Nintendo Switch Hacked to Boot Windows 10

We see cool modding projects in technology all the time, but getting Windows 10 to run on a Nintendo Switch is a nice recent achievement for device hack hobbyist Ben Imbushou.

Ben’s hobby is porting firmware to random devices for fun, but he was reluctant to offer details about how he ported Windows 10 to the Nintendo Switch. For a while he was merely offering proof-of-concept screenshots, but he’s finally released a video and more details on how the process was achieved.

How is Windows 10 Ported to ARM Devices?

Basically, it boils down to AArch64 architecture, as demonstrated in this graphic chart:

Windows 10 on ARM/ARM64 Flow Chart

Windows 10 can be ported to ARM64 machines, which is one of the most popular architectures for mobile devices. Microsoft has been pushing Windows 10 on ARM lately, after partnering with Qualcomm. The hope is that hardware partners will be able to build Snapdragon-powered Windows 10 PCs that can run x86 Win32 and universal Windows apps.

Microsoft isn’t necessarily focusing on all ARM processors, just mainly those developed by Qualcomm, as the Snapdragon is one of the most widely used SoCs in higher-end mobile devices.

In fact, here’s Windows 10 running on a Google Pixel 3 XL:

Ben getting Windows 10 onto a Nintendo Switch is a pretty cool mod, made possible by the fact the Nintendo Switch comes equipped comes with an ARM chip. Though Ben needed to create custom UEFI firmware and drivers, with a lot of difficulty. Here he had trouble getting USB to work properly:

Windows 10 on Nintendo Switch

His Twitter feed is full of more videos and screenshots of his project, so follow his Twitter page if you’re interested in tracking this project.

As the Windows 10 on ARM project gains more traction, we’re probably going to see a lot more mods like this. It’s usefulness is pretty null, but overall it’s a cool feat nonetheless.

Kamil Anwar
Kamil is a certified MCITP, CCNA (W), CCNA (S) and a former British Computer Society Member with over 9 years of experience Configuring, Deploying and Managing Switches, Firewalls and Domain Controllers also an old-school still active on FreeNode.