Hands-on with the first Windows 10X developer preview build

Windows 10X Ac
Windows 10X Ac (Image credit: Windows Central)

Yesterday, Microsoft made available the first public build of Windows 10X for developers to start testing their apps for dual-screen devices. It's our first real look at Windows 10X, and gives us an early look at some of the new features and experiences that Microsoft is building on this new version of Windows.

Because Windows 10X is a modern OS, many legacy components have been stripped out and containerized. That means the entire Windows Shell has been rebuilt from the ground up using modern code, and doesn't feature any legacy elements. Because of this, everything from the Start menu to the Taskbar has been redesigned, and in our hands-on video we take a closer look at some of those changes.

We also go hands-on with how Windows 10X handles dual-screens, with apps that can span across the two displays to show more content. There's also a new Compose Mode, which turns the second screen into a virtual keyboard and trackpad, and adapts the Windows Shell so that it functions better with a mouse and keyboard.

There's a lot more to come with Windows 10X over the next several months, but our first build gives us a good idea at some of the experiences Microsoft is building for Windows 10X and dual-screen and foldable PCs. What are your thoughts on Windows 10X? Let us know in the comments.

Zac Bowden
Senior Editor

Zac Bowden is a Senior Editor at Windows Central. Bringing you exclusive coverage into the world of Windows on PCs, tablets, phones, and more. Also an avid collector of rare Microsoft prototype devices! Keep in touch on Twitter: @zacbowden.

  • Good luck with that!
  • I love it! And of course apps in scalable windows should be available ALWAYS! That's the point of Windows! Question! Do you guys think that there will be a way to go from W10 to W10X? 🤔 Asking for a friend 😉
  • "Do you guys think that there will be a way to go from W10 to W10X?"
    Officially? No. No plans to offer that. Unofficially anything is possible, but it could be challenging.
  • Can you place stuff on the desktop like you can do on the regular Windows 10?
  • This addresses a lot of complaints many had with Windows 10's lack of tablet mode. It takes inspiration from both Windows Phone and Windows 8 in terms of UI/UX but gets rid of the UI that didnt work. I like it actually. This also addresses the knock that UWP is dead...something the fanboys love to throw out there. If UWP was in fact dead, why would they make an OS built around it. We have to see what they have in store for getting new apps from their own store, but UWP looks to be heavily integrated here.
  • When people that UWP is dead, they mean the app platform. Even Microsoft isn't developing UWP apps.
  • They're only making the whole OS that gives UWP apps a first class citizenship. And isn't Microsoft themselves putting a lot of focus on redesigning their own UWP apps for this new OS and duel screens? I also say they now have a better way to do interactive Widgets/Live Tiles. The media controls in the widget is exactly the kind of interactivity we wanted from Live Tiles...dont see why they couldn't allow apps to park there while they show us richer data...weather, score tickers, news headlines, stocks, mini calculator, navigational maps, Xbox Achievements etc. Im liking this new UI/UX.
  • UWP had been a "first class citizen" since Windows 8. If they were serious about UWP, they would have doubled down on it and been transferring all their apps to it the last few years. That is the exact opposite of what they did. They expect developers to continue to create Win32 apps and containerize them, if even that.
  • Not really. It was first class with Windows 8, but not Windows 10. Windows 10 was looked at as a regression from the touch first mentality of Windows 8. 10X looks to be a return to 8 with the OS designed around UWP and touch first apps. And Im sorry, if Microsoft didnt care, they wouldn't be working on making their UWP apps run in this new environment and two screen set up.
  • Looks great. This ís what they should have released alongside Windows 8. They just need to get base iPad level hardware with very aggressive pricing. Build a user base to excite developers. My only question, why would you put this on Intel hardware at all, let alone make it Intel only?
  • Interface actually looks pretty awesome, the massive line down the middle looks stupid though.
  • Looks good, I did notice the 7 zip icons were all just dumped into the other icons instead of being put together in a folder or group of some kind. I hope this is handled better in the future. Even Microsoft Launcher on Android lets you create folders. Maybe the 7 zip install doesn't create a folder on the start menu, but I would guess it does.
  • Well this is certainly one of the things that the new Start Menu lacks. The feature-set is too tad basic at the moment. It needs folder support, jumplist, that letter shortcuts when you click to jump through the list, icon badge for unread notifications. I find the new Start Menu much harder to find the exact apps that I want since the menu system is so flat.
  • Since I began using Windows 10, I've lost all confidence in Microsoft's operating system skills regardless of whether it's for dual screen devices, tablets, phones, touch screens, etc. Windows 7 was better in every way imo. Win 10 is an absolute mess, it bricked my laptop, cost me over a hundred dollars to get it fixed, and still works like a POS. My next computer won't have an MS OS on it, that's for certain.
  • Why exactly is getting rid of live tiles a good idea? To me, the new start menu is useless, it is just a table of icons.
  • No official statement about that so far or as far as I know. The only thing I can see it is the simplicity and familiarity of simple boring grid of icons. For me, its not even the lack of Live Tiles itself, but the lack of glancable information system that Live Tiles and widget system from other platforms it offers. Windows 10 X at least with this demo simply have a simple launcher and nothing else. Even the latest version of iOS and iPadOS have far more interesting now since they support widgets and on iPadOS, the widgets are always visible on the left side of the main page of homescreen. I wish that they simply retain the Live Tiles API and use that to represent as normal widget, while the new widget framework if developers choose to take advantage of it, can create true widgets that have interactive functionalities. At the moment, I loose the ability to have my weather, calendar, mail, photos, news, YouTube (myTube), and other apps that gives me a glanceable information in Windows 10 X. Now you have to literally open each one of them to check stuff.
  • I wish this 10x will have more options and lets say in design to do things as in Rainmeter for example. widgets can do alot actually.
  • do they even have a desktop? I mean like the preview of the video shows you my apps and websites, but it doesn't feel like that is a proper desktop. If you have a phone or tablet, you would want to relax when you are looking at it, you wouldn't want to look at the documents, unless you are working!