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What kind of restrictions exist in windows phone 8.1 compared to the desktop OS, pertaining to execution of software? I've heard, for instance, that it's a hassle to run selfmade software. And, does everything have to be an "app", or would it run software which are .NET based (e.g. WinForms program), compiled with target "Any CPU"?

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Windows Phone's only run apps that have been compiled either specifically for the phone (using a variant of Silverlight), or newer Universal apps that can also run on windows 8.1 devices.

Microsoft encourages people to write apps of their own, and there are a number of routes into this, with App Studio, and Visual Studio Express being available free of charge.

  • Ah, so it all has to be "apps". Never heard of Universal apps before - good pointer. – user1847129 Oct 17 '14 at 23:19
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"Tablet" Windows (RT) and Windows Phone are more closely related to each other than either to desktop Windows. Neither will run programs compiled for desktop Windows as the target architectures are different (x86 vs ARM).

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    I was talking about win 8.1 when referring to tablet (mine has regular win 8.1), maybe it was confusing. Well, question changed now anyway. – user1847129 Oct 17 '14 at 19:54
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Restrictions in windows phone 8.1 vs. desktop windows 8.1

The best discussion I have seen related to restrictions and security architecture is Alan Meesus' Windows Phone: Security Deep Dive on Channel 9.

It covers a number of topics, from trusted boot to sandboxes to update policies. Platform architectures, like x86 vs ARM, and languages, like C++ vs C#, don't really don't matter much because the security architecture is consistent across the mobile platforms.

And, does everything have to be an "app", or would it run software which are .NET based (e.g. WinForms program), compiled with target "Any CPU"?

No. I had to port OpenSSL and Crypto++ to Windows RT and Windows Phone for a couple of projects. OpenSSL is C and Crypto++ is C++. (It was painful in some places, like Windows RT, because of the anemic APIs).

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