Image: BetaWorld (Baidu).
There is still a little over a week before Microsoft officially reveals the “new Windows”. A new build, which seems legitimate, has been leaked and seems to confirm the “Windows 11” rumor. Also, as expected by many, the new Windows 11 shell looks a lot like the Windows 10X builds seen previously.
The leaked version – which I first spotted via XDA Developers, which credited BetaWorld on Baidu as the source – shows 21996.1 as the version number. This is the “Cobalt” engineering branch. It also lists Windows Experience Pack 321.14700.0.3 alongside the “Windows 11 Pro” development version.
Windows 10X, which Microsoft officially announced was ending recently, featured a centered taskbar and an unfolding Start menu. The icons in the screenshot of this version are transparent and the dynamic tiles are completely gone.
Sun Valley, a new app store and other new features
Some believe that Microsoft could ship certain elements of Windows 11 through the Feature Experience Pack – a mechanism currently used to ship operating system components and applications that can be updated independently of the base operating system.
According to previous leaks, Microsoft is also expected to overhaul its app store as part of Windows 11. Currently, it’s a separate app from the Universal Windows Platform (UWP).
According to various leaks, Windows 11 is expected to include the new “Sun Valley” user interface, as well as some underlying improvements, such as better touchscreen capabilities and this new app store. From what I’ve heard, Microsoft should probably make Windows 11 available to its OEM partners this month or next, before rolling it out to all users this fall.
Windows 10 is still here
Windows 11, if that mark persists, should be built on top of the existing Windows 10 kernel, not the Windows Core OS (WCOS) that was to be the core of Windows 10X. According to my contacts, Microsoft will continue to support Windows 10, with a Windows 10 21H2 version coming out this fall. The company is also planning a release of Windows 10 Enterprise Long Term Servicing Channel (LTSC) this fall.
As announced six years ago, Microsoft has committed to support Windows 10 until 2025. Support for LTSC versions will go beyond that point – with this fall’s LTSC version being supported for another five. years after its launch.
All the news concerning Windows will be found during the virtual event on June 24.