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What is Microsoft's new 'modern OS' all about?

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

Windows 10 Wallpaper

Windows 10 Wallpaper (Image credit: Microsoft)

Earlier this week, Microsoft made mention (opens in new tab) of a new "modern OS" that it aspires to create that will power new and unique device form factors like foldable PCs, laptops, tablets, and more, in the near future. But what is Microsoft's modern OS? That's the question on everyone's mind right now. Microsoft was incredibly vague in the announcement, only detailing some of the features and capabilities it hopes to include with its modern OS. It never once mentioned Windows 10, it never showed us what it looks like, and it never told us when we can expect this modern OS to be ready.

Today, I want to break down Microsoft's modern OS announcement, analyze what was highlighted, and fill in the gaps where necessary using information from sources internally at Microsoft. So let's dive in.

What is this modern OS?

Starting with the biggest question, Microsoft's modern OS is not Windows 10. Windows 10 today is built on decades of legacy code and backward compatibility support, much of which is unnecessary to most users' workflows in 2019. Microsoft's modern OS aims to rectify this. Known internally as Windows Core OS, this modern OS has been in the works since 2016 and brings Windows back to its very core, turning it into a modular platform that's universal across devices and can be built upon with ease.

Check out our ultimate guide to Windows Core OS for a complete overview

It's essentially the next generation of Windows, being built for new device types such as HoloLens 2, Surface Hub 2X, the next-generation Xbox, and other new and unique device types such as foldable PCs. It's one OS that can adapt and change to fit on any device where necessary, with little effort on Microsoft's part. It can reuse code, features, and shell experiences if required, or build out entire new features and experiences for devices where it makes sense. It's also much lighter, thanks to the fact that Windows Core OS shakes a lot of the legacy baggage normal Windows 10 carries with it. It can still run UWP and Win32 programs where necessary, of course.

Seamless updates

One of the features Microsoft mentioned its modern OS will include is seamless updates. This is something I unveiled a while back and is part of Windows Core OS. Essentially, Microsoft has reworked the OS image so that Windows Updates are no longer interruptive to the user. On Windows Core OS devices, updates behave much like they do on Chrome OS.

When an update is ready to install, it'll do so to an offline mirrored partition that the user then reboots to when the update is ready to restart. This makes the restart process incredibly quick, just as if you were rebooting like normal. This reduces update downtime to less than 30 seconds, in most cases even quicker than that. Once the OS boots back up, it'll open everything exactly where you left it, too.

The improved Windows Update is something Microsoft is very proud of and is only possible on Windows Core OS due to the changes it has made to the overall OS image, splitting it up into different partitions just like it was on Windows Mobile.

Secure by default

This leads us perfectly into the next thing Microsoft touted for its modern OS. Security by default. Windows 10 today is already rather secure by default, but this is different. Windows Core OS is secure, just like how iOS is secure. The OS image is partitioned in such a way that the user isn't able to access system files. The user gets access to its own user partition, but OS files, app files, and other system files are all located in their own locked down partitions that users can't access.

This keeps your PC incredibly secure, just like iOS. If you happen to download a malicious program, it'll be contained and dealt with without affecting your entire system. This minimizes the risk of ransomware, malware, and viruses destroying your data. The OS is separated, secured in its own containers to ensure they cannot be tampered with.


This one is pretty simple, as it's already available on Windows 10. Always-connected means this modern OS will support devices with LTE and 5G capabilities. If your PC has a cellular modem, then it's an always-connected device, and Microsoft's modern OS will support it.

Sustained performance

When it comes to performance, Windows Core OS should remain fast and smooth thanks to a modern shell experience, apps that are available from the Microsoft Store, and the fact that Microsoft has gutted many legacy components and features that would otherwise bog down the OS. Windows Core OS can also instantly bring you back to what you were working on when turning on the device, just like macOS.

Cloud-connected and AI

These two go hand-in-hand, and essentially confirm what we've been saying about the future of Cortana. Microsoft wants to weave AI throughout its modern OS so that the OS works for you. Thinks like Timeline, and Microsoft Office, that can work contextually and provide the information you need when you need it, without you having to seek it out.


This one is interesting, as it refers to how users interact with their devices. You've got everything from mouse and keyboard, to touch, voice, pen, and gaze. Essentially, this is confirming that Microsoft's modern OS will run on any kind of device; it doesn't have to be a unique form factor that doesn't have a standard keyboard or mouse. You'll find this modern OS on laptops, tablets, even desktop PCs eventually.

Gaze is eye control, which is available on HoloLens 2, but you can add it to Windows 10 PCs using a dedicated eye-tracking accessory. Microsoft has been working hard to improve eye tracking support in Windows, and it seems Windows Core OS will take this a step further.

Form factor agility

This one is the most interesting one. What Microsoft is referring to here is CShell, Microsoft's new, universal shell that's designed to complement Windows Core OS. With CShell, Microsoft can build many different shell experiences and share them across devices, in some cases bundling multiple shells that can be enabled and disabled where necessary depending on the form factor or mode.

In short, this means Microsoft will be able to adapt Windows Core OS for any device form factor, even ones that don't yet exist. Microsoft will be able to build shell experiences that fit perfectly on new form factors, and allow them to switch between different experiences depending on whether the device is a 2-in-1, 3-in-1, or some other kind of hybrid that doesn't yet exist.

It's all about the devices

Surface Hub 2X

Surface Hub 2X (Image credit: Microsoft)

More than anything, Windows Core OS is about devices. It's about hardware partners looking to branch out and try new things. In the past, hardware makers have been pretty limited in the kind of PC they can build, and that's because Microsoft's OS offering has been very static. Windows 10 isn't a great OS for tablets, and it's not great for pocketable devices or wearables either. Windows 10 is designed for and best suited to laptops, 2-in-1's, and desktops. Windows Core OS changes this, allowing Windows to branch out, giving hardware makers the chance to try new things.

Because of this, Windows Core OS will look different on different form factors because it's adapted to the hardware it's running on. Windows Core OS on the Surface Hub 2X won't look like it does on HoloLens 2, and the same goes for laptops, foldables, and more, running Windows Core OS. Of course, these different configurations of Windows Core OS will need names, and Microsoft will name them where appropriate. Windows Core OS for HoloLens 2 is called "Windows Holographic for Business," for example.

Windows Core OS on laptops, tablets, 2-in-1's, and foldables, will likely share a different name, something that might not even include the "Windows" brand. That's a rumor at this time, but it's something to think about.

We don't know when Microsoft will start talking about its modern OS in a more official manner. The next likely timeframe would be in October, as we're told Microsoft is planning an event for around that time. Either way, Windows Core OS is coming soon, and it's going to enable a whole new generation of Windows devices.

What are your thoughts on Microsoft's modern OS? 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.

  • I'm pretty sure Microsoft has no idea what it is doing, but it seems to be making tons of money, so that's nice.
  • Lol.. That's so funny. MS is the Kardashians of tech. 😂😂😂😂😂
  • Sad, but true. …and MS is Khloe, at that.
  • Kris is IBM
    Caitlyn is Netflix
    Kourtney is Amazon
    Kim is Apple
    Khloé Is Microsoft
    Rob is Twitter
    Kendall is Google
    Kylie is Facebook
  • 😂😂😂😂 Exactly my point, and even more funny that you could name them all🤔
  • I think it's more so, you don't know what they are doing because you only look at what you buy in a retail store. The amount of revenue that MS generates through the use of Businesses using both Cloud Computing through Azure, and Businesses using Business Apps like Dynamic365 far eclipses what they were and could do just making products in house ala apple. It just isn't sexy because you don't see that or buy in a store. As far as windows goes, the idea even starting back with 8, was to create one light, freeform OS, that could exist in any device, under singular set of code that any device they can use. Office is already there, Dynamics is already there, Azure is already there, Xbox live and Xbox ITSELF is almost there with CloudX and Windows is the last piece
  • While this is exactly the direction they should go any of Microsoft's efforts is hamstrung by one massive weakness; namely, 0.1% mobile platform penetration of mobile apps (Windows Phone and Microsoft Store apps) and DROPPING. When Microsoft threw in the towel with Windows Phone developers had almost no incentive to pour resources into Windows development for scalable form factors. Things like AR/VR and tablet form factors are simply too niche on Windows to attract developers. By comparison there are so many iOS devices like iPhones and iPads that can support AR/VR or tablet form factor that that's where the work on scalable form factors happens. (I have been massively underwhelmed by the utility of what I've seen come out of Android's AR/VR efforts so far... about the big commercial opportunity that I see for AR/VR is for 'adult entertainment'). Desktop software is very much a niche product because of the rise of iOS and Android. It's my Pixel where all the novel apps are. I will try a new app at least once a week. I can't remember the last time I actually installed a new piece of software on my desktop while that's something I would do on an almost daily basis as little as two years ago! I'm middle aged. My computing habits have changed DRAMATICALLY in the past two years. I can honestly not see a place anymore where I need what Windows provides. If my computing habits have shifted away from Windows you can bet the habits of younger generations have changed even more. Aside from Microsoft Office itself there is almost no need for me to be on Windows. All my IDEs are cross platform. The browsers I use are cross platform. And, all the productivity tools that I use are web-based. And, from a privacy perspective Windows 10 has become just as intrusive as anything that Google provides. So, that begs the question, do you want to be spied upon by BOTH Microsoft and Google or just Google? Ideally I'd prefer it to be neither of the above but realistically that's not possible, yet. In that case I might just opt to only be spied on by Google and not by both Microsoft and Google.
  • Windows is a pure legacy OS outside of high-end gaming. There hasn't been a "new" PC program of any consequence in a decade or more. I am looking through my Start Menu at the software I have installed, and it's a *lot* and it's irreplicable on other platforms (maybe Mac), but none of it's new: Word/Excel/PowerPoint/Access, MATLAB, SPSS, Photoshop/Illustrator, Acrobat, Graphpad/Sigmaplot, Skype, etc. Every one of these programs is decades old.
  • October, eh? Maybe my Idol S4 will last until then...
  • Don't hold your breath. Go ahead and get some type of Android device, and wait it out with apps...
  • I did already, hate it, so messy an OS. I keep it for the two apps I need and that's it.
  • I hate it too... It's a cluster. Worst part is that MS's launcher doesn't have a Metro Mode. ****, ex WP users are the only ones using it anyways. Why not cooperate? SMDH
  • Launcher 10 is pretty nice to give you that metro look and feel.
  • Yeah, but nothing is like the real thing.
  • I'm pretty sure the next Xbox is running Windows Core also. Seems like a weird thing not to mention.
  • Thanks for the update Zac.
    But the ultimate question is, if it is the 'future' of windows, will it run x86/x64 apps (i.e. win32 apps)? which is arguably the 'real' reason anyone uses windows (and this has been the case from the very beginning, before smartphones, tablets etc.). I'm excited to try this out asap, but I'm a bit concerned that, in the end, an OS is just a platform for the apps - it's a machine to get stuff done, not simply to be fluid and pretty. To put it more clearly: is this a two OS approach - Legacy windows as OS#1 and Modern 'windows' as OS#2? Or is it one giant OS for each and every device (thus capable of running win32 apps where needed). Again, many industrial grade win32 apps (programs) are approaching 30+ years of maturity, robustness and stability - tried and true for aerospace, chip design/fabrication, countless CAD simulation tools etc. These tools are constantly being updated and refined (regardless of what popular media says that 'no one' uses win32 anymore, what a joke). What is MS's plan to continue supporting these apps on a robust and mature OS that has made the modern computing devices possible (and upon which they are still designed by the way)? If this 'modern' OS is the 'future' of windows, then it follows that it must support and maintain the so-called legacy code base right? And on advancing hardware as well (e.g. high core-count CPUs like Ryzen3 etc.). Despite what many may think, advancement is not only happening on the 'consumer' side, the design and engineering side has very significant active advancement, we are just too busy to talk about it (except for now lol!)
  • Windows 10 Legacy won't be going away, you will still have Windows 10 Home,Pro,Enterprise, etc. as it sits today. This is necessary because of the reasons you have pointed out, but also gamers. As of the last thing I read from Zac, CoreOS is going after the ChromeOS and iOS side of the market. While it will still be able to run win32 programs, don't expect heavy hitting devices running it in the near future. Remember, that one of the main reasons Microsoft is in the position it is now, is because it has been focusing on changing correctly, and when the time is right. This differs from the Ballmer era when it was get these products out now to compete with the current landscape. Basically, CoreOS is the new OS from Microsoft, that isn't in a race to replace Windows 10. It will compliment Windows 10 where it can, but also do things that Windows 10 will never be able to do.
  • WCOS will eventually be on IOT, AR, MR, Hub, Xbox, those 2 screens thing, other form factors with big, small or no screen. Oh, and it will support every HW architectures (while WinClassic will stay on x86, x64?). Well, at least I think it makes no sense doing otherwise. IOT e.g. cashier, fridge, car AI, water meter, sensors, kiosk, coffee machine, drone, robotics.
    Like, if you think we need a WinClassic on these devices or machines... think again.
    OS size is the obstacle. And we don't need those WinClassic baggages, and, as a developer, would you give user or sales a chance to sideload these machines?
  • Why wouldn't support for legacy apps just be another module that gets loaded? Many devices won't need it but, if you do, you enable that module? If you're building a truly modular OS then logic would dictate it would have to work that way.
  • From what I understand, that is indeed the plan. However, Windows Core OS will represent a significant departure from the Windows we know and love, since Microsoft will finally be able to let loose and make some necessary changes without risk of alienating legacy users. That is why legacy Windows will remain.
  • I think it's just a rebranding of the windows kernel. I mean this is what Microsoft has been working towards since windows 8 basically.
    I think it's just a way for them to mark a milestone they reached with reconfiguring their kernel in a way that's even more modular.
  • Be pretty hard to run the new edge, which no doubt is the absolute core of a webcentric OS, if it can't run win32 (which the new edge is)
  • So is this windows Lite, Windows Core OS, Windows 10? Is this an amalgamation of all of the above? What the **** happened to "One Windows"?
  • The UI/UX is the last part of "One Windows" strategy. Till now the problem has been about explorer.exe since it contains too many things bundled together like security, file manager, main UI(start menu etc). Now all these are getting split and UI is being moved to CShell. This gives an easy option to change UI without touching the core security & file management portion of the OS. I think in the process they also managed to do partition splitting to enable easy device/OS updates like how Smartphone OS updates.
  • I see it like this..
    1. Windows 10 is the engine that drives Windows.
    2. Core OS is the akin to a modular automotive chassis that several models share architecture with.
    3. Modern OS, and others levels of Windows, are akin to automotive models like the Camaro, ATS, and CTS, that all sit on the Alpha platform.
    It is a very scalable, and modular, approach to OS topology that, if organized practically, could provide for a very clever way of computing across devices. The best thing to take away from this is not to worry so much about what's going on in the background, because the average person doesn't give a ****.. Rather, it's all about how devices can leverage hardware, and the cloud, to bring forth the best possible experience for all types of users..
    That's EXACTLY why Microsoft needs to be first to showcase their efforts on all types of Surface devices, including MOBILE. MS only hope is to start their own ecosystem of essential apps for consumers, and maybe 2nd, and 3rd, party developers might jump in. I mean MS literally needs to open a software design studio that houses their own engineers, and works day, and night, to develop all the apps that a Windows Mobile device would be useful, without the likes of apps like Snapchat, and other popular apps. I don't care what anyone says, this type of device is necessary, and their is a market for it.. MS just doesn't have the balls, or the passion, to innovative tangibly.
  • There is no way to really innovate. We have taken the touch screen form factors and software about as far as it is going to go. Adding folding screens or dual screens doesn't change the core touch experience. Competing with Android, iOS, or Chrome is just about impossible now. This will compete with Windows 10 primarily. That will be the first hurdle. How in reality will this be better than Windows 10 on my Surface? Nothing they mentioned really makes a difference. You didn't see WoA take off and the check boxes are very similar. Basically, getting Windows users to switch to a new Microsoft operating system that is unproven and has no touch ecosystem is going to be extremely tough. Getting iOS and Chrome/Android users to do the same will be virtually impossible.
  • Android and iOS is OS'es for smart phones, and even if they are hard to compete against on that platform, they are also pretty much limited to that platform. Tablet sales are pretty much limited to some core users, kids and old people these days. Chrome OS is pretty much limited to US and EDU, and for the most part due to cost. Even with apps and extensions, it's really not a competitor at this time, although I notice and find it funny how people and media who had huge issues with RT and W10s not running legacy apps for some reason don't need those anymore when talking about and using Chrome OS. MS would have no problems getting people and devs over, but they need to show they are invested in the OS and make sure new integrering HW is available, all while being able to silence the people moste negative to none legacy alternatives from MS. If media says it's cool, writes about it, ppl will buy it, seba will make apps. Windows 10 still sells, and so will this.
  • Wouldn't one of these identical comments, in one place be enough? Perhaps you could just copypasta.
  • @bleached: Somehow or other I feel compelled to apologize for the rudeness of rodneyej. Hopefully he was just having a really bad day when he ended up leaving a number of less-than-helpful posts in this comments section. "Basically, getting Windows users to switch to a new Microsoft operating system that is unproven and has no touch ecosystem is going to be extremely tough. Getting iOS and Chrome/Android users to do the same will be virtually impossible." iOS and Android users ARE Windows users. Windows is, presumably, already part of their computing arsenal. If they're anything like me Windows is on its way out. I'm middle aged. I've been a desktop user for three decades. I've been exclusively on Windows for a decade. I've been on a smartphone since 2012. And, exclusively on Android for two years. What OS runs my desktops is _almost_ irrelevant. Most of my productivity tools are web-based or smartphone-based. Most of the desktop software I use runs on any OS (Mac, Linux, Windows). Only Microsoft Office requires Windows (& I guess Mac), but, I use it primarily for legacy reasons and laziness. Spreadsheets and presentations are handled almost exclusively by Google's on-line apps (nothing beats Google Sheets). Only Microsoft Word is still better than Google's offering. And, now 90% of my computing happens on my smartphone, a multi-touch OS.
  • I would dispute trying to do some complex formulas or pivots in Sheets, though i have seen the casual users transition nicely.
  • I will believe it when I see it
  • Do you think you will see a flying pig first? Lol
  • December is fine with me. Maybe my 950XL will last until then...
  • I might disagree on one point: "Microsoft's modern OS is not Windows 10"
    They don't mention W10 because it probably won't replace it immediately, but I think it will later.
    MS said that W10 would be the last version of windows, and I really doubt they'll keep the big changes descibed here to a WCOS only for specific form factors, they have to come to regular PCs. Let's have a look at some changes from that ModernOS: - seamless updates
    Updates in W10 have already been changing a lot at each major updates, they are ligher, faster, are less intrusive than ever, what is descibed here is only the continuation.
    And what do you need for that mirrored partition ? reserved space, like they added on 1903 ! - secure
    Isn't the sandbox appearing in 1903 the first part of that ? - Always-connected
    Isn't that already the case ? support for 5G is just the continuation of the current support for 4G and eSim - Sustained performance
    That's alreeady the case for most users, noone reinstalls windows every 2 years liikethey did in XP times.
    The Store is already pushed forward, and legacy components are (very) slowly being removed at each update. - Cloud-connected and AI
    Like you said, Cortana, Timeline and Office are already doing that, they just have to extend it, it's not related to a new OS at all. - Multi-sense
    Once again, what's described is already here, eye control, inking, etc. - Form factor agility
    That's the big thing here ! That's the reason the OS needs to be modular !
    Here a "new OS" makes sense... but will they want to keep both separated forever ? I don't think so. IMO W10 will be updated to a variant of WCOS one day, they have to !
    Maybe not from the start, they'll use is for new hardware with specific needs (requiring more a new experience than everything we can do on a "full" W10)
    But they'll progressively add everything that's missing, rebuilding W10 piece by piece on that new core.
    Or so I hope...
  • These key points on Windows Core OS seem very well thought out. The multi-sense and form factor agility aspect is where Microsoft will excel over the competition. Today, we primary see an OS platform and the app ecosystem that goes with it, specializing in a subset of input types and form factors. Windows Core OS will rise above these artificial limitations. And these limitations lead to a world of computing that is more complicated and expensive then it should be. Small devices have the power to be so much more, but are held back by the apps, tiny screens, and input limitations. I also think the improvements on updating is super important. I avoid Android simply because it provides very poor update commitment. I feel so strongly about it that I actually think it is unethical that you stop getting updates on Android devices. I hope that Windows Core OS doesn't try to mimic iOS regarding it be an app centric OS. Apple seriously messed us all up by seeing the world of computing in app centric manner. This is seriously messed up. Computing is about resources; not apps. Windows 10 is a resource centric OS. Resources are things like URLs, file paths, etc. Windows 10 allows the end user to manage workflows around resources, and this is why it is so productive for information workers and why Windows 10 rules in the office workplace. iOS is built around apps, with each app walled in to its own world; making it difficult for workflows to transgress out of the app. I say Apple ruined our view of computing because prior to the iPhone in 2007, we were starting to understand resources by education of the web. A web site was nothing more than a URL string to the end user (a resource). Now, we think if we can't find an app for something, then you are screwed. PWA will hopefully swing this thinking back to resources. I realize that Windows Core OS will have to limit file access to processes for modern security reasons, but I seriously hope Windows Core OS is not as constrained as iOS. This will be key for Windows Core OS to be productive and accepted in the Enterprise.
  • "A web site was nothing more than a URL string to the end user (a resource)." An app is just ANOTHER resource. Windows has apps. Lots of apps. Win32 apps that businesses would be screwed without. "This will be key for Windows Core OS to be productive and accepted in the Enterprise." Unless it runs current Win32 apps, nothing else will ever be accepted in the Enterprise, regardless of who makes it. No one is going to rewrite everything their business needs to run, for a new OS. This is why Linux on the desktop never happened. There is simply no business case for that. My personal opinion of all of this, is that (assuming it actually gets released) this will NOT be aimed at Enterprises. Windows 10 will continue that role. The Enterprise market is already locked in. There is no need to introduce something radically new.
  • You make some good points naddy6969. Maybe what I should say for people to use Windows Core OS for "work". You are right that Enterprise is locked into Windows 10, but what I'm thinking is the Windows Core OS will edge its way into the Enterprise through the road warriors and the appeal of smaller and lighter devices to get work done. Companies will get these new devices using Windows Core OS for their sales people, marketing people, etc. who are on the road. For this to happen, running Win32 will be crucial. All I'm really saying about the app and resource thing is I hope dearly Windows Core OS isn't like iOS. Think of it this way; there are programs (apps) and data (resources). Programs consume and produce data. Workflows are about the data and different apps can work on the same data. iOS sees the world where the app and its data are tied together. It is too simplistic. Windows Core OS needs to cater to everyday consumers, but it can't be so watered down and restrictive that getting work done is encumbered.
  • “edge its way into the Enterprise”? I see what you did there. ;-)
  • @naddy6969.
    You say Enterprise (business) will never accept it if it does not run Win32? The point is, Microsoft control Win32. If Microsoft remove it and do not provide support for Win32, business will be forced to move to the next generation of OS. They won't have a choice if Microsoft force the issue. Exactly the same as moving from the older legacy apps to Win32 Apps all those years ago.
    16bit DOS and early Windows (think 3.1 and earlier) apps were used in business. They were forced out when Microsoft stopped supporting the 16 bit platforms and 32 bit apps became the next thing that Business had to have.
    Now we are at a time where Win32 is decades old, outdated and very insecure by modern standards. Sure, you can patch on a patch of a patched patch, but how many patches will it take before more holes appear than can be patched?
    Business will move with the times, when forced to do so. If the apps on Core OS can be created to replace Win32 and Win32 is then moved out of support, business will move on and Enterprise will adapt, as they have for many decades, even before computers as we know them.
  • @naddy6969 "Windows has apps. Lots of apps. Win32 apps that businesses would be screwed without." I think it's actually private individuals that are still stuck on Win32 and not enterprise! In my organization Win32-based ENTERPRISE desktop applications are being phased out in favor of platform-agnostic web interfaces and we're also actively seeking platform-agnostic replacements (preferably web-based) for end-user applications that are not "enterprise" software. I have spent 15 years with my current organization (education). At any point we run upwards of 100,000 Windows computers that are up to 10 years old. There are a few thousand Macs and many thousands of ChromeBooks on our network as well. We also tend to stay on one Windows OS as long as possible. In 2013 we finally migrated from Windows XP to Windows 7. We've spent the past two years moving from Windows 7 to 10 and are getting ready to block logins from Windows 7. We adopt new technologies at a glacial pace, but, there has been one constant: whenever old applications using deprecated technology (ActiveX, SilverLight) are replaced they're invariably replaced by PLATFORM AGNOSTIC, usually web-based software. When I first started in 2004 it was Microsoft-everything. Everything was mediated through Internet Explorer and ActiveX. By the mid 2010's we had the farcical situation where we were forced to use Internet Explorer for enterprise-related applications but had to fire up Chrome or FireFox if we were to deal with the outside world. With the demise of ActiveX and Internet Explorer these enterprise applications have been upgraded to be Chrome-compatible. The last legacy piece of Internet Explorer-only software was finally replaced last year. We still run a handful of 'mission critical' Windows (win32) applications that were first written in the early 2000's. We are now actively testing their web-based replacements and the reviews are overwhelmingly positive. Those Win32 apps will be replaced sooner rather than later. By next year there won't be a single piece of enterprise-level software that still requires either (a) Internet Explorer or (b) Win32! By next year, it will only be the odd specialty software package (e.g. CAD/CAM) that still requires a Win32 environment. That will affect less than 5% of users. Otherwise, the vast majority of our work-flow is mediated through the web browser, EVEN ENTERPRISE SOFTWARE! Win32 is on its way out in enterprise. It's only niche tools, primarily USED BY INDIVIDUALS WHO CAN'T (or are unwilling to) AFFORD TO UPGRADE THEM, that still use Win32. Win32 apps were created decades ago. The technologies these applications rely on are being deprecated (usually for good reason). It's us (cheap) individual users who cling to our Win32. The end for Win32 is nigh. Tangent... For that matter, the end of Windows as the dominant desktop platform is in sight. In the 2000's Microsoft failed spectacularly on two fronts:
    (a) they allowed Internet Explorer to rot while Chrome and FireFox became superior browsers; and
    (b) they allowed Google (2008) to copy Apple's iPhone (2007) multitouch interface two years sooner than they did with Windows Phone (2010). While Microsoft's failure to copy the iPhone** killed any hopes for a mobile Microsoft OS it did force Microsoft to finally get serious about Windows and make it a really good OS (I'm a die hard Mac user who's been exclusively Windows since about 2010... I no longer use a single Mac product). **Android's success story is as much about Microsoft's failure to respond to the iPhone as it is about Google's success at copying it badly and quickly, thereby beating Microsoft to the position of being the iPhone alternative. Had Microsoft immediately copied the iPhone's multitouch interface and released a cruder version of Windows Phone at the same time as Google in 2008 I'm sure Google's Android would've been DOA. This time it's no failure on Microsoft's part but the actions of the US Executive Branch (President & advisors) that will result in the diminishing (or perhaps even breaking) of Microsoft Windows' monopoly. Prediction (bonus): The current US Executive Branch's trade war with China is the beginning of the end for Google's OS monopoly in the commodity mobile sphere* and Microsoft's monopoly on the desktop. The world needs to thank the US Executive Branch for being so concerned about Microsoft's desktop monopoly and Google's mobile monopoly that they're willing to sacrifice so much of the US economy for the sake of tackling their respective monopolies. *Yes, Apple's iPhone is FAR more important than Google's Android in terms of economic impact but Google has more users and has NO competitors whatsoever (yet) for the budget and low mid range market. It is the US Executive's actions that will cause the world to decouple from Google and from Microsoft in the medium term. Microsoft and Google are just as vulnerable in this trade war as is Huawei. The EU is already forcing Google to decouple from Android and the Chinese are now seeing the downsides of doing business with American firms. The best way for Europe or for China to insulate themselves from similar US actions in the future is to decouple from US technology. like Microsoft Windows and Google Android. In the long run this trade war will be absolutely fantastic for innovation and the busting of monopolies. Huawei is big enough and China's domestic market is so large that, in five years, it will become a serious competitor to Apple at the high end of the market. This will also put pressure on Android to innovate since I'm sure Huawei in five years will also become a direct competitor with Google's Android. And, of course, we haven't even touched on is the impact on Windows. Up to this point Windows has been sheltered from serious competition, but, with the demise of Win32 that's changing. Supposedly Huawei has now one of the most desirable Windows laptops in the business, AND IT'S NOT EVEN SOLD IN THE US! It's not a difficult exercise to transition that laptop to a polished variant of Android. And, at that point the Windows competitor OS benefits from an absolutely massive wealth of apps while Windows has almost no new software that's been written in the past decade.
  • The last few posts nail it! What is now obvious to me, is that there will now be an OS that will be the best across any and all "Windows" device we choose. I use Surface devices (typing this post from Surface Pro 4), an HP 27" AiO and my (admittedly old) MS Lumia 950 as well as an Xbox one. Most of my family does the same and use Surface Pro 6 tablets too. As Win Central infers, it will likely happen in the 4th quarter - that is an exciting possibility if MS can can pull it off - especially a foldable pocket PC...
  • I notice the word "phone" or "mobile" was stylishly avoided in this article. One would expect that if a hardware OEM decides to make a 5 or 6inch screen device, the WCOS shell should adapt accordingly.
    So WCOS phones will be possible. It seems Microsoft is ashamed to ever mention the word "phone" due to W10M.
  • You are correct. Microsoft is working with OEMs to make “phones.” Microsoft is also making its own “pocket pc.” There will be an OEM that will adopt “CoreOs” for "phones" and shock the world. Stay tuned.
  • Huawei is looking for a new OS partner at the moment. They are also looking for a new chip supplier. I wonder how many other Asian manufacturers are are concerned enough to be looking for alternative suppliers in the current trade war. Anyone ready for Windows phones running on Samsung chipsets 🙄
  • @Andrew Pengelly "Huawei is looking for a new OS partner at the moment" You're right. They need to ditch Windows and fast! They've got the most desirable phones and laptops in the business but their OS partners are liabilities. It's not a stretch to see Huawei throw some of their considerable cash reserves (and, no doubt get a good chunk of cash from the Chinese state) at building a replacement OS, quickly. They already have an interface that has won lots of fans and to which they have all the rights. All they need is the *nix guts to put the interface on and you've got a smartphone that can be legally sold outside of China that is as good as Android. Suddenly there's a serious competitor to Google's Android on the world stage. "Anyone ready for Windows phones running on Samsung chipsets 🙄" Of course, Samsung too would be foolish to throw its lot in with an American company or two. Time to dust off Tizen :).
  • Just for the record I've asked this at Microsoft's official forum they're not creating a new operating system. Windows 10 when Windows 8 expires will be re-branded to just Windows and that'll become the only system supported by Microsoft and the so called Windows Lite or Windows 10 Lite is an illegal version of Windows 10 and a stripped down version with unauthorized modifications. See
  • You may have asked at “Microsoft’s official forum”, but those answers are NOT from Microsoft employees. He is an “Independent Advisor”. Frankly, he sounds clueless.
  • Big yawn. Microsoft already had a modern OS running on its' Windows 10 phones. There wasn't much that needed changing to add multi-device, multi-platform capability. I was supremely reminded of the late OS's elegance, power, and simplicity when I finally succumbed, and switched to a Samsung S9 series Android phone yesterday. If the new OS is nothing more than flat, dead squares on a box, well, they'll make a good tombstone.
  • Ohhhhh! really such nice news I enjoyed a lot... Windows working new windows OS Now the windows OS are very lagging and you can't work for much time Thanks for sharing You can visit my website for more tech related articles techblogpoint
  • I see so many comments on so many forums "Win32 is needed for Enterprise/Business." or "Enterprise won't accept it if Win32 is not included".
    I am old enough to remember the "Enterprise won't accept it if it doesn't include 16bit support" and even the "Enterprise won't accept Windows" arguments.
    Guess what? Enterprise did. Enterprise and business moved on and embraced Win32 when Microsoft quit support for 8bit and 16 bit architectures.
    Guess what? Enterprise has even accepted 64bit architectures and a lot have even accepted some aspects a UWP. And another Guess what? Enterprise/Business will accept and move to the next generation of Operating Systems and architectures.
    Why will it be accepted? Because they will not have a choice. All it will take is for Microsoft to stop support of Win32 totally and Enterprise/Business will be forced to move on. There is no alternative.
    Microsoft hold the key to the life cycle of Win32, not anyone else. Anyone who thinks Microsoft have no idea what they are doing, maybe you should think of where Enterprise/Business would be if Microsoft suddenly quit and all MS applications, cloud based technology and other services were suddenly discontinued. I have a feeling even trolls like @bleached would be affected in a fairly negative way if that happened.
  • I guess the problem is that if you force the Enterprise to move there's no guarantee they will adopt WCOS instead of, say, Linux
  • "Microsoft holds the key to the life cycle of Win32, not anyone else." Yes, and they just moved Win32 back to front and center after failing to get any traction with UWP. Win32 is here to stay, for a long long time. It will not be going the way of DOS. "........maybe you should think of where Enterprise/Business would be if Microsoft suddenly quit and all MS applications, cloud based technology and other services were suddenly discontinued." Enterprises would continue to use what they already have. Microsoft would be sued out of existence. Amazon and/or Google would come along and pick up where MS left off. The point is, this is not 2005. Microsoft is no longer the only game in town. There are lots of options now, which is why MS did a 180 on Win32 and UWP.
  • Just as long as they don't dumb it down too much. MS seemed to learn a lesson with win8 but nevertheless most of the modern apps they are making are horribly limited and I worry that this 'modern OS' might follow that pattern. On the other hand there is so much I like about windows 10 and the direction of hardware( especially the surface line) is going, that I am crossing my fingers that this will all fit together like a giant jigsaw puzzle and all the nonsense over the last few years will make perfect sense. Some people who have assumed the worst and shot their mouths off ( especially around here) might have to eat their words. Hopefully with their new hand held hardware and shiny new OS those words will task actually pretty good.
  • I like the concept of it and I can see that it could open up a wide range of new devices we don't even think about yet.
    However, announcing the OS alone won't do it to gain traction.
    I hope MSFT will keep the wraps on it as much as possible until they have some really cool devices ready to ship with the OS on it.
    They don't even have to be MSFT devices, but if this new OS isn't part of a HW launch that really blows people's minds, I'm afraid it will end up like windows mobile...
  • Ugh, when I was younger, I looked forward to new things, Windows 98 from 95, 2000, XP. Now I dread the new and feel my father's pain when he was forced to put a PC on his desk just a few years before his retirement. He complained the remainder of his career that things worked fine before computers for regular people. I never understood. Now I do. I have become a Luddite just a few short years before my career winds down. Sigh.
  • I will be willing to bet that this is based on android or chrome or some other google garbage. I hope the stockholders wise up soon and get rid of these horrible ms execs who are chopping up the company and giving more and more over to the scumbags at google.
  • The MS stockholders are the last people who are going to complain about MS. They are all making money.
  • Down about 10% this year and after the scavengers are done picking apart the company the money will dry up.
  • Will the *New OS have "Live Tiles"? Or will they go back to the old static boring icons?
  • I don't know but when I start my hardware company I'm going to use live tiles on my devices.
  • There is an excellent article, citing this one, by Steve Litchfield: - For my part, I think that his logic is impeccable.
  • Another good explainer on the mystic theme of WCOS.
    I'll add it to my collection. Thank you for writing it ❤