Try out Windows 10X now with Microsoft's new emulator

Windows 10X emulator

Windows 10X is the upcoming operating system from Microsoft, designed for dual-screen devices such as the Surface Duo and Neo. If you thought you would have to wait ages, or spend a fortune on a new device to try it out... think again.

Today, Microsoft releases a Windows 10X emulator, giving anyone who wants a glimpse of the future the chance to take the OS for a test drive. In reality, the Windows 10X emulator is designed with developers in mind, but there's nothing to stop anyone who is curious from trying it out.

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The Windows-maker launched the emulator at the Microsoft 365 Developer Day virtual event, alongside the Windows 10X SDK. During the webcast, Microsoft talked about how dual-screen devices will benefit users if developers take advantage of what they have to offer.

The company envisions three key benefits and usage scenarios:

  1. Expansive workspaces.This is an opportunity to show more detail as your app spans across two screens and allows you to highlight your content on a bigger, more expansive, canvas. Whether your users are reading an article, scrolling a feed, or browsing a gallery, having more real estate helps your users to see more of your content.
  2. Focused screens.Dual-screen devices are more than just a bigger screen – they allow you to take advantage of the defined screens and accomplish what you need without interruption. You can see your app on one screen and your tools on the other and stay in your flow.
  3. Connected apps.When your apps can work together across screens you can achieve broader and bigger tasks without losing context. Your work flows naturally for app-to-app launches, or if your app opens a new window – content will be placed naturally across screens making side-by-side comparisons and multi-tasking easy and natural.

The emulator -- which Microsoft warns is an early preview -- gives developers the chance to develop and test their apps for Windows 10X. The company says that users "will see updates regularly that follow the same standard Insider builds process".

You can download the Windows 10X emulator and SDK from the Windows dev tools site. For those interested in the emulation side of things, there is the Microsoft Emulator and the Windows 10X Emulator Image to download separately.

Microsoft shares details of the system requirements:

Supported Operating Systems

  • 64-bit Windows 10 Pro, Enterprise, or Education
  • Windows Insider Preview build 10.0.19555 or later.

Hardware requirements

  • Intel CPU with at least 4 cores you can dedicate to emulator (or multiple CPUs with a total of 4 cores)
  • 8 GB of RAM or more, 4 GB of RAM for emulator
  • 15 GB of free disk space for vhdx + diff disk, SSD recommended
  • Dedicated video card recommended
  • DirectX 11.0 or later
  • WDDM 2.4 graphics driver or later

In the BIOS, the following features must be supported and enabled:

  • Hardware-assisted virtualization
  • Second Level Address Translation (SLAT)
  • Hardware-based Data Execution Prevention (DEP)

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