Jailbreak Windows RT to run deskop software

Martin Brinkmann
Jan 11, 2013
Windows, Windows 8

Earlier this week news broke that it was possible to circumvent Windows RT's code integrity mechanism which effectively paved the way for a jailbreak of the system. When applied, it would remove the restriction to only execute Windows Store apps and the native programs the operating system shipped with. While that still did not mean that users were able to run x86 code on Windows RT machines, it meant that software compiled for ARM devices could be run on the system which opened up several possibilities including the forming of a homebrew scene and well, the execution of existing ARM software of course.

The main issue with the revelation was that the explanation was not really designed as a walkthrough on how to jailbreak the operating system. It is therefore likely that only a fraction of users who read the explanation tried to apply it on their systems. The method is also restricted to sessions as it can't be permanently altered on devices that have Secure Boot enabled.

An XDA user by the name of Netham45 has released an RT Jailbreak Tool yesterday which he describes as an all in one program to jailbreak Windows RT tablets using the method that the original researcher discovered earlier this weeek.

To use the program download and unpack it to a folder of your RT tablet. Execute the runExploit.bat file afterwards. First time you do that you will notice that Powershell is launched to install the ModernUI app and you need to follow the prompts that are displayed here to make sure everything is installed correctly.

To use the Jailbreak Tool restart your tablet and log in to the system. Wait for about a minute before you run the batch file again and read the instructions on the forum thread for detailed information about this.

Since it uses the same exploit, it too is limited to the active session. While that is certainly a limitation, it is likely something that the majority of RT users can live with considering that they open up their operating system for a world of new apps to use and run on it.

There is a thread on the same forum that lists some of the applications that have already been ported to Windows RT. This includes Putty, Notepad++, 7-zip and TightVNC. It is likely that more programs will follow in the near future. These are some high profile applications that should appeal to many users of the system as they extend Windows RT significantly.

The author notes that Microsoft can patch the exploit and it is not really clear if the company intends to do so or not. If that happens, it is possible to restore the system to an earlier state using the reset mechanism.


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  1. berttie said on January 11, 2013 at 10:47 pm

    I suspect that the very reason Microsoft is selling RT’s under its own name is because the Samsungs and Acers, etc, were reluctant to enter the market for the reasons outlined from very early in the development cycle. I doubt it will work. Unless battery life is a very critical factor there seems little reason to choose a RT over the x86 version.

  2. ilev said on January 11, 2013 at 9:15 pm

    Holy Cow, someone just ran OS X Rhapsody OS on a jailbroken Windows RT :-)


  3. ilev said on January 11, 2013 at 7:00 pm

    Ask yourself why HP, Toshiba, Asus, Acer and now Samsung has voiced opinion against Windows RT.

  4. sades said on January 11, 2013 at 4:03 pm

    Yeah now try to explain that your dad and grandma. Heck, try to explain what x86 is to them.

  5. Coyote said on January 11, 2013 at 3:45 pm

    @Yb, not sure how he’s attacking others opinions. That’s a direct quote from Samsung.

    Besides it’s hard to argue with their logic. RT is a new platform and removing all x86 support means it has no history, limited apps, and unproven security (as this exploit shows). I have no doubt they’ll fix this “bug”, the windows store is their only hope of making money off this POS.

  6. Yb said on January 11, 2013 at 1:51 pm

    @ilev What’s so hard about Windows RT. Windows RT is for ARM SOC compatible processors. It was made because ARM SOC just cannot emulate x86 and x86 applications. Point Blank period. I don’t get all the hate about Windows 8. I understand it is your opinion, but please do not try to force your opinion down other people’s throats

  7. ilev said on January 11, 2013 at 12:45 pm

    It may push Windows RT sales which for now failed. Samsung has announced at CES that they won’t be selling Samsung ATIV Tab is the US as the amount of investment isn’t worth the efforts in addition the the concept being confusing with customers :

    “There wasn’t really a very clear positioning of what Windows RT meant in the marketplace, what it stood for
    relative to Windows 8, that was being done in an effective manner to the consumer. When we did some tests and studies on how we could go to market with a Windows RT device, we determined there was a lot of heavy lifting we still needed to do to educate the customer on what Windows RT was. And that heavy lifting was going to require pretty heavy investment.”


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