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Internal Windows 10X documentation leaks, revealing new OS details

Windows 10X
Windows 10X (Image credit: Microsoft)

What you need to know

  • Internal documentation reveals new info about Windows 10X.
  • It confirms that Windows 10X will come to clamshells at some point.
  • Documentation also details new user experiences and changes.

Leaked internal Microsoft documentation has revealed new details around Microsoft's upcoming Windows 10X operating system announced earlier this month for foldable PCs. The documentation shows minor details around some of the user experience changes and enhancements you can expect to see on Windows 10X, and also confirms what I've heard about how Windows 10X will also be made available for laptops in addition to foldables.

The internal documentation also reveals the name of the new Start menu, which Microsoft is now calling the "Launcher" on Windows 10X: This is similar language to what's found on Android. The new Launcher features a search bar that searches the device locally as well as in the cloud such as on OneDrive. Below is a grid of installed apps and websites. This Start menu includes both local apps and web apps as if they were one of the same, which should streamline the experience for users.

There's also going to be a new Action Center and Quick Actions design, which will also house many system tray elements. Visually, notifications will now be separated from the quick actions area, although they are still accessed using the same entry point on the taskbar. The taskbar is also configurable, with the user being able to have a centered taskbar like we've seen so far or a left-aligned taskbar like what's on Windows 10 today.

Source: Windows Central

Source: Windows Central (Image credit: Source: Windows Central)

The documentation also reveals a list of apps Microsoft expects will be inbox with Windows 10X when it launches next year. The list includes the usual apps:

  • Alarms & Clock
  • Calculator
  • Calendar
  • Camera
  • Excel
  • Feedback Hub
  • Groove Music
  • Mail
  • Media Plans
  • Messaging
  • Microsoft Edge
  • Microsoft Store
  • Microsoft Teams
  • Microsoft To Do
  • Microsoft Whiteboard
  • Movies & TV
  • Netflix
  • Notepad
  • OneNote
  • Paint
  • People
  • Photos
  • PowerPoint
  • Snip & Sketch
  • Solitaire
  • Spotify
  • Sticky Notes
  • UWP File Explorer
  • Voice Recorder
  • Weather
  • Word

This list likely isn't final, as apps such as Your Phone and Skype don't appear to be listed just yet. It's also worth mentioning that the bundled Office apps such as Word and PowerPoint will be the PWA versions wrapped in a UWP wrapper, meaning they will be native to Windows 10X. Users will, of course, be able to download the Win32 versions of Office if they need it.

The documentation makes a brief mention of a new modern File Explorer, something we've known about as being in the works for Windows Core OS devices for some time. While no images of the new File Explorer have leaked yet, this documentation is the first time we've seen it confirmed via Microsoft itself. The leak also talks about a slightly updated login UI.

Overall, these details don't reveal too much new, but they do give us a better idea at how Microsoft is planning to position Windows 10X when it starts shipping. While it will be exclusive to foldables at launch, Microsoft fully intends to make Windows 10X a version of Windows that users can buy on regular laptops and tablets as well.

Zac Bowden
Zac Bowden

Zac Bowden is a Senior Editor at Windows Central. Bringing you exclusive coverage into the world of Windows 10 on PCs, tablets, phones, and more. Also an avid collector of rare Microsoft prototype devices! Keep in touch on Twitter: @zacbowden.

  • I'm loving all this "mobile" MS news.. Surface Neo, and Duo. It's like a dream come true❤️👌🏾❤️👌🏾❤️👌🏾... Now, it would be nice to see a similar leak regarding MS's layer over Android. 🤔 For Duo fans, please come join our Surface Duo Facebook Group!
  • Yes, I'm a member there and it's great! Would love to have the option of buying the Duo with Windows 10X. Give us the choice of either Android or 10X. Or both in one!
  • The basics look good. WMPowerusers had some more UI images and they look good for clamshell, but I would like to see more of how the system will make dual screen unique. Plus, hopefully MS learned from fluent design launch failures and all those first party apps will be polished and showing why 10X is better from launch.
  • With one class of device, and sprinkling of 3rd party hardware, developers are already saying NOPE. Many are saying they no longer see the need for an optimized version for the Neo, and if they are going to build for a dual screen, they are going Android. Most everyone we have talked to with the past few weeks said they were planning for Windows X, but with no mobile option, they no longer care and are also pulling back their traditional Windows software development. "If Microsoft wants to hand control and the keys over to Google, then that is where we are also going."
  • As a developer (Android/UWP), your comment excludes me.
    I don't see how the creation of Surface Duo equates to "handing over" of any keys to Google.
  • What is the source for this information. You're making big claims and claim to be speaking for multiple people instead of speaking for yourself.
  • I would have loved to attend the meeting you had with all these developers you alluded to. Can you be a sport and publish y'all meeting minutes.
  • That seems short sighted. There is very little guarantee the duo will be a success as a class of device. Laptops are already a thing.
  • Ok, prove it!
  • As a developer, I see the value in developing for both Windows 10X and Android. All of my apps are available for both operating systems and will continue to be available for both.
  • Your phone may not be on the list yet but it is interesting to see "Messaging" as one of the apps. I wonder if that will be making a change
  • They can you "SMS Organizer" that have boatloads of download on android play store
  • It's a pretty good messaging app. It's my go to. It still needs some polish, but it's good overall. You still can only send on picture at a time, though.
  • On one Windows Central podcast episode, I heard about how Windows 10X is supposed to be like a more streamlined version of Windows 10 that can also run Win32 apps but only call up the Win32 system when needed and turn it off when it doesn't to save battery, which would be an AMAZING proposition. Can't wait to see it in action.
  • That's one of the big thing I'm waiting for beside a more modern UI that is hopefully optimized for an excellent tablet / convertible / 2 in 1 devices
  • It will be interesting to see how much of what starts life in Windows 10X ends up filtering back into Windows 10. Some of it might make the tablet experience better on a Surface Pro or the like.
  • One can hope, particularly re: the touch experience.
  • Will Windows 10X become available for desktops and the Surface Book as well as a downloadable iso? I wonder how the performance will be since they build this OS from the ground up.
  • Pretty sure they said it was only going to ship with new devices (I think it was mentioned in one of the breakdown articles of what Windows 10X actually is). It sure would be nice if they made it available at some point though.
  • It makes sense for them to make it available later when the teething issues are fixed.
  • The article did say that Microsoft will make it available for other devices.
  • Other new devices, not existing devices.
  • I am looking forward to the UWP file explorer, curious how they are going to make it better for touchscreens while keeping its overview appeal.
  • Good to see app grid instead of boring app list.
    hopefully they solves out the tablet mode this time.
    Should we assume this is the death of live tiles ?
  • I still don't understand why some of these features aren't coming to windows 10. Seemless intergration of PWAs would be nice here too. It's a pain to install them via edge dev, they should just be all listed in the windows store (like every single PWA). I also don't get why they don't offer this as an upgrade path for existing laptops, 2 in 1s and tablets. It's bizarre - this is clearly a more touch optimized OS. From the icons to the intergration of web apps. So instead of popularizing this with an upgrade path, everyone has to buy a new device? IDK, I like the idea. It has real potential for casual computing. But seems like they are limiting their userbase. If there was an upgrade path, I'd upgrade my 2 in 1 tablet no question. Also why doesn't the pro x have a 10x option? It's slim, it's portable, it could be in theory an actual tablet first with instant on and LTE. If I was to buy a new tablet, this would be it.
  • I guess the reason why they won't bring this as an upgrade path for existing devices now is perhaps related to the firmware of existing devices or perhaps they expect to many teething issues if they release it on many devices. Still you make a valid point with MS limiting the user base and an upgrade path would definitely be interesting for W10 devices.
  • They need to solve how to handle long filenames. accessing long filenames through the browser or uwp apps is horrible because so few characters are shown on screen. it's been a problem since windows 8. using onedrive in a web browser is a pain.
  • My first thought is oh, dear. dread.
    If it is light I could appreaciate is breathing life into older pc's older than 7 years, for a longer second life. That would be awesome. I would hate to see this on my surface pro. In my view microsoft got windows 10 right with the start menu and live tiles in tablet. This new windows 10X is a horrifying deprecation. I loved windows 8. Windows 10 has been a love-hate relationship for me between the desktop and tablet experience battle. Windows 10X for looks like a divorce waiting to happen.
  • Windows 8 had some cool gestures, but the start screen was horrific. They needed to get away from that user experience as fast as possible and they did.
  • Absolutely, the Start Screen is an abomination and MS is wise to abandon it as quickly as they possibly can.
  • Agreed. Windows 8 had the BEST Start Screen! I still prefer it over Windows 10. It's personally the best I've used and I've been using computers since 1983.
  • Xbox One X
    Surface Pro X
    Windows 10 X What next
  • By the time the Windows 10X comes out the new Xbox would be out already.
  • Where is Maps?!
  • Live tiles are among those few useful features that make windows 10 personal and recognizable. They certainly needed to be enhanced and innovated, e.g. with the commands to resize them and with those to move them, which have become even worse over time. Turning the design of windows 10 towards the boring competitor (?) platforms does not convince me.
  • "[...] the name of the new Start menu, which Microsoft is now calling the "Launcher" on Windows 10X: This is similar language to what's found on Android."
    No s**t, Sherlock/Zac! But that's precisely the problem, in my opinion.
    What could possibly be wrong with "Start menu"? Why kill this traditional Microsoft name and replace it with what GOOGLE calls its thing? Second: It seems, judging from that screenshot, that Microsoft is going back to ROUNDED CORNERS? When Windows 8 launched, I was so happy to see that Microsoft had managed to get away from the ridiculously wannabe-fancy and bloated, pixel-wasting windows in Windows 7, towards a clean, simple, honest, no-nonsense, and (to my eyes) also beautiful design: Letting things that are by nature rectangles (which is true for all "windows" and similar pieces of UI) simply be that, RECTANGLES, i.e. with normal (STRAIGHT) corners; and giving application windows only the smallest border possible, just a simple 1 px solid-color line around the thing. Whatever new version of Windows should stick with this. Even if one doesn't care (or can't agree) about beauty, in any case the window design of W8, W8.1 and W10 looks more professional, and is more useful. Third, I totally agree with the comment by dan16 about live tiles. I CAN'T FATHOM that Microsoft seems to be killing even this piece of UI design and adopt a typical mere grid of icons.
    I'd like to remind everybody that (apart from actual LIVE tile functionality) the tile design is useful for SEVERAL reasons:
    1. It is unique; (as dan16 says) it immediately makes it recognizable that the device is running an OS by Microsoft.
    2. Too many different shapes and colors is always a problem in designing stuff, it creates a visual chaos. Representing apps not only by their individual icons (logos), but placing every icon on the same background (rectangular shape; same size; same color and transparency value) provides some much-needed coherence to that mess of all those differently shaped and differently colored thingies.
    3. With this rectangular background, a Windows start menu item makes unambiguously clear precisely where it ends, i.e. within which area you can click/tap and not miss it.
    4. Moreover, that consistent and geometrically simple, rectangular background is the only practical way to offer start menu items in different size classes and even shapes (square or oblong). Windows (8/8.1/10) users can create truly individual start screen/menu patterns; Android users can't. Putting a competitor's OS on the Duo, and thereby (I suspect) helping Android to achieve dual-display capabilities much faster than Google would have managed on its own, is bad enough (although I do understand the rationale behind it to some extent); but I don't want even those devices that are running MICROSOFT'S OWN OS to look (more) like Android or whatever other ones out there!
    Again, it's not just about mere personal taste; by making Windows more like Android in these aspects that I commented on, Microsoft makes itself so much less recognizable and, even worse, even kills parts of the FUNCTIONALITY that its customers have enjoyed all this time now, including the opportunity to truly personalize their devices' UI. All this feels to some degree as if Microsoft was waving the flag of defeat. What kind of designers are they hiring nowadays, and have they simply NO PRIDE left, no confidence in their own OS and OS design that they've evolved over so many years into what it is today in W10?!
  • It seems like Win 10X will be the actual version of Win 10 that Ballmer envisioned. It will be close to the 5 year mark since Win 10 was released. I will look forward to an OS that finally gets rid of all of the old Win 7 elements like the ugly explorer and system management tools. Laptops still dominate smartphone sales so I would expect MS to try and exploit this market.