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I recently bought a RPi and it came with Debian, which I think is a Linux distribution. I'm more used to Windows; can I install it?

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This probably doesn't count, but you can install Windows 3.1 under dosbox. –  finnw Jun 13 '12 at 15:25
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I wouldn't - it is an example question. –  Alex Chamberlain Jun 13 '12 at 15:45
    
One reason you might want to is to run a classic game that has not been ported to Linux, but which the Pi has enough processing power to run. e.g. the original Starcraft. –  finnw Jun 13 '12 at 16:14
    
Wasn't NT3.51 available for ARM? –  Martin Thompson Jun 13 '12 at 20:18
    
@MartinThompson, not ARM, but PowerPC and MIPS –  finnw Jun 14 '12 at 10:10
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7 Answers

up vote 28 down vote accepted

No. At this point in time, Windows cannot be installed on the Raspberry Pi.

Windows is designed for the x86 and x86-64 architectures (32 and 64 bit architecture respectively).

The RPi has an ARM architecture, which is incompatible.

Windows 8

Windows 8 is a yet to be released version of Windows, which is expected to support ARM under the name Windows RT. However, the RPi uses ARMv6, which is unlikely to be supported.

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Windows 7 Phone supports ARM as far as I know. –  Itay Grudev Jun 13 '12 at 16:30
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I suspect it does, but can you get installation media? –  Alex Chamberlain Jun 13 '12 at 16:33
    
The RPi uses ARM11. From the RPi FAQs: Broadcom BCM2835 ARM1176JZFS. –  Andrew Larsson Jun 14 '12 at 17:16
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@AndrewLarsson - ARM11 chips are ARM v6 architecture. Confusing I know. Also, even if Windows RT targets ARM v6 (ARM11) rather than v7 (ARM Cortex-A series used in many tablets), current Raspberry Pi models fail several other of the hardware requirements for Windows 8. –  Mark Booth Jun 14 '12 at 18:04
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Wikipedia: "ARM11 is an ARM architecture 32-bit RISC microprocessor family which introduced the ARMv6 architectural additions." I stand corrected, and yes, that's very confusing. Now if you'll excuse me, I need to go rethink my life. –  Andrew Larsson Jun 14 '12 at 20:27
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Windows 8 will have an ARM version known as "WinRT" so the question isn't quite as outlandish as it might seem. But it RasPi uses an earlier ARM version than that targeted by WinRT (technologically the RaspPi isn't anywhere leading edge - one reason for the price), so it will not run WinRT.

Also even if the ARM architectures matched, I suspect WinRT would have memory requirements that would give the RasPi trouble.

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Nope, because Windows isn't compiled for ARM (and not being open source, you can't do it yourself.)

Yes, Windows 8 is apparently going to have an ARM version, though I seriously doubt it will work for a few main reasons:

  • Drivers for all the components would have to be written, licensed and released
  • I seriously doubt Windows 8 will run at all with 256MB RAM
  • Even if it did technically compile and run with drivers, it'd likely be unusable in terms of speed because of its hardware requirements.

It's technically possible that if a future "model C" were to be released (I'm just speculating) the hardware requirements may be good enough, alleviating some of the above issues - but from a practical perspective I don't think running Windows is ever going to be hugely feasible.

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The RPi is ARM11. –  Andrew Larsson Jun 14 '12 at 17:10
    
@AndrewLarsson Source? Beg to differ, but I'm pretty sure it's v6. –  berry120 Jun 14 '12 at 17:18
    
raspberrypi.org/faqs Broadcom BCM2835 ARM1176JZFS: arm.com/products/processors/classic/arm11/arm1176.php –  Andrew Larsson Jun 14 '12 at 17:27
    
@AndrewLarsson Fair point! I stand corrected. –  berry120 Jun 14 '12 at 17:29
    
The architecture is ARMv6, though. –  Alex Chamberlain Jun 14 '12 at 17:53
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Well, someone has managed to get Windows 7 running on the Raspberry Pi, albeit via VMWare View Open Client. You can find more information about it on the Raspberry Pi Foundation's blog post.

And finally, Warrington Collegiate have been working on getting Windows 7 (!) running on the Raspberry Pi using the VMware View Open Client. We think they’re the first people to have done this – they’re calling it Magnum Pi, because we all love moustaches and Hawaiian shirts. Nick Smeltzer, their Director of IT Services emailed me to say that Microsoft already know about it…

You can download it from Microsoft SkyDrive.

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Please don't tell people to search on another site for a blog link. An external link should be for extra information. Your answer should be able to stand on its own. –  Bryan Dunsmore Jun 18 '12 at 15:03
    
I just found this same article on the Raspberry Pi Foundation's blog, and I'm glad to see that someone else found it, too, and posted it here as an answer. –  Andrew Larsson Jun 20 '12 at 16:48
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It's not running Windows 7 - it's running VMWare View, and viewing a VM running somewhere else. –  Alan B Jul 16 '12 at 15:09
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A group of people got Windows 7 running on the RPi through the VMware Open Client. Link: http://www.raspberrypi.org/archives/tag/magnum-pi. Scroll down to the bottom.

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Well, that is cool! –  patchie Oct 18 '13 at 8:58
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Maybe ReactOS (kind of an open source Windows+Linux-merge-reimplementation) is interesting for you, there seems to exist an ARM port. The discussion there also refers to Wine for ARM with "native" x86 support...

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You can run Windows Embedded Compact 7 on a Raspberry Pi.

A BSP for the RPi is available at Codeplex.

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I had no idea, but it looks like it's in very early Alpha at the moment. Also requires you to have WEC7 already. –  Fred Apr 5 at 9:02
    
It works just fine. My RPi is using that BSP. And yes it does, but running W8 requires you to have W8 already too, doesn't it? –  Mikael Dúi Bolinder Apr 5 at 12:01
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That's awesome that it works! The site didn't really convey that to me. –  Fred Apr 6 at 17:23
    
Still lacks a lot of drivers but you can use it as a photo frame since it got a basic display driver, haha. –  Mikael Dúi Bolinder Apr 6 at 19:31
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