Alternate Guide – Running Windows 10 on the Pi 4

The following is an alternate tutorial for installing and running Windows 10 on the Raspberry Pi 4. This version concentrates on running Windows from a single USB drive plugged on one of the rear USB 3.0 ports, which is both much faster than other methods and does not require the use of a micro SD card at all.

Disclaimer

This guide is provided “AS IS”, with NO WARRANTY that it will work for your specific environment or even that you may not end up losing important data as a result. Therefore, by using this guide, you accept that the responsibility for any software or hardware damage is entirely with YOU.

Also, though perfectly legal (since nothing in the licensing terms for Microsoft Windows prevents you from installing it on a Pi and you can download the Windows 10 ARM64 installation files straight from Microsoft), this method of installing or running of Windows on a Raspberry Pi, is NOT endorsed by Microsoft or the Raspberry Pi Foundation. If you choose to follow this guide, you accept that Microsoft and the Raspberry Pi Foundation do not bear any liability with regards to the behaviour of Windows on the targeted platform.

By following any of the steps below, you implicitly acknowledge that you have read these conditions and have agreed to them.

Hardware Requirements

  • A Raspberry Pi 4 where the EEPROM is up to date enough to allow straight to USB boot. If you purchased a Pi 4 recently, this should already be the case, but if not (i.e. if you find that your machine cannot boot from USB) then you should download a recent version of a rpi-boot-eeprom-recovery archive from here, put all the files on a MBR-partitioned, FAT32-formatted SD card, and apply the update.
  • A fast USB 3.0 drive, with a capacity of at least 32 GB, such as a fast flash drive (please use a drive that has a write speed greater than 50 MB/s, and that also have a sufficient random I/O speed, as your experience will be greatly diminished otherwise), a USB 3.0 SSD enclosure, etc.
  • Screen, keyboard, mouse & a powerful enough PSU.

As mentioned above, you will notice that no microSD card is used when following this guide (provided that your EEPROM is recent enough).

Software Requirements

  • A Windows host machine to create the drive, since this guide uses Windows-only utilities.
  • A recent image of Windows 10 for ARM64. At this stage, we recommend using the Windows 10 2004 final release. But if you are feeling adventurous, you may experiment with more recent Insider releases…
    Because Microsoft does not yet publish retail ARM64 ISOs, like they do for x86 or x64, you may have to use a third party utility, such as the one from https://uup.rg-adguard.net/, that allows you to create your own ARM64 ISO with their OneClick! ISO compiler script. If you do use uup, make sure that you select [arm64] for the Windows version.
  • WoR (Windows on Raspberry) version 2.0.0 or later, which can be downloaded from https://www.worproject.ml/downloads.
  • The latest version of winpatch, which can be downloaded from https://github.com/pbatard/winpatch/releases.

Installation

  • Plug in your target USB 3.0 drive. It is recommended that you unplug any other USB media, such as flash drives or USB HDDs, so that you don’t end up erasing them by mistake
  • Run WoR.exe and select your language. Note that the language you select for WoR has no effect on the language Windows will be installed into, which is dependent on your source image.
  • Select your device in the dropdown (again, make sure you do select the right device as internal drives may be listed!) and select Raspberry Pi 4 [ARM64] for the other option.
  • On the Select your Windows on ARM image, pick the .iso/.wim/.esd/.ffu for the Windows 10 image you want to install, which you obtained in the Software Requirements. If needed wait for the image to be mounted and then select the edition you would like to install.
  • On the Select the drivers screen, choose the option that is suitable for you (most likely Use the latest package available on the server if you haven’t already downloaded the drivers).
  • On the Select the UEFI firmware, choose Use the latest firmware available on the server, as you will need the most up to date official UEFI firmware for USB boot.
  • On the Configuration screen, select Advanced (accept the warning) and change Memory Limit to 8192 MB. Don’t worry if you have less than 8 GB of RAM, as the other limits, such as the ones from the hardware or from the UEFI firmware will still apply. If you don’t change the limit here, you will be limited to 1 GB of RAM and have to manually remove that limit through bcdedit.
  • Click Next (Don’t change the General configuration options unless you know what you are doing), then double check that the Target device being listed is really the drive you want to use on your Raspberry Pi, and press Install.
  • Wait for the installation to finish. Note that if that process takes more than 25 minutes to complete, it means that the drive you are trying to use is slow and will probably result in a poor Windows experience. In other words, the longer you spend creating the drive, the more likely it is that Windows will perform poorly.
  • Close WoR by clicking Finish, but do not remove the drive yet. Instead use your file explorer to find the letter of the drive labelled “Windows” (e.g. F:) and open an elevated command prompt. Then navigate to the directory where you extracted winpatch.exe and enter the exact command below, after making sure that you alter the #:\Windows\… path to use your drive letter (e.g. F:\Windows\…):
    winpatch #:\Windows\System32\drivers\USBXHCI.SYS EA000037E8630091 EA000036E8630091 0A010037E8430091 0A010036E8430091 If the command completes successfully, you should see the output:
    Successfully patched 2 sections in '#:\Windows\System32\drivers\USBXHCI.SYS'
  • Remove the USB and plug it to one of the USB 3.0 ports of your Raspberry Pi 4 (make sure that it is one of the blue USB 3.0 ones). Windows should boot, go through the finalization stage of the installation process (it should reboot once), and let you log on.

Final Notes

Make sure to carefully read the Initial Notice from the Raspberry Pi UEFI firmware, before you start to ask questions about why you can’t use the network or why you only get 3 GB of RAM available, even if you have a 4 GB or a 8 GB model.

We also don’t have any idea about when, or even if, you will ever get feature X or Y, such as a Windows network driver or support for more than 3 GB of RAM, so please don’t bother asking about this either.

Finally, this Windows 10 installation is NOT endorsed by Microsoft or the Raspberry Pi Foundation. So please do not contact them for support when it comes to running Windows 10 on the Raspberry Pi 4.

v1.17 release for Pi 4

At last, the long awaited version 1.17 of the Raspberry Pi UEFI firmware has been released!

https://github.com/pftf/RPi4/releases/tag/v1.17

This release brings the following two major features:

  • Direct USB boot. This means that you can now boot this firmware straight from USB, without the need for an SD card. [tianocore/edk2-platforms@2254262]
  • ESP support. This means that you can now place your Pi 4 boot files into a EFI System Partition, and have the UEFI firmware launch as expected, regardless of whether you are using an MBR or GPT ESP, or even of the ESP resides on a USB or SD. Of course, this feature doesn’t really come from the UEFI firmware itself, that has always supported it, but from the firmware archive containing an updated start4.elf from the Raspberry Pi Foundation, where ESP boot support has finally been added.

Note that booting from USB or from ESP does require a recent-enough version of the Pi EEPROM.

If you have acquired your Raspberry Pi model recently, this shouldn’t be a problem, but if you find that booting from USB or from ESP doesn’t work, please visit https://github.com/raspberrypi/rpi-eeprom/releases to update your EEPROM.

Additionally, this firmware improves the Genet UEFI driver for heavy loads. [tianocore/edk2-platforms@2242b99]

As always, please read the release notes and usual caveats.