Microsoft Windows 10X attempts to rival ChomeOS by ‘mimicking’ it, suggests launcher, desktop, install, and usage requisites

Microsoft Windows 10X
Windows 10X now looks and behaves like ChromeOS. Pic credit: Microsoft

Microsoft Windows 10X continues to appear in leaks. The latest offer more visual cues, but also add important information about how the lightweight fork of the Windows 10 Operating System (OS) will install and behave.

Originally intended to run on premium, sleek, dual-screen devices, Microsoft has brought down Windows 10X to single-screen, lightweight, and frugally configured laptops. Simply put, Microsoft Windows 10X is now directly competing against Google’s ChromeOS, and the latest leaks confirm the design and operations trajectory.

Microsoft inspired by ChromeOS?

Microsoft indicated last year that it is reworking Windows 10X for “single-screen” devices like laptops. The company spent several months, and perhaps a couple of years, trying to ensure Windows 10X looks and behaves differently from ChromeOS.

However, the latest developments make the Windows 10X look and feel a lot like Google’s ChromeOS. The latest version to leak is reportedly in the near-final form. Needless to mention, this iteration will ship preinstalled on lightweight laptops, just like Chromebooks.

Windows 10X is not an OS that users will get to “upgrade”. Neither will it be in the form of an update that will arrive on select, qualifying computers. It will ship only on new hardware. More specifically, it will attempt to attract buyers who are tempted to select a Chromebook.

Coming to the design cues, Microsoft has extensively simplified almost every area of “Windows” inside Windows 10X. It now feels the OS is rather a middle platform that offers users a launchpad to the web.

The Start Button, in fact, the entire Start Menu, is now at the center of the Task Bar. The menu even pops-up like a launcher, like the one on a smartphone.

Instead of the Live Tiles, Windows 10X Start Menu has a list of apps and recent documents. The ‘Search’ is merely a portal to hunt for apps, documents, or even content on the web through Microsoft’s Bing search engine.

ChromeOS essentially behaves very similarly. Google’s OS for lightweight laptops too offers the installation of Progressive Web Apps (PWAs) from the built-in Chromium Edge browse. Additionally, just like in ChromeOS, users can pin website links as icons to the PWAs to the Windows 10X Taskbar.

Windows 10X desktop, notifications, widgets, and even the setup process is heavily simplified:

Besides the Task Bar, multiple other components of Windows 10X are heavily simplified and optimized. The changes are clearly aimed at simplifying usage on a touch-screen enabled, lightweight, multi-form-factor device.

Interestingly, a Microsoft account and internet access are required for registration during the initial setup process of Windows 10X. Incidentally, Chrome OS also requires a Google Account for the full experience, but it does offer a “Browse as Guest” option.

It seems Windows 10X will likely only work on Intel CPUs and computers made by third-party companies. However, given the rapid progress of ARM CPUs, Microsoft could ship future Surface devices with Windows 10X.

Microsoft will mitigate the inability to run any traditional Windows 10 applications, using a lightweight virtual machine. However, the company has the Windows 10 Cloud PC platform to offer powerful Azure-based virtual OS-as-a-Service.

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