Just ahead of its launch for commercial PC-like devices, an install image of Windows 10X for single screens has leaked, giving us an early peek at Microsoft’s new OS.
And yes, it’s just like Chrome OS. Let’s just get that out of the way.
Microsoft has been working for years on a Chromebook competitor, but it has been largely unsuccessful. Windows 10 S, which was originally called Windows 10 Cloud, was Terry Myerson’s approach, and that, of course, crashed and burned, in part because it looked identical to Windows 10 but couldn’t run downloaded Windows 10 desktop applications.
And now we have Windows 10X. Microsoft tried to hide its true intent with this product by pretending last year that it was aimed at a new generation of dual-display PCs, but the software giant really created 10X to compete with Chrome OS on inexpensive single-display PCs. So after failing to get its container-based Windows desktop application compatibility solution to work, Microsoft scaled back and repositioned Windows 10X as was originally intended: It will now ship only on new traditional PCs aimed at education and other commercial markets.
I’ll be installing and evaluating the Windows 10X leak today, but early videos and shots show the Setup sequence is nearly identical to that of traditional Windows 10 versions, with the same basic steps, but with a simpler, almost cartoonish interface. It seems to require a Microsoft account, which makes sense since Windows 10 Home started this trend a few years ago.
And the main UI looks a lot like Chrome OS—and a lot like the mockup of a single-screen Windows 10X user interface that I made last April, go figure—as expected. Icons are centered on the taskbar, as in Chrome OS, and as with the Setup routine, everything seems simplified.
I’ll know more soon.