Run Full Windows Programs on Windows RT, and Other Bits and Bobs

By Chris Mills on at

So you've got a Windows RT tablet of some description cos hey, they're cheap, and pretty handy for a lot of things. But there's a few things missing from Windows RT -- namely the ability to run even basic x86 programs, or Flash on non-whitelisted websites. We're here to change that, showing you how to run full Windows programs on Windows RT, among other things.

 

Flash on Non-Whitelisted Websites

This one's actually pretty easy, requiring nothing more than Notepad and a bit of Ctrl+F magic.

- Launch the desktop version of Internet Explorer. Press "Alt", then go Tools >> Compatibility View Options, and uncheck the bottom box, the one that says "Update compatibility list" or similar.
- Open Explorer, and go to C:\Windows\Users\[youruser]\AppData\Local\Microsoft\Internet Explorer\IECompatData (you might need to go View, and check Hidden Items).
- Right-click, and open the "iecompatdata" file with Notepad.
- Do a Ctrl+F on "Flash" -- you should get two tags, <Flash> and </Flash>. In between there, you'll notice lots of site names, sandwiched between <domain> and </domain>. Just do the same for your site of choice, delete browsing history in IE Metro, and Bob's your Copter-playing uncle.

 

Speed Up Touchscreen Response

- Bust out the Registry Editor (hit the start screen and type "regedit"), find the key:

HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\TouchPredict ion

Open it up, and change latency from 8 to 2, and sample time from 8 to 2.

how to run full windows programs on windows rt

 

Run Full Windows Programs on Windows RT

This is the biggie. Yes, it is possible to run full Windows programs on Windows RT, but it requires a tiny bit of work. First off, you'll need to use a jailbreak tool to allow non-approved .exes to run on RT.

- Download that sucker from here. Once it's downloaded, extract (right-click, extract all), then run "runExploit" as an administrator (right-click, Run as Administrator).

how to run full windows programs on windows rt

- Select option I, and let it do its (very quick) thing. Once it's done, reboot.
- Download the emulator from here.
- Extract, and run the installer file.

how to run full windows programs on windows rt

It'll install, and then your system will need to reboot. Once that's done, it should all be running. To run an x86 app, you'll need to go to the start menu, then click on the thing that says "Run x86 Program". Point it to the location of the x86 program (they're installed by default in C:\x86node\Program Files), and hit go.

The emulator works by taking x86 API commands and turning them into RT API commands, so there's fairly limited functionality at the moment. Don't expect anything that uses complicated graphics commands, like DirectX11 or D3D to work. You can find a full list of supported programmes here.

For what it's worth, I managed to get some smaller programs like 7zip and PuTTy running, as well as Age of Empires 2 (with a little bit of fiddling). Yes, it's a little buggy, and you have to launch programs from the x86 emulator each time, but it's a damn sight better than nothing.

Sam Gibbs contributed to this article


Tweakmodo is Gizmodo's new guide to getting the very best out of your electronics. Every week, we’ll be doing the magic to a different device. Got a bit of kit you want to see pimped up, or think we’ve missed a vital hack? Let us know in the comments!