After years of waiting, it seems that Microsoft now has a real answer to Chrome OS. The upcoming new version of Windows 10X is about to be released, and it shows for the first time the changes Microsoft has made to the upcoming operating system to make it available for laptops. Windows 10X was originally a variant of Windows 10 designed for dual-screen devices, and it started from then on. It should be released with Microsoft’s Surface Neo, which is a tablet-style device with two independent 9-inch displays that can be folded into a full 13-inch workspace.
Microsoft revealed last year that Windows 1
The latest version that has been leaked is the final version that will be released on Chromebook-like devices later this year. Windows 10X is not the operating system you are upgrading to, nor is it an update that will be displayed on existing computers. It will only be released on new hardware, and is a lightweight version of Windows designed for users who may plan to buy a Chromebook.
Windows 10X already looks a bit like Chrome OS on dual-screen devices, but now it is designed for single-screen laptops. Microsoft has simplified almost every area of Windows in Windows 10X so that it feels like a portal to the Web, not a portal to Windows applications.
Now, the “Start” button is located in the center of the taskbar with a “Start” menu similar to launching programs. It has no Live Tiles found on Windows 10. Instead, it is a list of applications and the latest documents. You can also search for applications, documents and even content on the web through Microsoft’s Bing search engine.
The comparison with Chrome OS is immediately obvious here, including the launcher and focus on web applications. You can even install a progressive web application (PWA) from the built-in Chromium Edge browser and pin it to the taskbar.
The Windows 10X taskbar is also a greatly simplified area of the operating system. You may be accustomed to seeing many system tray icons from applications, but these icons do not exist in Windows 10X. Instead, there is a simple action center that can display the time and pop up to show quick settings, such as turning off the computer, enabling VPN, connecting the monitor, or managing the volume. This also includes access to notifications and updated widgets for controlling media playback.
Compared with Windows 10, the windowing in Windows 10X has also been simplified. You can drag and drop apps to run side by side, but you cannot allow apps to resize freely. Therefore, the middle button (toggling between full screen mode and window mode) that you previously saw in the upper right corner of the app has been removed in 10X. You can simply minimize the applications or close them here. The laptops provided with Windows 10X will also provide gesture touchpad support for multitasking applications.
Microsoft has also been working on modern versions of File Explorer in Windows 10X. Its main design purpose is to access OneDrive cloud files, but you can also manage downloaded files or files downloaded from USB storage devices here. Since 10X is mainly used for cloud storage, local files cannot be accessed in this new file explorer.
It seems that Microsoft may not provide desktop application support in Windows 10X at least initially. Microsoft has established a container technology that can run traditional desktop applications in lightweight virtual machines. This feature was originally designed to ensure that the old version of the application can be used normally on dual-screen devices and will not drain battery life or interfere with the way the application is displayed on multiple screens.
Microsoft is still working on this container technology, and in the latest version of 10X, it is only used as a developer mode. This may mean that end users will not be able to install regular desktop applications on Windows 10X when it leaves the factory. Either way, it’s clear that Microsoft will focus on the combination of Microsoft Store apps and Web apps here.
In some ways, Windows 10X is like a preview of some of the UI and UX changes we might see in regular Windows 10 later this year. Microsoft is planning to “make Windows a whole new look”, which will include a modern “Start” menu, “File Explorer” and built-in applications that will make the entire Windows 10 UI more consistent.
Microsoft has not officially confirmed when Windows 10X will be released or which laptop manufacturers will launch devices with this OS variant. Obviously, this is Microsoft’s more direct attempt to challenge Chromebooks after years of embarrassingly positioning Windows 10S as an alternative. The project failed and became a simple S mode. In contrast, Windows 10X requires more effort to recreate the simplicity of the Chrome operating system, while also increasing the advantages of Microsoft services and applications.