Does ThinApp run on Windows RT?

The short answer: No, ThinApp doesn’t work on Windows RT.

The long answer: It depends on the version of Windows the particular tablet is running.


The Microsoft Surface RT or Windows tablets like the Dell XPS 10, Lenovo Yoga 11 are sporting Microsoft’s new operating system called Windows RT. While Windows RT seems to be very similar to Windows 8 it isn’t. In fact Windows RT is specially developed to run on mobile platforms and therefore is using a completely different architecture called ARM. ThinApp doesn’t work on this platform.

On the other hand there are tablets running Windows 8 like Microsoft Surface Pro, Dell Latitude 10 or the HP ElitePad 900. These tablets are running a full blown version of Windows 8. This is possible as all these tablets are based on the Intel x86 platform. As this platform isn’t different from any installation of Windows 8 on a classical desktop PC and ThinApp officially supports Windows 8, ThinApp will just run fine on these tablets.

Why does ThinApp doesn’t work on Windows RT?

Both platforms are using different instructions sets and therefore application code may be interpreted different on each platform. While it would be possible to port x86 applications to the ARM platform by optimizing the code so that it behave the same on each platform this isn’t the cause why ThinApp does not work on Windows RT.

The problem with Windows RT is that Microsoft only supports a subset of the Win32 API on this platform and most of the Windows applications out there relying on this API, ThinApp does too. Also Microsoft doesn’t support porting x86 desktops apps to Windows RT.

Metro style apps in the Windows Store can support both WOA and Windows 8 on x86/64.
Developers wishing to target WOA do so by writing applications for the WinRT (Windows APIs for building Metro style apps) using the new Visual Studio 11 tools in a variety of languages, including C#/VB/XAML and Jscript/ HTML5. Native code targeting WinRT is also supported using C and C++, which can be targeted across architectures and distributed through the Windows Store. WOA does not support running, emulating, or porting existing x86/64 desktop apps. Code that uses only system or OS services from WinRT can be used within an app and distributed through the Windows Store for both WOA and x86/64. Consumers obtain all software, including device drivers, through the Windows Store and Microsoft Update or Windows Update.

Thats the cause why ThinApp isn’t supported and will not work on Windows RT and probably never will. Even if ThinApp would work on Windows RT most of the applications you want to virtualize wouldn’t work, as these applications simply don’t work on Windows RT. They have the same problems ThinApp has, the lack of Win 32 API functionality and support on part of Microsoft.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s