Microsoft is letting go of Windows 10X as it focuses on making Windows 10 better

nanoguy

Posts: 770   +12
Staff member
Bottom line: For the last few years, Microsoft has been building a competitor to Chrome OS, a lightweight variant of Windows 10 dubbed Windows 10X that could adapt to any modern device form factor. It shouldn't surprise anyone that it won't see the light of day, and it also means the Redmond company can focus on making Windows 10 better instead.

Microsoft's Windows 10X project started out as a Chrome OS alternative, with a fresh interface designed around the web browser, new security model for running apps, faster update process, light enough to run for many hours at a time on inexpensive laptops with less beefy internals, and an adaptable shell that would work great on various modern form factors such as convertibles and 2-in-1s.

The project changed its scope over time, as Microsoft sought to make Windows 10X the perfect operating system for foldable devices such as the Surface Neo. In typical Microsoft fashion, the company teased this product when it was far from ready, only to postpone it to 2020. Then the pandemic hit, and the whole thing was put on the back burner while the plan for Windows 10X was that it would debut on single screen clamshell devices.

Now it looks highly unlikely that Windows 10X will ship this year, if ever. According to Brad Sams over at Petri, Microsoft is shifting resources from the project to focus on Windows 10, and Windows 10X will join Windows RT and Windows 10 S in Microsoft's graveyard of failed experiments. The Redmond giant's silence on the matter is also a telltale sign that its priorities have changed since last year, and a leaked build of Windows 10X calls into question the target of that effort.

The news isn't surprising when you consider that Windows 10 already powers a diverse ecosystem of over 1.3 billion monthly active devices, at least according to Microsoft's official stats. Adoption hasn't exactly gone as planned, but support for Win32 apps is a big reason why consumers and organizations have switched to the new operating system, to the point where Windows 7 is mostly kept alive by organizations that are willing to pay for extended security updates.

By contrast, Windows 10X was designed around the use of cloud-powered web apps, as Microsoft wanted to make it attractive for casual users, educational institutions, and small businesses -- in other words, a Chrome OS killer.

Win32 support would not have arrived at launch, and Microsoft was reportedly not content with the performance and impact on battery life early on, leading to the functionality being postponed until 2022 at the earliest. This alone would have made Windows 10X a difficult proposition, as we've seen with Windows 10 S and Windows RT before it.

Moving forward, Microsoft's attention and resources are focused on delivering a "sweeping visual rejuvenation" for Windows 10, also known as the "Sun Valley" update.

This means that at least some ideas behind Windows 10X are making their way into Windows 10, such as a more coherent interface where you won't see icons made using several design languages, some of them dating back to Windows 95. And the company is also working on making Windows 10 easy to configure and optimize for your specific use case.

That's only the beginning, as Microsoft is also looking to remove some of the bloatware that makes a standard Windows 10 installation larger than it should be (advice to Microsoft: make some of those rules enforceable to OEMs). These will continue to live through the Windows Store, which is also being reworked to offer an improved layout, better stability for large downloads such as games, and more freedom for developers in how they package, update, and organize their apps. The Redmond company is also testing ways to promote web apps as first class citizens on Windows 10.

Beyond that, Windows is getting various new features and quality of life improvements, some of which will arrive via smaller updates that will have less potential of breaking the entire OS.

Some are less interesting, like the Weather and News widget for the taskbar, but they can fortunately be disabled. Others can't come soon enough, such as support for AAC Bluetooth audio, DirectStorage for faster game loading, Auto HDR functionality similar to the Xbox Series X, and who knows -- maybe even a way to run Android apps similar to Chrome OS.

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Dimitriid

Posts: 548   +939
Here's what I think Microsoft will do to replace WIndows10X: I think they'll make a Linux distro.

I know, I know: sounds unthinkable right? Yet if you look it up, Azure is their most profitable division and by a comfortable margin and 50% of all Azure servers are Linux already.

This means that Microsoft probably makes at least as much money from Linux than Windows 10 as it is. I bet they would be happier if they could push a Linux distro as "Azure OS" or something like that aimed straight at the enterprise and before anyone mentions this yes: A lot of software, specially on enterprise machines, it's strictly x86 but think about Azure's business model: Software-as-service so they're already pushing people to move to the cloud so as long as they can get the office suite stuff to work they can just say "Oh just move to cloud based applications that have great synergy with Azure OS!"

And no I don't think this would be much benefit, if any, for the Linux community in general: My guess is that they would probably make a lot of key components closed source even if they cannot technically fork and close the Linux kernel itself they could get away with it. Google did got away with it already with Android and ChromeOS after all and so did Apple as they changed FreeBSD enough that they don't have to stick to open source.
 

BSim500

Posts: 793   +1,746
It's hardly surprising 10X is "white elephant" considering it's precisely the UWP stuff, Cortana, and "mobilised" crap that adds most of the bloat to post W7 Windows in the first place (all image sizes are 64-bit):-

W7 SP1 ISO size (Win32/64 API only) = 3.1GB

W10 20H2 ISO size (Win32/64 API + UWP apps) = 5.7GB

W10X ISO Size (UWP apps only) = 5.11GB

^ Literally all the Win32/64 API "core Windows" stuff removed from W10 to make W10X takes up only 600MB, ie, the "slim, lightweight, modern mobile" UWP way of doing things is 3-4x the size of the main core Win32/64 API. "Windows XP Tablet Edition" all over again, except that actually ran proper Windows applications & games whilst 10X is just an extension of an already failed attempt to take on Android after leaving it 5 years too late to matter...

Edit: In fact W10 Enterprise LTSC 1809 is over 1GB smaller (4.03GB) than the "slimmed down for mobile" 10X that's missing the main Win API... :joy:
 
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psycros

Posts: 3,459   +4,030
Here's what I think Microsoft will do to replace WIndows10X: I think they'll make a Linux distro.

I know, I know: sounds unthinkable right? Yet if you look it up, Azure is their most profitable division and by a comfortable margin and 50% of all Azure servers are Linux already.

This means that Microsoft probably makes at least as much money from Linux than Windows 10 as it is. I bet they would be happier if they could push a Linux distro as "Azure OS" or something like that aimed straight at the enterprise and before anyone mentions this yes: A lot of software, specially on enterprise machines, it's strictly x86 but think about Azure's business model: Software-as-service so they're already pushing people to move to the cloud so as long as they can get the office suite stuff to work they can just say "Oh just move to cloud based applications that have great synergy with Azure OS!"

And no I don't think this would be much benefit, if any, for the Linux community in general: My guess is that they would probably make a lot of key components closed source even if they cannot technically fork and close the Linux kernel itself they could get away with it. Google did got away with it already with Android and ChromeOS after all and so did Apple as they changed FreeBSD enough that they don't have to stick to open source.

macOS is based on NetBSD, not FreeBSD. Yes, there are some notable differences, primarily which legacy code was brought over directly from Unix.
 

bviktor

Posts: 405   +718
Here's what I think Microsoft will do to replace WIndows10X: I think they'll make a Linux distro.

I know, I know: sounds unthinkable right? Yet if you look it up, Azure is their most profitable division and by a comfortable margin and 50% of all Azure servers are Linux already.

This means that Microsoft probably makes at least as much money from Linux than Windows 10 as it is. I bet they would be happier if they could push a Linux distro as "Azure OS" or something like that aimed straight at the enterprise and before anyone mentions this yes: A lot of software, specially on enterprise machines, it's strictly x86 but think about Azure's business model: Software-as-service so they're already pushing people to move to the cloud so as long as they can get the office suite stuff to work they can just say "Oh just move to cloud based applications that have great synergy with Azure OS!"

And no I don't think this would be much benefit, if any, for the Linux community in general: My guess is that they would probably make a lot of key components closed source even if they cannot technically fork and close the Linux kernel itself they could get away with it. Google did got away with it already with Android and ChromeOS after all and so did Apple as they changed FreeBSD enough that they don't have to stick to open source.
It's not unthinkable, it's dumb and useless.
 

bviktor

Posts: 405   +718
Hey Microsoft, I just wanna let you know that I don't give a flying f*ck about the look of stock Windows icons, or the Start menu, where I spend maybe 5 seconds a day, or whatever other utterly unimportant thing.

Here's what matters, here's what I want: a laptop with 20 hours battery life. Not laptops that promise 12 and deliver maybe 8. It's really that simple.

Oh and while you're at it, you might as well stop nagging me to change my search engine to Bing (which is not going to happen), to pair my phone (which I did, but all the Phone app does is crash immediately, so gg), or to sign up to Microsoft Rewards (which isn't even available in my region), and other stupid time wasting sh*t.
 

VariableSpike

Posts: 48   +61
If only they could focus on more important things (and not making icons look more bland) , like making the settings app less crap and decide whether they want to use it or the control panel as the current mix is awful, and getting rid of the useless bloat / stupid settings/features that the user can't change so we can stop buying Enterprise / LTSC Server keys on the grey market to get a usable experience.......
 

Dimitriid

Posts: 548   +939
It's not unthinkable, it's dumb and useless.

Ever tried doing stuff like server admin or software development with just Windows vs Linux? Windows just needs a ton of extra crap to kinda do it half way decent vs Linux for the same tasks. Whenever you hear "cloud" there's a big chance it's just a nice GUI that runs a bunch of Linux scripts on the backend but you also have the option of tweaking manually if you need to.

This is why I did mention it probably would come specifically for Enterprise by the way, plus Microsoft can probably match what Google or Apple have done in terms of user friendliness too and I'd be way, way cheaper to develop a Linux Distro (Or even if they make their customized Unix-like kernel) than their failed attempts, mostly because on a very basic level unix systems are much better at being modular and flexible and their OS is really, really not and well, this possibly cancelled project among with many previous one speak for themselves on that regard.
 

MaitieS

Posts: 93   +99
I know that a lots of people will ***** on MS and Windows 10 but I think that W10 is THE best one MS released. I really like the overall approach of updating it instead of releasing a new OS every 3 years like it was in the past. Sure there will be a bug or two but they always fix it and most of the people will never even notice it.
 

cliffordcooley

Posts: 12,739   +6,107
I really like the overall approach of updating it instead of releasing a new OS every 3 years like it was in the past.
That **** infuriates me. I need the option to turn it off and deal with it when the time is more convenient. Just three days ago I had a device that hasn't been used in a few months. Turned it on to do diagnostics on a car. Low and behold, I couldn't get a webpage to load because the damned thing was doing updates. And there was no way to stop them. It took hours before I could even attempt to use the device. MS is evil for not giving the option to turn updates off, especially feature updates.
 

Mr Majestyk

Posts: 731   +623
macOS is based on NetBSD, not FreeBSD. Yes, there are some notable differences, primarily which legacy code was brought over directly from Unix.

It's not so simple as that, the best mini-summary I can find is the following but FreeBSD is part of the mix:

UNIX forks to BSD, BSD forks to NetBSD and FreeBSD (and many others), BSD plus Mach kernel is Mach, Mach plus more is NeXT, NeXT plus more is OS X (and OS X eventually replaces the old BSD parts with FreeBSD ones). VMS is its own thing, but the NT kernel is clearly inspired by it.
 

Watzupken

Posts: 201   +178
In my opinion, MS should focus on slimming down their OS and not adding more bloat to it. The new features are nice to have, but they don't come free, I.e. you need additional processing power. For me, most of the UI upgrade is like putting lipstick on a pig. Its harsh, but I think its true from my perspective. Where Windows X and S are trying to streamline the system so that they can introduce more power friendly SOC from ARM, the vanilla Windows 10 seems to be gobbling down whatever extra processing power the newer and more powerful hardware are offering. If MS really aspires to have ARM chip working on Windows, its an uphill task, but made even less likely because of their lack of focus to try and make it work.
 

envirovore

Posts: 190   +458
TechSpot Elite
That **** infuriates me. I need the option to turn it off and deal with it when the time is more convenient. Just three days ago I had a device that hasn't been used in a few months. Turned it on to do diagnostics on a car. Low and behold, I couldn't get a webpage to load because the damned thing was doing updates. And there was no way to stop them. It took hours before I could even attempt to use the device. MS is evil for not giving the option to turn updates off, especially feature updates.

You can thank users not installing critical updates, and therefore becoming a risk to everyone else on the internet by leaving their machine open to botnets and such, for that.

I have fastish internet and a relatively quick system, so the Win10 updates being forced doesn't bother me so much. Those with slower internet (or metered connections) and slower machines, I feel for them.

I was annoyed by the policy at first, but understand why they do it.
 

ZedRM

Posts: 447   +249
If only they could focus on more important things (and not making icons look more bland) , like making the settings app less crap and decide whether they want to use it or the control panel as the current mix is awful, and getting rid of the useless bloat / stupid settings/features that the user can't change so we can stop buying Enterprise / LTSC Server keys on the grey market to get a usable experience.......
I have no problem with buying LTSC keys in the discount market.
 

Hardware Geek

Posts: 353   +369
This is a good decision by Microsoft in my opinion. They need to focus on reducing the amount of bloatwear that is installed by default and slim down their OS so it runs better on low end machines. With the silicon shortage and GPU prices out of control more and more people will have to settle for low end machines. Getting those to run better will only increase their user base and thereby increase their paid services. People will get tired of constantly waiting for their OS to do updates and buy into the apple ecosystem based on the false perception that apple is superior.
 

ZedRM

Posts: 447   +249
the false perception that apple is superior.
This.
This is a good decision by Microsoft in my opinion. They need to focus on reducing the amount of bloatware that is installed by default and slim down their OS
Also this! What would really be excellent is if they shifted gears back to the "Edition" based release schedule of Consumer/Prosumer versions of Windows. A LOT of people are growing very tired of Microsoft changing things around every year.
 
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Avro Arrow

Posts: 1,256   +1,386
TechSpot Elite
Hey Microsoft, I just wanna let you know that I don't give a flying f*ck about the look of stock Windows icons, or the Start menu, where I spend maybe 5 seconds a day, or whatever other utterly unimportant thing.

Here's what matters, here's what I want: a laptop with 20 hours battery life. Not laptops that promise 12 and deliver maybe 8. It's really that simple.

Oh and while you're at it, you might as well stop nagging me to change my search engine to Bing (which is not going to happen), to pair my phone (which I did, but all the Phone app does is crash immediately, so gg), or to sign up to Microsoft Rewards (which isn't even available in my region), and other stupid time wasting sh*t.
Hear Hear!

(Although I think that visually, Windows 7 was 1000x better than Windows 10)
 

wiyosaya

Posts: 5,919   +4,173
You can thank users not installing critical updates, and therefore becoming a risk to everyone else on the internet by leaving their machine open to botnets and such, for that.

I have fastish internet and a relatively quick system, so the Win10 updates being forced doesn't bother me so much. Those with slower internet (or metered connections) and slower machines, I feel for them.

I was annoyed by the policy at first, but understand why they do it.
IMO, the people that most need Windohs updates are the ones that should not own a computer in the first place because they click on everything on every web page - especially those flashing banners that install mal/spyware.

Personally, I have had several different computers get updates that have either failed, left computers unusable, or destroyed custom settings. Every copy of Windohs 10 that I have is now pro, and I have turned off updates. I am not your average user, and I do not require Microsoft to be constantly looking over my shoulder while I am using any of my PCs. I have always spotted phishing/malware install attempts, and I never visit sites that are likely to have payloads in their software.

If you want to have your PC updated, that's fine by me, but don't blame people like me for the fact that there are those out there who are clueless and should not own a PC in the first place, IMO, and those are the ones who need Microsoft's Windohs Nanny Vision.
 

wiyosaya

Posts: 5,919   +4,173
Yea. Windohs 10X gone. I do not need the cloud, and would never trust "The Cloud" with any personal data.

Here's what I say: F the cloud. Maybe Microsoft will actually concentrate on making Windohs 10 a better OS instead of dumb updates to icons.
 

envirovore

Posts: 190   +458
TechSpot Elite
IMO, the people that most need Windohs updates are the ones that should not own a computer in the first place because they click on everything on every web page - especially those flashing banners that install mal/spyware.

Personally, I have had several different computers get updates that have either failed, left computers unusable, or destroyed custom settings. Every copy of Windohs 10 that I have is now pro, and I have turned off updates. I am not your average user, and I do not require Microsoft to be constantly looking over my shoulder while I am using any of my PCs. I have always spotted phishing/malware install attempts, and I never visit sites that are likely to have payloads in their software.

If you want to have your PC updated, that's fine by me, but don't blame people like me for the fact that there are those out there who are clueless and should not own a PC in the first place, IMO, and those are the ones who need Microsoft's Windohs Nanny Vision.

Oh, I totally agree with you.
Hell, I'm of the opinion that the general public being allowed access to the internet was a huge mistake (and I realize this includes myself and a vast majority of other users here).

Some sort of computing basic knowledge requirement for internet access would be nice though.