For the past week or so, a group of Microsoft watchers have been talking about a new version of Windows that may be called something like Windows 10 Cloud. Brad Sams reported on something call Cloud Shell, or Cshell on January 26th, and followed up that report a few days later with a sighting of the “cloud” name hidden in the latest preview build of Windows 10.

ZDNet’s Mary Jo Foley weighed in with news that her sources say that Windows Cloud is basically a spiritual successor to Windows RT: a light-weight version of Windows that’s designed to only run Windows Store apps.

Now the folks at Windows Blog Italia claim to have gotten ahold of a pre-release version of the operating system, and their report seems to confirm Foley’s.

Update: As MSPowerUser notes, this seems to be legit, because a leaked ISO is making the rounds. Download at your own risk.

The site confirms that the operating system looks virtually identical to the desktop version of Windows 10, but it can only run apps that are downloaded from the Windows Store.

But it does support Win32 apps that have been converted to Windows Store/Universal Windows Platform apps using Microsoft’s Project Centennial tools. Even apps which still use Win32 processes will work. They just need to be packaged as UWP apps for distribution through the Windows Store

It’s not entirely clear at this point if Windows 10 Cloud is designed to run exclusively on devices with ARM-based processors or if it’ll also work on computers with Intel or AMD chips. But it does seem likely that this is Microsoft’s answer to Google’s Chrome OS: a light-weight operating system that’s designed with security and ease-of-use in mind… and which cannot necessarily run legacy programs unless their converted into a compatible format first.

You can find more pictures at Windows Blog Italia.

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31 replies on “Microsoft’s “Windows 10 Cloud” operating system leaks”

  1. A cheap or free version for low end hardware. Is there more hardware in the works too?

  2. Google and Apple had the chance to create a Store from the beginning and restrict, more or less, everyone in that store. You might have the option to install apps from other sources, but that’s like 5% of the users.

    Now Microsoft is trying to change the Windows ecosystem from something totally free to something more like Android and iOS. At least the Windows platform that target the majority of end users. It will of course take years to happen and probably server and enterprise versions of Windows will stay as they are.

  3. Remember, every other Windows OS is a dog. MS is fooling with us again to see how gullible the public is. Win 98 OK, MIllennium dog, XP OK, Vista Dog. Win 7 OK, Win 8 dog. Win 10 OK. Whatever comes next will be a dog. Ignore it and watch MS laugh at those who adopt it. The so-called smartest people in the world can’t produce two winners in a row for the last 20 years.

      1. Okay, fine. How about using the products? 10 is a step down. 8 was a step down. RT was a step down. That’s just in the last 5 years.

    1. but this is a different line. You could say windows RT was a dog and cloud is ok? I wouldn’t be jumping in right away but this could turn out to be a good OS. Only time will tell.

    2. Windows NT 3.1 OK, NT 3.5 OK, NT 4.0 OK, 2000 OK, XP OK. The NT line was more or less a good run all the way, except Vista. Even Win 8 had it’s merits.

    3. Speaking as someone who’s used every version of Windows ever released (yes, *every* one *ever* released), I can quite categorically say that you’re talking out of your hat.

      Windows 1 was OK.
      2 was much better.
      2.1 (386) was way better than 2.
      3.0 was alright.
      3.1x was awesome.
      95 was alright-ish.
      98 was OK.
      Me wasn’t as bad as people seem to think.

      NT 3.1 was OK but bloated as hell.
      NT 3.5 was better.
      NT 3.51 was amazing.
      NT 4.0 was awesome.
      2000 was alright-ish.
      XP was what 2000 should have been.
      Vista wasn’t all bad (just bloated as hell).
      7 was good.
      8 was a broken promise but not all bad.
      8.1 was what 8 should have been.
      10 is alright. It’s still evolving, though, and lusers have to wrap their heads around that.

  4. Reminds me of Citrix server. That went nowhere.
    I like all the freebies that I have gotten from MS over the last couple of years… 3 copies of free Win10, 2 copies MS Office homeware for $10 each. I think I am good for another 10 years.

    1. Way to miss the point. This isn’t a thin client, it’s not Citrix. This is a whole OS, with app-install security restrictions. It’s a Chromebook. Microsoft is competing with Google here.

      Also, your Win10 licenses will only last for 10 years on your 10-year-old hardware. If you want to upgrade to a new system, that’s a new license.

  5. Does this also remove the control panel, are UWP apps required to plug into the new settings panel?

    Because if so, then my prediction I made a couple of years ago is coming true. By removing the control panel, eventually the taskbar, the only thing left of the Windows desktop is emulated Win32 apps.

    The end of “real” Windows as you know it is soon, only to be supported through declining legacy maintenance. They will only push the modern environment going forward. It will be interesting to see how gamers & businesses react to this.

    1. They also have to create a new UWP file explorer.

      Once that is done & a major browser vendor puts their win32 emulated browser in the store (or Edge gets better), than I am done with old Windows for good. MS will have beaten Google & Apple at making their mobileOS become desktop capable.

      I game on consoles.

    2. Windows has to evolve and leave behind legacy – that’s the point for most users. Legacy code and legacy support make the OS bloated to double the size it could be if it was just UWP all the way. If software houses took the fxxin’ hint that UWP is the way forward with Windows, then new versions of software would turn to UWP – maybe intially as Centennial ports, but eventually the “old-fashioned” win32 wouldn’t be necessary any more – except in big corporate applications where legacy support is always needed (and also some nerds who play with older software for fun), in which case, support for legacy Win32 software can be included in Pro or Enterprise editions.

      And you can’t really define “real” Windows. “Real” Windows, to me, means Windows 3.1 – which is now fifteen years out of date. That couldn’t run software written for Windows 1 or 2, because of a change to the executable format – which is, outwardly at least, the main change in migrating from Win32 to UWP.

      Microsoft have supported Win32 for too long, that’s the problem. They’ve kept an ancient megalith going for so long that, now, the plebs and proles won’t let go of it.

      1. I do wish though there were more than just two choices, particularly when one of the two choices offers virtually no choice at all.

        1. Canonical says more Ubuntu phones are on the way, and they’re well known for being an early example of the app store model.

      2. Microsoft has deep pockets. They have a definite market for surface phones. The best apps I have on my android phone are all from Microsoft. The only thing that would give me pause to trying out a reboot of windows phone is navigation. They need to bring google maps and/or waze to the platform.

        1. While something like a Surface phone makes sense technically, I feel it would cannibalize desktop sales. But perhaps that tipping point will come soon.

          I really wonder if a Surface phone would bring market share to Windows Phone. Maybe it’ll be the next Blackberry. That would mean a third mainstream app store.

      3. Mine seems to be working as well as ever.

        WP is only going so slow because asshats are more bothered about whether their Instagram will work on it than whether or not it actually works. I use my Lumia extensively as a work thing and for social stuff, and it hasn’t ever let me down. If there’s another reason, it’s probably that WP just hasn’t shaken the reputation that the older versions had, back in the day – but now, it’s a good platform, and it’s worth using.

  6. This is Microsoft’s answer to hastening their own decline.
    I guess the whole Windows Universal Apps Store isn’t working out how they’d hoped. So I guess the plan will be to gimp cheaper devices Window’s software by requiring using that service as the article indicates. That way Microsoft will give the OS out to OEMs even cheaper than it does now. Though all rumors have been that they can’t get much cheaper as they have been virtually giving it away to a lot of low end devices. Either way I’m sure they are thinking they’ll make up some revenue by forcing those consumers through their app store.
    Though I bet they won’t miss out on any of the new services for their benefit – that is, all the advertising and data mining that goes on with Windows 10.
    The result will be a lot of pissed off buyers confused about what is going on. And a lot of pissed off app developers with increased support overhead fielding calls and chats from those pissed off consumers.
    Of course some buyers will be aware of what’s going on because they might have purchased and been left hanging by Microsoft with the original RT.
    Either way I’ll make the same bet I made the first time I heard about RT itself. Dead man walking. Will be abandoned within 18 months to 2 years.

      1. Yes. To be fair I don’t mean general decline. I mean decline as a purveyor of operating systems.

      2. It’s a boring Enterprise company now. They are valuable like GE is valuable. Consumers aren’t excited by or care about these Enterprise-focused companies. 2013 or so onward (when Sinofsky was axed and Ballmer soon after) it became clear Microsoft was ditching consumers. They only want businesses.

        HERE’S THE PROBLEM

        Right now, they’re good. Because all the IT managers and business people are in their 40s-50s and have been raised with Microsoft stuff. MS in 10-20 years though, when most young people were raised with Apple and Android/Google stuff? They won’t care about MS products at all, just like people that didn’t grow up with IBM didn’t want IBM when they became IT decision makers, which is why IBM is basically dead man walking, 2-3 decades after its peak.

        1. Shhhhhhh! watch what you say about IBM online. WATSON is always listening 😉

        2. Well, they’ve lost the mobile game a while ago and most consumers (not businesses) can get by with cloud services these days.

          Still I think Microsoft has done a decent job in the desktop market with their Surface line and Windows 10. Satya Nadella has at least made the desktop space competitive with Apple’s Macs and maybe soon Google’s Chromebooks.

          Microsoft stock is going up regardless!

    1. The people who would buy these want a controlled market, like the education sector were Chromebooks are doing huge business.

      A desktop PC is a liability not a benefit in this market, along with the huge IT maintenance costs, thats why Google has spooked MS and Apple in this area and they are responding.

      It’s also the stepping stone for Android computers to evolve and push out Windows PC’s in other areas.

      Of course most PC users stuck in their ways wont see that and will rail against Cloud OS even though it’s purpose to fend off Android.

      Ironically whats killing Windows is the most vocal PC users who want it to remain a dumb OS were you have to fill in all the blanks yourself via desktop third party apps, that is a dying way of doing things that the wider world does not want. MS would be better off just coming out and saying to those groups go to linux and stay in the 90/00’s.

      1. You mean “professionals”. If all you need from a device is a browser, go Chromebook/Android/iOS. If you need to edit a movie, you’ll need more than that. Even an office worker needs more than Android/iOS can offer, since they need to run several apps (spreadsheets) at the same time, and you can’t do that there. It is true, that most users don’t need these features, but these users don’t need a PC in the first place, and that’s where these gimped Windows devices come in the picture.

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