Raspberry Pi
Microsoft Announces Windows Support for the Raspberry Pi 2

Windows 10 and Raspberry Pi

Alongside the announcement of the next generation of Raspberry Pi board—the Raspberry Pi 2 Model B—is the news from Microsoft that the new board will be supported by Windows 10.

“We’re very happy to be supporting Windows 10 on Raspberry Pi. It’s a great opportunity to plug in to Microsoft’s work with makers, and access to the Visual Studio toolchain is a big plus.” — Eben Upton, CEO at Raspberry Pi

Until today’s release of the new Raspberry Pi 2 there has been no Windows support for the Pi. However because the new board has made the transition from ARMv6 to ARMv7 — a chip architecture already supported by Windows — this is not only now possible, it’s happening.

The Raspberry Pi 2, Model B
The Raspberry Pi 2, Model B

Microsoft has already made moves to support the maker community, releasing a distribution of Windows running on the Intel Galileo. Since the Galileo doesn’t have display support, and has only 256MB of RAM on board, the distribution is a heavily stripped down version of Microsoft’s operating system—although there have been improvements to better support the sorts of things that makers want to do—for example Microsoft’s Lightning functionality is a re-architecture of Windows to make GPIO operations much faster.

However it’s not yet clear whether the version of Windows supporting the much more capable second generation Raspberry Pi will be similarly stripped down, or whether it will have a normal Windows user interface. When asked, Microsoft declined to share further details although they did admit that we could expect it to be “similar” to that provided for other boards, suggesting that—like the Galileo—the version shipping for the Pi will be stripped back.

We do know that Windows 10 for the Raspberry Pi will be made available free to the maker community through the Windows Developer Program for IoT, but it won’t be arriving until later in the year.

“We will be sharing more details about our Windows 10 plans for IoT in the coming months. ” — Kevin Dallas, General Manager, MS Windows IoT Group

Due to the vagueness of their announcement it’s likely that Microsoft’s work on Windows for the Pi is still in early stages.

The arrival of Windows on the Raspberry Pi also calls into question the future of Microsoft’s own Sharks Cove board — a joint venture between Microsoft, Intel and CircuitCo. At $299 the board was intended as a development board for both Windows and Android, but at release was poorly marketed as a “Raspberry Pi competitor.”

If you’re interested in keeping track of Windows 10 on Raspberry Pi you should register for the developer program on the Window Developer Program for IoT site.

Update: Postings by Ben Nuttall in the comment thread for the release announcement of the new board seem to confirm that the version of Windows shipping for the Pi will be stripped back in a similar manner to the Intel Galileo release.

21 thoughts on “Microsoft Announces Windows Support for the Raspberry Pi 2

  1. Read the EULA carefully when you sign up for the program: they only allow one install of a pre-release version that is only good for 60 days and may not be used “in production”

    1. No. That license agreement is for the Galileo. It hasn’t yet been updated for Windows 10.

      Also, the version of Windows that the Pi will run is not the same as the Galileo, despite the update above. The Galileo does not run universal apps.

      1. So, you can’t actually say no. Remove that, and you are accurate with your statement, as we (at least I) don’t know the license of MS Windows 10 for Pi yet.

        By the way, a RPi competition at cost of $299 instead of $35? Then I know many much better competitions against RPi in the price-range under $100, yes even under $50. ;-)

        1. You are technically correct, but I can say with a fairly high level of certainty that the license agreement won’t be the same. The Galileo is a special case. The version of Windows that runs on the Pi is not the same as on the Galileo; Pi2 support is part of Windows 10. Also, the Pi2 version of Windows will be free and accessible to makers creating real solutions, not just folks prototyping or experimenting.

          I’ve asked the team who owns the site to clarify that the current license is for Galileo 1 and Galileo 2 because the current language is confusing. Pwjam is not the only one to point that out. Maker-friendly Pi2 agreement is TBD.

          $299 board: I assume you’re talking about the Sharks Cove. The $299 Sharks Cove board has nothing to do with Raspberry Pi. The press got that one completely wrong. It’s a driver development board for people developing hardware that works with Windows.

          Prior to the introduction of that board, dev kits cost up in the 4 digits. Now the tools are more available without entering into a special program, and the board is also available through retail outlets. Source: I work with that team.

          1. Sorry, using phone with autocorrect.
            “I wont work with MS Windows anyway” was the message I was meant to send… I´m shore MS Windows 10 will work with RPi 2.

  2. Be very careful to read any licensing agreement Microsoft releases with this when it is available. When I checked Windows Insider licensing agreement for Windows 10, there was a non-compete, in the area of operating system development, inside the agreement. Such could be a problem for those who might want to do any kind open source OS development, etc. I would never agree to a license that includes such without significant compensation in cash; and lawyer review of the same. FYI: I’m a former MSFTy.

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Alasdair Allan is a scientist, author, hacker and tinkerer, who is spending a lot of his time thinking about the Internet of Things. In the past he has mesh networked the Moscone Center, caused a U.S. Senate hearing, and contributed to the detection of what was—at the time—the most distant object yet discovered.

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