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Jailbreak Surface RT 8.1: A Step-by-Step Guide

Windows RT is the locked-down version of Windows 8 for ARM computers, as seen on Microsoft's Surface RT tablet and a few other Windows RT devices. Unlike the standard version of Windows 8, Windows RT doesn't allow you to install your own desktop programs. You're limited to the included desktop programs written by Microsoft or Modern apps from the Windows Store. However, there are ways to jailbreak your Windows RT device and run unapproved software on the desktop.

Note that jailbreaking your Windows RT device won't allow you to run any Windows desktop program. Windows RT devices run on ARM chips, while standard Windows PCs use Intel x86 chips -- that means you can't just run standard Windows software on an ARM device, even after jailbreaking it. We'll cover the software you can run later.

jailbreak surface rt 8.1 download

Jailbreaking was once a bit more complicated, requiring you to run a special hack every time you booted your device. There's now a dedicated RT Jailbreak Tool that can automatically run at startup, jailbreaking your Windows RT device every time it boots. To jailbreak your Windows RT device, just follow the instructions in the thread -- download the .zip file, extract it, and double-click the runExploit.bat file.

After jailbreaking, you can immediately run apps that have been specifically tweaked and compiled for Windows RT's ARM architecture. As many popular tools are open-source, this means that you can run some popular desktop programs, including BitTorrent clients, text editors, VNC programs, older games, and other tools. Consult the Desktop apps ported to Windows RT thread on the XDA developers forum for a maintained list of desktop programs you can run. You'll find common tools like 7-Zip, Notepad++, PuTTY, TightVNC, Keepass, Miranda IM, and Audacity in addition to game engines and emulators that can run old SNES and DOS games.

Microsoft says the limited desktop makes Windows RT devices more secure -- no unapproved desktop programs means no viruses. After a jailbreak, a Windows RT device will behave more like a standard Windows 8 device, so security shouldn't be an issue. Performance and battery life might be an issue -- desktop programs running in the background might be a drain in the CPU as they can't be managed by the system in the same way Modern apps are -- but this will be no more of a problem than on standard Windows 8 systems.

All you have to do is download the tool, unpack it and run the batch file it installs. A few seconds later you should have a machine that can install and run Windows desktop applications - as long as they are recompiled for ARM.

Microsoft is in a very difficult position at the moment. It could patch the operating system to stop the tool working, but the chances are it would be possible to modify and make it work again. In any case determined jailbreakers could simply roll back to the previous version of the OS. Given that the exploit resets on reboot it would even be difficult to threaten users with invalidating their machines' guarantees - how could you detect or prove that the exploit was in use other than the user confessing.

There is one sanction that Microsoft has which might prove effective. With the introduction of Visual Studio 2012, programmers have needed a developer license to create programs. So far the license has been granted automatically to anyone asking for it. However, Microsoft does have the ability to revoke a license and this could be used as a punishment for jailbreaking programmers. I doubt this would go down well in the programming community, however.

Just like iOS and Android, Windows RT users can also download and install apps from outside the official Store by Jailbreaking the operating system. Windows enthusiasts have re-compiled or ported hundreds of free, open-source Windows applications to Windows RT, and finding ported applications has become even easier with the release of RT Desktop Store.

I tried to install some of the list of x86 app compiled for ARM. I found QupZilla, which should run on ARM, but I already were unable to install 7zip on Windows RT by downloading the binaries of 7-zip ARM version from here:

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A batch file-based tool soon surfaced on XDA Developers to assist users in the process of performing the exploit, and a variety of ported desktop applications began to emerge, such as the emulator Bochs, PuTTY and TightVNC.[92][95][96][97] Afterwards, an emulator known as "Win86emu" surfaced, allowing users to run x86 software on a jailbroken Windows RT device. However, it does not support all Windows APIs, and runs programs slower than they would on a native system.[98]

This is XDA Developers, and we like our devices a certain way. We like them unlocked, rooted, and free to do with as we please. However, very few devices are ever released in this condition. Thus, our large community of dedicated developers figure out a way to do it. After all, it's happened again and again and again. When Windows RT came out, it wasn't 100% open either. There were security features in place that prevented users from installing unsigned .exe files. This, of course, means that users can't install much outside of the Microsoft App Store. Now, there's a jailbreak tool to get around it.

Using the tool is pretty simple. It comes in a zip file that must be extracted first. Once extracted, users run the .bat file included to make a menu open. There are a few options: Users can install the jailbreak just one time, have the script apply the jailbreak on every login, or uninstall the tool. You may notice it says that it can install it just once. One caveat---or possibly one advantage---to this exploit is that it is goes away upon a reboot. In other words, it's quite easy to remove if you wish to go back for any reason.

There are some other fun facts that come with this tool. It won't let you run apps like Photoshop, AutoCAD, etc. You can still only install RT applications. Installing a jailbreak doesn't make traditional x86-64 applications suddenly compatible with ARM. However, apps that are open source and can be compiled for ARM processors will work. An example would be the growing list of ARM-compatible apps being ported from desktop apps being worked on already. In addition, there are also links to help people with things like lib problems and compiling their own apps from source.

Updates are installed automatically on Surface through Windows Update. If you're running Windows RT 8.1 Update, Windows 8.1 RT Update 3 will be available as an Important update to download. Depending on your update settings, you might already have downloaded and installed it.

Plug in Surface. Your Surface needs to have at least a 35 percent charge to download and install the update. Its also important to keep your Surface plugged in to ensure that it doesn't go to sleep during the update.

Step 5: Now the jailbreak program will request a permission to continue the installation. Just press Y and hit the enter key to continue. When the program prompts that the package was successfully installed, simply hit Enter.

Windows RT differs greatly from Windows 8. With Windows RT, you can't install any desktop app you want and are limited mostly to the tiled Metro apps. A jailbreak, however, is available now that will free Windows RT tablets (like the Microsoft Surface with Windows RT) so they can act like full-fledged laptops. It's even possible to run Mac OS X Server on them.

The Windows RT jailbreaking tool has been released on XDA Developers. The biggest downside is the jailbreak has to reset every time the device boots. Also, you'll need apps compiled for this jailbreak. VNC server/client, Putty, 7-Zip, and other desktop apps have already been ported to Windows RT, with more likely to be added now that this jailbreak is out.

Like iOS and Android, Windows RT users can also download and install apps from outside the official Store by jailbreaking the operating system. Windows enthusiasts have recompiled or ported hundreds of free and open source Windows apps to Windows RT, and finding ported apps just got easier with the launch of the RT Desktop Store.

To install and use the apps available on the RT Desktop Store, you must first jailbreak your Windows 8 / 8.1 RT device using the Windows RT 8 tool. According to Facin, the developer behind the RT Desktop Store, the current version of the program includes little more of 50 apps, including popular programs like 7-Zip, Classic Start Menu, FileZilla, Free Download Manager, Notepad ++, Rainmeter, Sumatra PDF, and Synergy.

If you have a Windows RT device and don't mind jailbreaking the device to install desktop apps on your tablet, you can go to the download page to download the RT Desktop Store and read more about the program.

Download OptionsThere are different ways to get your files. You don't have to download them now, as the tutorial will link you to the files when they will be necessary. Yandex disk: Due to the recent addition of the "Download limit exceeded" message, Yandex Disk is no longer a viable option to download files from. Instead, a Google drive mirror will be offered. RT Drive (Google Drive)

It's time to download the install.wim file. Download the one for your specific device. (Surface RT or Surface 2) Make sure to download the correct file for your specific device. By installing the wrong image, you will not be able to get past the setup screen. Windows RT Surface 1 (RT).wim Windows RT Surface 2.wim Mirrors: Windows RT Surface 1 (RT).wim and Windows RT Surface 1 (RT).wimTo make the installation process easier, rename the downloaded file to "install.wim".Copy the install.wim to your flash drive.

You must make sure that Secure Boot is actually disabled before proceeding! Do not skip this step, otherwise, if you do not disable secureboot, your Surface RT might refuse to boot anything at all! By this stage, Alexenferman, Google, Microsoft, XDA Developers, are not responsible for any permanent damages or bricks made to your device. You are choosing to make these modifications, you should blame yourself for any mistakes you make. You have been warned! PART 4: INSTALLING WINDOWS 10It's time to download the Windows 10 install.wim file. Download the one for your specific device. (Surface RT or Surface 2) Make sure to download the correct file for your specific device. By installing the wrong image, you will not be able to get past the setup screen. Windows 10 Surface 1 (RT).wim Windows 10 Surface 2.wim Mirrors: Windows 10 Surface 1.wim and Windows 10 Surface 2.wimTo make the installation process easier, rename the downloaded file to "install.wim".Copy the install.wim to your flash drive.NOTE: you can delete the old Windows 8 install.wim on your flash drive if the storage space is getting low. You will not need it anymore.


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