Windows 10X, everything you need to know

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Aina Prat Blasi

Windows 10X is a new version of the famous Microsoft operating system, originally designed specifically for foldable and / or dual-screen devices. Presented in October 2019, it was to make its debut on the market during the autumn of 2020, and then be postponed to the spring of 2021. The first product on which it was to be installed was to be the Surface Neo, or the new tablet with dual display of the 'company from Redmond, however, there is no trace of the device and the OS will first be released for classic single display products.

Let's proceed in order, however, first of all trying to understand what actually changes compared to the standard version of Windows 10.

Windows 10X: Microsoft changes interface

Let's start first from the different graphical interface. With this version of the operating system, Microsoft says goodbye to live tiles, with a basically constituted start menu from three main elements: search, most recent applications (or the most used ones) and the timeline (which will also fish from the browser history). All very simple and intuitive therefore, designed above all to facilitate use with the fingers (touchscreen).

Windows 10X also has a new adaptive taskbar, which may change based on the form factor of the device or user preferences. Again, everything revolves around finger touch: the bar minimizes when you run an application, while it can be expanded to access quick actions (including the start menu and the action center).

Speaking of the operations center, the restyling operated by Microsoft has also touched this section. The Redmond company has placed greater emphasis on the concept of "quick action", introducing an approach for handling notifications practically identical to that of smartphones. In addition, directly from the operations center, it will be possible to adjust the volume, the power options and, of course, keep under control the percentage of battery charge.

Windows 10X: what will be compatible programs and apps?

This is probably the theme that has generated the most curiosity around Windows 10X. After all, since it is an operating system designed for devices attributable to real computers (beyond the particular form factor), it will be very important for Microsoft to guarantee full compatibility of the applications. In short, avoid making the mistake you made with the Windows Phone application store.

Not surprisingly, originally, Windows 10X had to be compatible with all universal applications (UWP) made for Windows 10, with web apps, with Progressive Web Apps (PWA) and with Win32 applications, that is to say the classic programs to which the Microsoft operating system has accustomed us. Unfortunately, at least for the launch, Microsoft has abandoned compatibility with Win32 software.

Windows 10X: Compose Mode

This is probably the feature that would have really set Windows 10X apart from the standard versions of the Microsoft operating system. It's called "Compose Mode" and consists in transforming a portion of the foldable displays into a virtual keyboard and trackpad. In case the devices support specific accessories, they will be easily recognized. Let's take a practical example.

The Surface Neo of the Redmond company he should have had a physical keyboard available to be applied on one of the two portions of the folded screen. When this would have happened, the part of the screen on which the physical keyboard would have been positioned would have turned off, thus creating a combination that, in fact, recalls the form factor of a classic notebook.

In order to make you fully understand how this mode works, we integrate in the article the video dedicated to the Surface Neo made by The Verge, as the original Microsoft video explaining the function has been removed.

Windows 10X: update system

Microsoft's new operating system was inspired not only by the graphical interface now familiar to Chrome OS users, but it also took inspiration from the operating system of the Mountain View company to improve the OS update experience.

Windows 10X will be able, in fact, to install updates in less than 90 seconds by copying the downloaded packages to a second system partition. At the next restart of the PC the second partition, the most updated one, will be started to allow users to enjoy the most recent version of the system while the one that was previously the primary partition will be set as secondary.

This will ensure not only a faster update system but also the ability to roll back to a previous version of Windows 10X in case of problems with the latest update.

Windows 10X: compatible devices

It flies, i Windows 10X compatible devices. In Microsoft's plans, this was an operating system designed for foldable tablets and PCs but which has been adapted for classic laptops and tablets. Given the similarities to Google's Chrome OS system, we don't have a hard time believing that it can also be used on inexpensive and market-oriented laptops by students and teachers.

Obviously, in the course of 2021 the first supported devices will certainly be announced, so we will constantly update this article, gradually inserting our impressions of use on the new Microsoft software creature.

This article was originally written by Saverio Lodging but has since been updated to include more recent information on the subject matter.

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