Introducing Windows 10X: What you need to know

Windows 10X is a new Windows operating system that offers sleek new features and a cloud-optimised experience. Although Windows 10 is in its name, Windows 10X strips back many of the unreliable bells and whistles of its predecessor. This means it offers a more streamlined experience similar to the likes of Chrome OS.

Windows 10X has massive implications for Australian businesses that value the benefits remote work brings. If you want to know what this technology brings to users, we’ve compiled everything you need to know in this article.

When is the release date?

According to initial reports, Windows 10X was expected to be released alongside Microsoft’s dual-screen PC Surface Neo by the end of 2020. However, due to some delays, Microsoft has shifted its focus to releasing Windows 10X for single-screen devices first. Several reports from experts claimed that Windows 10X will likely be available for businesses as early as April 2021.

Which devices will feature Windows 10X?

Windows 10X is a lightweight operating system designed for compact devices like tablets, notebooks, laptops, and dual-screen computers. It’s not built for powerful desktop PCs with high-end hardware. As mentioned, Windows 10X was initially intended for Surface Neo, but other manufacturers like Asus, Dell, and Lenovo are slated to launch Windows 10X-compatible devices. Lenovo’s ThinkPad X1 Fold, in particular, is a good match for the new operating system.

What new features does Windows 10X bring to the table?

Windows 10X cuts many of the legacy features found in previous Windows versions to provide better user experience, performance, and security. Here is a list of Windows 10X’s promising new features:

1. Adaptive user experience

Since Windows 10X is compatible with various devices, it has an adaptive user interface depending on how you use your device. With foldable dual screen PCs, Windows 10X can adjust app sizes and screen orientations when you’re switching between laptop, tablet, and tent mode.

2. New Taskbar and Start menu

The most notable changes in Windows 10X are the overhauled Taskbar and Start menu. Unlike previous versions, the Start menu is now at the centre of the taskbar and is free of cluttered live tiles. It also features a universal search bar, which shows results from your system, Microsoft Store, and the web. Below the search bar is a grid of installed apps and below that is a segment displaying the most recent documents you’ve worked on.

As for the Taskbar itself, there are new yet subtle animations to app icons when you click and minimise them. You can even resize the Taskbar depending on the device you’re using. Additionally, tablet users now have the ability to swipe up from the bottom of the screen to see the Taskbar and access their running apps.

3. Robust Action Center

In addition to the Start menu, Windows 10 improves upon previous iterations of Action Center. While the Action Center is still in the bottom-right corner of the desktop, it’s now layed out into separate panels. Occupying the top of the Action Center is the notifications panel, which provides alerts on app activity, reminders, and updates.

The bottom panel of the Action Center displays various settings you can configure on the spot instead of opening the Windows Settings app. These settings include but are not limited to Wi-Fi connectivity, Bluetooth, volume controls, power options, battery usage, and screen orientation. There’s also a media control panel that appears in between the settings and notifications panels when you’re playing an audio or video file.

4. Streamlined File Explorer

The new File Explorer in Windows 10X moves away from legacy features of older operating systems and introduces new ones. Instead of cluttered command bars, Windows 10X features more visual and intuitive buttons to navigate and organise files. File Explorer is also built around OneDrive by default. This means your local files are synced with your OneDrive account in the cloud, so your work data is consistent across the board. A OneDrive-oriented File Explorer also means you can offload files to the cloud to save local storage space.

5. Security enhancements

To protect devices from malware and other cyber threats, Windows 10X comes with a feature called state separation. Broadly speaking, this feature puts everything into a read-only partition that can’t be accessed by users and third-party applications. Vital OS files, drivers, and registries are secured in their own isolated partition and can’t be tampered with.

Meanwhile, users and applications only have access to the user partition, which is a separate environment that’s discarded after a reboot. For users and applications to access items outside of the user partition, they’d need to have specific permissions and authorisations. This means cybercriminals and potentially malicious programs won’t be able to alter critical system files by default.

Furthermore, Windows 10X will only allow you to install apps from trustworthy sources such as verified web browsers, USB drives, and the Microsoft Store.

6. Fast updates

Windows 10X updates are designed to be as painless as possible. When Microsoft rolls out new security and feature updates, Windows 10X installs those updates in the background without straining hardware performance. Once the update is finished installing, you only need to reboot your device for the changes to take effect. This is similar to how Chrome OS and Android updates work, so you can continue working uninterrupted.

The difference with other operating systems, however, is that Windows 10X can process pre-installed updates and reboot in less than 90 seconds. That’s a massive improvement, especially when compared to Windows 10, which can take up to 20 minutes to reboot.

Windows 10X presents exciting new opportunities for businesses, and learning where it fits in your operations can give you a competitive edge. To see whether installing Windows 10X is the right move for your company, call Empower IT Solutions today. As Australia’s leading managed IT services provider, we’ll assess your company’s needs and inform you of the release of Windows 10X. That way, you can reap the full benefits of this new technology.