Dev Gets Windows 11 To Run On A Nintendo Switch, Don't Try This At Home

Switch windows 11
Microsoft has been trying to kickstart Windows on ARM for years, but this probably isn't what the company had in mind. A modder has revealed that it is possible to get Windows 11 running on the Nintendo Switch. Although, "running" might be a little generous. The OS works, but it barely crawls along on the Switch's older ARM chipset.

Over on X (formerly Twitter), @Patrosi73 (PatRyk) has offered up proof that they've gotten Windows 11 working on the Switch. They proclaim the device to be the "world's slowest PC," and that seems fair. It reportedly took about three hours just to install, and almost every action takes multiple seconds to register with the OS.

This is only possible because the Switch runs on a fairly standard hardware platform. Inside is the Nvidia Tegra X1, an ARM-based system-on-a-chip originally released in 2015. It was a speedy part when it debuted, powering devices like the Shield Android TV box. This allowed modders to get Android running on the Switch in the past. That mobile OS ran better than Windows 11, certainly, but it was similarly not very worthwhile—there are better ways to access Android software.
The off-the-shelf ARM hardware also helped get Windows 11 working. PatRyk used the standard ARM64 build of Microsoft's OS with KVM (Kernel-based Virtual Machine) support. This modded switch is actually running Fedora Linux with Windows 11 virtualized (that's why it's in a small window that only takes up part of the screen. That probably contributes to the very, very poor performance. Linux was installed via the device's SD card with Switchroot, which requires an older console from before Nintendo fixed the hardware flaw that allowed Switch rooting. 

Should you strive to get Windows 11 on your aging Nintendo handheld? Of course not. PatRyk notes this project was just for fun. The Switch is much more useful running the stock software, which lets you play Mario and Zelda. That's a whole lot better than Peggle at 2 fps.

The Nintendo Switch is getting on toward the end of its lifespan with Nintendo now promising a successor before year's end. If you've got an extra Switch v1 lying around after picking up the Switch 2, you can slap Windows 11 on it then.