This Spring, Microsoft is launching a new operating system, Windows 10x. Upon its launch, it will only run on low cost, low end devices. However, the long-term goal is for it to move into dual screen devices – namely the Surface Neo. It’s a far cry from desktop operating systems but it could be a key addition to the modern workplace, so here’s a quick overview of what Windows 10x has to offer.
What is Windows 10X?
In short, it’s a simplified and stripped-down OS that’s cloud/web first, similar to Google’s Chrome OS – hence the suitability to low end devices. Since it’s cloud first, when you log into a Windows 10x machine, you’re logging into The Cloud. Similar to your typical mobile OS, all its apps run full screen and it doesn’t support any desktop applications. Microsoft is actually steering you towards using its web applications. However, you can use a virtual desktop app or save web apps to your device if you’re committed to your old desktop style habits.
What are the Windows 10X features?
Given the above, Windows 10x offers a very different experience to Windows 10. Here are some notable features that contribute to it.
A cloud first file explorer
If you’re familiar with the ‘files’ feature on iOS, this will feel similar. Since Windows 10x is web first, this file explorer is built entirely around OneDrive. This means all your files can be automatically synced to The Cloud and accessible from other devices, the one exception being the downloads folder.
A simpler interface
The Start Menu we’re all familiar with is now a Launcher. This will launch apps via a popup menu in a similar manner to how you would on a tablet. Within this popup menu will lie a search bar and a list of basic installed apps and sites. Think Office apps like Word along with other Microsoft regulars like Internet Explorer and any saved applications like say, Spotify.
Since Windows 10x is designed for dual screen devices, the OS can adapt along with your workspace. You can switch between tablet (think iPad) and book mode - book mode being the dual screen option. There’s also the option to go into laptop mode for typing at a desk and an extended canvas mode. Whilst the apps are full screen, you do have the option of snapping two windows side by side on one screen. Repeat this on the other screen when you’re in book mode and you’ve got quite the multitasking setup.
Windows 10x features ‘state separation’. It puts everything into its own read-only partition on the hard disk. All apps are run inside a container. This means malware can’t get inside and wreak havoc on the system. This additional security can be all the more powerful in today’s current climate of remote collaboration.
Windows 10x offers a great experience for the employee that wants a streamlined version of Microsoft 365. If your team is keen to stay agile it could be a welcome complement to its desktop counterpart. However, doing away with the desktop version might be a little extreme for most teams.