Hands On With Windows Cloud

Posted on February 3, 2017 by Brad Sams in Windows, Windows 10 with 57 Comments

Earlier today, the first screenshots of Windows Cloud leaked and not long after, I was able to get my hands on a build of the OS. This is still an early build of the platform, so there may be changes coming, but here is an early look at what is currently called Windows Cloud.

To little surprise, the OS looks identical to Windows 10. In nearly every way, it looks, feels, and operates like Windows 10 that you are using today but with the limitation that it can only run UWP apps. If you do try to run a non-UWP, you get the error message above.

Oddly, even though others have said it works, Centennial apps, such as Evernote, do not appear to be working in this build. I’m not sure if this is a local issue or if this will be the actual case when it is released, but for now, this mystery remains unsolved. One other odd bit is that in the ‘About’ section, this version of Windows is still listed as Windows 10 Pro.

Other apps from the store, such as The Weather Channel’s weather app, work as expected. I’m currently running the OS in a VM as I’m not brave enough to put a leaked ISO on metal but performance is fine, no issue to note at this time.

As far as anything else new or different in this build, not much else appears to be different. I’ll keep poking around but for now, just know that this works exactly like regular Windows 10 but is limited to UWP applications. Also, keep in mind that this ISO comes from a third-party and not directly from Microsoft; it is possible that this is a hacked together build but we won’t know until we get our hands on an official release.

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Comments (57)

57 responses to “Hands On With Windows Cloud”

  1. 5496

    Windows RT.

  2. 5530

    More like "This version of Windows isn't designed for the app you're trying to run"

  3. 8578

    Just what MS needs, another Windows version that doesn't run Windows programs.

  4. 7037

    This is the Windows RT debacle all over again. One would have hoped after the spectacular failure of RT Microsoft would have learned.

  5. 2428

    What I would like to see is Microsoft working on a technology that lets you install any Win32 app into a UWP container.

    • 1292

      In reply to madthinus:

      Just use App-V. I am just sad they have put limits on the client. Devs needs to get off their butts and just embrace UWP already. 

      • 1377

        In reply to FreeJAC:

        . . . just embrace UWP already . . .

        Developers just need to give up on the 3/4 of Windows PC users still using older versions of Windows?

        IF (a huge IF) there were more money to be made in UWP software development than Win32 software development, wouldn't you suspect most developers would have moved to UWP already? Do you really believe most developers would just cling to Win32 so they wouldn't have to learn something new?

        • 1292

          In reply to hrlngrv:

          Yes I think that happens. More though LOB apps are moving to the web. Although webifying business apps is not as easy and cost effective on necessarily better than their fat client / server based counter parts from what I've been witnessed to.

        • 1043

          In reply to hrlngrv:

          Windows 7 is down to less than 50% and everyone has abandoned XP (as they should.) Developers should pursue the growing Windows 10 market rather than support a dying one.

  6. 9187

    Not sure why all the negativity. That RT failed does not mean a similar idea that is (probably) going to be better executed will also fail. After all Windows 10 is a very similar idea to Windows 8. Fact is they have learned from RT and hopefully they take the proper lessons. In my book MS they need to narrow their initial ambitions when they introduce this sorts of platform, if they work, it is usually because they are useful to some niche. Find that niche (e.g "education") and attack it directly and exclusively instead of throwing it out into the wild and confusing the entire market. It can then grow out from such verticals over time.

    Second, MS really need to retool their business model to have better understanding of their place in various segments. One size does not fit all, and you are not the 800 pound gorilla everywhere anymore. Not realizing this is why they lost in so many segments. I was aghast to read for example that MS wanted to off the bat charge the same 30% that both Apple and Google get on store Apps. And then they are surprised their store remains empty? No business works that way for the third comer trying to get in, albeit, where the developers need to move from a web or win32 comfortable model where they would instead get 100%? for example one reason Google (a third player) can steal some low end desktop/productivity share is because they charge/cost a radically lower price. How then can Microsoft expect they would just be the late mover in mobile and tablets but yeah, we are gonna charge exactly the same for our Windows store? What new value are you giving the customers (developers) Some basic rethinking is needed up there.

  7. 2039

    It has to run all Windows Store apps to be viable.

    Also, question - does it take less space on hard drive it something? What's the extracted storage space used by system volume?

  8. 2532

    It just seems like a solution looking for a problem.

    Businesses don't want or need this. Businesses run OLD, outdated, unsupported, internally built applications all day every day. And that will never change. This version of windows is anti-matter to that.

    The only viable reason for this to exist is on tablets only.

  9. 1377

    If Windows Cloud can run Hyper-V and remote desktop clients, it could be a viable thin-client OS. Otherwise, it might be an OK unsophisticated home user OS. Otherwise, it's RTNG, and whether NG stands for Next Generation, No Good, or New Garbage would be mostly irrelevant.

  10. 9903

    Microsoft and Google could partner and help spread their respective ecosystems by allowing Android apps and Google ads to work on windows devices. Make them universal like most already are and then share the cost through the Windows store

  11. 10622

    So will this be able to run UWP games, like Forza Horizon 3 or Forza Motorsport 6: Apex? Assuming you install it on powerful enough hardware, obviously?

  12. 187

    Sounds more like Microsoft trying to make more money out of the user. Make an ultra-basic version of Windows, that does just about enough (which is suitable for Education), which includes more ads... and give an upgrade path out to Home or Pro (which could even include a subscription to Office 365) and removes ads for say $100 a year...?

  13. 7355

    As a developer here is what I see needs to be done to make UWP actually of any interest to me:

    Make UWP powerful enough to move beyond Apps to Applications. If you can't do Office or Photoshop type programs in UWP you have a problem. Yes we can rethink the design, but the capability needs to be there.

    Fix the Windows Store. Top priority. Get rid of the crap and make it work so developers have confidence that their apps will get fair and equal exposure to potential customers.

    Remove the 30 percent take that MS gets on Windows Store for the next five years. Its free to developers during that time.

    Pay all developers to write for UWP who meet objective criteria on quality and are published on the Store. That is everyone from people who code for a hobby to Facebook type companies. Pay them all to support the platform for at least five years.

    Release all features and capabilities globally. Not just the US and then Nigeria or whatever screwed up idea MS comes up with. Everywhere at the same time. Zero confusion is the goal.

    Distinguish this version of Windows 10 from the others. Don't create the mess where people buy this version of the OS on a computer, take it home, find nothing works and return it the same day. And...

    Spend billions advertising this version of Windows, its unique branding and the Store so every person on the planet knows about this Windows and the Store. Not millions and not for a year. Billions and for several years. Shareholders be dammed, Microsoft knows they have to do something to not lose the consumer market revenue and if they feel this is it, then dam well get behind it and make it work.

    Don't give up on it! FFS MS keeps coming up with idea after idea and then walking away from it or just ignoring it like an ex, after several years. THIS HAS TO STOP. You can't get developer buy in if you keep hanging people out to dry. In a nutshell. Give no developer or consumer any reason not to believe this is going to be around for the long haul. Spend big money and keep on spending big money until everyone has gotten the message this is really a thing. That will take years, first to get the exposure and second to repair the distrust many developers have in the company. Nothing else will make the transition to this UWP/Cloud Windows world viable.

    I really do mean nothing else.


    • 5496

      In reply to Daniel_D:

      So you want them to pay developers. And to removed the 30% they take?

      MS have to make money on it. Just like Apple and Google. Why don't you tell them to remove their 30% fee they take.

      • 8578

        In reply to lordbaal1:

        Well, it might not be practical to do so but when you're way behind the competition you have to make extra effort to catch up. As I've mentioned elsewhere, the best time to have considered this was when Windows RT was first introduced. MS rather naively thought developers and users would flock to their new OS in a market already dominated by Android and iOS.

        Perhaps phasing out UWP would be the most sensible approach rather than continuing to throw money at failure.

  14. 1292

    My burning question about cloud, UWP (AppX) packages aren't supported currently, but what about (AppV) can you enable the App-V client from the powershell command line like you can in Enterprise? 

  15. 127

    If UWP apps will be the only apps to run on Windows Cloud, it would be nice if the Store would only show UWP apps.

    Even though there might be only......5......?

    • 1292

      In reply to Bart:

      Agreed the store needs to do better filtering. Now at least if you go to buy a Store app like a game and your system does not have the requirements to play it the purchase button gets grayed out. They need an override button though. I might want to impulse buy on my ultrabook with integrated graphics to come home later and play on my screaming Crossfire desktop! ;)

  16. 5641

    its a build for oems. They don't pay Microsoft a license for installing this build. If the user needs full Windows, the user buys it themselves. Microsoft make money by getting users to use store or upgrade to pro.

  17. 4215

    In a previous article about Windows 10 Cloud Paul was calling it 'the future of Windows'. I am not so sure about that, seems a little too much like RT all over again. Ok, it won't be ARM only and will be upgradeable, but that does not make this Cloud edition a whole lot better as a consumer product.

    • 679

      In reply to Kvbex:

      What would be truly nice is to be able to install this on an RT so it could have a Win10 like experience. I still have one and several friends and family do too. I haven't used mine since I switched to the Surface Pro line (typing this on my SP4) but it would be a nice bonus to be able to keep using the RT since it was not cheep when new.

    • 165

      In reply to Kvbex:

      The difference now is that the hardware will be more capable. Many people did not have issues with RT

  18. 10158

    I think what will really matter is in what capacity this version is sold. If this is only sold in educational circles, that's one thing. If this ends up in B&M stores, I can see a very high frustration return rate. Won't one of the first things people do is try to get their preferred browser installed?

  19. 5027

    So it is like Windows 10 mobile, in Continuum mode then basically ? Or what is is becoming to be more precis  (plans for better multitasking and not only full screen apps has been on the road map for Windows 10 mobile Continuum)

    • 5664

      In reply to JudaZuk:

      Clearly it's nothing like Windows 10 Mobile. It's running the legacy desktop shell. Look at Brad's captures and you can see that! :o

      • 1377

        In reply to jimchamplin:

        Wouldn't W10M IN CONTINUUM MODE use the desktop shell? You have heard of Continuum, haven't you?

        • 5664

          In reply to hrlngrv:

          No. It's far more similar to Tablet Mode in desktop editions, uses the mobile Start menu, and retains the pervasive status bar across the top of the screen.

          Window management is limited to snapping only.

  20. 6319

    Here is the biggest issue with the premise of Windows Cloud, the inability to seamlessly move from one device to another.

    With Windows 10, they removed the Windows 8/8.1 feature of being able to sync Store app data from one machine to another. This is currently one of the biggest issues in Windows 10. If I use a Store app that isn't integrated with offline storage, all that local data is orphaned on the original device, and when I switch to a new device, I will have to start all over again with the app. This happens with lots of games for example, unless they are integrated with XBox, Facebook, etc. For a device, that solely relies on Store Apps, this is a kiss of death.

    • 10158

      In reply to Spineless:

      I had no idea store apps didn't sync. Considering how good they can do that on competing platforms (Apple especially), that is pretty bad. 

      • 2944

        In reply to Darmok N Jalad:

        That's be cause its untrue. Its just up for the dev to implement it.


        • 6319

          In reply to Elindalyne:

          That's part of the problem... That devs have to specifically write in that support. It should be intrinsic to the platform.

          It existed in Windows 8, but was removed in Windows 10. In Windows 8 you could restore the settings and app data from a specific device to a new device.

    • 5799

      In reply to Spineless:

      The Weather app and Maps app sync just fine.  I can look up an address on my laptop without having to type it in to my phone.  Now, a UWP podcast app that synced, that would be awesome. 

      • 6319

        In reply to JimP:

        Yes those work because they are connected to a service that persists the users settings. Not every app has a service that it connects to.

        On my iPhone, all my app data is backed up and can be restored to a new device, regardless whether the app has an associated login service.

  21. 7260


    Free Windows Cloud!  Let it run Win32 apps!

    Mark from CO

      • 907

        In reply to jimchamplin:

        Why? The vast majority of users prefer and use them.

        • 8834

          In reply to anchovylover:

          It took several years for Win32 to catch on.  Most people at the time preferred DOS apps, especially game developers.  Same will happen with UWP in time, and it's nowhere near as large a jump.

          • 1377

            In reply to warren:

            I was using Excel on Windows/386 in early 1989. Before Windows 3, there wasn't really any other reason to use Windows. Granted that was 16-bit, so not Win32. Before Windows 3.1 and the Win32s subsystem in the mid 1990s, there was no 32-bit Windows software, and the first batch before Windows 95 wasn't all that good. 32-bit Windows software didn't become truly usable until Windows 98 and NT4 in the late 1990s, and by that time most enterprises had, in fact, moved away from character mode software.

            I didn't pay attention to other software, but I did pay attention to spreadsheets, and I recall Lotus Development Corp sold 4 times as many units of 1-2-3 Release 4 for Windows than for MS-DOS. By then, 1993-4, it was the only spreadsheet being developed for both Windows and character mode, and most of its users had already moved on to Windows.

        • 1377

          In reply to anchovylover:

          The True MSFT fan is concerned only for what's best for MSFT, not what's best for Windows PC users.

    • 125

      In reply to Mark from CO:

      They did - It's called Windows Home or Pro....

  22. 2181

    This is so sad...