After years of waiting, Microsoft seems to have the real answer to Chrome OS. A new, near-final version of Windows 10X has been leaked and you can first see the changes Microsoft has made to future operating systems to prepare for laptops. Windows 10X was first born as a variant of Windows 10 designed for dual-screen devices. It was planned to be released with Microsoft’s Surface Neo. It’s a tablet-like device with two separate 9-inch displays that fold into a complete 13-inch workspace.
Last year, Microsoft revealed that Windows 10 X was being rebuilt for single-screen devices such as laptops, lagging behind the Surface Neo. The company has spent years trying to differentiate Windows 10X for foldable and dual-screen hardware, but now it looks more like Chrome OS than ever before.
Windows 10X out-of-box experience.
The latest leaked version is almost the final form of what will be shipped later this year on devices like Chromebooks. Windows 10X is neither the operating system you are upgrading to, nor the updates that you see on your existing machines. A lightweight version of Windows that ships only with new hardware and is designed for those who might want to buy a Chromebook instead.
Windows 10X is already a bit like Chrome OS on dual-screen devices, but it’s even more apparent because it’s designed for single-screen laptops instead. Microsoft has simplified almost every area of Windows in Windows 10 X so that it feels like a portal to the Web rather than a portal to Windows apps.
The Start button is centered on the taskbar and displays a Start menu that acts like a launcher. There are no live tiles in Windows 10. Instead, it’s a list of apps and recent documents. You can also use the Microsofts Bing search engine to search for apps, documents, or content on the web.
Windows 10X window app.
The comparison with Chrome OS focuses on launchers and web apps, so it’s easy to see here. You can also install the Progressive Web Apps (PWA) from the built-in Chromium Edge browser and pin it to the taskbar.
This Windows 10X taskbar is also a much simplified OS area. You may be accustomed to displaying many system tray icons from your app, but these don’t exist in Windows 10 X. Instead, it has a simple action center that displays the time and pops up, showing quick settings such as shutting down the machine, enabling VPN, connecting the display, and managing volumes. It also includes updated widgets to control access to notifications and media playback.
New Action Center for Windows 10 X.
Window processing in Windows 10 X is also simplified compared to Windows 10. You can drag and drop apps to run them side by side, but there is no way to resize the app at will. As a result, the center button (switching between full screen mode and window mode) that was displayed in the upper right corner of the app has been removed by 10x. Here you can minimize or close the app. The laptop that ships with Windows 10 X also supports the gesture trackpad for multitasking apps.
Microsoft is also working on the latest version of Windows 10 X, File Explorer. Designed primarily as a way to access OneDrive cloud files, you can also manage files downloaded here and files from USB storage. Since 10X is designed primarily for cloud storage, there is no way to access local files with this new file explorer.
New File Explorer for Windows 10 X.
Microsoft doesn’t seem to ship support for desktop apps on Windows 10 X, at least initially. Microsoft has built container technology for running traditional desktop apps on lightweight virtual machines. It was originally designed to be used to ensure that legacy apps work well on dual-screen devices and don’t reach battery life or interfere with the way the app appears on multiple screens. ..
Microsoft is still working on this container technology, which will appear as developer-only mode in this latest version of 10X. This can mean that end users will not be able to install regular desktop apps on Windows 10 X at the factory. In any case, its clear Microsoft focuses on the combination of apps and web apps in the Microsoft Store here.
In a way, Windows 10 X feels like a preview of UI and UX changes that are likely to be seen in regular Windows 10 later this year. Microsoft plans a radical visual activation of Windows. This includes the latest Start Menu, File Explorer, and built-in apps that make the entire Windows 10 UI more consistent.
Microsoft has not yet officially confirmed when Windows 10 X will ship or which laptop manufacturers will launch devices with this OS variant. It’s clear that this is a more direct attempt to challenge Chromebooks after Microsoft has tried to unnaturally position Windows 10S as an alternative for years. The project failed and turned into a simple S mode. In contrast, Windows 10X feels like a much greater effort to recreate the simplicity of Chrome OS by adding the benefits of Microsoft services and apps.
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