Big Windows update coming soon

Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella says the company will very soon share more details about one of its biggest Windows updates of the past decade.

Speaking at Microsoft’s annual Build conference, Nadella stated the changes to the operating system will unlock greater economic opportunity for developers and creators.

“We will create more opportunity for every Windows developer today and welcome every creator who is looking for the most innovative, new, open platform to build and distribute and monetise applications,” Nadella said.

“I’ve been self-hosting it over the past several months, and I’m incredibly excited about the next generation of Windows.”

Based on his comments, Nadella appeared to be referencing changes to the Windows Store, with recent reports claiming that Microsoft is developing a revamped version of the app to be released later this year.

Sources familiar with the matter told Windows Central’s Zac Bowden the new store will sport a modern and fluid interface, in addition to policy changes for what apps developers will be able to submit for hosting on the store.

The current version of the Store has been criticised for featuring few apps, being slow and unintuitive, and causing installations and updates to get stuck.

Bowden said the changes could address these issues, by allowing developers to:

  • Submit unpackaged Win32 apps to the store;
  • Host apps and updates on their own content delivery network (CDN); and
  • Use third-party commerce platforms in apps.

Whereas developers previously had to repackage their apps as an MSIX, they will now be able to submit raw .EXE or .MSI files.

This will enable a far wider range of apps and games to be loaded onto the store, and allow developers to use their own updating methods to deliver patches.

Sun Valley

The “next generation of Windows” on which the new store will feature is likely Microsoft’s “Sun Valley” update –  a major UI overhaul for Windows 10 which is expected to ship in October 2021.

The upgrade will include new system icons and changes to legacy interfaces to better align them with the modern elements of Windows 10.

This includes the rounding off of corners on buttons, windows, the Start Menu, and Action Centre to make File Explorer and File Properties more consistent with more recent Windows elements.

Microsoft also plans to include some of the changes it originally planned to deliver with its Windows 10X update, which has been delayed.

Among these, the Taskbar will be simplified with most of the system tray being moved into a new Action Centre, while the Start Menu will feature a centred design.

Satya Nadella’s full Build 2021 keynote – with more news on changes to Microsoft products – is embedded below.

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Big Windows update coming soon