We all know Microsoft is working on multiple Windows shells for future devices with different form factors and use cases, such as famously Andromeda for dual-screen smartphones, Centaurus for dual-screen laptops and Oasis for HoloLens.

Yesterday’s Windows 10 20h1 Preview Build 18917 has elements which show that Microsoft is working to make it easier to mix and match Windows 10 UI elements by adding hooks to Windows Explorer which will make the OS look at packages (both downloadable and build into the OS) which will replace current UI shell components.

Discovered by Windows 10 hacker Albacore, the feature is mediated by a component called Microsoft-OneCore-Shell-UpdateAgent.

In theory, users would be able to download a new shell from the Store, or practically switch shells on the fly.

Likely related, it appears some apps will be able to advertise themselves as “shell switchers”.

The first component in line to be “undocked” from the rest of the Windows 10 shell appears to be the Action Centre.

The feature appears to be part of OneCore suggests all the alternate shells will be dynamically updatable.

This development is interesting in that it may allow Microsoft to introduce updated UI elements at a more comfortable pace than swapping out the whole user interface in one go – something which did not go down too well with Windows 8.

What do our readers make of this news? Let us know below.

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