Windows Lite may include an entire new desktop experience

Here's first look at the desktop experience expected to arrive with Windows Lite.

Windows Lite, Santorini, mockup
Windows Lite, Santorini, mockup

It’s been known for a while that Microsoft is working on a new lightweight operating system dubbed “Windows Lite” (also known as “Santorini” internally) to compete with ChromeOS. Now a new report from Petri reveals a mockup that give us a first glance on what potentially can become the desktop experience, which is completely different to the current Windows 10 experience.

In the mockup, we can see that the taskbar uses a center alignment for the icons, instead of the left alignment found on Windows 10. Also, there’s a new Start menu design that moves away from Live Tiles in favor of a more traditional set of icons. And you’ll notice a search box at the top of the experience along with an image profile of the user.  

In addition, it appears that Windows Lite will only run apps from the Microsoft Store, but there’s a chance of support for classic desktop (win32) apps coming in the future.

The idea with the new “Lite” operating system is simplicity and easy maintenance avoiding the overhead as Windows 10. However, known elements like File Explorer, Settings, and windowing still pretty much alive with project Santorini. You will even find a nearly identical out-of-box experience found on Windows 10.

The report also suggests that Microsoft will be targeting entry-level devices, but eventually it’ll come to “heavy users” too, as the lightweight operating system is also expected to bring the features for demanding users.

It’s unclear when the new operating system will become a product, and which will be the final name, as there has been rumors that the final release may not even carry “Windows” in the name. However, the Build developer conference is around the corner, and it’s expected for the company to share more details then.

About the author

Mauro Huculak is a Windows How-To Expert who started Pureinfotech in 2010 as an independent online publication. He has also been a Windows Central contributor for nearly a decade. Mauro has over 14 years of experience writing comprehensive guides and creating professional videos about Windows and software, including Android and Linux. Before becoming a technology writer, he was an IT administrator for seven years. In total, Mauro has over 20 years of combined experience in technology. Throughout his career, he achieved different professional certifications from Microsoft (MSCA), Cisco (CCNP), VMware (VCP), and CompTIA (A+ and Network+), and he has been recognized as a Microsoft MVP for many years. You can follow him on X (Twitter), YouTube, LinkedIn and Email him at [email protected].