Microsoft has today taken the wraps off a new edition of Windows 10 that has been rebuilt from the ground up using Windows 10 Core Technologies. This new edition of Windows 10 is based on Windows Core OS, a modular version of Windows 10 that aims to modernize and componentize the OS for all kinds of device form factors such as HoloLens 2, Surface Hub 2X, and more. Today, Microsoft announced Windows 10X, a version of Windows Core OS that’s designed for new foldable PC device form factors coming in 2020.
Windows 10X: designed for dual-screen PCs
Windows 10X features a brand new UX with a modern Start menu, taskbar, and user experience. The UX has been rebuilt from the ground up with foldable PCs in mind, redesigning core system elements such as the Start menu, Taskbar, Action Center, and more. It introduces a modular shell experience that can adapt and change on the fly, depending on how you’re using your device. The OS overall is much more consistent in its design thanks to the removal of legacy components and shell bits.
Microsoft says Windows 10X is for new foldable PCs only, and won’t be coming to users already running Windows 10 today. Those who wish to use Windows 10X will have to buy PCs that have the OS preinstalled, which won’t be until Holiday 2020 at the earliest. Microsoft has already confirmed that it, along with Dell, HP, and Lenovo, will be shipping Windows 10X foldable PCs in Holiday 2020.
Crucially, Microsoft says that Windows 10X can run all your usual programs, including Win32 programs. This is a big deal, as it means Windows 10X won’t be gimped from the start via a lack of apps. Users will be able to download and use Win32 programs from the Microsoft Store, or from third-party storefronts like Adobe where applicable.
Win32 support on Windows 10X is somewhat different from how Win32 programs operate on regular Windows 10 however. Microsoft says that since Windows 10X is a modern OS, many of the legacy components required for Win32 apps to run have been decoupled from the core of the OS. But, thanks to Windows Core OS being a modular OS, users that need to run Win32 programs can do so as the OS will spin up the components required to run Win32 programs when required. When the user isn’t running a Win32 program, those components are put back to sleep so that they don’t affect OS performance.
End users shouldn’t notice anything different in running their Win32 programs on Windows 10X, but it is a significant change to the OS. It also makes Win32 applications more secure by sandboxing and containerizing them so that they can’t reach out and affect or damage other parts of the system. It’s a huge step forward in security for Windows as a whole, and it’s coming to Windows 10X first.