A leaked build of Windows 10X shows what to expect from Microsoft's Chrome OS clone

nanoguy

Posts: 682   +12
Staff member
Something to look forward to: Microsoft's initial plans for Windows 10X were derailed and then shifted last year, but the company is getting close to delivering a version for single-screen devices. A leaked build of the upcoming operating system shows a striking similarity to Google's Chrome OS.

Windows 10X has been years in the making, and as it gets closer to release, near-final builds are starting to leak. Originally, the new operating system was meant to arrive alongside novel form factors like dual-screened tablets, notably the Surface Neo, but with delays on the hardware front, Windows 10X is now set to debut on single-screened devices, possibly as soon as this year.

Windows Central, Thurrott, and The Verge are showing us glimpses of what to expect from Microsoft's answer to Google's Chrome OS. The two operating systems are similarly designed as lightweight alternatives to Windows 10 that will only come pre-installed on new hardware.

With Windows 10X, Microsoft hopes to sway consumers from buying Chromebooks, which are seeing strong demand -- 122% growth year over year on Q3 is nothing to sneeze at.

Just like Chrome OS, Windows 10X is mostly focused on web apps. Leaked builds show that you can easily install Progressive Web Apps from the Edge browser and pin them to the taskbar. It also confirms that Windows 10X will be limited to that and Store apps at launch, with Microsoft working to bake in support for Win32 containers later on.

The taskbar is a simplified version of the regular Windows bar with the Start, Edge, and Task View buttons at the center. Opening the Start menu reveals a launcher where you can search for apps, files or websites. Settings is a similar experience to what you have on Windows 10, while the Explorer is a reduced experience that limits you to a few local folders and the contents of your OneDrive.

Interestingly, apps run in full-screen mode unless you snap them side-by-side. Switching between them can be done using the traditional Alt-Tabbing as well as Task View. There's no Timeline support, but that probably won't be missed by most users. The Action Center is a pop-out that reveals quick settings and notifications, along with a widget for media playback control.

This preview of Windows 10X may also be indicative of the changes Microsoft is expected to bring to the traditional version of Windows. Earlier this month, news broke that Microsoft is working on a "sweeping visual rejuvenation" for the operating system, which is currently a mixed bag in terms of UI design philosophy.

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Kosmoz

Posts: 71   +138
Or just get a 12 years old laptop for a couple of bucks and use puppy linux on it... You get a fully functionnal, super-smooth and quick OS with thousands of apps.
And use it for what?

I don't get it... why would someone want a 12 y old laptop? How's that better than a new(er) one (with Linux, if that's what you want)?
 
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IksPiks

Posts: 8   +13
Use it for what you wanted to do with the new one with Chrome OS or Windows X.
Except it will be MUCH cheaper and the OS and apps you will be using are bug free - instead of doing Microsoft's testing for them, going through an endless cycle of updates to fix the simplest of things (Win10), etc...
So for everything except gaming, of course, a 12 years old laptop with bionicpup (installed or on usb) does the trick.
 
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IksPiks

Posts: 8   +13
And use it for what?

I don't get it... why would someone want a 12 y old laptop? How's that better than a new(er) one (with Linux, if that's what you want)?
Use it for what you wanted to do with the new one with Chrome OS or Windows X.
Except it will be MUCH cheaper and the OS and apps you will be using are bug free - instead of doing Microsoft's testing for them, going through an endless cycle of updates to fix the simplest of things (Win10), etc...
So for everything except gaming, of course, a 12 years old laptop with bionicpup (installed or on usb) does the trick.
 
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Nobina

Posts: 2,875   +2,604
Im convinced Microsoft doesn't like Windows the way it is and is trying to make it into MacOS or ChromeOS which appear more "modern". If so, that's a big mistake, Windows will never be the "new thing" but it's better than the rest.
 
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IksPiks

Posts: 8   +13
Im convinced Microsoft doesn't like Windows the way it is and is trying to make it into MacOS or ChromeOS which appear more "modern". If so, that's a big mistake, Windows will never be the "new thing" but it's better than the rest.
Not that they don't like Win10, it's just that they want to cover every facet and every market. They tried and failed with Windows Phone... That's just what huge mega-corps do : compete or overtake.
 

Kosmoz

Posts: 71   +138
Use it for what you wanted to do with the new one with Chrome OS or Windows X.
Except it will be MUCH cheaper and the OS and apps you will be using are bug free - instead of doing Microsoft's testing for them, going through an endless cycle of updates to fix the simplest of things (Win10), etc...
So for everything except gaming, of course, a 12 years old laptop with bionicpup (installed or on usb) does the trick.
Ok, but wouldn't a newer laptop with Linux run even better?
 
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mattferg

Posts: 120   +111
122% growth from an absolutely tiny percentage of the market, during a stay at home global pandemic, is something to laugh at.

1 Chromebook to 3 Chromebooks would be a 200% increase. Adding an extra 200 million PCs to a billion would only be 20%. %s are meaningless and Google and associated fans only use this to hide how few Chromebooks there really are, and how few new sales there really are.

If you check the actual data they've gone from 6% to 11% in a market where sales have exploded. Not great, considering this is a share of new sales, not the market as a whole.
 
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122% growth from an absolutely tiny percentage of the market, during a stay at home global pandemic, is something to laugh at.

1 Chromebook to 3 Chromebooks would be a 200% increase. Adding an extra 200 million PCs to a billion would only be 20%. %s are meaningless and Google and associated fans only use this to hide how few Chromebooks there really are, and how few new sales there really are.

If you check the actual data they've gone from 6% to 11% in a market where sales have exploded. Not great, considering this is a share of new sales, not the market as a whole.
I think perhaps you are missing the point. If the sales are so miniscule, why is Microsoft willing to invest repeatedly in building a "Windows Lite"? My opinion is that corporate competition is a zero sum game. If Chromebooks sales are growing, then it is coming at the expense of Windows sales. We need only look at Microsoft's response to the rise in use of the Chrome browser to see the game being played to Microsoft's detriment.

I would also add the stats fail to paint the full picture. I have three kids. Even before the pandemic they were using Chromebooks. In fact their entire school district uses Chromebooks. My brother-in-law in a different state, his daughter's entire school district uses Chromebooks. That's a whole generation of users NOT using Windows. So market share or sales figures may appear miniscule. I would argue so was Chromes presence on Windows... I'm sure you are well aware what transpired in the "browser wars."

Full disclosure. I'm a Chromebook user (after retiring at the age of 46 my need for Windows dropped dramatically). Does this qualify me as an "associated fan"? I'm a big fan of tech regardless of the maker. I'm excited to see what Microsoft does with 10X and if it address some of my concerns with Chromebook, then maybe my next purchase will be a 10X.
 

bazz2004

Posts: 1,686   +283
I hope it's light on resources. My netbook came with W7 Starter progressed to W10 Pro and is now running XP. XP runs much faster than the alternatives but a tweaked version of Windows 10 would give security and has strong appeal.
 

Wrinkle

Posts: 18   +7
Or just get a 12 years old laptop for a couple of bucks and use puppy linux on it... You get a fully functionnal, super-smooth and quick OS with thousands of apps.
Yeah, I've got a laptop like that lying around. Its 2 inches thick, it's heavy and the screen is mediocre af. And this is a Thinkpad.

Is it fast enough? Certainly. Do I want to use it? No. I prefer my Chromebook.
 
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bazz2004

Posts: 1,686   +283
You can install a version of Chome OS on a laptop. I ran it for a couple of days on the netbook but prefered Windows. Give it a try. I ran it from a usb stick but can't remember any details. I totally failed to see the benefits of any OS like Linux - too complicated for me.
 

Wrinkle

Posts: 18   +7
You can install a version of Chome OS on a laptop. I ran it for a couple of days on the netbook but prefered Windows. Give it a try. I ran it from a usb stick but can't remember any details. I totally failed to see the benefits of any OS like Linux - too complicated for me.
I know, I used it that old laptop to test drive chrome is before buying a chromebook :)
 

IksPiks

Posts: 8   +13
Yeah, I've got a laptop like that lying around. Its 2 inches thick, it's heavy and the screen is mediocre af. And this is a Thinkpad.

Is it fast enough? Certainly. Do I want to use it? No. I prefer my Chromebook.
Perfectly understandable.
Send me the 2 inches thick one, you don't need it.
 

brucek

Posts: 708   +940
TechSpot Elite
The point of ChromeOS is that it delivers a no-hassles, no-maintenance computing appliance that starts quickly, runs smoothly even on inexpensive hardware, can be deployed in bulk to children and other audiences with no IT background or interest, and sidesteps many security issues.

If Windows X focuses mainly on limiting Windows while not simultaneously achieving those other benefits, they've missed the whole point.

I see them as a completely separate category than say the full power laptop I use for development. I couldn't trade out my laptop for one, but I do believe there is a large mainstream audience who is better served by the streamlined and reliable experience of a ChromeBook than by the increased flexibility with increased headaches of a full Windows build. This category is already real and I expect continued growth.
 
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GeforcerFX

Posts: 995   +470
Or just get a 12 years old laptop for a couple of bucks and use puppy linux on it... You get a fully functionnal, super-smooth and quick OS with thousands of apps.
I wouldn't use anything that old for day 2 day internet work, not with the chip vulnerabilities discovered over the last few years, Sandy bridge would be the oldest Intel architecture I would use. Luckily they are just as cheap on the used market.
 

3volv3d

Posts: 314   +137
I wouldn't use anything that old for day 2 day internet work, not with the chip vulnerabilities discovered over the last few years, Sandy bridge would be the oldest Intel architecture I would use. Luckily they are just as cheap on the used market.
I get your point, and I don't get it. Vulnerabilities where you may lose your data like a windows 10 hdd bug? Like a vulnerability where anyone can access your data? Like an operating system, that isn't just an operating system but a tool with which you are tracked monitored and have your ads tailored to. A keylogger with which you have paid for.
There is something to be said for an older operating system or hardware with which people think 99% of people have moved on from, the target audience isn't there, the amount of damage to be done isn't there, sure a challenge of a needle in a haystack found maybe?
 
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GeforcerFX

Posts: 995   +470
You don't have to run windows on the newer laptops either. Unless your talking about the co-processor security systems on newer laptops. For the most part what OS you run in your computer has been up to you and hasn't really changed. Some of those chip vulnerabilities can run just off a webpage, so even if your not directly targeted it could still get you without protection.
 

jelabarre59

Posts: 31   +15
So...completely useless, then. Oh well, we can still hope that the regular Windows 10 UI gains a measure of actual design and organizational sanity.
Only if MS decides to restore the ability to run alternative desktops (remember Norton Desktop for Windows?). Otherwise you'll forever be stuck with fugly-flatso TIFKAM.