows 95)
  • Heroes of Might and Magic III (32 bit)
  • 7zG.exe b (a 7Zip benchmark)

In future releases the following will be supported:

  • Age of Empires
  • Command & Conquer
  • Jagged Alliance 2
  • uTorrent

Check out the video of Heroes of Might and Magic III on RT below:

The basic steps per the source link below are as follows:

1. Unlock your device with this tool
2. Install the MSI file
3. Run the "Launch x86 program" from the start menu
4. Browse for an x86 EXE file and press "Ok" to run it. The launcher would be minimized to tray, you may exit it any time.

If everything goes fine - you'll see a black console window of "Peloader.exe" and after a few moments your program would run. If it does not - see the notes below.  See the source link for full details.  The tool only supports 32-bit native windows applications and won't allow you to run drivers or .net apps or Win16 or DOS programs.

This ability to run at least some legacy apps on RT should make the Surface RT a bit more attractive than it was in the past with the new ability to run at least some of these applications, over the more costly Surface Pro.

Source: XDA Developers

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