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Using a Raspberry Pi to flash Windows 10 to a SD card

Sat Aug 28, 2021 8:45 pm

Mods: Please don't move this topic to "Other Operating Systems." The program outlined below is intended to run on RPiOS, so this topic should stay in a RPiOS forum.
This topic is the result of much collaboration between myself and the friendly maintainers of the WoR project. I would have not been able to make this imaging tool without their help.

Introduction
In the past, if you wanted to try running Windows 10 on your Raspberry Pi legally, you would have to use a Windows computer to generate the files and flash the sd card. For many people (including myself), this was never an option.
Everything changed around a month ago, when the WoR developers created a program that runs inside the WinPE environment. This allows Linux or MacOS computers to flash a minimal windows image to the sd card. Once booted, the WinPE tool installs Windows the rest of the way. To do this, you'd have to follow a lengthy, complicated tutorial. While it technically works, it's far from ideal...

This is where WoR-flasher comes in. I made this utility to automate the entire tutorial. It's a bash script that does everything from start to finish.
Usage

Code: Select all

pi@raspberrypi:~ $ git clone https://github.com/Botspot/wor-flasher
pi@raspberrypi:~ $ ~/wor-flasher/install-wor.sh
Choose Windows version:
1) Windows 11
2) Windows 10
3) Custom...
Enter 1, 2 or 3: 1

Choose language: en-us

Choose Raspberry Pi model to deploy Windows on:
1) Raspberry Pi 4 / 400
2) Raspberry Pi 2 rev 1.2 / 3 / CM3
Enter 1 or 2: 1

Available devices:
/dev/sdb - 59.5GB - USB Storage
Choose a device to flash the Windows setup files to: /dev/sdb

1) Create an installation drive (minimum 25 GB) capable of installing Windows to itself
2) Create a recovery drive (minimum 7 GB) to install Windows on other >16 GB drives
Choose the installation mode (1 or 2): 1

Input configuration:
DL_DIR: /home/pi/wor-flasher-files
RUN_MODE: cli
RPI_MODEL: 4
DEVICE: /dev/sdb
CAN_INSTALL_ON_SAME_DRIVE: 1
UUID: 6f7de912-4143-431b-b605-924c22ab9b1f
WIN_LANG: en-us

Formatting /dev/sdb
Generating partitions
Generating filesystems
# script output continues... It generates a Windows image legally, downloads all necessary drivers, the BIOS, the bootloader, and the modified kernel. Once done it ejects the drive.
By the way, I also made a GUI frontend for it. Run the gui version with ~/wor-flasher/install-wor-gui.sh
Image
Legal
Is this legal? 100%. The bash script generates the Windows image straight from Microsoft's update servers, and the resulting operating system is not licensed. My WoR-flasher tool does not distribute or download anything illegal or copyrighted.
Last edited by Botspot on Sat Aug 28, 2021 11:42 pm, edited 3 times in total.
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Re: Using a Raspberry Pi to install Windows 10 on Raspberry Pi

Sat Aug 28, 2021 9:08 pm

Can of worms opening....
* Raspberry Pi is a trademark of the Raspberry Pi Foundation

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Re: Using a Raspberry Pi to install Windows 10 on Raspberry Pi

Sat Aug 28, 2021 9:18 pm

Botspot wrote:
Sat Aug 28, 2021 8:45 pm

Introduction
In the past, if you wanted to try running Windows 10 on your Raspberry Pi legally, you would have to use a Windows computer to generate the files and flash the sd card. For many people (including myself), this was never an option.
Everything changed around a month ago, when the WoR developers created a tool called WinPE.
Oh dear, WoR didn't create WinPE, it is a Microsoft tool that has been around for years, they really could get into deep trouble if they claim to have created it.

As far as I am aware, you cannot legally run Windows on an Rpi, Microsoft does not provide the packages to do so.

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Re: Using a Raspberry Pi to install Windows 10 on Raspberry Pi

Sat Aug 28, 2021 9:26 pm

hortimech wrote:
Sat Aug 28, 2021 9:18 pm
Oh dear, WoR didn't create WinPE, it is a Microsoft tool that has been around for years, they really could get into deep trouble if they claim to have created it.
Oh dear. Looks like I was misinformed or got the name wrong. I'll ask around, but as far as I know the WoR developers recently made a custom program that runs in an environment, that now finally allows for a Linux-based imaging option.
hortimech wrote:
Sat Aug 28, 2021 9:18 pm
As far as I am aware, you cannot legally run Windows on an Rpi, Microsoft does not provide the packages to do so.
Microsoft's servers host all ARM64 software necessary to get a working operating system. As the maker of the script, I see the full process - all the way from downloading individual files from Microsoft, to packaging them in an install.wim file to an ISO.
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Re: Using a Raspberry Pi to install Windows 10 on Raspberry Pi

Sat Aug 28, 2021 9:36 pm

hortimech wrote:
Sat Aug 28, 2021 9:18 pm
Oh dear, WoR didn't create WinPE, it is a Microsoft tool that has been around for years, they really could get into deep trouble if they claim to have created it.
Turns out I did interpret the name wrong.
WoR did not create WinPE, they created an extraction program that runs inside Microsoft's WinPE environment.
The original post has been updated to reflect this clarification.
Thank you hortimech for bringing this to my attention so that I don't continue misinforming people unknowingly.
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Re: Using a Raspberry Pi to install Windows 10 on Raspberry Pi

Sat Aug 28, 2021 9:38 pm

Just because there are packages available from the Microsoft servers (which I believe are for snapdragon cpu's), it doesn't make it legal to use them, Do you have a relevant licence supplied by Microsoft ? Does Microsoft know that you using their packages on an Rpi ?
If the answer to either of those two questions is no, then you are likely to run into trouble and I do not really think this topic is relevant for this forum.

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Re: Using a Raspberry Pi to install Windows 10 on Raspberry Pi

Sat Aug 28, 2021 9:45 pm

Greg Erskine wrote:
Sat Aug 28, 2021 9:08 pm
Can of worms opening....
more like a bus loads of zombies....
...carrying opened cans of worms.... :mrgreen:
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Come to me with 'problems' and I'll help you find solutions"

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Re: Using a Raspberry Pi to install Windows 10 on Raspberry Pi

Sat Aug 28, 2021 9:53 pm

hortimech wrote:
Sat Aug 28, 2021 9:38 pm
Do you have a relevant licence supplied by Microsoft?
As I said in the first topic:
Botspot wrote: Is this legal? 100%. The bash script generates the Windows image straight from Microsoft's update servers, and the resulting operating system is not licensed.
You, the user, are responsible for licensing your operating system legally, just like any other clean install.
hortimech wrote:
Sat Aug 28, 2021 9:38 pm
Does Microsoft know that you using their packages on an Rpi ?
Microsoft's update servers are publicly accessible and are equally legal as downloading this x86 Windows ISO straight from their website.
hortimech wrote:
Sat Aug 28, 2021 9:38 pm
you are likely to run into trouble and I do not really think this topic is relevant for this forum.
If anyone runs into trouble, it will be the developers who created the uupdump tool. This website hosts bash scripts which download files from Microsoft's update servers.
And yet, these uupdump developers have never received any legal trouble from Microsoft. UUPdump is well-known in the Windows world, to the extent that numerous questions have been asked about it in Microsoft's own forums. In any of these topics, Microsoft could have stepped in and said UUPdump was illegal. But to my knowledge, they never have.
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Re: Using a Raspberry Pi to install Windows 10 on Raspberry Pi

Sat Aug 28, 2021 10:17 pm

I'm also a good friend of the WoR developers, and they've told me that Microsoft themselves have talked to them and are aware of the WoR project and have raised no concerns over any license issues and such.

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Re: Using a Raspberry Pi to install Windows 10 on Raspberry Pi

Sat Aug 28, 2021 10:51 pm

You, the user, are responsible for licensing your operating system legally, just like any other clean install.
That information should be shown clearly to the user of this tool then. ( IMO ) Maybe even ask the user to verify that it is read and understod.

But the important question is; is it possible for any user to aquire a license for Windows 10/11 for any/all of the Raspberry Pi models supported by the tool ?

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Re: Using a Raspberry Pi to install Windows 10 on Raspberry Pi

Sat Aug 28, 2021 11:24 pm

topguy wrote:
Sat Aug 28, 2021 10:51 pm
That information should be shown clearly to the user of this tool then. ( IMO ) Maybe even ask the user to verify that it is read and understod.
You seem to misunderstand how Windows 10 activation works: A clean install of Windows 10 is usable, but if you don't enter a Windows license key within a few hours, many features are disabled by Windows.
Just like with any Windows 10/11 install, you activate it with a valid Windows license key - nothing special is going on here.

WoR doesn't change anything - it's just Windows with some open-source drivers that allow Windows to run on Raspberry Pi.

The ultimate answer to the question "Is WoR legal?" would be to say that Microsoft officially condones it.
Turns out, not only is Microsoft is aware of the project, it seems supportive! Here's a message I received from @System64, the founder of WoR's discord chat group:
2021-08-28-182035_1920x1080_scrot.png
2021-08-28-182035_1920x1080_scrot.png (68.59 KiB) Viewed 3997 times
Its 100% legal
I spoke with a microsoft employee about this btw
We cannot legally distribute WoR images with a key or even just images However we can legally distribute methods of installation or activation (Legal)
Since WoR uses microsoft servers for installation and microsoft drivers and some community drivers then its 100% legal
we have 2 microsoft employees on the server who verified this for us
They said that the project is legal the way it is
And i even spoke with other microsoft employees and they also said the same
This project is so legal microsoft has documentation about this project in their servers
They have our discord in their documentation :D
Hopefully this information will quell the rumors that Windows on Raspberry Pi is illegal.
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Re: Using a Raspberry Pi to flash Windows 10 to a SD card

Sun Aug 29, 2021 12:17 am

Interesting. But:
  1. Can we have a link to back up "This project is so legal microsoft has documentation about this project in their servers" and "They have our discord in their documentation"
  2. Were those anonymous MS employee in their legal team?
  3. That's hearsay.
  4. Wether or not the WoR project is legal is one thing. Whether or not running unlicensed MS software on an unsupported platfrom is legal is another.
Given the number of Pi sold, I'm surprised MS don't officially offer windows. But then they'd have to support it and convince folks it's worth the usual $100 - $150 price tag. Then they'd have to support Office on it...
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Re: Using a Raspberry Pi to flash Windows 10 to a SD card

Sun Aug 29, 2021 1:31 am

thagrol wrote:
Sun Aug 29, 2021 12:17 am
Interesting. But:
  1. Can we have a link to back up "This project is so legal microsoft has documentation about this project in their servers" and "They have our discord in their documentation"
  2. Were those anonymous MS employee in their legal team?
  3. That's hearsay.
  4. Wether or not the WoR project is legal is one thing. Whether or not running unlicensed MS software on an unsupported platfrom is legal is another.
Given the number of Pi sold, I'm surprised MS don't officially offer windows. But then they'd have to support it and convince folks it's worth the usual $100 - $150 price tag. Then they'd have to support Office on it...
Amir also sent this:
Image

Given all the media attention, it would be surprising for Microsoft to have not at least seen WoR, and their so protective of their property that they would have sent a cease and desist in an instant.


MS probably also doesn't support the Pi because resources would have to go towards making drivers for GPU, Wifi, Bluetooth, etc and maintaining them. The OS also runs slightly slow on a Pi, not bad for just web browsing but everyone would complain about how it takes 100 years just to boot it.
Last edited by MikeCoder on Sun Aug 29, 2021 3:47 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Using a Raspberry Pi to flash Windows 10 to a SD card

Sun Aug 29, 2021 3:12 am

thagrol wrote:
Sun Aug 29, 2021 12:17 am
1. Can we have a link to back up "This project is so legal microsoft has documentation about this project in their servers" and "They have our discord in their documentation"
The "documentation" is a link to the WoR discord server in an internal Windows document.
Here is the exact words from one of the MS employees in the WoR discord server, in a private message to WoR's founder:
Windows teams' internal wiki has a link to this project.
What I can tell you is that you do have some attention from Windows devs.
thagrol wrote:
Sun Aug 29, 2021 12:17 am
2. Were those anonymous MS employee in their legal team?
First of all, these MS employees are not "anonymous", they are publicly visible for all to see and have a special role named "MS EMPLOYEE", in WoR's discord server.
I don't know if they are on Microsoft's legal team or not, but could you really imagine a MS employee saying WoR was legal, without any proof or confirmation? How about two employees? How about the "other" employees who have also said WoR is legal?
How many MS employees need to say "WoR is legal" before the people on this forum will believe it?
thagrol wrote:
Sun Aug 29, 2021 12:17 am
Whether or not running unlicensed MS software on an unsupported platfrom is legal is another.
As I said earlier, the WoR project is simply porting Windows 10 ARM64 to an unsupported device. Just because Microsoft does not officially provide technical support for the platform does not mean it's illegal to install Windows on that platform.
Where does the Microsoft say "It is illegal to install Windows on an unsupported PC setup"?

Concerning "unlicensed software", I'd like to remind everyone that WoR's licensing experience is identical a clean install of Windows on a conventional PC. On a normal PC, this is what happens if you install Windows and don't immediately enter a license key:
  • Windows installs okay without a license key.
  • After a few hours, if you don't activate Windows, a watermark appears on the lower-right of the screen demanding you to activate Windows. Additionally you will receive regular notifications asking you to Activate Windows.
  • In a few more hours, numerous settings are disabled until you enter a license key.
Let's compare this licensing experience to WoR:
  • Windows installs okay without a license key.
  • After a few hours, if you don't activate Windows, a watermark appears on the lower-right of the screen demanding you to activate Windows. Additionally you will receive regular notifications asking you to Activate Windows.
  • In a few more hours, numerous settings are disabled until you enter a license key.
As I outlined above, the experience is no different. WoR does not circumvent Windows licensing in any way whatsoever.
thagrol wrote:
Sun Aug 29, 2021 12:17 am
Then they'd have to support Office on it...
Office runs perfectly on it! I just finished using Word and Excel with Office 365. Both are native ARM64 and run very smoothly given the device specs and the fact it's not GPU-accelerated.
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Re: Using a Raspberry Pi to install Windows 10 on Raspberry Pi

Sun Aug 29, 2021 6:41 am

MikeCoder wrote:
Sat Aug 28, 2021 10:17 pm
I'm also a good friend of the WoR developers, and they've told me that Microsoft themselves have talked to them and are aware of the WoR project and have raised no concerns over any license issues and such.
Glad to hear that. Hope everything will get better for Raspberry Pi.
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Encourage optimization instead.

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Re: Using a Raspberry Pi to flash Windows 10 to a SD card

Sun Aug 29, 2021 11:02 am

Botspot wrote:
Sun Aug 29, 2021 3:12 am
thagrol wrote:
Sun Aug 29, 2021 12:17 am
1. Can we have a link to back up "This project is so legal microsoft has documentation about this project in their servers" and "They have our discord in their documentation"
The "documentation" is a link to the WoR discord server in an internal Windows document.
Here is the exact words from one of the MS employees in the WoR discord server, in a private message to WoR's founder:
Windows teams' internal wiki has a link to this project.
What I can tell you is that you do have some attention from Windows devs.
I'm supposed to take that on faith? And did you have permission to post the contents of a private message?
thagrol wrote:
Sun Aug 29, 2021 12:17 am
2. Were those anonymous MS employee in their legal team?
First of all, these MS employees are not "anonymous", they are publicly visible for all to see and have a special role named "MS EMPLOYEE", in WoR's discord server.
As far as I can see on this thread and forum they are anonymous as you have not identified them.
I don't know if they are on Microsoft's legal team or not, but could you really imagine a MS employee saying WoR was legal, without any proof or confirmation?
Yes. It's called persoanl opinion. We all have those.
How about two employees? How about the "other" employees who have also said WoR is legal?
Again, we have little evidence to support that other than vague references to WoR's discord (whatever that is).
How many MS employees need to say "WoR is legal" before the people on this forum will believe it?
Just one. In a formal, public statement from their legal team. Edit: A statement that can be independently verified.
thagrol wrote:
Sun Aug 29, 2021 12:17 am
Whether or not running unlicensed MS software on an unsupported platfrom is legal is another.
As I said earlier, the WoR project is simply porting Windows 10 ARM64 to an unsupported device.
Porting is the wrong term. It implies that the WoR team have access to the source code and have made the necessary changes. That clearly isn't the case.
Just because Microsoft does not officially provide technical support for the platform does not mean it's illegal to install Windows on that platform.
Where does the Microsoft say "It is illegal to install Windows on an unsupported PC setup"?

Concerning "unlicensed software", I'd like to remind everyone that WoR's licensing experience is identical a clean install of Windows on a conventional PC. On a normal PC, this is what happens if you install Windows and don't immediately enter a license key:
  • Windows installs okay without a license key.
  • After a few hours, if you don't activate Windows, a watermark appears on the lower-right of the screen demanding you to activate Windows. Additionally you will receive regular notifications asking you to Activate Windows.
  • In a few more hours, numerous settings are disabled until you enter a license key.
Let's compare this licensing experience to WoR:
  • Windows installs okay without a license key.
  • After a few hours, if you don't activate Windows, a watermark appears on the lower-right of the screen demanding you to activate Windows. Additionally you will receive regular notifications asking you to Activate Windows.
  • In a few more hours, numerous settings are disabled until you enter a license key.
As I outlined above, the experience is no different.
While IANAL, I don't see how that changes the basic position: running windows without a valid license key is illegal.
WoR does not circumvent Windows licensing in any way whatsoever.
I don't believe I ever claimed it did.
thagrol wrote:
Sun Aug 29, 2021 12:17 am
Then they'd have to support Office on it...
Office runs perfectly on it! I just finished using Word and Excel with Office 365. Both are native ARM64 and run very smoothly given the device specs and the fact it's not GPU-accelerated.
And that opens another whole can of worms: how did you get a license for Office?
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Re: Using a Raspberry Pi to flash Windows 10 to a SD card

Sun Aug 29, 2021 11:27 am

@BotSpot

There are two separate but related issues here:

1. The legality of WoR
2. The legality of running windows without a license.

Please stop confusing the two.

WoR may be legal (but I'd need to see hard evidence that can be indepently verified before accepting that).

Running windows without a license is not. That MS has chosen to turn windows into crippled nagware after being run for some period of time without a licnse almost certainly doesn't change that.
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Re: Using a Raspberry Pi to flash Windows 10 to a SD card

Sun Aug 29, 2021 11:30 am

I am conflicted. We usually close these sort of things because we are unsure of the legality of this, not because we are anti-Windows. And until I see a legal document from the MS legal team that this sort of thing is OK, I remain unconverted one way or the other.
Comments from random MS devs are no really good enough, a dev is NOT usually a lawyer. There are 40k MS engineers, only a tiny percentage will have the authority or legal knowledge to confirm this is OK. How can I confirm that the statements above came from one of those few?

Leaving open until I get advice from my boss.
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Re: Using a Raspberry Pi to flash Windows 10 to a SD card

Sun Aug 29, 2021 12:48 pm

GlowInTheDark wrote:
Sun Aug 29, 2021 12:32 pm
I really don't understand why anyone would want to do this (even if it were proven to be fully legal). Talk about shooting oneself in the foot.
i think half the problem, is that noobs assume that "it runs windows" translates to "it runs any windows program or game"
they dont understand cpu architecture

and to further muddy the waters, windows comes with x86 emulation that behaves a lot like qemu-user+binfmt, so you can infact run x86 apps, at a major performance cost

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Re: Using a Raspberry Pi to flash Windows 10 to a SD card

Sun Aug 29, 2021 3:20 pm

I deleted some posts from user mariob who made some hateful comments and gave him a two week ban.

Just for the record, I do not have faith that using win11 on a RPI is strictly legal, so for the time I won't allow anyone to claim it is. Offenders will get a temporary ban and deletion of the offending posts, you are only a guest here, and posting is a privilege, not a right!

at a minimum you will need an official Microsoft windows windows 11 license, I very much doubt most users that want to use windows11 on a $45 computer want to fork out the >$100 cost for such a license.

We have not heard from Microsoft itself an official message that using WIN11 on a RPI is fully legal and for free (no license costs needed)

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Re: Using a Raspberry Pi to flash Windows 10 to a SD card

Sun Aug 29, 2021 3:47 pm

mahjongg wrote:
Sun Aug 29, 2021 3:20 pm
We have not hear from Microsoft itself an official message that using WIN11 on a RPI is fully legal and for free!
To be fair, I don't think anyone has claimed it would be free... The economics don't add up, granted, but it seems that some people really do want to do it.
As it is apparently board policy to disallow any criticism of anything, as it appears to criticise something is to criticise all the users of that something, I will no longer be commenting in threads which are not directly relevant to my uses of the Pi.

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Re: Using a Raspberry Pi to flash Windows 10 to a SD card

Sun Aug 29, 2021 4:29 pm

Yes it is perfectly legal to use the Windows On Raspberry to install the available ARM64 bit image (which you download from Microsoft's servers). Once you do that it will give you an evaluation version of the software and nag you to activate a license (i.e. pay for it).

What isn't legal is downloading an image that has been pre-activated and use the full version of Windows for free (or using some cracked / hacked version of the operating system)

Obviously, the software isn't well supported and the drivers are a little lacking, but it does work.

viewtopic.php?p=1706253#p1706253

Gordon
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Re: Using a Raspberry Pi to flash Windows 10 to a SD card

Sun Aug 29, 2021 8:39 pm

GlowInTheDark wrote:
Sun Aug 29, 2021 12:32 pm
You know that Linux is better.
I agree that Linux is better than Windows, but there are many people out there who never heard of Linux before using an Rpi, and they wanted to use Windows on it. And because of that this is good news for them. Back 2 years ago when I first used a Raspberry Pi it was a relief from using Windows for me though, ever since I've just used Raspberry Pis with Linux (before I knew about Box86/64 I was using QEMU for gaming, at the most I got games running at 8fps :lol: ).
An RPi can be a gaming PC. As long as you have the right packages and software anyway.
Using a RPi4 8GB with Ubuntu Desktop 21.04, main interests are gaming and programming. Also occasionally uses two RPi3B+ and a RPi3B.

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Re: Using a Raspberry Pi to flash Windows 10 to a SD card

Sun Aug 29, 2021 9:39 pm

gsh wrote:
Sun Aug 29, 2021 4:29 pm
Yes it is perfectly legal to use the Windows On Raspberry to install the available ARM64 bit image (which you download from Microsoft's servers). Once you do that it will give you an evaluation version of the software and nag you to activate a license (i.e. pay for it).

What isn't legal is downloading an image that has been pre-activated and use the full version of Windows for free (or using some cracked / hacked version of the operating system)

Obviously, the software isn't well supported and the drivers are a little lacking, but it does work.

viewtopic.php?p=1706253#p1706253

Gordon

So this is our official statement on the subject. Thanks Gordon.


For those people who think its fun having an OS war on these forums, DON'T. I and other mods have deleted posts on this thread that go too far in to zealotry - both from the Linux and the Windows side. If I see further posts that are basically "Mine's bigger than yours" with regard to Linux and Windows, they will be deleted and you will get a ban. No further warnings.
Principal Software Engineer at Raspberry Pi (Trading) Ltd.
Working in the Applications Team.

MK97_2007
Posts: 164
Joined: Thu Jan 07, 2021 4:12 pm
Contact: Website

Re: Using a Raspberry Pi to flash Windows 10 to a SD card

Tue Aug 31, 2021 3:08 pm

Can you run windows 11/10 on a drive on 16 gb using this tool?
Got it work on 16 gb drive with the old method, using a windows pc making the ISO then flash it to a drive on 16 gb?

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