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Can Windows Phone OS be installed on a desktop hardware (x86 or x64 processor) natively (without a layer of virtualization / emulation), or can it be natively in a VM (VMware or virtual BOX), virtual machine without SDK emulator? (meaning that Windows Phone OS, itself is guest OS running in VMware or Virtual PC, without installing an emulator or an SDK, I already saw examples where the SDK+emulator can be installed and run in a VM but that's not what I'm asking about, it would have a total of two layers of virtualization/emulation which would have significant toll on performance .. I'm not concerned about debuggability...Can it be run directly in a VM, or better yet, on the physical desktop hardware). Has it ever been done?

In theory, (regardless of whether or not it violates the MS Terms) is it possible in theory to modify/"hack" a propitiatory ROM image to allow that?

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    How would the WP emulator have two layers of virtualisation? As far as I know, it runs directly in a Hyper-V VM, and is as close as you can get to virtualising Windows Phone. – Indrek Mar 17 '15 at 23:45
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    Indrek is right, if you have the Windows Phone SDK installed you'll find the WP VM in your HyperV Manager where you can boot it directly (without the emulator chrome) – Thomas Mar 18 '15 at 0:32
  • Thanks Indrek & Thomas, sorry I wasn't clear about the said 2 layers .. I meant that some developers would install Windows 7 or 8 (desktop) in a VM, and then install inside this guest Visual Studio+SDK+emulator.. meaning that the emulator coming with the SDK works itself in a VM, on Windows Desktop (the guest OS) inside VMware, which I'm aware of and not interested in doing that.. I'm interested in just running the Windows Phone OS image itself directly on physical desktop hardware or in particularly VMware or VirtualBox for technical reasons. Thank you – theoriticalInvestigatorrr Mar 18 '15 at 18:55
  • Hopefully no i think. – vembutech May 22 '15 at 17:49
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No, Windows Phone 8.X OS can't be run on an X86 without some kind of emulation as it's designed for ARM architecure. I have not found an official statement from Microsoft but the fact that no one on xda-developers has managed to do so yet is always a good indication.

Now with Windows 10 this might be a different story as the phone Version is much more similar to the desktop one than with Windows (Phone) 8. Also there are rumors that the Phone OS might run on Intel x86 cores designed for smartphones, so this might be something to look forward to.

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