How Containerized Windows 10X apps change the way you see apps

Tech Daily Feb 14, 2020

At the Surface Event 2019 Microsoft Unveiled the new Windows 10X. An OS optimized for Dual Screen devices. In order to optimize for dual screens, microsoft has removed the ability to float windows, and open single windows per screen.

But one key information that came out of this Windows 10X thing is that all the apps in Windows will be "containerized". That means, each application will run in their own sandboxed environment unable to affect anything outside it's sandbox. On that note, microsoft has said that Windows 10X will support the classic Win32 apps, UWP (Universal Windows Apps) as well as PWAs (Progressive Web Apps).

While UWP and PWAs apps will run in their own dedicated containers, but Win32 apps will run inside a single one. This was somewhat necessary as Win32 apps have such a huge dependency on one another via DLLs etc, that it should not be practically possible to run them in their own containers.

Containerized Windows 10X apps will "just work"

If we're to go by what Microsoft claims, all older apps will "just work". No developer has to port any software to make it work.

And that makes sense, as this is a key USP of container tech in general, and one of the reasons why docker became so popular after all. All the dependencies are baked in and it just works. Five different packages depend on five different versions of the same library, with this new tech, all five of them will be baked in their own packages and isolated so that there aren't any conflicts.

The only trade off  is storage space, memory and redundancy, but both storage space and memory is so abundant and cheap, that to my eyes, those are not issues at all, though, your preferences can be different.

Faster updates, more battery life and "improved security"

This is where the marketing jargons start as expected. Yes, containers do make updates more friendly, but containers do depend on the kernel very actively. In fact, that is what seperates a container from a VM in the first place. Containers definitely make maintaining the OS easier, but does not enable faster updates magically; docker didn't enable faster kernel updates in linux.

I don't really understand how containers enable better battery life, Windows can detect background apps and freeze them, but that is not some that containers provide.

Improved Security? That again, sounds true. Since everything runs inside a container, running apps can't affect other running apps. Does that improve security? To an extent, yes, but does this eliminate the need of an antivirus? No.

Start Menu without live tiles, Cortana is removed

Welcome changes, kudos to microsoft. Fingers crossed still.

Does this container thingy make my computer faster?

No. containers does not make your computer run twice as fast. If an application consumed 200MB of RAM and took 3 seconds to complete, it will consume those resources.

But it might feel snappier. As all applications are sandboxed, it is easier to kill an unused application and it is simpler to make a memory manager that performs better.

This might or might not give any tangible benefits immediately, but it surely is easier to optimize for the developers themselves, knowing that their test system is almost identical to the execution environment the end user's system.

Sohan Basak

Hi, I am Sohan. A software engineer by profession, I am really passionate about algorithms, AI/ML, Maths and Physics. Play the guitar as a hobby, the maths behind music is fascinating.