Windows 10X Details Leak, Confirm Laptop Support

Posted on October 26, 2019 by Paul Thurrott in Windows 10, Windows 10X with 40 Comments

A new leak confirms that Windows 10X will be coming to laptops and other traditional PC form factors. The leak also shows a more refined version of the system’s Chrome OS-like user interface that Brad and I, and others, had seen in the past.

The leak comes courtesy of The Walking Cat on Twitter, who discovered a public-facing Azure website for the coming system. It was quickly taken down by Microsoft, but not before a few enthusiast websites took a peek.

Among the tidbits are:

Support for laptops. “For both clamshells and foldables, the taskbar will be the same base model with a series of ‘levers’ which can be pulled to create some alternatives in the model,” the leaked document read. As promised.

Launcher replaces Start menu. We’ve been saying for a while that live tiles are on the way out, but Microsoft is also apparently renaming and replacing the Start menu with something called the Launcher. That sounds a lot like Chrome OS terminology to me. “Launcher helps users start and resume tasks quickly,” the documentation notes. “Search is seamlessly integrated with web results, available apps, and specific files on your device. Next up in the hierarchy of content is your default grid app, which can be customized and changed to meet individual needs and preferences. Launcher is opened and further assists in accelerating users with the use of muscle memory over time. And lastly, Recommended content is dynamically updated based on your most frequently and recently used apps, files, and websites. Jump back into your personal workflow without having to start from scratch.”

Start screen persists. Oddly, the document did mention “Start” at least once as well. This refers to a Start screen.

Improved Windows Hello. “When the screen turns on, you are immediately brought to a state of authentication,” the document noted, “unlike Windows 10 where you first need to dismiss the lock curtain before authenticating. Upon waking the device, Windows Hello Face instantly recognizes the user and will immediately transition to their desktop.” Just like the Pixel 4, as it turns out.

Modern File Explorer. It’s not clear why Microsoft hasn’t yet replaced the legacy File Explorer in Windows 10, but it’s finally happening in Windows 10X, which will feature the “Modern File Explorer.”

Optimized for local apps and PWAs. The documentation specifically called out “local apps and PWAs,” but I’m sure all Windows 10 app models (including UWP) will be supported in some way. We’ve heard that desktop applications will run in containers, for example, but I don’t believe this documentation confirmed that.

Simplified taskbar. Windows 10X provides a simplified version of the taskbar, and this where the document confirmed the laptop support.

Quick settings. Quick settings, currently found in the Action Center pane in Windows 10, will “provide an almost and intuitive way for users to access their commonly used settings,” the documentation says. “Today, settings exist in multiple surfaces and there is no clear and consistent path for users to access the settings that are most important to them.”

Lots of nonsense marketing mumbo-jumbo. Reminiscent of early Windows Phone 7 marketing materials, the documentation notes that Windows 10X is “guided by principles,” “inspired by people,” “effortless and magical,” and other nonsense. “We studied our past in order to inform our future,” it reads. “Designed around consumer needs, Santorini [the latest Windows 10X codename] adjusts to the way people interact with it.”

Thanks to MSPowerUser for snagging as much of the document as possible before it disappeared.

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Comments (40)

40 responses to “Windows 10X Details Leak, Confirm Laptop Support”

  1. red.radar

    well... it looks like Nadella is interested in Windows after all

    not too crazy about web results being integrated into my desktop search experience. If I want to search the web I click over to my web browser and search the web... maybe they get it right this time and I see the benefit...

  2. dxtremebob

    You know, I enjoyed watching Microsoft go from Windows 7 to Windows 8 to Windows 10. Everyone was intrigued with Windows 8. And then they weren't. Then came the drama. Will we see the return of the Start button? Will we see the return of the Start menu? Will the Desktop reign supreme again? Will they call the next version "Windows 9"? It was fun reading all about it, and watching the speculation and reporting on "Windows Weekly."

    Then things got a little boring (for me at least).

    But now. We have Windows 10X to speculate about.

    Let the fun begin!

  3. bluvg

    Please, Microsoft, don't effortless-icize the UI/UX at the expense of people who use and depend on using their computers like a boss. If you can wash away all the unwieldy complexity of maintaining and updating an OS that "just works" with plenty of hardware while providing the gobs of management controls businesses need--AND match if not exceed the productivity benefits Windows gives us today--then by all means, go forth and dominate. If not... we'll wait.

    Don't give us a Microsoft Chromebook.

  4. audiofreak39

    “Search is seamlessly integrated with web results, available apps, and specific files on your device."

    Ugh. Dear Microsoft, please give us privacy-conscious users a way to easily disable Bing Web search without modifying the registry. I request that my every taskbar search for "confidential files" or "Jane's Documents" on a shared network drive doesn't end up as plain-text, de-identified Web search queries in some server room.

    • nbplopes

      In reply to audiofreak39:

      Indexation can and should happen locally by default. Only by user request should be able to such across devices.

      I believe that battle should be to enforce user privacy both in the device and the Cloud. Asking to keep it locally is not the solution.

      PS: All your bank transactions are already in the Cloud by the way. So Privacy in the Cloud is possible and simple. Only Facebook and Google are distracting you from it.

  5. snow.steve22

    Nobody seems to be talking about the primary benefit of Windows 10X: substantially improved performance. I think I am seeing some of those benefits already in 20H1 (which has gotten a lot snappier in the last few iterations on the fast ring.) If this trend continues, I'd sure love to try this new paradigm (oops... dropped into promo speak for a moment) as a Windows Insider. I would step up and try anything that would breathe new life into old (and some not-so-old) hardware.

    Next (please) cutting down the memory footprint, hopefully a lot, to return to the early days of Windows 10 that would run respectably on more resource-constrained systems.

  6. Stooks

    Where is the beef? This leak, is marketing speak to be honest. The only real difference in this info vs the first release is that it can run on non-dual screen hardware, which I, and probably everyone else, assumed already.

    No info on CPU architecture. Is this an ARM or X86/64 based OS? Win32 in containers....including 64 bit apps? Will Win32 apps run in emulation or native in the container...and then be emulated if the CPU is ARM or native if x86/64????

    If this is just an alternative UI for regular Windows 10 X, then that is great but it does not mean much to me to be honest. Maybe I turn it on, maybe I don't.

    If it is a truly trimmed down OS that is lighter that can run on ARM or x86/64 and run legacy Windows apps, 32 and 64bit with little to no "emulation" impact using containers then this is a huge deal. If this is the deal, then it will crush Chrome OS in a week considering Chrome OS has less than half of 1% market share.

    PWA's so far in my world, have had ZERO impact. I use none and I do not see anyone using any either.

  7. ghostrider

    Seems like this is where MS want to take Windows. Dumbed down to the n'th level with everything locked down or hidden. Is it me, or does this look very much like ChromeOS? The thing is, ChromeOS was designed from the ground up to do what it does, and it does it very well. MS on the other hand, are slowly taking a feature rich, flexible, user friendly OS, and turning it the other way. It seems like they haven't learnt anything - it wont work with users.

  8. jimchamplin

    Making Start a moving target on a desktop-oriented system is a terrible UI decision. I know ChromeOS moved the icons to the middle, but the button for the launcher stays in one place. Personally, I think having any of the launcher icons move is a terrible direction. I've seen mockups of the desktop-mode version of this shell and it's not center-justified. I'm reaaaally hoping that on KBM-driven devices that the Taskbar reverts to the classic arrangement, making the centered layout just on touch-first devices.

    I also believe that limiting this to new hardware only is a mistake. Perhaps the plan will be to replace standard Windows 10's legacy shell with a CShell version - and bring many of the benefits with it. If they don't, they're doing it wrong :p

  9. madthinus

    Do we know who is heading up this project? Is this the Windows A team?

  10. dontbeevil

    I hope they're not going to kill live tiles, I really like them ... I'm sure that when apple or google will invent "live tiles" will be revolutionary

  11. nbplopes

    I liked Live Tiles in the Windows Phone. On Windows Tablets & PCs I felt it interrupted the flow.

    I think most proficient Windows uses actually start or bring forward apps through Search app name. It’s faster. Not by locating icons or windows on the screen. By passing all the visuals directly to the point. I think they know that. While on Tablets and touch Icons are more relevant.

    Anyway, relax, we will see many of these so called “leaks”. The soap opera already started.

  12. rm

    Given that Windows 10X is for students and people that want simple devices (Chromebook users), this is a great start. Of course others commenting here seem to think there can only be one Windows and it must meet their needs. That is not true and has not been true (Home, Pro, Enterprise, server, etc.).

  13. jdawgnoonan

    I find it hard to look at Live Tiles and to figure out which app is which. They look cool, but I don’t find them to actually be user friendly or a productivity boost. My photos Live Tile and News Live Tile or email and calendar Live Tiles simply look too much alike.

  14. Illusive_Man

    Explorer looks a lot like Finder now.

  15. glenn8878

    The Launcher is an inefficient use of space. I wish Microsoft brings back 3-D icons. Microsoft doesn't do the modern look well. Apple and Google makes modern look more refined. The backgrounds needs better graphics or a photo realistic image.

  16. Rcooper81

    This would be interesting on the Surface Go.

    • Stooks

      In reply to Rcooper81:

      Only after we know the if there is any performance impact running Win32 apps in a container. It smells of "emulation" and on a Surface Go that is not known for its power, it would drag it down when running Win32 apps if there is a container/emulation performance impact.

      From a UI perspective yes I think it would be great on the smaller Surface Go devices.

  17. catalin.banica

    This launcher looks a lot like what you see when you log in to

  18. djross95

    I have no interest at all in Windows 10 in it's current muddled state, but THIS on the other hand looks terrific! It's anyone's guess whether MS can actually execute and deliver this in good shape, I guess we'll all find out in due time.

  19. giskemo

    So maybe I don't understand completely, but this looks a lot like the experience you get from office 365 for business and that works flawlessly. If they manage to take that experience and expand it I think it will be great.

  20. thejoefin

    Seeing this documentation leak was exciting! I love seeing how these decision get made and discussed. Windows 10X is looking good and hopefully designed with more forethought for the current state of devices rather than an evolution of a UX designed for Windows 95.

  21. silenthero117

    That's cool and all, but history has shown over and over again that Microsoft is good with making Windows look cool with screenshots, but often fall short on the user experience and other finer UI details,. half-baked features and their inability to provide "meaningful" updates in a timely manner, all of which leaves many weird bugs/oddities (large and small) untouched/half-baked for eons. I'm hopeful that this will be different and better, but certainly not holding my breath on this one.

    Assuming they will announce something at Ignite, they better nail their pitch to developers (use cases, dev tools, app model, incentives, etc.).

    • djross95

      In reply to SilentHero117: I share your skepticism. If screenshots were shipping product, MS would rule the roost! Paul's recent posts about the "B-team players" being on Windows, while perhaps harsh, explains a lot of what we've been seeing of late.

  22. justme

    No thanks.

    I am hoping some of this will be allowed to be turned off. I have no desire for "Recommended" content, nor do I want web search integrated with local search results. If I want to search the web, I'll use a browser, thanks. I also hope Microsoft continue to let you turn the lock screen (which, to me, is useless), off.

  23. madthinus

    This looks like NT with a modern UI and a dumping of all the legacy stuff that is no longer needed or just to complex in a cloud first world.

  24. SvenJ

    Looks like they are creating a phone interface for laptops and desktops. Anyone here crying out for a full screen Start menu, aka Launcher? You can do that now on Win 10...anyone doing it? Four or five icons on the task bar? Think that is going to work? You could use all these screen shots and suggest they are the future of iPadOS.

  25. anton1900

    Oh yeah, thats the path forward for Microsoft, copy the most evil company in the world. What could possibly go wrong with that?

  26. gpstoloff

    Isn't MS Launcher already available on both Android & iOS?

  27. bart

    On the whole, I like it a lot. Launcher referring to Microsoft Launcher on Android (update inbound for it on Android?) and a simple and hassle free OS. But interesting this is designed around consumers. Yet we see apps like Teams present. Kind of confirms Teams for Life?

  28. codymesh

    this looks even more focused and cleaner than Chrome OS or Windows Phone ever was. I'm optimistic

  29. Rickard Eriksson

    In reply to dontbeevil:

    How the heck can you confuse local search with anything by google?

    Local search should only bring up the local files i am looking for there is absolutely zero reason to include web anything in that search.

    Or did you never search for files before google existed?