The Microsoft Lumia 950 XL was the most powerful smartphone to ship with Windows 10 Mobile when it was released in 2015. But it was also one of the last phones Microsoft ever shipped with the operating system.

The Lumia 950 XL has had a interesting afterlife though – now that Windows 10 on ARM is a thing, hackers have ported Microsoft’s desktop operating system to run on this old smartphone, loaded games like Fallout, and even added dual-display support.

This week Microsoft brought support for running x64 applications to the latest preview build of Windows 10 on ARM. So obviously someone decided to push an old Lumia 950XL to its limits by installing AutoCAD 2021.


In a series of tweets, @ADeltaXForce explains that this is an application that’s currently only available as a 64-bit x86 application, which means there was no way to run it on Windows devices with ARM processors until now.

Running the graphic design application on a phone with a 5-year-old phone running an unofficial port of Windows 10 on ARM is… less than ideal, to say the least. There’s no support for hardware-accelerated graphics, so the CPU has to handle all the work, and the phone’s Qualcomm Snapdragon 810 processor isn’t exactly a speed demon by today’s standards (it wasn’t a particularly great chip in 2015 either, to be honest).

That said, it’s always fun to see hackers finding new things to do with old phones… and if AutoCAD 2021 runs at all on the Lumia 950 XL, that means it will probably run quite a bit better on recent hardware that’s actually designed to support Windows 10 on ARM, including the Microsoft Surface Pro X tablet and Lenovo Flex 5G and Samsung Galaxy Book S laptops.

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3 replies on “Stupid Lumia 950XL tricks: Now you can run AutoCAD on this obsolete phone”

  1. I used to use the 950XL as my work phone five years ago, and really loved it. Awesome phone and awesome operating system (with poor app support)!

    1. I agree, I’d moved over to a Samsung A90 5G device and hate the obtrusive bloatware. Obsolete or not, I seriously believe I’ll go back to my 950XL.

  2. It’s a shame the best Windows 10 on ARM smartphone candidate runs a Snapdragon 810. Even the most well optimized OSes would cause that thing to throttle terribly, I can’t imagine what an unoptimized Windows 10 install would do.

    I hope someone releases a 6″ to 7″ Windows 10 on ARM device soon. I’d totally buy one. Even if it was just a Cheap-o Wifi-only tablet.

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