Windows 10X was recently leaked in the form of what’s apparently a near-final build, and enterprising developers have already got that version of Microsoft’s lightweight OS running on a MacBook (with M1 chip) and a Lumia smartphone, as well as the Surface Go.
Windows 10X is the inbound spin on Microsoft’s desktop operating system which is very much a stripped-back and simplified version, with some major differences in terms of the interface and overall functionality – plus it’s also designed to run on devices with an ARM CPU (and not just Intel chips).
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The leaked build was successfully run on an ARM-based MacBook M1 using QEMU virtualization by developer @imbushuo, and reportedly performs well on the Apple notebook. (This dev previously ran Windows 10X on an Intel-powered MacBook).
hi pic.twitter.com/1v0yE12yJHJanuary 17, 2021
Lumia 950 XL
Furthermore, other developers, those who are part of the LumiaWOA (Windows on ARM) project, have got Windows 10X running on a Lumia 950 XL phone, albeit with limitations (as Windows Latest, which spotted this, notes).
Hi pic.twitter.com/zAGeYTEgliJanuary 18, 2021
Also, as you might guess, this wasn’t a particularly easy feat to achieve.
Finally, a further spotting of the Windows 10X leaked build witnessed it happily chugging away on one of Microsoft’s own Surface Go tablets. Apparently it runs ‘fine’ in terms of performance levels, but there are sticking points, most notably the lack of Wi-Fi support.
Windows 10X 20279 running on the original Microsoft Surface Go LTE. Same as last year, sadly, no WiFi, no Cameras.Thanks to @NTAuthority @thebookisclosed @gus33000 and entire @Inside_Windows Community!We'll publish new instructions soon on https://t.co/iOPTFVXKvl. Stay tuned! pic.twitter.com/9jYXd5PyjSJanuary 17, 2021
The mentioned instructions are tweeted here if you want to check them out.
Windows 10X makes a lot of changes to the interface, as we mentioned at the outset, and turns the Start menu into something that feels more akin to the launcher on Chromebooks. Indeed, this initial incarnation of Microsoft’s OS, built for single-screen devices – the original intention was for 10X to be on dual-screen machines first – looks very much like an attack on Chrome OS.
Of course, the simplification that Windows 10X majors in means the removal of what some would consider to be key aspects of a desktop OS, including the lack of ability on the multitasking front, and not being able to run traditional Windows (Win32) apps – although support for the latter should arrive eventually (though maybe not any time soon).
App support will initially be limited to universal (UWP) and web apps, although apparently there is a pretty slick implementation of the latter from what we’ve heard.
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Darren is a freelancer writing news and features for TechRadar (and occasionally T3) across a broad range of computing topics including CPUs, GPUs, various other hardware, VPNs, antivirus and more. He has written about tech for the best part of three decades, and writes books in his spare time (his debut novel - 'I Know What You Did Last Supper' - was published by Hachette UK in 2013).