The Windows 10X leak shows us Microsoft’s operating system in all its glory, but with some obvious disappointments
What is apparently a near-final version of Windows 10X for single-screen laptops – the first version the OS arrives in – has been leaked and generally looks nicely polished. While that has been said, there are some aspects highlighted here (and rumors seem to hold true) that will no doubt disappoint some …
Zac Bowden at Windows Central took the pre-release build of the OS to try out and presented the results in an 8 minute video well worth watching.
Windows 10X is a stripped-down and lightweight version of Microsoft’s desktop operating system for the uninitiated, so as you might expect, the interface is much more minimalistic than the Windows 10 we know.
As you can see in the video below from Bowden, the Start menu is now a centered panel (instead of on the left) and is a simplified list of installed apps (and websites), with recently used files and applications below, and a web search box at the top. Gone are the live tiles and other complications seen in Windows 10, replaced with something more like the sleek boot system that Chromebooks use.
Likewise, the taskbar icons (for running or pinned apps) are now centered (instead of left-justified). The system tray on the right has been reduced to just the tiniest of information and clock / date, while other icons have moved to a new Quick Settings panel, which nestles below the notification shade in what is the new Action Center (which also features a handy control panel for playing music).
The Quick Settings panel, as the name suggests, provides quick access to frequently used settings such as Bluetooth devices. It also offers some useful extras such as a volume and screen brightness slider.
It’s worth noting that there are some nice touches about animation with Windows 10X, like when you click an app in the taskbar to open it, lightly press the icon to confirm the click (while waiting for the program will be opened ). This avoids scenarios where you are not sure whether your click is actually registered or not.
The file explorer has also been simplified and is now very basic indeed, as it provides a simple method to access files without trimmings. Note that OneDrive integration is a big deal here – everything is synced to the cloud, with the one exception being the Downloads folder. You also need to log into a Microsoft account – you can’t get around that with Windows 10X, which deletes local accounts. These could all be pain points for some people, that’s for sure …
Another potential of that is the fact that apps only run in full screen, which is a reflection of the fact that the first version of Windows 10X was designed to run on low-cost and energy-efficient single-screen laptops – that’s likely to change along however. the line. However, you can still put two apps side by side, so there’s a basic level of multitasking here – but the kind of machines Windows 10X initially ships on aren’t capable of handling major multitasking anyway.
In addition, as it becomes clear in the video clip, Windows 10X does not support traditional Windows apps (Win32 applications), at least not at startup, which means you are limited to universal (UWP) and web apps. We’ve heard this before and the hope is that functionality to run Win32 apps will be introduced soon – but possibly not until 2022 according to the rumor mill.
The sweetener is that it seems like the web app implementation here is pretty slick, as Bowden illustrates with Spotify.