Windows 7 support has ended meaning Microsoft will not be releasing cumulative or emergency updates to the operating system (OS), this is not to say that they will never release another update, they could do if a major flaw is discovered but for the moment the Windows 7 OS has been put on the back burner at Microsoft on a very very low heat.
Windows 8 is still about and constantly being updated but users have been advised by Microsoft to update to Windows 10, and they can do for no cost as long as the original version of the software is a legal one – just search for “Windows 10 download page” on the internet – if you are going for this option. It is probably best to do this as soon as you can as there will be a time when support for Windows 8 will end, this includes extended support in some instances.
For most home and office Windows users there is little option but to upgrade if they want to remain safe online as well as locally on their machines as Microsoft will continue to push updates and core improvements over the working life of the current OS which is now Windows 10. Out of the box Windows 10 has always ran well, there have been some glitches along the way that have been patched, the OS has around 50 million lines of code and so some holes are bound to appear over time naturally as well as the white and black hat hackers always looking for them to patch for bounties or exploit for financial or disruptive means.
Now windows 10 is a solid OS that is relied upon by millions of users all over the world and will be with us for the foreseeable future as it has become a modular OS, it runs on the Xbox gaming consoles and many different devices from laptops to smartphones and more.
Recently the NSA advised Microsoft of a very real flaw to do with crypt32.dll, this is the dynamic link library within Windows 10, it is a file which contains code and data that can be used by more than one app (program) at the same time. Crypt32.dll allows software developers to access various functions like those of digital signatures which are used to sign and then verify software so that it is legitimate, in theory, hackers using this exploit could create software and pass it off a for the real thing. This is quite a big deal as a core component of the cryptographic software at the heart of Windows 10, the flaw also surfaced on Windows Server 2016 & 2019 but does not appear to affect older versions of the OS.
The flaw has been patched now and just goes to shows how important it is to keep up with updates and have a general view of the horizon as such events do take place occasionally.
So we are all good on the Windows 10 scheme of things and can carry on as normal, nothing to see here… but wait, there is another version called Windows 10X (that should not be confused with xwindows for Linux sometimes referred to as X11 or simply X – it is a graphical rendering system which was originally designed for UNIX-based systems for use in a distributed network).
So back to Windows 10X (codename Santorini), it is not an entirely new OS but one that supports dual-screen devices such as the Surface NEO and Surface Duo, Microsoft also demonstrated a Surface laptop with a ‘Wonderbar’ which is a long screen that spans the whole top of the keyboard and can be used for a myriad of functions.
Windows 10X can only be used on intel processor-based devices for now but Microsoft are building a new operating system called Windows Core OS (WCOS) that will act as a backbone for many devices, different user interfaces can be paired with a Composable shell (CShell) to each new interface.
Oddly the surface X pro does not run Windows 10X and you will not be able to upgrade your existing instance to it either, many devices won’t be able to run it anyway, Microsoft announced.
There are only a few details that have been released about Windows 10X directly from Microsoft:
- We know it works on the Surface Neo and its ‘WonderBar’ that can act as a second monitor (on demand).
- It will ship in late 2020 on intel powered devices from the likes of Asus, Dell, HP and Lenovo (IBM-ish).
- The OS will run legacy Win32 desktop apps in a container that preserves battery life.
- Things have changed with the Start Menu in that is will be a smartphone-kinda launcher.
- On rotation of the device, the OS will relocate apps and pinned items intelligently.
- Updates to the OS will occur in the background, there will be no need to restart that can interrupt critical operations as well as general workflow.
- Live tiles have gone, or so it seems for now.
- The ‘Edge’ browser will be pushed hard to try to take away from the Google ‘Chrome’ browser market dominance, up ‘til now the Edge browser has been glitchy as well as bloaty using a lot of resources on computer systems and for many, remains unusable.
We should not be too concerned about upgrading to Windows 10X just yet as the regular Windows 10 version in whatever flavour still has a lot of life in it but it is worth keeping an eye on if not only for its modular design and flash new design that can span many devices and possible hardware architectures, only time will tell.