If Windows 11 annoyed owners of older PCs by requiring specialized hardware for the security side, Windows 12 could go even further by adopting Core PC, a reworked Windows architecture from the ground up with a focus on security, scalability and making it as easy as possible to apply essential updates.
Microsoft is preparing CorePC, a new Windows architecture inspired by Linux/Android and iOS, where the various components of the operating system are divided into modules and separated into distinct partitions, insulated against unauthorized access by implementing much tighter security mechanisms. By comparison, under the current Windows architecture system files, installed applications and user data are stored “in a pile” in the same partition, usually identified by the letter C:.
Called “state separation”, the method of dividing the Windows operating system into multiple partitions with strictly controlled access could make it much more difficult to compromise PCs with malware. Unless the aforementioned security barriers are compromised or intentionally disabled by the user, cleaning the PC of malware could be limited to forcibly uninstalling the suspect application. In the worst case, restoring the PC to a “clean” installation state could be as simple as accessing the Factory Reset option. Last but not least, applying patches delivered via Windows Update could be done faster and within the limits of dedicated system partitions, without progressively taking up users’ storage space.
Another advantage for CorePC will be much easier Windows adaptation for use with various device architectures and formats, with Microsoft simply adding or removing relevant modules. e.g., an education-focused Windows variant could have a small footprint, similar to ChromeOS, including only the Edge browser, Office suite, web app support, and emulated Android apps. At the other extreme, CorePC will also be able to offer full versions of Windows that include all the capabilities currently expected from a Windows 11 PC.
Microsoft is also working on a CorePC version compatible with Apple PCs, including the next generation.