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How to use Windows 10 on Raspberry PI
Windows 10 lends itself very well to use on a small and cheap device like the Raspberry PI: at the end, we will have available a real cheap PC for surfing the web, using Office, studying, reading emails, and watching some HD videos without slowing down.
Before proceeding with the tool and downloading the Windows 10 image suitable for the Raspberry PI, make sure you have the following requirements available:
- PC with Windows 10: let’s get a notebook or a traditional desktop PC with Windows 10, which will work as a “work table” to prepare the key to be used on the Raspberry Pi.
- USB Pendrive: let’s also get a USB stick of at least 8GB (empty) and fast enough to be able to carry out the installation operations of the operating system.
- Raspberry Pi: at the time of writing, Raspberry PI Model B v.1.2 or later, Raspberry Pi 3 or Raspberry Pi 4, in 1 GB RAM configuration (required to run Windows 10 well) are compatible.
- External disk or microSD: according to the needs we have, we can either use a microSD directly in the Raspberry PI (which will act as a system disk) or connect an external USB hard drive, to always be used as a memory in which to save Windows 10.
- Mouse and keyboard: we choose the Raspberry PI only USB models with cable or with dedicated wireless USB receiver, avoiding the Bluetooth models.
- Internet connection: we use an Ethernet cable to connect the Raspberry PI to the Internet.
If we have everything we need we can proceed with reading the following chapters of the guide, where we will show you which tools to use to install Windows 10 on Raspberry Pi.
Download the image and tool for the operation
For the Raspberry PI, we have to download Windows 10 ARM, which is the specific version of Windows 10 for the chip on the mini-computer. To proceed we advise you to use the uup.rg-adguard.net site (it is not an official site, but it extracts the links from Microsoft’s public servers making downloads easier), taking care to select all the items as visible in the image down.
Specifically let’s make sure to select the latest version of Windows 10 ARM (at the time of writing 21H1), select the Italian language, select the full version (which includes Home and Pro) and finally make sure to select the item Download ISO Compiler in OneClick! (run downloaded CMD file). After downloading the executable from the terminal, double-click on it, confirm the administrator privileges and let the terminal window work: the procedure to download all the Windows 10 files will be started in it, so as to obtain an updated ISO in real-time.
During the creation of the ISO, we can very well continue further, downloading the tool for installing the drivers for Raspberry Pi. The tool is called Windows on Raspberry and can be downloaded from the official website.
Once the compressed file has been downloaded, unpack all the files into a single folder, then press on the executable WoR.exe to start the tool (portable, does not require any additional installation). To proceed, make sure that Italian is selected in the first window and click on Forward; in the next screen we press the hamburger icon and select the USB key (previously inserted in the computer), we choose the Raspberry PI model in our possession then press on Forward.
Now, if the download and creation of the ISO file are finished, press the icon with the three dots, select the ISO file created a little while ago, choose the version of Windows 10 to create (Home or Pro) and press on Forward; in the new screen make sure to select Use the latest package, we accept the license and click on Forward.
In the next screen we select Use the latest firmware available on the server, we press again on forwarding, we choose Master Boot Record (MBR) as partitions scheme, we press for the last time on Next and start the creation of the USB key with Windows 10 ARM by pressing the key Install. Now all that remains is to wait for the end of the process, which could take several minutes (depending on the power of the PC in use); at the end, we press on Finished, safely remove the USB key, and prepare the Raspberry PI to “welcome” Windows 10, by connecting an HDMI monitor, the newly created USB key (possibly in a USB 3.0 port, ie blue), a keyboard, a mouse and a cable Ethernet for Internet connection.
Install Windows 10 on Raspberry PI
Once everything has been prepared, connect the Raspberry PI power supply and wait for the boot screen to start; on Raspberry PI 4 the screen will start automatically, while on previous versions we will have to change the boot order from BIOS / UEFI as seen in the official guide. As soon as the Raspberry symbol appears with various writings underneath, we press the Enter key to start the Windows 10 installer.
The procedure, from now on, is completely identical to installing Windows 10 on a traditional PC: we will therefore have to choose the language, the keyboard configuration, the configuration of the Microsoft account or the local account, the configuration of the Microsoft services, and on which disk to save the operating system.
To learn more we can also read our guide How to install Windows 10 from scratch (clean install).
The Raspberry PI will not have the power to be able to play games or to be able to use heavy programs on Windows 10, but it can be used without problems as a media center or a small pocket computer, to be started only when we have to surf the Internet, study or use programs. Office. Unfortunately, the power of the included chip hardly allows you to start more than one program at a time, but for what the Raspberry PI costs (less than € 100) we can very well be satisfied.
On the same topic, we can also read our guides Replacing a Desktop PC with Raspberry PI 4: Can it be done? e Use the Raspberry Pi as a mini PC or media center for your TV.