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Windows 10X Mothballed With Focus on Windows 10 for Desktop, Reports Say

Devices running Windows 10X
(Image credit: Microsoft)

Microsoft has indefinitely delayed Windows 10X, its lightweight operating system for low-spec systems and foldables, according to reports from Windows Central and Petri. Instead, the company will turn its focus to the existing desktop experience.

A Microsoft spokesperson told Tom's Hardware that "Microsoft has nothing to share at this time."

Windows 10X was introduced in 2019 at a Surface-based event as a version of the Windows 10 operating system designed for dual-screen devices, like the Surface Neo. But Windows 10X was delayed to spring 2021 after a shift to single screen devices to service people's needs during the Covid-19 pandemic. The Surface Neo was delayed, and no date was ever given for a release. The device was also removed from Microsoft's website.

In theory, not only would Windows 10X power foldables, but also rival Google's Chrome OS with support for low-power computers. The Surface Neo, for instance, was going to run on Intel's Lakefield platform.

The company is reportedly focusing on the existing Windows 10 experience now. Its Sun Valley update, which will include a visual overhaul will likely see the benefits of Windows 10X later this year.

Windows 10X was not Microsoft's first attempt to rejuvenate Windows 10. Windows 10 S showed up with the Surface Laptop in 2017, but was seen as limited and later made into a locked down mode that users could easily switch out of. And let's not forget Windows RT, which launched alongside the original Surface Tablet in 2012, only to be discontinued a year later, although technically that was in the days of Windows 8.

Recently, Microsoft announced that 1.3 billion active devices are running Windows 10. It appears that Microsoft is focusing on those experiences instead.

Andrew E. Freedman

Andrew E. Freedman is a senior editor at Tom's Hardware focusing on laptops, desktops and gaming as well as keeping up with the latest news. He holds a M.S. in Journalism (Digital Media) from Columbia University. A lover of all things gaming and tech, his previous work has shown up in Kotaku, PCMag, Complex, Tom's Guide and Laptop Mag among others.

  • Findecanor
    I wonder how this is going to affect the Surface Neo. People don't want to see last year's hardware in a product with a premium price, like with the Surface Duo.

    And BTW, please don't adopt Microsoft's befuddled marketingspeak where everything is an "experience", and every product is an "invention". Translate into straightforward English, please!
    Reply
  • punkncat
    Isn't 'X' the OS where you could only use MS apps and services along with?
    Reply
  • velocityg4
    To the beat of "Another One Bites the Dust", by Queen.
    Let's go

    Satya walks warily down the street
    With his brim pulled way down low
    Ain't no sound but the sound of his feet
    A promising product nearly ready to go
    Are you ready hey are you ready for this?
    Are you hanging on the edge of your seat?
    Out of the doorway accounting's ready to rip
    Another line item from the balance sheet

    Another program bites the dust
    Another program bites the dust
    And another one gone and another one gone
    Another program bites the dust
    Hey accounting's gonna get you too
    Another program bites the dust
    Reply
  • Eximo
    punkncat said:
    Isn't 'X' the OS where you could only use MS apps and services along with?

    No, that was Windows 10 ARM.

    Windows 10 X was basically a UI overhaul. Got rid of all the old menus in favor of fancier ones for more mobile like experiences.

    I think they've once again proved that, for most people, they don't want a mobile experience on their laptops and desktops.

    Windows 8 wasn't exactly a hit.
    Reply
  • JamesJones44
    I'm not sure what they gain be sticking with desktop only. They have really started to lose the server world, we have clients who 5 years ago would have never considered Linux starting to lean that way and many have converted. Even our biggest Windows Server only client agreed to use a Linux machine for the Kubernetes control plane. It's only a matter of time before they decide it's just easier.

    I guess in the end Azure makes on site Windows Server mostly a legacy business, but you would think at this point MS would just bite the bolt and use a BSD or Linux kernel with their UI and DirectX (just like macOS does with their UI and Metal) and focus on entering new markets instead of failing to rewrite their own stack every 3 to 5 years.
    Reply
  • Eximo
    Well, the server world is still divided heavily. A lot of your financial, sales, and general businesses can easily run on Unix/Linux. Same with research and medicine, since a lot of it comes out of Universities. But a lot of engineering, manufacturing, and municipalities rely on Windows based software to function. I don't see that changing any time soon.
    Reply
  • Murissokah
    It's not like Windows Server is going away, it's still good at many things a small to mid-sized corporation may need, like Active Directory to manage users and policies, file servers, print servers, network policy servers and the like. Linux can do all that, but its so much worse to setup and manage. However, for things such as running web applications and cloud workloads Linux is pretty much the standard nowadays, mostly thanks to docker. For the desktop users both work and I still rather manage a business with Windows PCs for my users than Linux. I just wish Windows 10 didn't have so much crap with it, I might use it for a workstation then.
    Reply
  • spongiemaster
    Eximo said:
    Windows 10 X was basically a UI overhaul. Got rid of all the old menus in favor of fancier ones for more mobile like experiences.
    I thought Windows 10 X was being developed specifically for dual screen portable devices.

    Also, punkncat may have been talking about Windows 10 S Mode which only allows applications from the Microsoft Store to be installed.
    Reply
  • ingtar33
    punkncat said:
    Isn't 'X' the OS where you could only use MS apps and services along with?
    yep, it's not an x86 environment, and 100% tied to the windows store.
    Reply
  • punkncat
    spongiemaster said:
    I thought Windows 10 X was being developed specifically for dual screen portable devices.

    Also, punkncat may have been talking about Windows 10 S Mode which only allows applications from the Microsoft Store to be installed.

    I think you are correct. S/X it sounds about the same with a good slur (lol)

    thx
    Reply