back to article Microsoft Lean's in: Slimmed-down Windows 10 OS option spotted

Microsoft's Windows 10 Insider Preview Build 17650 (Redstone 5), released last week via the Windows Insider program, includes a stripped-down version of the operating system called Windows 10 Lean. Redstone 5 is the Windows update that intended to follow the impending Windows 10 Spring Creators Update, recently redesignated …

  1. jake Silver badge

    "Windows 10 CloudE"

    WINCE 2.0, then?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      And in 2019, end users will have to pay for non-slimmed-down Win10

      And in 2019, end users will have to pay for non-slimmed-down Win10. In 2020, end users won't be able to upgrade that easy any longer. Microshit wants a locked-down walled garden. This will mark the end of Win10 for end users - no one is *that* stupid.

      1. Anonymous Coward
  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    This is the path to

    selling Windows by components. You want a text editor ? That will be 0.5$ per month added to your bill.

    Hope Windows users will enjoy it! Too bad if you don't because you will swallow it anyway.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: This is the path to

      Maybe not text editor, but definitely the 'enterprise' and 'pro user' features.

      In addition to monthly subscriptions, Windows will also incorporate the 'freemium' and 'DLC' business models.

      I foresaw this long ago: consider SatNad's background before becoming CEO, consider the changes made to Win 10 since RTM release (even seemingly innocuous ones such as the taskbar clock), and consider the ongoing trends in Microsoft outside of Windows.

      The day will come when iPhones and Android phones are docked to provide the desktop PC experience, and users can have the option to run a Windows emulator to run all the legacy win32 programs at near native speed and accuracy.

      The new stuff, the emerging tech stuff and the web stuff: none of them needs or runs on Windows.

  3. IGnatius T Foobar Bronze badge

    Why would they sell the OS users really want?

    The purpose of an operating system is to load and run software and then get out of the way. Why would Microsoft actually deliver this? Their entire revenue model is built around forcing a bunch of add-ons that nobody asked for. That's why modern corporate desktops now have "Xbox Live" and "Microsoft Mixed Reality Viewer" and a bunch of "phone" apps that never get used. Are they *really* going to give us the barebone OS that most people would prefer?

    Somehow I doubt this is going to actually be usable. It'll probably be locked down to Windows Store apps, and/or it will refuse to run web browsers other than Edge, and/or it'll require a usually-on connection to Microsoft's cloud (the old Chromebook trick).

    1. joed

      Re: Why would they sell the OS users really want?

      The closer one looks the closer the model resembled cable TV. Basic service that ain't worth s... and expensive premium packages that bring little of value to the overall experience (besides vendor lock-in benefiting MS'). Market disruption - sure (if temporary). Innovation - not so much. Windows and Office environments are ripe for cord cutters.

      1. Michael Habel Silver badge

        Re: Why would they sell the OS users really want?

        Windows and Office environments are ripe for cord cutters.

        Must be why both Linux, and by proxy, Libre/Open Office are both doing so well. As long as Corproates continue to hang on to MS Office, which in turn either means Windows PC or a Mac. Methinks that that MicroSoft will get by. Untill such a time where you could use Office365 on pretty much anything that can face the Internet. As far as I know though that still isn't really possible. In the way say Google Docs is possible. (Or so I keep being told). At which point why even bother with Windows at all?

        And, on that note... Whatever happened to that Steam (OS) Machine that Gabe Newell wanted to position in front of Gamers to get them off of Windows? Ahhh yes it done a massive belly flop, and has since gone down titsup to the bottom of the deapest recesses of Hell.

        However we might wish for a new player to enter the scene, the fact is MicroSoft are already the defacto standard, and, its pretty much either their way, or S0NY & Nintendo.

        1. kryptylomese

          Re: Why would they sell the OS users really want?

          The top games coming out nowadays run on Linux! Maybe the steam machine helped with that? Vulkan is major factor also.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Why would they sell the OS users really want?

      Reading the title of the post made me very hopeful for a version without a whole load of consumey (not that I want them on my home machine either) preinstalled apps - Less concerned about the space, more concerned about the cleanup operation before deployment.

      Reading the contents of the post (namely the examples of what was removed) left me confused and disappointed.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Why would they sell the OS users really want?

        Also Disappointed even on my "home" machine i want an OS in this case a version of windows 10 with minimal app / programs or accessories. so core OS plus minimal system tools. plus maybe controversially the windows store to allow me to install any "apps" i "actually do want" BUT DON'T NEED in the base install. they are NOT NEEDED to run the OS. minimal footprint = minimal size and minimal attack surface. + NO telemetry.!!!

        I have NO need for xbox, cortana, feedback hub, grove music, mail, maps, edge, games, money, movies & TV, One drive, one note, mixed reality viewer and portal, messaging, photos, people, phone companion, sports, voice recorder, weather, Paint 3d, notepad, ETC, ETC, to name but a few.

        I would install a few apps - snipping tool, powershell, cmd, calculator. PDF viewer, ETC but i would install stuff as and when i NEEDED them. and some Programs (32 or 64 bit desktop software) MS Office, VLC player(desktop version), Firefox, Audacity, Anti Virus, paint.net, notepad++ and printer/scanner suite. but really minimal software I actually need or use. if I don't use it i DON'T want it.

        keeping a minimal OS would also make updates and security easier for microsoft as long as everything else was sandboxed away from the core OS.

        I WOULD EVEN PAY REAL CASH MONEY FOR THIS OS ! say on a 5 year licence with security and stability updates only.

    3. Dan 55 Silver badge

      Re: Why would they sell the OS users really want?

      Are they *really* going to give us the barebone OS that most people would prefer?

      That'll be Windows 10 LTSB which is on display in the bottom of a locked filing cabinet stuck in a disused lavatory with a sign on the door saying 'Beware of the Leopard.'

    4. Mage Silver badge
      Coffee/keyboard

      Re: Why would they sell the OS users really want?

      Certainly sooner rather than later you need the registry editor, if only to fix something broken by an MS update!

  4. Updraft102 Silver badge

    If they're looking for things to remove, why not start with Cortana, Edge, Microsoft Store, and every other UWP "app" on the system? And with those gone, why not just get rid of the entire UWP subsystem?

    It's not wallpaper and regedit that are making Windows 10 so bloaty. Rather than get rid of things that are useful and that should be a part of an actual OS, how about getting rid of those things that are not useful? They are relatively easy to identify... just make a list of everything you've added to Windows since Windows 7 SP1 and consider that your chopping list. There's sure to be a few things in there that should be kept, but not a whole lot.

    Making something "lean" by trimming out the meat and leaving just the fat doesn't really work. Need I break out the Inigo Montoya meme again? I'll do it, Microsoft, I swear I will...

    1. This post has been deleted by its author

    2. Michael Habel Silver badge

      If they're looking for things to remove, why not start with Cortana, Edge, Microsoft Store, and every other UWP "app" on the system? And with those gone, why not just get rid of the entire UWP subsystem?

      Ohh and, let us NEVER FORGET those wrteched Live Tiles. I absolutey loathed them since the dark days of Windows Mobile 8? (IIRC), then they became the 'focus' of Windows 8.x, and yet MicroSoft has still kept them 'round for Windows 10.

      Well to be fair, as much as I hate Live Tiles, I hate the Sluping more. In a modern era where EVERYONE is doing it. should not be a blank licence for Windows... Something distinctly non modern, shure the cases are now black instead of beige, and the Hardware inside has improved 100 fold. but, its still a PC, and well my PC just doesn't feel "Personal" anymore, thanks to MicroSofts unwanted slurping.

      So lets asume that they came to their senses and, got rid of them loathsome Live Tiles, in Windows 10. I still wouldn't touch it.

      1. cambsukguy

        Since you obviously don't run Windows any more, why do you care so much what they do?

        Do you want to run it but "can't" because slurp or Cortana etc.?

        I am astounded that a simple thing like live tiles upset you so much anyway. I almost never see Live Tiles on my laptop because I use the search box to access almost everything directly, I always think "Oh yeah, Live Tiles", when I do see them (start button, reboot, log out type things).

        Personally, once I have removed the Candy Crush/Disney tiles, I have no problem with them at all.

        But then I do still run WinPhone - Kinda used to them.

    3. Czrly

      Exactly this. `regedit` is probably tiny, even if you add up everything it needs. But I bet Windows 10 Lean still comes with Candy Crush in the box. And Cortana. And the totally broken Main and Calendar and People rubbish that's baked in, now, and doesn't work at all. (Not that I would want it, if it does. I prefer to choose my software, thanks all the same.)

    4. Franco Silver badge

      "If they're looking for things to remove, why not start with Cortana, Edge, Microsoft Store, and every other UWP "app" on the system? And with those gone, why not just get rid of the entire UWP subsystem?"

      As posted above, they already have in the LTSB version.

      The "trouble" with Windows is that it has to cater to as wide an audience as possible. Whilst everyone posting here is likely to be tech-savvy as a minimum and very possibly an IT professional, Joe Punter doesn't want to have to spend hours downloading web browsers and text editors and media players to the consumer laptop they bought from PC World.

      Whilst many people here will be happy to use Linux Mint or whatever there favourite distro is and customise it with their choice of apps, imagine if Apple sold the iPhone without Safari or Chrome wasn't pre-installed on Android

      1. doublelayer Silver badge

        I can see your point, but I disagree. It makes sense that a system needs a browser on it at the beginning, so you can use it to download another browser. If Microsoft likes edge over IE, I'm fine if that's the browser that they put on. Likewise, I think most OS should have a basic text file editor, so basically notepad. That's a bit more subjective, but it becomes useful when you're working on something that isn't your setup. However, there isn't a good case for the random applications that most people don't use and many of us, myself included, don't know what they are. There was a great list posted earlier about the bloat on the current windows 10. I'm sure that Groove Music does stuff that Windows Media Player doesn't do, but I haven't a clue what that stuff is, I'm not using either of them, and it's kind of irritating that Microsoft puts them both on. If you need a media player at all, take the better one, combine any code from the other that you need for some reason, and give me one. Or, you could just not put one on because I doubt it will take me long to find one if I need it. But fine, that's Microsoft's decision to write their own applications and put them on. There is even less of a case for them to put tiles up for applications that they didn't write, essentially as advertisements. I know that, if I want them, I can go get them. So does everyone else. Apple doesn't decide you'd like some games so they'll just put them onto your phone. If some android phone manufacturer does that, they are known for the peddlers of bloatware that they are, and their phones don't sell as well--I'm pretty sure candy crush isn't installed on any of the flagships by default.

    5. Mage Silver badge

      list of everything you've added to Windows since Windows 7

      Or everything since Server 2003. Or maybe NT4 (drivers for things like USB don't count. There were actually preview NT4.0 USB drivers, but they killed SP7 and upgrades worried about impact on windows 2000 sales).

      Though putting GDI into kernel was daft. NT3.51 with Explorer shell preview never crashed the way NT4.0 /Win2K/XP/Server did when a doggy print or graphics driver was added.

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Interesting

    Going down the list from El Reg, it's almost as if System32, SysWOW64, a lot of windows stuff and a lot of those app crap deleted.

    This looks like a good version to test software and windows itself.

  6. Steve Davies 3 Silver badge
    Linux

    I'm sorry Dave I can't do that

    but I can for $9.99/month. Press Yes to enable this.

    The ideal way to inflict SAAS onto their customer base.

    In the meantime, I am finding that my Raspberry PI running Raspbian does everything I need apart from Photo Editing.

    The old question,

    "Is Windows really needed in this day and age?"

    The answer of "NO" is becoming increasingly common.

    1. jake Silver badge

      Re: I'm sorry Dave I can't do that

      The actual answer is "it never was".

    2. Michael Habel Silver badge

      Re: I'm sorry Dave I can't do that

      "Is Windows really needed in this day and age?"

      Depends on who you ask... PC Mustardracser's will still feel compeled to defend their platform. While bemoaning that all the smart People are snapping up the otherwise already overpriced GPUs to mine bits of Code, that can be sold to other Idiots for several times the price of the inital investment. thus causing a an artificial depression (Cause nobody would by newer more expencive Cards as the came out), by AMD/ATi/nVIDIA refusing to make more Chips.

      And the enevitable amount of Downvotes it generates from that crowd.

      Oh yes and, again let us not forget about the rip roaring success of Valve's SteamOS / Machine.

      So yeah, who needs Windows with its delicus DirectX 12 Bait?

      1. imanidiot Silver badge

        Re: I'm sorry Dave I can't do that

        "by AMD/ATi/nVIDIA refusing to make more Chips."

        Can you blame them? Building a Fab is expensive, and building a new fab just to support this latest crypto fad (who knows how long it'll last) is a probably a poor business plan (on top of that, I doubt there is enough factory output to actually built all the needed litho and wafer processing equipment at anything short of 12 to 24 months notice.)

        1. Baldrickk Silver badge

          Re: I'm sorry Dave I can't do that

          I believe the biggest problem is the supply of memory chips into Nvidia / AMD to put on the cards.

    3. Timmy B Silver badge

      Re: I'm sorry Dave I can't do that

      "In the meantime, I am finding that my Raspberry PI running Raspbian does everything I need apart from Photo Editing."

      What do you do your photo editing on then?

      1. Steve Davies 3 Silver badge

        Re: What do you do your photo editing on then?

        A 2012 15in MacBook Pro running MacOS and Lightroom.

        but as I said, Raspbian does pretty well all I want it to especially now that I have a PI connected up to my Model Railway System and I'm starting to use Node-Red to control things.

  7. Blockchain commentard Silver badge

    Oh Lord, Lucan. Sorry, couldn't resist it :-)

  8. demonwarcat

    Quickly scanning the list of removed files it looks like windows media player is removed. I still use windows media player as music lacks much of its functionality

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Windows

    Yep

    Sounds more like a PoC for Windows Core, showing that OEMs can create versions of Windows from a menu of components and services

  10. Bob Ajob

    Beast mode

    There once was a pirate version of Windows XP that had a 666MB install ISO and used only 44MB RAM with only essential processes required to run most games. There have been tools such as NLite for stripping out components from the Windows installer for years but compared to Linux still an order of magnitude more bloated. What we need is the ability to install and run the absolute bare minimum trusted operating system software with all non essential services and applications optional. It'll never happen on Windows.

    1. Steve Davies 3 Silver badge
      Holmes

      Re: Beast mode

      What we need is the ability to install and run the absolute bare minimum trusted operating system software with all non essential services and applications optional.

      Ah, the optional stuff. For which MS will charge you handsomely for... Be careful what you wish for...

    2. Tridac

      Re: Beast mode

      If you want that, you need to start with one of the server versions. server 2003 ~ Xp, 2008 ~ windows 7 etc. Much better tools for stripping out unwanted stuff, defining roles and locking down. Have been running a stripped down server 2003 machine for years here. All it has to do is run a few apps and provide stuff like a file manager and current task list and i'm happy. Finally dumped Office this week as well, in favour of Libre Office, which is almost instant loading. All serious s/ware dev is done on FreeBSD, Linux pre systemd, or Solaris, but still need a Windows for some legacy software. Apart from initial service packs and a few updates, it's not been changed for years as well. An OS should just run tasks, manage memory, io, networking, screen etc and otherwise keep out of the way. Can't believe how bloated windows has become, but Linux is going the same way. I know this solution wouldn't work at corporate level, but can work fine elsewhere. Cheap, effective and gets the job done...

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Lean? Windows?

    So this is saving 2GB, so a "lean" OS needs 18GB of disk space? I don't consider that lean, I consider that bloated, by about 17GB.

    I barely consider Windows to be an OS, sure there's an OS under all that bloat somewhere, but mostly Windows is an advertising/slurping platform rammed with random crap (XBox Live, 3D Builder etc.) to try keep end users interested.

    Meanwhile IT folks can't use the OS for what an OS is meant to do, interact with the hardware. For e.g. there is no way to copy a partition to an image or vice versa without 3rd party tools and now, apparently, we can't even edit the registry.

    The end result of this is every single Windows Server VM is munching anywhere between 15-30GB of storage and at least 2GB RAM just for the bloat. How many Windows VMs do you have? Linux, for comparison, can still run on routers, so can be squeezed into 32MB RAM (poss 16MB) and a few hundred MB of storage - because it's only concerned with being an OS.

  12. hplasm Silver badge
    Devil

    Old and Bloated...

    "I barely consider Windows to be an OS, sure there's an OS under all that bloat somewhere, but mostly Windows is an advertising/slurping platform rammed with random crap (XBox Live, 3D Builder etc.) to try keep end users interested."

    Windows Winnebago Edition...

    1. P. Lee Silver badge

      Re: Old and Bloated...

      It isn't an OS, its an ecosystem.

      Sadly, when you can saturate the ecosystem with your product as fast as MS can, there's nowhere left to go to "grow" so you start eating the small fry that live in your ecosystem and you grow. Then you eat the larger fish and you keep growing. Finally you are a huge fish in a relatively small pond and there is nothing left to eat.

      If you're willing to pay for software and/or you want something crossplatform look at WPS Office and Edraw Max. I'm not associated with either company - I'm just impressed.

  13. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    No Registry Editor eh?

    What's the point then? What good will that do for users who want to tweak the registry to, for example... I dunno, disable the slurping 'features' in Win 10?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: No Registry Editor eh?

      With no registry editor, how to do recover from an MS patch fuck up?

      "Microsoft confessed in a community post that those "certain apps" included minor programs such as Adobe Photoshop in a community post, along with a workaround that required users to do some manual registry wrangling."

      https://www.theregister.co.uk/2018/04/24/big_patch_for_windows_10/

    2. Marco van de Voort

      Re: No Registry Editor eh?

      Most of the -S stuff was geared towards education. Since most of the cutting seems to be configuration tools, it might be for that, with a UWP bent because Microsoft still hasn't given it up as the "future" yet.

  14. mix
    FAIL

    Unless it fits on a floppy disk...

    it ain't lean.

  15. Christian Berger

    The funny thing is that...

    Windows 2000 could be comfortably installed in 2 Gigabytes... including the registry editor, wallpapers and many extra files.

    There's a talk about bloat in modern unixoid enviroment which explains why your "cat" today is 48k instead of a couple of hundred bytes it used to be in its original version. Such a talk would be highly interresting for Windows, particularly since it now uses insane amounts of memory for what little functionality it has.

    1. gerdesj Silver badge

      Re: The funny thing is that...

      My cat must have gone on a diet:

      -rwxr-xr-x 1 root root 34856 Dec 29 12:08 /usr/bin/cat

      1. P. Lee Silver badge

        Re: The funny thing is that...

        I appear to have a fat cat but quite frankly, slimming down OS downloads mostly benefits MS.

        I care far less about how much RAM the OS is using than the fact that Word frequently locks up completely, Excel frequently goes AWOL for 10-30 seconds (all white white window, lots of <ctrl> marks) as if its gone off searching for some stuff on the internet and is timing out. With 16G RAM and working off a local SSD, this should not be a thing.

        Did I mention how much I hate the "send this document to someone via email" in Office 2016 takes both extra clicks compared to Office 2010 and *still* locks up Outlook while you're doing it? Everything appears to be getting worse, not better.

        I don't need UWP and I don't need MS to censor profanity from my documents online - I need applications which don't induce profanity generation.

    2. Dave Pickles

      Re: The funny thing is that...

      And Windows NT was around 30Mb...

      1. Mage Silver badge

        Re: Windows NT was around 30Mb...

        Which NT?

        3.1 (first version and in 1993), 3.5, 3.51, 4.0, 5.0 (Win2K), 5.1(XP), 5.3(Server 2003), 6.x (Vista and Windows 7 and others).

        Maybe you mean NT4.0 Workstation x86 (there was Server, Enterprise Server and even the first 64bit for Alpha as well as an Embedded version. NT4.0 maybe supported maybe the most CPU types?).

    3. jake Silver badge

      Re: The funny thing is that...

      I wouldn't use cat as an example of bloat. It's still a pretty minimalistic bit of code after all these years, and only contains logical improvements/additions to what it was in the mythical days before Research Unix. Modern cat compiles and runs just fine on every un*x variant that I am aware of, with minimal or no changes to the source.

      For bloat, see instead modern takes on the init process.

    4. Tridac

      Re: The funny thing is that...

      Win 2K was pretty good, very few bsod's and stable in a controlled environment. Used that for years after it's sell by date. It just worked, as did NT4 before it, providing you had the service packs installed. Only upgraded because some app versions would not run under it, but isn't that the only reason why we install new os versions anyway ?. A deadly embrace between the os and app vendors, with MS in control and no way for either to escape. Still, the windows monopoly becomes more and more eroded by the year, with ms desperately trying to stem the rising tide of open source...

  16. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Yes, I KNEW regedit was the reason for the bloat!

  17. TVU Silver badge

    Microsoft Lean's in: Slimmed-down Windows 10 OS option spotted

    Windows 10 Lean can't be that lean after all if Microsoft then had to use for a Linux kernel in its new Sphere OS for its internet of things ambitions.

  18. Jason Bloomberg Silver badge
    Windows

    So, in conclusion...

    Microsoft should have stopped at Windows 7.

    1. fedoraman

      Re: So, in conclusion...

      MS Strategy:-

      See a shark .... Jump it.

      See a shark ... jump that one too...

      rinse & repeat

    2. Charlie van Becelaere

      Re: So, in conclusion...

      "Microsoft should have stopped at Windows 7."

      I know I have.

      1. Delbert Grady

        Re: So, in conclusion...

        me too

    3. ADRM

      Re: So, in conclusion...

      Microsoft should have stopped at Windows 7.

      IMHO they did. Still using Windows 7 Ultimate on all my machines. Tried 10 did not like it. Has too much crap bloat and junk. Looks terrible. Windows NT4 and 2000 were my favourite M$ OS. Take virtual machines of those for a spin once in a while. Come 2020 I'll be running 7 as VM on LINUX MINT. It's all over Microsoft.

  19. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Oh how I miss the days from coding on a 48k Speccy, or on DOS with only 640k RAM...

  20. Dan Wilkie

    At a guess - I'd say its for VDI's in Azure perhaps?

  21. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Why don't Linux / Mac have a slimmed down OS versions too

    ... instead of all the bloatware they are becoming..

    1. jake Silver badge

      Re: Why don't Linux / Mac have a slimmed down OS versions too

      Linux is just the kernel. Want a slimmed down version? Compile your own to fit your hardware, then install the code you need on top of it. Distributions such as Core/TinyCore, Absolute, Puppy and DamnSmall can help you get started. LinuxFromScratch is a trifle more involved, but at the end of the process you'll have just exactly the system you need/want, no more no less.

      There is no real reason to run a commercial-grade kitchensinkware distribution like Ubunto and derivations (outside of lazyness). London has exactly the same problems as Cupertino and Redmond, and for all the same reasons. Build your own, if you're not careful you might learn something.

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