HomeWinBuzzer NewsWindows 10 Preview Gives Hints at an OS and Shell Breakup

Windows 10 Preview Gives Hints at an OS and Shell Breakup

Windows 10 build 18917 hints at a separation of elements like the Action Center and Start Menu in the first half of 2020, opening the OS to a more modular experience.


preview build 18917 has given developers a peek into 's plans to separate the OS' Shell from the rest of the system. Under the new methodology, the company would make Shell UI parts like the Action Center, taskbar, and Start menu independently updatable.

's Albacore found evidence of this via a ‘Shell Update Agent', which he says “is capable of obtaining and updating the shell on demand”.

It's referred to as a PackageFamilyName, which Albacore believes is enough proof to discern it will be a separate packaged component that could even be shipped inside an Appx. This component is associated with a mechanism called Undocked Shell.

Accommodating Windows Core OS

Those who have been closely following the rumor mill will note that this is a step towards Windows Core OS, an unannounced evolution of the platform that's turning a poorly kept secret.

Core OS is reportedly a modular version of Windows, so it makes perfect sense that we're seeing this separation now. The version can pull different Shells for different form-factors, with say, a modified taskbar and start menu setup for foldables or HoloLens.

Even so, it's clear these additions are in the early days when it comes to public builds. Albacore was able to call a function from ShellUpdateAgent called StartInternalPackageAcquistion, but it only returned a placeholder UX package for the Action Center.

It's worth noting that this build is a preview of the Windows 10 release for 20H1, so that's to be expected. It's unlikely to launch until May next year, which gives plenty of time to push more changes.

Ryan Maskell
Ryan Maskellhttps://ryanmaskell.co.uk
Ryan has had a passion for gaming and technology since early childhood. Fusing the skills from his Creative Writing and Publishing degree with profound technical knowledge, he enjoys covering news about Microsoft. As an avid writer, he is also working on his debut novel.

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