New details spotted by Windows enthusiasts indicate a possible significant shift in Microsoft's software development strategy. In the recently released Windows 11 Canary Build 25987, some brand new DLL and EXE files have emerged in the System32 folder, suggesting a departure from Microsoft's previous commitment to the Unified Windows Platform (UWP).
Significant Findings in DLL and EXE Files
Names of recently added files, such as ControlCenter.dll and ShellHost.exe, allude to associations with the Windows 11 Shell, an application layer that provides a set of interactions for the user. These new entries might be signaling the direction Microsoft is taking with its Universal Windows Platform. Twitter User XenoPanther, another Windows enthusiast, and developer, made the discovery.
New files in system32!
mlenginestub.exe (Undocked MLEngine Stub)
sortwindows64.dll (SortWindows64 dll)
— Xeno (@XenoPanther) November 1, 2023
Soon after, Albacore on Twitter suggested in a recent that the findings could in fact be an indication that Microsoft is moving away from UWP. Albacore stated, “I think it's finally fair to say that UWP is dying⚰️ Windows 11 Canary Build 25987 starts the migration of XAML shell experiences from UWP to Win32+XAML Hosting.” XAML is another interface language Microsoft has been increasingly using and is used by Windows developers, suggesting a shift in the tech giant's underlying technology platform.
I think it's finally fair to say that UWP is dying ⚰️
Windows 11 Canary Build 25987 starts the migration of XAML shell experiences from UWP to Win32+XAML Hosting. Control Center is the first to ship. To use the new variant enable 45046901 (CCW), 44685875 (ShellUIHostCoordinator) pic.twitter.com/0cCpjquZV4
— Albacore (@thebookisclosed) November 2, 2023
Microsoft's UWP Journey
UWP was touted as the future of Windows design, offering developers the ability to write programs that run across all Windows device families. However, its development journey hasn't been smooth sailing, evident by several UWP app bugs that Microsoft struggled with earlier this year. While the issues were eventually resolved, the episode might have given the company a notable pause for thought about UWP's stability.
More recently, in July, support for Arm32 UWP was completely terminated. Combined with the discovery of the new DLL and EXE files in the System32 folder, these could be indicators of the tech titan's gradual transition away from UWP. The apparent migration could be due to various reasons, with possible factors ranging from operational efficiencies to shifts in software development strategy. However, Microsoft has not officially announced or confirmed these speculations.