Windows 10X: Train wreck in slow motion – or the future of Windows?

Microsoft hasn't said much about Windows 10X – and what it has spelled out so far leaves the company's plans unclear. Is 10X the next version of Windows 10? Or a dead end?

microsoft choose select click install update by gerd altmann cc0 via pixabay 2400x1600 copy
Gerd Altmann / Modified by IDG Comm. (CC0)

If you’re a resolute Windows watcher, you may have heard about Windows 10X, the new version of Windows Microsoft has been cooking up. But there’s a great deal of confusion about Windows 10X, because Microsoft hasn’t been forthcoming about its primary purpose, or why anyone might ever want to use it.

Recently, though, Microsoft has provided a few more details about 10X, and the outlines of the new operating system are coming into focus. What’s not yet clear though, is whether this new Windows iteration will become the harbinger of a new generation of Windows software, or a slow-motion train wreck.

For some clues about which it might be, let’s take a look at what we know. For a start, Microsoft stripped out any legacy elements that tied it to previous versions of Windows, and has re-thought many basic parts, including the Start menu and taskbar. In fact, in an early version, there is no Start menu.

Windows 10X will run all applications in containers. That should help with security, but could also lead to performance issues. And there will likely be compatibility issues. Some existing software, such as anti-piracy and anti-cheat tools in older games may not work on it. AT least, according to Microsoft, when Windows 10X updates on a device, it will be simpler and take much less time than Windows 10 does.

Beyond that, in a blog post, Panos Panay, Microsoft’s chief product officer for Windows and devices, said Windows 10X devices would “leverage the power of the cloud to help our customers work, learn and play in new ways.” Although he didn’t provide any details about what that means, we do know Windows 10X is for mobile devices rather than traditional desktops.

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