Microsoft is working on a project called CorePC, which is creating a completely redesigned Windows. They want to upgrade the system with the same innovations that were previously developed for Windows Core OS, but now with an emphasis on modularity, security and the use of artificial intelligence. CorePC will allow Microsoft to customize “editions” of Windows with varying levels of feature and application compatibility.
For years, Microsoft has been trying to modernize the Windows platform. The latest attempt to do so is Windows Core OS, also known as Windows 10X, a modular, UWP-enabled operating system stripped of legacy features and limited in terms of compatibility in favor of lighter weight, faster updates, and much more security. Unfortunately, Windows Core OS for PCs in traditional form factors was never released. The Windows 10X project was canceled in 2021 after several months of internal testing and several years of development.
The new project, codenamed CorePC, is designed to be a modular and customizable version of Windows that allows for a variety of device form factors. One of the most important differences between CorePC and all previous versions of Windows is the separation of CorePC states. The current version of Windows is installed by default on a single disk partition with write permission, while the system itself, user data, and program files are stored in one place. And CorePC splits the drive into multiple partitions, which radically speeds up OS updates, provides a quick and reliable system reset and increased security due to dedicated read-only partitions that are inaccessible to the user and third-party applications, like in iPadOS or Android.
CorePC will allow Microsoft to finally release a version of Windows that truly rivals Chrome OS in terms of size, performance and features. A version of Windows for low-cost education PCs that only runs the Edge browser, Android apps (via Project Latte), and Office programs is already in early internal testing and takes up 60-75% less disk space than Windows 11 SE.
Microsoft is also working on a CorePC version that matches the current feature set and experience of the Windows desktop, but with split state enabled for faster OS updates and better security. There is also a compatibility layer, codenamed Neon, for legacy applications that require an OS with a single partition (shared state).
At the same time, Microsoft is experimenting with a version of CorePC without backward compatibility and “optimized for silicon”, that is, for specific hardware. This version focuses on AI capabilities and vertical optimization of hardware and software, similar to Mac and MacBook on proprietary Apple Silicon processors. AI features include content analysis and contextual cues to quickly launch projects or applications. AI can also identify objects and text in images and enable the user to easily manipulate these elements. Some AI functions will require special hardware.
Of course, these plans, features, and configurations are subject to change until Microsoft is ready to ship the CorePC. Microsoft appears to be aiming to launch this project in 2024 in time for the release of the next major version of Windows, codenamed Hudson Valley, or Windows 12. Microsoft representatives declined to comment.
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