What to expect from Microsoft’s next PC operating system

Satya Nadella, CEO of Microsoft Corp., speaks during the Windows 10 Devices event in New York on October 6, 2015. Microsoft Corp. introduced its first laptop, three Lumia phones, and a Surface Pro 4 tablet, the first indication of the company’s revamped hardware strategy three months after saying it would cut back on plans to make its own smartphones.

John Taggart | Bloomberg | fake images

Last month, Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella previewed “one of the most important Windows updates of the last decade,” and on Thursday the company plans to introduce it to the public.

Upgrading the 35-year-old operating system may result in additional revenue growth for the world’s second-most valuable public company, behind only Apple. Over time, the new Windows is likely to become widely adopted as millions of consumers and office workers upgrade from Windows 10, the leading PC operating system.

In recent days, early adopters have been able to give people a taste of what’s to come, thanks to the leak of a next-generation version of Windows that appeared online last week. The operating system appeared to be part of an incomplete initial build, according to a person familiar with the matter.

The leaked build contains a variety of changes, many of which Microsoft could describe at its virtual event on Thursday. Here is a summary of what to expect:

Design changes

If the next version of Windows looks anything like the leaked version, then it will borrow items from the archived Windows 10X, which was originally intended to run on dual-screen PCs, for an operating system that was called Windows 11. As well as Windows 10X placed the Start button and icons for open programs in the center of the taskbar at the bottom of the screen instead of the left side, Windows 11 does too.

The build incorporates a new Windows icon with four squares of the same size, unlike the icon used for Windows 8 and Windows 10 with window panes that widen from left to right. Individual app windows retain rounded corners, like Apple’s MacOS, rather than the sharp corners of Windows 10.

The animations that people see when opening and closing windows have changed, and the Start menu displays applications and files in a similar way to the Windows 10X approach. Sounds for notifications and other events have also been revamped.

Modern features

The leaked build came with some new ways for users to customize their PCs.

Pressing new buttons could cause application windows to snap into preset settings on the screen. And the Settings app included an option to allow the operating system to “remember window locations based on monitor connection.” That could alleviate an issue people have had with Windows not returning apps to their previous settings when people were using multiple displays with their computers.

Computers with touchscreens exposed a new setting called Wake on Touch, presumably a Windows equivalent of the feature on some mobile devices that allows users to quickly turn on the screen by tapping the screen a couple of times.

A performance boost

Some of the people who installed the leaked version of Windows 11 ran tests and found that the operating system offered faster performance than the latest version of Windows 10, which in turn was advertised as “fast and familiar” when it was released in 2015. .

The new version outperformed Windows 10 in a variety of comparisons on a Samsung PC with an Intel “Lakefield” chip, according to a report from Hot Hardware.

A renovated store

Nadella said last month that the Windows update would benefit developers. One place where developers can expose their applications to end users on Windows is the Microsoft application store. The company already said in April that it will reduce the percentage of revenue it reserves for itself from purchases in the app store, and Windows 11 could take advantage of that.

Microsoft has been taking steps to allow developers to use third-party commerce systems for the apps they’d like to include in the Store, and the company wants to make room for classic Win32 apps in the Store without requiring any software changes, Windows reported. Central in April.

Surprises

Finally, there could be unexpected announcements. On Tuesday, Microsoft employee Miguel de Icaza said on Twitter that the company will talk about something it spent years pushing for. De Icaza joined Microsoft in 2016 as part of its acquisition of Xamarin, which enables software developers to create mobile apps for multiple platforms, including Apple’s IOS and Google’s Android, using Microsoft’s C # programming language.

Microsoft could also use the event as an opportunity to discuss structural changes in the Windows business.

“We will be listening closely to any indication that Microsoft could use this release to accelerate the transition from the Windows revolutions to a more subscription / evaluable model, through a ‘Windows-as-a-Service’ offering or through a push. M365 software (which includes Office 365, Windows 10, and EMS), and whether an OS / desktop upgrade could drive the adoption of Enterprise Teams, ”wrote analysts from UBS, which has a buy rating on the shares of Microsoft, in a Monday note.

CNBC will cover the event as it unfolds starting at 11 a.m. ET on Thursday.

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