Skip to main content

Microsoft to launch Windows 10X as a web-first OS without local Win32 app support

Windows 10x Mock Laptop Close
Windows 10x Mock Laptop Close (Image credit: Daniel Rubino / Windows Central)

What you need to know

  • Microsoft is planning to launch Windows 10X without local Win32 support.
  • Windows 10X will support streaming Win32 apps from the cloud instead.
  • It will compete with Chrome OS on low-cost PCs in 2021.

Microsoft has remained tight-lipped regarding its plans for Windows 10X. After announcing a pivot from dual-screen to single-screen PCs, the company hasn't yet detailed what to expect from Windows 10X when it launches next year, including how Microsoft plans to position Windows 10X alongside its bigger brother Windows 10, now that they both run on the same form factors.

I know many have been itching for new information regarding Windows 10X, as have I, and I've been keeping a close eye on Windows 10X development internally. Up until recently, not much had changed in the Windows 10X builds, but in the last couple of weeks I've had several trusted sources come forward to confirm the removal of a significant feature.

VAIL, the technology Microsoft uses to virtualize legacy Win32 programs (opens in new tab) on Windows 10X via containers, has been removed from the latest internal builds of the OS. I'm told that this is a deliberate change as the company moves to reposition Windows 10X as a platform designed to compete at the low-end, head-to-head with Chromebooks with web apps front and center.

The pivot to single-screen PCs is what drives this change. Originally planned as an OS for flagship premium PCs in the foldable space, Windows 10X will now be launching at the very other end of the spectrum, on low-cost tablets and laptops designed for the education and enterprise markets.

Microsoft's local Win32 app layer will not be present when these low-cost PCs launch with Windows 10X next year. Users will be able to run UWP apps and web apps powered by Microsoft Edge, but not legacy Win32 programs. Web apps will be the driving factor for app availability on Windows 10X, just like Chrome OS.

Keeping Windows 10X 'lite'

Windows 10x Mock Laptop Office

Source: Daniel Rubino/Windows Central (Image credit: Source: Daniel Rubino/Windows Central)

I'm told that the big reason why VAIL won't be part of Windows 10X on these low-cost PCs is because of app performance and battery life. These low-end devices just aren't powerful enough to virtualize legacy Win32 applications on top of Windows 10X without slowing things down, which defeats the purpose of Windows 10X being a modern, lightweight version of Windows.

However, Microsoft knows that shipping a product called "Windows" without some form of legacy app compatibility is suicide. As such, Microsoft is planning to ship Windows 10X with support for legacy app streaming using the cloud. My sources have confirmed this technology uses tech similar to the already available Windows Virtual Desktop (opens in new tab), an enterprise service that lets companies run applications installed in the cloud on client PCs as if they were native.

Microsoft will be going after the Chrome OS market in a big way with this change. It will be targeting the people who only really use web apps in their daily workflow. I'm told Microsoft will be pushing the web versions of apps like Office, Skype, and Teams instead of their Win32 or UWP counterparts to really drive home the idea that Windows 10X is a web-first OS.

Interestingly, I'm told that with the removal of VAIL, Microsoft can now proceed with Windows 10X on ARM powered PCs in addition to Intel. Originally, VAIL was the reason why Microsoft was limiting Windows 10X to Intel-based PCs, but with ContainterOS gone, that limitation is lifted. We'll have to see if any ARM based PCs will be ready when Windows 10X launches next year.

What does this mean for dual-screen PCs?

Surface Neo Twopane

Source: Microsoft (Image credit: Source: Microsoft)

My sources say that Microsoft still wants to launch dual-screen PCs eventually. With the ongoing pandemic and current economic conditions, Microsoft doesn't know when this will be. Launching an experimental, premium PC market in these global conditions is risky, and Microsoft doesn't want to launch Surface Neo until these conditions improve.

That said, I'm told that when Microsoft is ready to launch dual-screen PCs, it will be after 2021, and VAIL should be included. VAIL isn't launching on low-cost PCs because of performance issues, but I'm told these performance issues are less of an issue on devices with more powerful specs, like many of the dual-screen and foldable PCs that are in the works.

Microsoft is essentially planning to sandwich both ends of the Windows market with Windows 10X. You will see Windows 10X at the very low-end, and at the premium high-end with experimental form factors like foldable PCs. I'm told you likely won't see Windows 10X on traditional flagship PCs like the Dell XPS or HP Spectre line anytime soon. Outside of the low-end and experimental high-end, Microsoft wants OEMs to continue using legacy Windows 10.

In the last few months, Microsoft internally has "refocused" its efforts on legacy Windows 10. I'm told Microsoft is planning significant updates to the Windows 10 user interface and experience in the next year or so, but I'm still digging for information about that. Microsoft has already confirmed to Windows Central that it plans to bring some of Windows 10X's innovations to Windows 10, and I would bet that includes some of Windows 10X's modern interface changes.

My sources say that Microsoft is planning to reach RTM status with Windows 10X in December and begin launching the first low-cost Windows 10X PCs in the first half of 2021. Microsoft will likely use the Surface Go 3 to showcase Windows 10X, as it would look bad for Microsoft to launch a new version of Windows without its own hardware to go along with it.

Coming full circle

Windows 10x Mock Prox Windowscentral Dark

Source: Daniel Rubino/Windows Central (Image credit: Source: Daniel Rubino/Windows Central)

If you've been following along with Windows 10X's development since before the product was officially unveiled, you'll know that reports originally described Windows 10X (codenamed Santorini and Windows Lite at the time) as a Chrome OS competitor. This pivot to single-screen PCs that takes aim at Chromebooks isn't a recent idea; it's been part of the plan since the very beginning.

At some point between those initial plans and Windows 10X's unveiling in October 2019, Microsoft decided to halt its Chromebook competitor plans and focus on the premium dual-screen market instead. A few months later, once the pandemic hit, Microsoft decided to go back to that original plan, launching Windows 10X on PCs that compete with Chromebooks first instead.

Of course, these plans could change again, but assuming they don't, what are your thoughts on Microsoft's repositioning of Windows 10X without local Win32 app support? Let us know in the comments.

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.

145 Comments
  • Holy ****. Seriously didn't see this coming 😂 I mean I knew they were planning something like this but not this soon. Kudos to MS for making this move. They should really improve experience of their office online web apps they work fine for the most part but still not as smooth as Google docs.
  • Completely agree. PWA's is where it's at for Win10X
  • Soon? Define "soon".
  • Coming soon to a device near you
  • Grabbing some popcorn for the comments.
  • Really happy with the move. One of the best moves MS made in windows as platform in a while. This can really make arm-PC shine. For example I want something like surface-go for the same price but arm. I don't care about the desktop apps. Just edge and some apps should run natively. Rest I'll do with web apps just fine.
  • Welcome back Windows RT. We barely missed you.
  • Aside from the fact WinRt required specific app development. Win10X has PWA
  • So UWP support is still included? You can install Apps, just not Win32 Apps? Or are all Apps PWA?
  • The article states UWP and web apps.
  • W10X without WIN32 support would be perfect for AM powered devices. If they release it just for X86 chips, they will lose a great opportunity.
  • Good decision. It's time leave behind legacy constraints in order to challenge, or at least to try to, Apple and Google.
  • Ok nice.
    Should we expect better performance and better battery life from this Windows version ?
  • Theoretically yes as stated in the article
  • The majority of the world is just so entrenched in Chromebooks. For example, my school districts IT department lives and breathes chrome blood. Our superintendent made a statement that all remote learning will be based around Google classroom. I just don't see Microsoft winning. They failed in mobile space and fell back on Android and they will do the same with Chrome OS. X will die and we will see Microsoft branded chromebooks...
  • MSFT seems to be late, you are right. W10X will not be launched till sping 2021 or later.
  • You mean the majority of the webfirst world right? Not The majority of the computing world...because there is some serious echo chambering going on if you think the world has gone chrome OS.
  • True. Outside the US market chrome books have been failing hard. But considering MS already has millions of schools outside the US already on the Bandwagon of windows, they have got pretty great chance with this version. ARM + UWP + Web apps + Edge chromium is the device many people want but won't pay $999 for something like Pro X. If surface go did something like this I would buy that in a heartbeat considering my workflow on a tablet. I would let go of the ipad for surface go because I'm not into apple ecosystem so ipad will just keep giving me that vibe of "should have had an IPhone for easy sharing. Now go with hoops and loops with android device" 😂 this has been the case with my old ipad. Windows doesn't have that nearby sharing works like charm between multiple windows desktops and your phone app now even supports calls from android phone. All set for a good ecosystem.
  • If you consider US elementary schools to be 'majority of the world' then everything is correct. However I don't think that most people will put equal sign between those...
  • I'm pretty sure that "most of the world" you are talking about is just US. Seems very US-centric to me as other countries, Chrome books hasn't fully dominated schools, it is still mostly Windows. Heck some even use iPads on some developed nations. Here in Australia, as far as I know, they still push Windows laptops at least on most schools. Office 365 is heavily pushed here, especially on Universities and technical schools.
  • Majority of the world?? I live in two regions (Europe and the Middle East) and the amount of people and organisations/enterprises that I have seen using chromebooks are less than what I can count with my hands.
  • US is not majority of the world. Majority of the world don't know what's a Chromebook is.
  • Not including VAIL on low-end devices makes sense, but I really hope they provide it as an optional component on high-end tablets and dual-screen devices. I still see the future as a lightweight portable device that provides the full computing experience when connected to screens, keyboard and mouse, basically a Windows 10X Continuum. Trying to make the distinction between WinRT and Win32 apps disappear with Project Reunion to avoid the "UWP app" versus "desktop app" confusion only to release a version of Windows that can only run "Windows apps that only call WinRT APIs" seems like a bad idea though. One interesting side effect of having, let's call it wCloud (Win32 apps streaming), as a consumer service is they could provide wCloud clients for Android and iOS, letting Windows desktop apps run on competitors OSes as well.
  • This is exactly needed but they won't do it. As it kills the appeal of devices with win10x in the first place. Just think about it. If iPad got this then people would just buy ipad and do the work in windows occasionally when needed. Same goes for Android tablet market which is still better than windows tablet market. I think that this web based 10X will be available in tablets from samsung that competes with ipad and ipad mini and ipad air lineup for similar prices. Makes a lot of sense with their partnership with samsung in the past years have grown stronger and stronger. Samsung one ui is really example of that a lot of ms services are becoming native slowly and that's a good thing take the best of what both companies and merge them. For example samsung would never be able to make their could service successful in the mainstream so MS fills that gap by providing native Onedrive backup support right into the samsung gallery app and file manager. Same goes for a lot of services. Samsung makes great hardware and they are also on the next gen arm chips from their own side so overall cheaper device for Samsung to make considering they make a lot of parts themselves already. Latest example samsung released 2 versions of their samsung galaxy book S one with arm and one with Intel lakefield because they can write-offs aren't as heavy for them as it would be for some other brand like MS or Google.
  • Don't do it, would kill a lot of interest in the device. I personally like the way it is shaping up, the loss of x32 would kill it for me and I wager a lot of other potential users. I know office has been repacked to be delivered this way, but I want the option to boot up MSQLSM when I need to or...no mainly that one, but am sure there are other x32 I would miss if I think about it...none the less I think the Neo's hopes would be diminished without it.
  • Don't worry bro they will only kill legacy support in Lowest of the lower end devices like those below $300 laptops which will probably be able to run on arm after this as the entire basecode of windows 10x is native arm except the legacy app support part. Higher end devices that ships with Intel AMD chips will support legacy apps just fine. They need to take this step if arm is ever going to be adopted and more native arm apps support from devs ever going to come. Many and many devs will be coding for arm MacOS this is the right time to make this move.
  • Don't want to sound rude but did you read the article?
  • Neo is at least two years out according to the article. I doubt it gets released at all now. 10x and Duo have to be hits first. It is going to be tough for Neo.
  • I now believe Neo coming this October and Surface Pro X 2 will be running Windows 10X I think they were surprised everybody with the Surface go X running Windows 10 X
  • The Neo is delayed until at least Spring 2022.
  • Did you read the article. They are really talking about launch and Windows 10 x without 32 support.
  • A better question is: did you read when Microsoft, you know the company who makes the os and device, has announced the Neo is being delayed from its holiday 2020 release date?
    You seem out of the know on this one..
  • 😂 😂 information link please 🤣🤣 I know people have speculated that is going to be delayed by haven't heard anything official
  • https://www.windowscentral.com/e?link=https2F%2Fclick.linksynergy.co...
  • They just haven't updated the website. Also from microsoft: https://www.zdnet.com/article/microsoft-dont-expect-any-windows-10x-devi... Nevermind. They make it seem like it is from Microsoft, but is just from their contacts. Now it has been confirmed by many trustworthy Microsoft blogs. Don't expect it for a couple years, if ever.
  • 😂 😂 😂 That link takes me nowhere 😂 😂 😂 let me go to my Windows PC I'm getting off of AndroidVista
  • Well this just seems like another confusing marketing disaster from Microsoft in the making. I'm fairly well read on all this stuff and even I'm not sure how this new vision for Windows 10 X differs from Windows 10 S. When choosing a laptop or other device and being confronted with the confusion over the different flavours of Windows, I think many consumers are likely to just go with what they perceive as the simpler choice of just MacOS or ChromeOS.
  • Difference is base cod of windows is native ARM64 unlike 10S which was **** in the first place. This OS is exactly what device like surface go needs. If surface go with same form factor provide me with native full blown windows 10 even without legacy support I would buy it because of the use case of that small device. Those who wants legacy support can go for Pro lineup. But many people would be more than happy to get double the battery life from surface go by sacrificing legacy support because they only use few selected apps and mostly browser for everything.
  • As long microsoft (and others) start bringing their software (like visual studio or at least vs code etc) to UWP platform it's great news. Otherwise it's useless for students (at least for those who learn real science). Streaming all that sw is bullshit couse having a internet connection is not guaranteed in many places.
  • Visual Studio is very complex. It's a native process with WPF for UI and other components that run in the background. Porting it as a real UWP app is very difficult. Visual Studio Code on the other hand is built with web technologies so it could technically run on Windows 10X but Electron is not currently compatible with Windows 10X.
  • FWIW, people can use the online version of VS Code, Github Codespaces. It's the same as local VS Code, but it runs in the cloud.
  • But you need to host your project on GitHub. You can't edit local files.
  • Can I have a phone with this OS Zac? :)
  • I'm pretty sure that someone will try to do that.
  • Would you want a phone with ChromeOS?
  • In order for people who are already familiar with Chromebooks to buy into the web-first 10X, 10X will have to do something that Chromebooks cannot. It is not clear what that something is. All the Google and Microsoft web apps are available on Chromebooks, plus Chromebooks run Chrome browser well. Will this be the case on 10X? Even if it is, this just bring 10X on par with Chromebooks. Being able to run Win32 did offer an advantage over Chromebooks. In short, it may just be that 10X is for people who prefer Windows to Chrome OS, but there is no clear advantage.
  • I think this really could be big for the group of people that would like to use Microsoft products but see the advantages of ChromeOS. For our small business we have tried out chromeOS and think it's would be a really great use case for our company but Office365 is just a better product. Plus Google is creepy (personal opinion but still think they are creepy). If they made an OS as easy to deploy as ChromeOS but with Microsoft products I think this could be really big. And protect them from Google's onslaught. Especially as more companies then ever have considered ChromeOS with the whole work from home Covid situation. I only wish they would release this faster. I feel like Microsoft has amazing ideas but definitely the slowest to release them of the major 4 tech firms.
  • Office 365 can now run on Chromebooks. This does reduce one of the attraction of 10X over ChromeOS.
  • This is a very valid point. I think the difference here is simply Microsoft's already existing dominance of desktop. There will be some commercial advantages and some minimal technical integrations for large organizations for example who already have a large Win 10 estate to just use 10X for those parts (say frontline workers) where the full Win 10 is not needed. In short these types of customers, if they already have or are considering ChromeOS its only because there was no viable Microsoft alternative available. But ordinarily yes, without a very clear advantages versus first to market (e.g. as was the case in mobile), it would have been a really hard sell.
  • The licensing fee will be a big adoption factor...
    Make it free and they may have something. Charge like windows and fight a very uphill battle
  • Hopefully, Windows 10X (or whatever they call it) will work well with existing Microsoft IT infrastructure. That will make is easier for IT administrators to deal with devices.
  • Zac, I'd really like to know how the Cloud support for Win32 apps will work. For example, as some have pointed out here, many Microsoft Store apps are now based on Win32 -- it would be confusing if they don't run on this, more confusing than RT or S, which would at least run everything from the Store. UNLESS users can add them Win32 Store apps just like any other Store app, but they're really just adding them to a cloud server that hosts them, seamlessly and invisibly to the user. That would be interesting and effective and ironically it would these low-cost ARM devices that would encourage Win32 apps to be added to the store. But that's also pure speculation on my part. Is there any indication of how cloud support for Win32 will be integrated with the OS (e.g., Store-only installs, user-based installs, etc.) and will it truly be web-only, or will some things other than the web browser also run locally?
  • This move by Microsoft will only fragment the Windows ecosystem even more. With Project Reunion Microsoft said that eventually everything will be a Windows app but that's not the case. With RT and S, you knew what you could run but that's not the case with 10X since you can't even run most Store apps since most of the are now based on Win32 API. Even third-party UWP apps like Files bundle Win32 components. An average user wants all the apps to run smoothly. Streaming apps is a terrible idea. Not everyone has a fast internet connection. Windows 10 S is better since there you can run any store app even Win32 and you get the security and performance benefit.
  • "Streaming apps is a terrible idea. Not everyone has a fast internet connection."
    Plenty of people do. And you don't need a very fast Internet connection or low latency to run lots of productivity apps remotely. This isn't about gaming, for example.
  • > This isn't about gaming, for example. Sure... did you ever try to type up document in Microsoft Word through the store-based Remote Desktop app connected to the cellular network while riding the train? If not, you should -- it will add some interesting perspective. Could "streaming" be done better? Likely. Is Microsoft capable of making it better? If the quality of the Remote Desktop app is any indicator -- unlikely.
  • What hardware was the remote instance of Microsoft Word running on?
  • Sounds like another disaster in the making and yet another service we will have to subscribe to in order to get our devices to do what we need them to do instead of making regular Windows less resource intensive. Whatever, Satya is gonna' Satya.
  • Yup. Sounds like they're gonna get everybody hooked in and then start charging a fee.
  • Just like Windows 10! Remember they said it was going to be free forever, with updates, and the smart people were like "Nuh uh, it's going to be Windows as a Service! Just watch! They will charge a yearly sub for it." Now who's laughing. I just got my $240 bill in for Windows 10 Pro just to use it for the next 12 months, otherwise, my computer gets erased. Such BS! Thankfully, we have comment though, which always see through this stuff.
  • They can't make windows less resource intensive without dropping "legacy" things like win32. I'm not saying I agree that it should become a subscription based model for streaming win32 apps, but I'm not surprised and they still have to do something like that in order for it to have a chance to succeed
  • In the old days when software lag, they built bigger hardware.
  • So do Win32 apps in the store work?
  • It would simply say not supported when trying to download the app from the Microsoft Store I guess.
  • Or there will be a way to automatically activate the cloud-based Win32 functionality.
  • I think this is a good move. With .net 5 coming and the promises of what Blazor offers not only on the web as a PWA, but also eventually as a desktop app, the potential is there. I myself as a developer am excited, but with some caution. Blazor and WebAssembly will be the future to replace win32 apps.
  • I'm kind of confused here. Isn't Edge Win32? Are they reviving legacy UWP Edge? What about Win32 Centennial apps in the store? If I remember correctly packaged Win32 apps were to be treated slightly different in Windows 10x but they were running in the same Win32 container. Seems kind of dumb doing this tbh I mean even ChromeOS can virtualize Android apps. AGIAN ISN'T EDGE WIN32????
  • Also were does Project Reunion fit in all this mess. Clearly UWP and Win32 are not merging under a unified platform in Windows 10x
  • Heh... if you are to believe the people, who did WinRT panel during the Build, project Reunion is wholly WinRT-based. That thing is neither fish nor fowl... erm neither Win32, nor UWP... go figure. Don't take my word for it, go watch WinRT session -- it is not that long and is quite entertaining. Please, note, in this context WinRT (Windows RunTime) has no relation to Windows RT.
  • Sounds interesting. Tbh I don't really understand what Project Reunion actually does besides it somehow will standardiz APIs so hopefully I'll learn a thing or two.
  • That's more or less correct. The APIs will be separate from the frameworks. So there won't be a set of UWP APIs that can't be used on Win32 apps, or vice versa. They'll be Windows APIs and you'll be able to use them no matter what type of app you plan on making. They'll make them available through Nuget Packages.
  • That's my question as well. Unless they have a plan to move new Edge back to UWP? They have to if they want to bring it to the Xbox.
  • This move is not an attack on Chrome OS, it just isn't. Its a defensive move against Chrome OS and the Ipad. When it comes to PC (MS has the largest number in the world by far), Microsoft will always be trying to defend its position. Chrome OS is a big deal in the US when it comes to schools and some small businesses, but nothing really to scare MS so far. Something changed in the pandemic. I suspect that people finally realized that a computer is pretty useless without a web connection. I suspect people are starting to care less that they need a connection and more on how easy it is to use and collaborate. Google claims that Chrome OS is doing better in business during the pandemic than ever before. Maybe Microsoft are seeing these numbers and though clearly not a threat to windows yet, they are moving to shore up a weakness in the windows PC armor. Good move MS. I think the end result is something like 10% mac, 10% Chrome OS and 80% windows. Chrome OS got a lot of growing to do to get to that 10%. I think they will though because for a portion of the population it is the best choice. I think Google thinks so too as they recently split Chrome OS development from Chrome proper. Either way should be fun to see how it works out.
  • "I think the end result is something like 10% mac, 10% Chrome OS and 80% windows. " Right now it is Windows 78% and Mac 18% world wide. In the U.S., it is Windows below 70% and Mac over 25%. THESE are the numbers Microsoft is seeing.
  • This figures do not match Apple MacBook sales that have been more or less the same over the last few years
  • But Windows PC sales have been declining for the last 10 years. There was a small increase this year due to everyone working from home, but the overall trend is WAY down. Besides, there are more Macs than just MacBooks.
  • I believe Mac sales have been more or less flat. So, Mac global market share will probably stay at the number you originally stated.
  • Spring 2021 / Spring 2121 ....
    always 'coming soon' with Microsoft.
  • So, Microsoft is going to turn Windows 10X into a warmed-over version of Windows RT? What a disaster. I know that Nadela is demanding that EVERTHING either relies on Azure Cloud to continue driving that revenue stream, or it gets no development money, but please.......this is a very BAD decision.
    PWAs have been tried before, and the developers IGNORED THEM. With over 2 billion win32-capable devices out there, and MAYBE 100K Windows 10X systems (after a year), which one will you put the time and effort into?
  • "With over 2 billion win32-capable devices out there, and MAYBE 100K Windows 10X systems (after a year), which one will you put the time and effort into?" Same as today. iOS and Android. Because there are around 5 billion Android and iOS devices.
  • So Just another RT. This will be dead on arrival.
  • Looks like this is the good new spin. Zdnet story shows 10X moving to Spring 2021 on one screen, with duel screens in 2022. Looks like the Surface Neo is out until 2022, do not know that we will see the same thing as what we saw in 2019.
  • Build 2021. We decided to discontinue windows 10x in favour of brand new version of windows called windows Windows 10Z.
  • Since this OS will not run 32 apps well, It is logical to remove them. I have little interest putting my stuff on the internet for the taking (every few days we hear of hacks getting tons of data), so this is fine for the surfing crowd. In fact, I am actively converting to Linux on my 10 old PC's at home. I will dual boot several for the many apps I have that are Win/86 only. Plenty of browsers, Office and such on Linux. Blender and Audacity are on both. Adopy clones are kind of catching up but Gimp is not Photoshop. Mainly I will not pay Microsoft a yearly fee for thier OS so I leave it to you when it comes.
  • Nowadays even many Store apps are becoming Win32. With RT and S, you could run all store apps but here only pure UWP apps. Recently they ditched to UWP version of Skype in favor of the Electron version but now there going to release a version of Windows without Win32 support.
  • The framing of this article feels off. Is it really true that W10 was "originally planned as an OS for flagship premium PCs in the foldable space"? Based on the reporting at WC, that was only a part of the story. It was always targeting lower-end PC use, like education and thin clients. You even say that in the article here. So strange to frame this as a huge shift. The big shift already happened: away from foldables. But even there - again, according to your own reporting - foldables were only a part of the general strategy for W10X. Also, the headline/tl:dr shouldn't be "Oh no, no Win32!", it should be: "This will be a full-on virtual desktop platform when it comes to Win32." Which, as far as I can tell, is a good thing, not a bad thing. That makes sense for low-power thin and light devices. I really just don't get the confused frowny-face framing here.
  • This is just Microsoft trying to make sense of where to go post Terry Myerson and how to capitalize off the investments made during his tenure.
  • Welcome to EdgeOs. No seriously, expect a rename, or since this isn't official news, a 'new' product. Here ms goes again with the 1000 different variations of similar or overlapping tech.
    Things to make clear and concise for the developer story;
    W10x on high end dual screens? This looks the same as the new low end but I can't run x apps on it? High end, mobile, thin, dual screens have horrible battery life? Project reunion making win32 and uwp and etcs apps eventually all just windows apps and all windows apps won't work on certain devices running windows?
  • If Microsoft name low-end Windows 10X without vail, with the same name as high-end Windows 10X with vail. The vendor's gonna confuse the consumers, killin it in the process
    The 2 version should be named different
  • Could call the low-end Windows as 10S, similar as how Xbox is named. I know there's already Windows 10 S, but "10 S" is different from "10S", isn't it? Or could name low-end as 10X and high-end as 10 Series X.
    Yes, I'm joking. I don't know how hard it's to just give a proper name for a new product. At least there are 26 letters, why always S and X?
  • What's the story with Edge? Unless they are somehow porting that to UWP how is that running?
  • Will Xbox Series X run Windows 10X
  • Good question, xbox should definitely be running windows. I would love to use my xbox as my pc. Have a desktop screen and when in game mode the xbox dashboard.
  • Xbox always runs a specialise Windows. It will not run a desktop edition.
  • This makes no sense to me. From the outside, it looks like a very bad idea. How will they market different tiers? Premium devices can run Win32 apps but affordable ones can't. How will they show that in a store, for example? Or a clueless person buys a cheap device and suddenly can't install Chrome - and what about the new Edge? It's a confusing decision. And I honestly don't understand their need to go after the "Chromebook market".
  • The lower-end version should be called "Windows cloud".
    And the high-end version with support for x32 apps should be called "Windows 10X Pro"
  • IMO, VAIL-less Windows 10X should be launched as Windows 10S. It might be confusing to have some Windows 10X devices run legacy apps natively, and some not. Separate branding can help prevent that. I suppose people don't need to know that it's all modular 10X behind the scenes — they just need branding that communicates the differences. Whatever Microsoft decides to do, hopefully it works out — I'd love to see more competition in the low-end computer space. It would be great for low-end computers to be actually usable, like low-end phones.
  • The next generation has no idea what Windows is and will never care. It’s over.
  • Riiiight. Until they get a job and find that 90% of businesses still use Windows.
  • Waiting for Windows 10X
  • Why is is this good for some people? The only benefit I see is popularizing UWP, but that's it.
  • Tell this to all the thousands of users of Chromebooks. They don't feel they miss Windows apps.
  • Also:
    1. There are many Windows users who primarily use Web apps (browser and PWA) and UWP, and rarely use traditional Win32 apps.
    2. When those users need to occasionally use Win32 apps, they will be able to do so, but on the cloud.
  • Yes this is awesome news. Can't wait to get into the devices. Yay Uwp is the future app development windows.
  • So long as they dont **** it up, all good and as long as they fully support it, instead of getting millions to switch and then pull the plug. Time will tell.
  • I wonder if a laptop running this OS will support USB printers natively unlike Chromebooks that seems like a convoluted afterthought? My sports club looked at a Chromebook for doing results on but needed a USB laser printer but after researching what was involved they bought a cheap Win 20 laptop.
  • > needed a USB laser printer And this is, likely, for printing from Chrome. Every time I ask a question on the forums whether somebody successfully printed from the Android app on the Chromebook, the answer is "OF COURSE!", when I ask which specific app they printed from, the answer is... crickets.
  • It will work since the driver model is the same across Windows 10 editions. You don't need Win32 to run device drives. If the printer has additional apps that are based on Win32, it will not work.
  • > Yay Uwp is the future app development windows. As it always was and always will be...
  • Windows 10X is much more than "just" a "Lite" version of Windows 10. It is the future of Windows as a whole and is therefore analogue to what Mac OS X was for Apple. There are a lot of similarities between the transition from Mac OS 8.x/9.x to Mac OS X including the developer backlash when the first announcements clearly stated that native applications required a full rewrite (Yellow Box/Cocoa) and that legacy applications were to run in a container (Blue Box, later Classic Environment). This is very similar to Windows 10X and the win32 container and all discussions regarding whether it is possible to make an operating system without it at launch. The lack of win32 and arguments about it remind me very much of the backlash Apple got when they announced that Mac OS X required "Yellow Box" for native applications and that everything else were to be run in the Blue Box environment. Adobe, which suddenly were approaching a complete rewrite of all their applications, screamed loudly about the idea, which forced the creation of "Carbon" after a careful review of the existing Macintosh Toolbox (the Apple analogue of win32 used in the classic Mac OS). To ease the transition to Windows 10X, the best solution is probably to review win32, remove the most legacy parts, keep what can be kept and create an updated environment (winx/win64nx) similar to Carbon in concept together with tools to migrate existing win32 applications to the next generation. Apple managed to demonstrate that "carbonizing" an existing Mac OS application to Mac OS X Carbon could be done in a few hours. It is a good idea to launch Windows 10X as a "Lite" system at first, polish it, prepare the win32 container and to create the modernized "winx/win64nx" environment so existing win32 applications can run "native" on 10X after conversion. When those steps are done - enter Windows 10X Pro and Enterprise, which would be the replacement for Windows 10 "Classic". Modernizing win32 the same way as Apple did when they created Carbon out of Macintosh Toolbox is the best option since applications that are unable to undergo such conversion can be run in a virtualized environment but the rest can be "lifted out" of it and into Windows 10X "native". Replacing Windows 10 "Classic" with 10X Pro/Enterprise will probably happen through a gradual process where feature updates gradually "inject" 10X components into "Classic" until a state is reached when Microsoft announce that "Windows 10 22H2 will require a clean install since it is 10X based, while earlier versions go into maintenance mode with security patches".
  • > Windows 10X is much more than "just" a "Lite" version of Windows 10. It is the future of Windows as a whole and is therefore analogue to what Mac OS X was for Apple. There are a lot of similarities between the transition from Mac OS 8.x/9.x to Mac OS X... Erm... IMHO Darwin core was much more powerful and much less restrictive that the original OS9, and, incidentally, made possible to port *a lot of* open source applications, something, Windows was notoriously bad at all the way up to advent of WSL. Migration from Mac OS to iOS/iPad OS sounds like much better example.
  • Whoever at MS saw of the need for Windows CE in the 90's, saw a yawning space underneath desktop Windows for an MS product. The misfiring MS saga trying to deliver into that space has cost them dearly. Gates wanted an (MS) computer on every desk, which should have evolved into an MS computer in every pocket. Maybe 10X might finally land in that massive market MS has aimed at for 20+ years and somehow managed to avoid.
  • Unlike prior efforts, Windows 10X is better designed under the hood. Adding local Win32 compatibility back later to improve performance and accelerate development now is a good move from a certain perspective. That said, I use PWAs where ever I can, but it is clear they are not everywhere yet. And app streaming is not widely adopted yet either, especially at K-12 education which is the impression I am getting is the debut target niche for Win10X. ChromeOS has the advantage of having a mature Google Play store built in. However clunky that advantage is, there are far more viable, first-party, desktop-capable Android apps than there are UWPs in the Microsoft Store. PWA/UWP development may pick up with Win10X's added entry into the mix. I am hopeful Microsoft is successful as competition is good. However, I can see Microsoft will need to focus their marketing efforts on capturing those that have not already adopted ChromeOS. At launch, there will not be much advantages of converting to a Win10X device if one already has a ChromeOS device.
  • The number of initiatives happening at Microsoft are head spinning. I am trying to understand this latest development, Windows 10X shipping with local Win32 stripped out, in a much larger context. It seems to me that for the last 8 years Microsoft has been trying to recover from failing in the mobile space and its related application distribution model. It hasn’t’ gone well with Windows RT falling on its face, and the app store on life support. The latest run at this problem seems solved for now by Microsoft co-opting Android and the Surface Duo. Soon we will find out how this works out. Then we get the rise of ARM instruction set CPUs making a run at Intel. Apple bet everything by dumping Intel for their own ARM based silicon which should give them a uniform platform going forward. The amount of control they now have can only mean interoperability amongst its machines is going to get better significantly and make their app store even more valuable. Their challenges are to get the silicon matching Intel’s CPU performance and to get developers to port all the Mac applications to ARM. I wouldn’t be betting against them here. Here Microsoft rolled out the Surface Pro X and Windows on ARM which is a solid start. Hopefully, this is the seed that gets Windows legacy app software eventually ported or at least emulation running in a highly performant manner. From a different perspective, Windows 10S was an attempt to counter Google’s Chromebooks and to some extent iPadOs devices. Now that we have reasonable Wi-Fi availability and near ubiquitous LTE/5G coverage, Chromebooks with their light hardware needs make a lot of sense in the highly connected computing environment for most people. Faking Chrome OS by hobbling Windows just didn’t address the central value premise offered by Google. That Chromebooks can now run Android applications expands their value proposition; when the ARM option is fully rolled out they start to look like a formidable option for mainstream computing. As great as Windows 10 is it can’t easily address these high growth areas and Microsoft’s time to resolve these challenges is becoming urgent. In this context rolling out Windows 10X without local Win32 support is a critical move as it gives Microsoft the potential to have a stack of products that run ARM be it this new class of devices, Chromebook competitors, Surface Duo, and Surface Pro X. If you toss in the running Win32 apps running from the cloud, you suddenly have a rational path forward. I am fully aware at that Windows 10x on ARM is a pipe dream at this point, Intel rules, right? Still, stripping out Win32 makes the path to ARM much cleaner so it would seem. The Wintel duopoly isn’t going anywhere; it is simply too entrenched. I can’t imagine that my desktop environment will not be Wintel based for many years, maybe forever. However, when it comes to the box I carry in my pocket and the box in my backpack is a whole different story; thin and light, good connectivity options, excellent battery life, a rich software catalog, and pretty good performance carry the day. I fancy myself as a reasonably sophisticated user but at the end of most days most of that is not needed. Daily I need to connect to the Internet and access my data in the cloud where I do text based tasks, such as email and deeper writing, a few spreadsheets, listen or watching streaming media and finally surfing the web. Being able to run PWAs and UWPs and stream Win32 applications on these light weight devices outflanks Chromebooks massively. The Wintel software world is something they cannot duplicate easily or maybe even ever when it comes to feature rich software. Phone apps don't cut it. Anyhow, that is how I read the lay of the land here. This move is a huge deal and seems to rationalize what Microsoft has been trying to solve for close to a decade. Now all they have to do is pull this off.
  • This is the pre-cancellation announcement. Early next year we will hear that they are now focusing on something else. They will definitely lose interest in W10X.
  • 😂 😂 😂 😂 sorry that's not going to happen 🤣😅🤣😅🤣
  • Good luck with that. It is now very obvious they don't have a solid strategy for this product launch, likely because their is no winning strategy in 2020 as they don't have something revolutionary. It is too late to launch a product like this, they need to upend the market. It will be killed.
  • So I'm not sure I would buy a Surface Go 3 if it didn't run Win32 locally. It would feel like a major compromise device with a 10.5" screen. How would I run Chromium Edge, Zoom, Office (I prefer the Win32 versions), Kindle for PC (Chromium Edge doesn't run Kindle for Web properly), some of my audio software? Right now my Surface Go 1 is setup like my HP Spectre with the exception of Visual Studio and Cubase installed. Now I can totally see 10X without Win32 for a phone form factor. This 10X without Win32 sound like a much better Windows 10 Mobile.
  • It's going to run Edge because that's what runs Web Apps. If you require Windows apps you've already answered your own question. It's not for you. The thousands of Chromebook and iPad owners don't believe they need Windows apps.
  • Edge is win32 which is why they're concerned
  • Let’s just clear up a misconception here . The Windows Win32 subsystem is going nowhere. All of Windows depends on it, including UWP apps. All MS are doing is barring Win32 apps from running. The same stunt they tried with Windows 10S. I’m sure there will be an exception for Edge, and as the Win32 subsystem will be present, there’s nothing to stop it from running.
  • Just watched the video associated with the "Windows Virtual Desktop" link above. That looks really awesome. Win32 in the cloud should work provided it doesn't cost extra above your Microsoft 365 subscription.
  • If integrated well, running Win32 in a cloud-based VM might be seamless.
  • Dead on arrival. It's Windows RT again.
  • Actually it's less. That had Office 2013. But actually it isn't. On paper it's similar, not execution is very different. Web Apps are a solid app platform now. They were in 2012.
  • RT was designed for running Metro apps compiled for ARM not web apps. It came with IE 10 which was not that good. 10X comes with the new Chromium Edge which is designed for running PWAs.
  • Web apps weren't really a thing when RT was released.
  • For people who enjoys a bit of gaming on 10X: Microsoft will soon have XCloud to counter Stadia,
  • This should sell well to people who live in the Microsoft ecosystem but only rely on Web Apps. That said from a technical standpoint its a lot weaker than ChromeOS. ChromeOS' main app source is not Web Apps. It's Web Apps plus Android Apps. And UWP Apps are not Android Apps. Android has thousands of excellent apps. UWP has a handful. I can still see it doing well though.
  • UWP apps are technically more powerful than Android apps, however only a handful of developers are producing quality UWP apps.
  • I wouldn't be calling it "Windows" because people will have expectations with that. A new name for this OS would be best IMO.
  • A new name is a great idea, in my opinion.
  • I'm just happy they're keeping their half baked ideas out of Windows 10 proper and keeping it siloed off into crazy land where some team believes Windows 10X will actually ever be a thing. Windows 10 has been INCREDIBLY stable for the last couple of years and I believe it to be solely based on the fact they're no longer throwing things against the wall to see what sticks on a retail channel (Windows 8, Windows RT, Windows 8.1, Windows 10 2015-era, Windows 10S, and Windows 10 for ARM). Thank you MS for no longer allowing Sinofsky clones to fool management into very nearly ruining Windows entirely by gunking up the user experience for absolutely no gain at all.
  • If Microsoft seriously thinks they can make this work *this time* after telling us one of the reasons Windows Mobile didn't succeed was lack of developer support and availability of apps, then there is no technical impediment to Windows 10X being deployed on a phone form-factor device. They've just shot their argument for Android being the only option for the Surface Duo out of the water, because apparently there are going to be enough apps around for Windows 10X to succeed on larger devices without native Win32 support.
  • Honestly, I always get sad when Microsoft thinks it's doing something wrong without win32. Microsoft could have become the best consumer OS company if from beginning they had done this to windows 8. If they had position windows 8 as a comsumer OS and grew it along the normal windows. It would have been the best consumer OS today. I hope they will be brave enough to skip win32 from this all together and position Windows 10X as a consumer OS. We are all heading towards modern OSes and applications. If Microsoft is able to hold this for the next five years, it will become the best. App developers always goes where consumers are. It's difficult and unnecessary to please both businesses and comsumers at the same time. They are two seperate verticals. Period.
  • Hm, definitely not for me. All the applications I run regularly are the so called 'legacy' applications.
  • Without some killer feature to make it stand out, this thing has no chance. I guess that is why Microsoft is limiting it to education and front-line workers. I doubt that will be enough to keep then interested. Expect this to be canceled early next year.
  • So, we basically now have a Chromebook, but based on the NT kernel instead of the Linux kernel. And with Microsoft Edge replacing Google Chrome. I hope they do what they did with Windows 10 S, and allow users to upgrade to a full Windows 10 Pro..
  • This is going to be consumer based. It will be sold into specific areas like education or front-line workers according to the leak. It sounds like 10X isn't going to be pushed as a mainstream platform.
  • Or Windows 10X (I hope they change the name) will eventually roll out to consumers in cheaper, less powerful devices. Because current Windows 10 is a slug on cheaper hardware.
  • is this mean, MS will update UWP version of Office ?
  • Probably push the web versions
  • Apart from the UX changes, I would like to see some security changes be brought into Windows 10 including separate partition for the operating system files.
  • "Microsoft to launch Windows 10X as a web-first OS without local Win32 app support"
    I think all these devices are coming this October
    Surface Neo
    Surface Go X
    Surface pro X 2
  • What about Win32 ARM native applications? W10X will support they at its softlaunch?
  • This just leaves me confused and angry. Maybe the experimental high-end promise leaves some hope to be had. However, this just leaves 10X in an awful place where it's not going to get the hardware and software support that a Windows reboot promising to leave behind its archaic roots needs. And that was the long game with 10X, even up until now, but then they completely REMOVE Win32 support? They basically plan this 10X domination scheme, and then right in the beginning they shoot it in the foot by completely neutering the one thing it could have had going for it in the slow transition to support 10X? What the **** are you DOING, Microsoft? Every single more managed Windows reboot has failed, and i was hoping this would be the one to kill the broken-ass Windows 9x roots still getting its grubby, unoptimized hands on users' tasks. But no, apparently they want this one to fail just as badly??