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Microsoft reportedly working on a lightweight version of Windows

One of the main advantages of Windows has always been program compatibility; the vast majority of Windows applications and games created in the past decade still work on the latest builds of Windows 10. However, this also means Windows has decades of legacy cruft that can't be removed. Now it seems Microsoft is finally making a version of Windows without all that.

Sources familiar with Microsoft's plans told The Verge that 'Windows Lite' will be a stripped-back version of Windows, primarily designed for use on dual-screen devices and cheap Chromebook-like laptops. It will use a 'Composable Shell,' a modular version of the existing Windows Shell, as well as components from Microsoft's Core OS (which powers the HoloLens 2).

Concepts for dual-screen devices from Intel (Credit: The Verge)

Concepts for dual-screen devices from Intel (Credit: The Verge)

Reports claim that Windows Lite, at least in its current form, can only run Universal Windows Platform applications (ones from the Microsoft Store) and web apps. Support for traditional Windows programs might arrive later, perhaps by running in protected containers. Removing the ability to natively run Win32 applications should allow Microsoft to remove most of Windows' legacy bloat.

At the moment, it's not clear when Windows Lite will ship, or if that will even be the official name. Microsoft will have its annual Build conference in May, so we might learn more about the OS then.

Thanks, The Verge.

Corbin Davenport

Corbin is a tech journalist and software developer, based in North Carolina. He plays a lot of Planet Coaster and Fallout.