In 2019, Microsoft announced Windows 10X as an OS designed to support dual-screen devices, such as Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Fold, Surface Neo, and Intel prototypes. However, the company changed its Windows 10X plans last year and announced that the Windows 10X OS would first support single-screen devices, such as laptops, in 2021.
What Is Windows 10X?
Microsoft’s Windows 10X is a new and streamlined version of Windows built on a new modern version of Windows known as “Windows Core OS,” which sacrifices legacy apps and features in favor of speed, enhanced security, and new user experiences.
That is, Windows 10X will not support legacy Win32 applications at launch. Nevertheless, Microsoft announced its plans to enable subsequent Windows 10X versions to support legacy Win32 apps.
However, they will run in a sandbox to ensure they don’t affect system performance and battery life when closed.
Consequently, this makes Windows 10X a much more stable and secure OS since there’s no chance for legacy Win32 apps to cause bit rot.
Is Windows 10X Better Than Windows 10?
Microsoft designed Windows 10X to be a streamlined version of Windows 10, making it faster and more secure. However, whether Windows 10X is better than Windows 10 depends on consumer preferences.
What Is New in Windows 10X?
Microsoft released a Windows 10X emulator that gives users an idea of what to expect at Windows 10X’s launch. Interestingly, the changes are not so drastic but are conspicuous enough to feel like a new Windows user experience.
An improved user experience
An imposing feature of Windows 10X’s design is its orientations. Windows 10X has a unique user interface that is designed with modern technologies, provides a more adaptive user experience, and automatically adjusts to your device’s mode.
The OS assumes the typical single-screen tablet interface in tablet mode and a dual-screen orientation in book mode. It also has an extended canvas mode and a laptop mode.
The user interface automatically adjusts based on your preference. Microsoft calls this unique feature “multi-posture.”
Also, Windows 10X will enable users to snap two windows on a screen and use book mode to have four applications neatly stacked next to one another. It will also enable users to drag and span an app across two screens when in landscape mode.
Although Windows 10X seems like a lightweight version of Windows 10, it will surely take advantage of the strengths of dual-screen laptops and foldable PCs to offer versatility.
A new Start menu
Microsoft redesigned the Windows 10X Start menu to focus on productivity. The new Start menu doesn’t come with the traditional live tiles; instead, it uses Chrome OS-like static icons for Microsoft Edge-powered progressive web apps and Microsoft Store apps.
It also features a wide search bar along the top of the screen to search for webpages and local files. By default, it includes shortcuts to popular apps and services, like Microsoft Edge, Microsoft Teams, and Settings.
Besides, there’s a section for “recent activities” that updates dynamically with the apps or services the user might want to open directly, such as visited websites and documents. The user also gets to customize the app list.
A sandbox for Win32 apps
Windows 10X is a lightweight version of Windows 10 designed for speed, enhanced security, and an improved user experience, which justifies the way it addresses Win32 apps.
Win32 apps, especially conflicting ones, are often responsible for computer glitches. They usually run in the background, draining battery power and affecting system performance.
They also tend to cause bit rot – the tendency of software to develop bugs or become corrupt over time due to minor conflicts with newer operating environments.
To ensure smooth system performance and counter the disadvantages of legacy apps, Microsoft designed the OS to run legacy Win32 apps in a separate container – a sandbox.
However, it is essential to bear in mind that the single-screen-device Windows 10X version will not support Win32 apps at launch. Users may not see versions that support Win32 apps till 2022.
Luckily, you won’t have to wait several minutes to install updates that will help you enjoy Win32 apps. Microsoft has announced that Windows 10X will be able to download and install each update in under 90 seconds.
A new, streamlined version of File Explorer
Microsoft simplified File Explorer to offer a more straightforward method of accessing files. Besides, OneDrive integrates with File Explorer to easily sync files and folders to the cloud. However, users need to sign into a Microsoft account to access their files; there’s no other way to do it.
Unfortunately, Windows 10X devices might not handle major multitasking, and their apps will only run full-screen. That should change over time. However, Windows 10X supports a certain level of multitasking – it can provide a side-by-side view of two apps.
Improved anti-theft protection
Microsoft designed a new anti-theft protection feature for Windows 10X. The anti-theft feature aims at dissuading thieves by making Windows 10X devices a less desirable target. The idea is to prevent thieves from resetting, reusing or reselling a stolen device.
How does it work? When users turn on the anti-theft protection feature, it requires their Microsoft account password or PIN before anyone will be able to reset the device, revert to the default settings, or reinstall Windows 10X. It efficiently locks out anyone who doesn’t have your PIN or Microsoft account password.
Besides, the anti-theft protection feature also keeps the “Find my device” service running, making it easier for you to locate and retrieve your device.
However, we’re not sure whether it is possible to bypass the anti-protection feature by performing a clean Windows 10X reinstall. We’ll have to wait till its launch before we can get our hands on it for testing.
Improved Windows Update
Windows Update is designed to work much faster on Windows 10X than it did on Windows 10. Feature updates will take less time to install than they do on Windows 10 since they can install in the background without your system rebooting until the update process completes.
So, similar to what happens on Chrome OS and Android, once an update installs, it restarts your PC, and your system will be back up and running in about 90 seconds. That’s way faster than rebooting Windows 10, which takes 5 to 20 minutes to restart, depending on the device.
Unlike Windows 10, Windows 10X has a unique feature called “state separation,” which is how it runs on a drive. The contemporary Windows 10 runs and installs all applications on a single partition, granting the user, apps, and potential attackers access to system files.
Windows 10X has multiple read-only partitions where it installs apps, meaning that system files, app files, drivers, and the registry are locked and secured. Besides, all legacy apps on Windows 10X run in a sandbox, providing additional security. Even if malware manages to get in, it cannot affect the system since it can only access its corresponding partition.
Windows Hello facial recognition and the disappearance of Cortana
The tile layout is not the only thing that Windows 10X ditched to become a “lighter” version of Windows 10. Fans of the Windows 10 virtual assistant Cortana won’t be able to utilize it on their Windows 10X devices.
The good news is, Windows 10X will support facial recognition with Windows Hello. That will save you the stress of having to dismiss the lock screen several times after signing in, saving you some time, too.
What else? Windows 10X will also feature dynamic wallpapers that automatically adapt to reflect the time of day or night.
Lastly, Windows 10X will also support 5G, LTE, and cloud connectivity, offering you superfast connections and downloads.
When Will Windows 10X Be Released?
Reports suggest that Windows 10X will launch in the spring of 2021 for commercial markets such as the education and enterprise industries. However, the OS won’t be launching on consumer devices this year – that is, you won’t find it on a flagship device for individual users.
The OS will also launch without Mail and Calendar. It has been removed from the first version of the OS because the target audience is commercial users that will most likely use Outlook Web or Outlook streamlined via Windows Virtual Desktop. However, users can install the Mail and Calendar app from the Microsoft Store if they wish.
Furthermore, it’s essential to note that Microsoft did not design Windows 10X to update Windows 10 PCs. Consequently, there won’t be official ISO media, and users will not be able to install Windows 10X on their existing devices. It’s only for new machines.
Windows 10X will launch with new handy features and functions designed to make it secure, fast, and flexible. However, if you’re looking for a way to improve your Windows 10 OS, we highly recommend using Auslogics Driver Updater.
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It will scan your computer for driver-related issues and download and install the latest driver updates to optimize your system performance. Also, check our blog regularly for Windows news and tips.