Windows Core OS

Windows Core OS (abbreviated as WCOS) is an internal Microsoft effort that aims to provide a universal, modular base for future versions of Microsoft Windows. The operating system is still based on the NT kernel, although most legacy features found in regular desktop Windows have been stripped out. Instead of the traditional Windows Explorer shell, the platform uses a newly built GUI stack based on DirectX and the UWP/WinUI frameworks. By default, WCOS variants are not natively compatible with applications using the legacy User and GDI libraries for their user interface, however, they can run virtualized using either remoting or a purpose-built container.

The introduction of a common core for all Windows-based products has been planned back as early as 2002. However, actual work would not start until mid-2013 with OneCore (then-named ModernCore),[1][2] which unified all products previously using separate forks of the Windows codebase into a single source code repository, enabling everything to be built from a single codebase although each product still provided its own shell on top of the common core. Windows Core OS is a natural extension of this effort, as it provides a common modular shell which can be customized for individual needs of each product.

List of derivatives[edit | edit source]

Windows 10X
Originally intended for dual-screen devices, later redesigned for single-screen devices as a competitor to ChromeOS. Canceled shortly before release in favor of integrating key technologies to existing products.
Windows Andromeda OS
Intended for use on the Surface Duo (codenamed Andromeda). Canceled in favor of Android during the device's development.
Windows Polaris OS
Canceled derivative with a desktop-like user interface.
Windows Factory OS
Lightweight version intended for use on factory floor and driver development.
Windows Holographic
HoloLens 2 firmware.
OneCore Update OS
Used for updating an existing WCOS-based device.

References[edit | edit source]

  1. Official Windows 8.1 repair content sources and Windows 8.1 Core for IoT images; Microsoft-Windows-ModernCoreEdition~31bf3856ad364e35~amd64~~6.3.9600.16384.mum in and various references to files containing the ModernCore moniker
  2. Microsoft-Windows-CoreSystem-ModernCore-base-Package~31bf3856ad364e35~x86~~6.3.9780.0.mum; Microsoft-OneCore-CoreSystem-base-Package~31bf3856ad364e35~x86~~6.3.9780.0.mum