Windows 10X containers: What they mean and how to manage them

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Heidi Flaig|February 27, 2020
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February has proved to be an eventful month for Microsoft as they announced Windows 10X containers, Bing experienced a local search outage, and Windows 7 users are seeing an increase in the ever-accumulating bugs on the unsupported OS. Listen in to hear Windows expert, Brad Sams, and SmartDeploy CEO, Aaron Suzuki, give their two cents on these topics. Continue reading to learn how this news impacts the Windows landscape.

Will containers yield 90-second updates?

On February 11th, Microsoft officially announced they are requiring Windows 10X containers on the new OS. Windows 10X containers will include three types, Win 32, full-trust MSIX, and UWP, to improve device performance. The Win32 Container runs standard x86 and x64 desktop applications, as well as WinForms, WPF, and Electron – and they all run within a single shared environment, similar to a traditional desktop OS. The Full-Trust MSIX Container is highly compatible with existing Win32 apps, running them each in a container (siloed separately from each other) within Win32 on Windows 10X. UWP apps, which you may be familiar with as the tablet/touchscreen-friendly apps that were originally the only type included in the Windows Store, and are now supported across multiple devices and form-factors. These have the lowest system overhead, best performance and battery life, and the best security and privacy controls of all the app types.

For a quick recap, Windows 10X was originally a lightweight variant of Windows 10 in a more modular form, targeted for dual-screen and foldable devices. The new Windows 10X containers will ensure existing Windows applications will “just work” on Windows 10X without needing developer modifications. Microsoft has made some lofty statements about containerization, including how this will allow for an installation of Windows updates in under 90-secondsListen in to hear Aaron’s take on how he thinks Microsoft will be able to back their claims.

Microsoft’s modularity is also following industry imaging trends as IT is shifting towards creating role-based images as opposed to device-based images. As IT is becoming less dependent on configuring machines based on models, they are now setting up images based on departments or job titles for a more streamlined user experience. An important note about Windows 10X is that certain high-end applications like video editing, CAD software, and some gaming software are unlikely to run on the OS. This is for a variety of reasons, but some software, such as antivirus software, is not well-suited to run in a modular fashion. Some multiplayer online games will also not run properly due to anti-cheat technology. Because of that limitation, Brad and Aaron don’t see Windows 10X replacing Windows 10 Pro or Enterprise anytime soon and we can expect Windows 10X to be used amongst consumers long before businesses. Hopefully we can get a closer look at the new OS during Microsoft Build in May.

Did you catch this Windows 10 local search outage?

Earlier this month Windows 10 had an outage with Bing which broke the OS built in search, aka local search, for several users. The malfunction presented itself as a blank screen when searching for applications or other search queries. Microsoft confirmed it was investigating access and latency issues and claimed to have resolved the problem a few hours later. They concluded the local search malfunction was due to a network disruption in a third-party networking fiber provider. Although Microsoft stated users simply needed to reboot their machine to resume proper functionality, it wasn’t that simple for some. Brad was affected by this local search outage so be sure to listen in to hear the hoops he needed to jump through to regain normal search functions. Aaron sees this malfunction as a wake-up call to users as it shows Windows is not as connected as we may think. As functionalities continue to expand, the OS is increasingly dependent on background services; as we’ve seen in a previous instance with Windows and File Explorer incompatibilities since the release of 1909.

Windows 7 EOS presents more OS bugs

Microsoft released their final patch for Windows 7 which introduced a minor bug that removes or stretches the desktop wallpaper. It’s debatable if Microsoft will continue to fix these small errors but Brad and Aaron expect to see more Windows 7 patches in the future. Microsoft seems to have learned from their mistakes with Windows XP and are paying closer attention to users still running on the unsupported OS. This is to avoid backlash from customers who are planning a Windows 10 migration but still need to wrap up lingering projects on Windows 7 before doing so.

Heidi Flaig profile photo
Heidi Flaig

Heidi Flaig has worked on SmartDeploy's marketing team since 2011 and thrives on engaging with IT professionals to better understand how SmartDeploy products can improve their world. She has over 500 contributions in the Spiceworks community. When she’s not in the office, you can find Heidi hiking with her husband, two sons, and silver lab, Miles.

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