Microsoft’s most ambitious overhaul of Windows in years is reportedly on hold, or possibly even canceled. According to Petri.com, “Microsoft will not be shipping Windows 10X this year and the OS as you know it today, will likely never arrive.”

Update 5/18/2021: Microsoft has confirmed that Windows 10X will not launch this year as an independent operating system, although some technologies developed for Windows 10X may be used in Windows 10. 

Windows 10X Emulator image

Windows 10X was first unveiled in 2019 as a new version of Windows designed for dual-screen devices, and at the time Microsoft described it as an OS that would feel familiar to long-time Windows users, but which would be more energy-efficient. One way to reduce power consumption would be to focus first on modern, Universal Windows Platform apps, while running classic Win32 apps in containers to reduce their resource consumption.

But one of the first devices that was expected to ship with Windows 10X, the Microsoft Surface Neo, has yet to arrive and may have been canceled. Microsoft eventually announced that Windows 10X would be released for single-screen devices first, bringing what was expected to be a simplified, touchscreen and tablet-friendly user interface that honestly looks a bit like Chrome OS (which also, incidentally, uses containers to run non-native applications like Android and Linux apps).

Surface Neo (from a 2019 demo video)

Now Petri reports that Windows 10X might not ship at all. Microsoft is said to have shifted resources to other projects and it’s unclear if or when the company will return to its latest attempt to revamp its flagship operating system.

Windows 10X isn’t Microsoft’s first attempt to release a simplified version of Windows. The company released Windows RT alongside Windows 8, bringing something that looked like Windows to tablets with ARM-based processors. But at the time you couldn’t run most x86 applications on those devices.

A few years later Microsoft tried again with Windows 10S (which later became Windows 10 in S Mode). This locked-down version of Windows 10 offers some security and performance advantages, as well as the ability to run smoothly on entry-level hardware. But in order to get those advantages you can only run third-party applications that are available from the Microsoft Store… which means you’re giving up the ability to run the vast majority of Windows applications. Fortunately you can disable S Mode and get the full Windows 10 experience, but it’s a one-way ticket, if your computer suffers after transitioning, you cannot return to S Mode.

It’s unclear if Windows 10X would have been any more popular than Windows RT or Windows 10 in S Mode. But it’s increasingly looking like we may never find out.

But Petri suggests that the project might not have been a total waste of time — some features developed for Windows 10X could eventually find their way to the mainstream branch of Windows 10 including app containers and user interface tweaks.

 

Share this article:

Support Liliputing

Liliputing's primary sources of revenue are advertising and affiliate links (if you click the "Shop" button at the top of the page and buy something on Amazon, for example, we'll get a small commission).

But there are several ways you can support the site directly even if you're using an ad blocker* and hate online shopping.

Contribute to our Patreon campaign

or...

Contribute via PayPal

* If you are using an ad blocker like uBlock Origin and seeing a pop-up message at the bottom of the screen, we have a guide that may help you disable it.

Join the Conversation

11 Comments

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

  1. I don’t want Windows 10X, Windows 10 S Mode, Windows RT, Metro Tiles, Windows 8 or another Vista. Normal plain old Windows 10 works just fine and I don’t see any need to ‘overhaul’ it. I thought Windows 10 was supposed to be the LAST version of Windows. If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it!

  2. 10X was more like an intermediate step on the long way Microsoft is taking. So far looks like they want to extract small kernel and run all the apps in the containers in a transparent and uniform way. Not only Windows 32/64 apps, any apps: Linux, Android, remote ones.
    They now experimenting with integrating Android UX in a little bit indirect way: by adapting Samsung’s DeX layer. 10X was clear attempt at testing microkernel host approach for Win32 apps. And latest dev update in WSL does exactly the same for Linux apps.
    So, I suspect that final architecture they are aiming at is:
    • small fast kernel with supervisor
    • C# layer for most of the services and new-gen Windows apps (think Singularity) based on Net.Core.
    • Containers integrated with Windows API for Win32/64, Linux, Android, Remote apps. Transparent hardware access, clipboard, drag&drop, text input, etc.
    The picture is too big for most tech reviewers to comprehend, all they can see is just another “Crippled Windows”.

    1. Within this topic I’ve read excellent opinions like yours.
      I think Microsoft was never an innovative company and they focused on profits always those resulted actual situation.
      From my point of view they will try what you mentioned but I can guess they will fail.
      Please try to remember what happened of ActiveX and then they open sourced .NET after 20 YEARS!
      Just my opinions, they are still depended on very old legacy code-base because of they stuck in nearly every area (Browser engine, mobile os, platform portability etc.) I think there is no Microsoft next decade.
      On the other hand I guess Google Fuchsia is coming as a giant wave that probably will kill windows and sratch apple in very short term.

      1. Fuchsia seems to be pretty far from actually replacing Linux on Google OSes. Its a bit hard to tell now though, since they had moved source to private repos. This means that they finally promoted project from a toy to heavy production, and we even have a first device. Last thing I saw was them starting to slap Linux drivers into it to save time. Fuchsia is literally nothing revolutionary, it was pretty expected step from Google, and will be expensive one to make.

        In this regard I much more interested in Huawei Harmony OS, which actually takes next step from Fuchsia and other similar OSes. Even though idea of weakly coupled execution environment using high performance PRCs was around for a while, now, in the era of Wearables, BTE, IoT, and Could it finally starting to pick up. Some other companies, as Samsung (again, haha) taking steps in this direction as well, but going from the other side.

        As for Microsoft, yes, I share your concerns. I saw many innovative ideas and prototypes, especially coming from MS Research and CMU, but they had clear problems getting them into production or selling them. Like, remember Courier? Or how amazing idea of the dense information cloud from Future Visions resulted in, well, Windows 8 tiles.
        But recently it has clearly changed, and they are moving fast. I’d bet on MS return to mobile OS space in next 2 years, but now in a smarter way, on top of Android integration. Just as Windows will host Android apps, Android will be able to host Win10 apps on their devices, and most likely Samsung will back this up on their tablets. I also expect them to boost into information manipulation with AR/VR. It will be interesting, but will most certainly fail.

  3. Man I thought they had a market with those 11″ low power education laptops.

    Maybe next they’ll fork chromium OS to make Edge OS cause forking google’s unstoppable Krakens is easier than doing development yourself.

    1. I was actually theorizing something similar to your idea. I think a good strategy for Microsoft’s efforts to bring Windows to ARM is through a deeper integration of Linux.

      I’m not enough of a software expert to know how possible it is, but it would be neat to see the next version of Windows more directly built on the Linux kernel, with use of Windows libraries like DirectX. Having more direct support for Linux software without the use of a subsystem would be neat.

      It would certainly help with the fact that Win32 applications are almost useless under emulation, and the fact that the UWP app ecosystem is a graveyard.

  4. I honestly had no faith in this ever succeeding. The last time Microsoft was successful at building a ARM/mobile version of Windows for consumers was the final version of Windows Mobile 6.5 in 2008. At least they had the sense to stop the project before they launched another stillborn OS.

    Having said that, I really liked the idea of the apps running in containers, and all Win32 applications sharing a global container, and all UWP apps get their own sandboxed container.

    I think Microsoft needs to wait for ARM performance to get to the point that x86/x64 emulation can allow Win32 applications to run close to the level that MacOS is achieving with their emulation.

    1. Microsoft needs to make it so that Windows is a platform, something they’ve failed to do after Windows7. They’ve shot themselves so many times with Windows Phone, Windows RT-ARM, and Windows 8 variants. Windows10 was a good effort, but a case of too little too late.

      Basically making a “locked-in platform” means, it is very easy for developers to make software for Windows (great NEW code and SDK). The software is close-sourced, and separates developers from other platforms (ie Devs cannot easily convert their New-Windows programs into Android Apps). The software is agnostic to the underlying processor (x86, ARM, RISC-V, MIPS, PowerPC). And the company had a clear vision for the future, with great product ready for consumers. That way, they could’ve transitioned away from their old code with much more poise and determination, and not get locked down to it.

      Nobody wants Windows anymore, except for running legacy code, or playing PC Games. The legacy code argument is getting harder to justify each passing day as people eventually move on. The PC Games is basically the last crutch they’re on, and that’s a risky market. Android has won the OS space, where it’s not too far from having phones, tablets, laptops, desktops, TVs. However, Google’s incompetence has bought Microsoft lots of time. The true rival is actually Apple: they literally dominate all those device sectors. They’re close-sourced, have their own Modern Writing Language (Swift), their own SDK, their own architecture (64bit Apple-ARM), their own Operating System (iOSX), and their own Application Store. This last decade Microsoft has gone to where Apple used to be, and Apple is going towards where Microsoft used to be (dominating the industry).

      1. I find the idea of having to put up with your plan, and the accompanying insults about the way I like to use computers, to be horrifying, even if it might work for corporate interests.

        1. You’re a niche case, and I don’t have anything against you. Microsoft however isn’t playing in the niche, they are mainstream. My vent was to show how incompetent they were, in an industry that is fast-paced and innovative.

          Remember Microsoft is a for-profit company, so of course this about their corporate interest, I was pointing out the flaw of their execution that’s lead to their current position. With that said, killing off Windows 10X was the right move here.

  5. Heh, you mean Windows, that wont run Windows apps, that is a worse version of an existing product that already has a lot of support in the market place, Chrome OS, isnt coming out? Oh no, what will we do now?