If you recently purchased a Windows RT tablet, then you may be a bit shocked at how limited its functionality can seem. Sure, you have access to the colorful Metro interface and all of the apps in the Windows App Store.
But where are your old favorite desktop programs? Where’s the Start button? How do you run an app that hasn’t been specifically authorized by Windows?
These are all good questions to ask, and fortunately, someone has finally figured out how to run a desktop environment on any Windows RT tablet.
That someone is a user of the XDA Developers’ Forum called netham45, who says that users can jailbreak their Windows RT devices with relative ease. ‘Jailbreaking’ Windows RT allows users to run 3rd party apps just like a traditional x86 or x64-powered PC.
You might think that creating this tool would be easy to do – can’t you just hack into Windows and remove the restriction preventing users from running desktop apps? Unfortunately, it doesn’t quite work that way because Windows RT tablets are based on ARM CPUs. These CPUs use a different architecture than traditional CPUs, which basically means that running traditional programs is difficult.
How to jailbreak your Windows RT tablet like the Surface RT
Although we’ll spare you the technobabble about how netham45 was able to solve the concept through the use of the “desktop as a barren wasteland” method, we will show you how to hack into your Windows RT tablet step-by-step:
Please note: Fix My PC Free is not responsible for any damage you do to your Windows RT tablet through this method. We have not personally tested this jailbreaking method and you will almost definitely void your warranty by doing this.
Step 1) Download the Windows RT jailbreaking toolkit from here
Step 2) Extract that .zip folder onto your tablet and open the .bat file inside
Step 3) Click through the jailbreaking process and let the program complete its work
Step 4) That’s it! Your device will be jailbroken and you can start downloading unauthorized third-party apps to your device.
This jailbreaking method isn’t ideal. You’ll need to run the .bat file every time you boot your device. That’s right: the jailbreak gets reversed every time you restart Windows.
And to make matters a little more complicated, you can’t just run the .bat file immediately after starting Windows. You’ll have to wait 2 to 3 minutes after loading for the .bat file to work properly – or else you might encounter the dreaded Blue Screen of Death (BSOD).
Finding apps for your jailbroken Windows RT tablet
Downloading the .bat file was the easy part. The hard part is finding useful ARM-based apps will work on your tablet. Unfortunately, you can’t simply install your favorite Windows programs like you would on a normal PC. You’re going to have to work a little harder than that.
However, the good folks at the XDA Developers Forum have compiled a list of desktop apps that have been ported to Windows RT. From Nintendo Gameboy emulators to Quake 2 and a DOSBox, there are plenty of good third-party apps that you can use on Windows RT.
Microsoft could issue an update at any time to close down this ‘loophole’, but it hasn’t done so yet. Instead, Microsoft “issued a statement applauding the hackers’ ingenuity.” More importantly, the company said that “the vulnerability did not pose a security threat to users, but Microsoft could not guarantee it wouldn’t issue an update” which would close the loophole.