What is Windows 10x?

What You Need to Know about Windows 10X

We’ve all grown accustomed to the incremental changes in Windows 10 over the years. Twice a year, Windows 10 is dealt a new feature or two and some new settings to manage in Group Policy or MDM. But is that all we can expect from Windows?

It turns out there is a sizable change coming in the Windows 10 world and it’s called Windows 10X. Codenamed Santorini, Windows 10X is definitely different. End-users might see its most outward facing feature first, that is, its ability to accommodate foldable PCs and dual-screen laptops. We predict there will be a huge appetite for these devices, and with Windows 10X, Microsoft undoubtedly hopes to make a big splash in this sector.

Microsoft would not be able to perform this magic trick without making some changes, so let’s check out what to expect from the newest edition of Windows.

A Farewell to these Features

Start out by saying goodbye to the Start Menu as you know it. That’s right. Microsoft has redesigned the Start Menu experience for Windows 10X into something they call a Launcher.

This means no more tiles in Windows 10X. Instead, the popup menu looks more like your cell phone menu, and users can customize it in order to maximize productivity. This menu includes a “recommended” area where users can include Office documents, folders, and other items they need to access quickly. The search bar prominently appears as well and functions the same as in Windows 10.

The idea behind Windows 10X was simplicity. To that end, Microsoft has eliminated many of the legacy components and features we have grown accustomed to with traditional Windows over the years, including the Control Panel and File Explorer. For those of you who have grown tired of listening to Cortana while setting up a new Windows 10 device, you can now enjoy the sound of silence with a Cortana-free setup experience, while still having the option to use Cortana for normal operation.

An Adaptive and Dynamic Experience

Windows 10X is about creating an adaptive user experience that automatically adjusts to the posture of the device. Whether you prefer the device in laptop, tablet, book or “tent” mode, Windows 10 fluidly adjusts to ensure the best user experience. The taskbar adapts to its hosting device as well, spanning both screens of a dual-screen device. You can effortlessly drag and drop apps and windows between multiple screens and specify which screen you want each to appear app on.

An Improved Experience

Nobody likes the huge download and update process for a traditional Windows 10 machine. Luckily, feature updates for Windows 10X will now fully install in the background without having to reboot the machine to complete the process. Like your cell phone, a prompt will alert you to reboot once the update process is finished. The reboot process is supposed to take no longer than 90 seconds.

Apps should prove even more stable on Windows 10X as they operate in within three unique containers–the Win32 container, the full-trust MSIX container, and the UWP container. This allows apps to run isolated from the OS, improving both device security and performance reliability. In addition, when it’s time to remove an app, you just…remove an app. There is no difficult-to-remove junk, registry exorcism, or file scraping.

A Change in Plans

While Microsoft’s original intention was to package Windows 10X with new dual-screen devices such as the Surface Neo towards the end of 2020, things have changed. That shouldn’t be surprising in a year in which it seems that everything has changed.

Microsoft has now stated that the pandemic has caused them to alter their plans. There also appear to be some glitches with it running Win32 applications as well as integrating with folding PC technology. As a result, Microsoft is proposing to release Windows 10X for traditional form factors only.

The new OS should be available for single-screen PCs geared towards business and education use sometime in the spring of 2021. Win32 app and multi-screen support is now delayed until 2022. Despite these setbacks, Windows 10X should be able to contend for market share against Chrome devices. Windows 10X offers a simplified and streamlined experience that many PC users are more than ready for today. Let’s hope it proves to be one more reason to look forward to 2021.

Jeremy Moskowitz

Founder & CTO, Microsoft MVP in Group Policy, Enterprise Mobility, and MDM

Jeremy Moskowitz founded PolicyPak Software after working with hundreds of customers with the same problem they couldn’t manage their applications, browsers and operating systems using the technology they already utilized.

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