ARM Processors: How They Can Impact Your Business

In recent years, ARM processors have gained significant attention due to their energy efficiency and impressive performance capabilities. However, it’s important to recognize that ARM processors in Windows devices have their limitations when it comes to software compatibility. Particularly with anti-virus software and other security tools. In this post, we will delve into the challenges associated with ARM processors, shedding light on why some applications face compatibility issues, and exploring the impact of using an ARM-based device as your everyday computer.


Currently, The Purple Guys does not recommend the purchase of new ARM-based Windows devices. Hardware and software manufacturers have not fully adopted the architecture and ARM users will likely experience issues and downtime. If you are looking to purchase a new device, especially a Microsoft Surface, we encourage you to avoid any ARM or SQ series processors to avoid technical issues and limit security risks.

ARM processors utilize a different architecture compared to the more commonly known x86 processors found in traditional Windows laptops. While ARM-based laptops offer benefits such as improved battery life and portability, their unique architecture can create compatibility challenges. The underlying instruction sets and architecture variations between ARM and x86 processors make it difficult for software developers to ensure seamless compatibility across platforms.

One significant compatibility concern with ARM processors is the lack of support & compatibility for Endpoint Detection & Response or anti-virus software. Most anti-virus software has been primarily designed for x86 processors, making it challenging to develop ARM-compatible versions. As a result, users may encounter the inability to install or run their preferred anti-virus software. These limitations arise due to the fundamental differences in the underlying architecture utilized by ARM processors. While Windows Defender is compatible with ARM devices, this tool is significantly substandard when compared to modern anti-virus solutions.

The challenges associated with ARM processors extend beyond anti-virus software. The software ecosystem for ARM processors is still developing, resulting in limited availability of certain applications. Users may find themselves faced with compatibility issues and the need to rely on emulators or virtualization technologies to run applications designed for x86 processors. This additional layer of complexity can lead to performance overhead, application slowness, and difficulties in troubleshooting issues when they arise.

Another aspect impacted by ARM processor incompatibility is peripheral support. Devices such as docking stations, printers, and scanners are typically designed with x86 processors in mind. As a result, users may experience challenges when attempting to connect, configure, or use these peripherals with ARM-based laptops. The lack of necessary drivers and ARM-specific support can hinder the use of these peripherals, requiring additional efforts or troubleshooting.

ARM processors offer impressive benefits in terms of energy efficiency and performance, making them an attractive choice for many users. However, it’s important to be aware of the compatibility challenges associated with ARM processors, particularly when it comes to anti-virus software, application availability, troubleshooting complexities, and peripheral support.

As the technology landscape continues to evolve, we remain committed to keeping our partners informed about the latest developments and solutions. If you are interested in learning more about how a partnership with an IT Services provider can help keep your business secure and operational, reach out to us today.

*Note: The above is not applicable to Apple devices with ARM processors.

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