Windows 10 leak shows Microsoft building new version for power PCs, workstations

Microsoft wants to offer advanced users better support in Windows 10.
Written by Liam Tung, Contributing Writer

The three new versions of Windows 10 in the leaked file are Windows Server 2016 ServerRdsh, Windows 10 Pro for Advanced PCs, and Windows 10 Pro N for Advanced PCs.

Image: @AndItsTito/Microsoft/Twitter

Microsoft has accidentally revealed it is preparing a new version of Windows 10 Pro for advanced users with high-performance workstations.

Microsoft's inadvertent release of an internal build to Windows Insiders last week has turned up more details about its plans for Windows 10 beyond new features for the Fall update.

Twitter user @AndItsTito discovered three new versions of Windows 10 in the leaked file, including Windows 10 Pro for Advanced PCs, Windows 10 Pro N for Advanced PCs, and Windows Server 2016 ServerRdsh.

Fellow Twitter user @GrandMofongo filled in details about what the 'Advanced PCs' reference means in an apparently leaked Microsoft slide. The N edition simply refers to the version Microsoft makes for Europe, thanks to past antitrust rulings.

As per the slide, Windows 10 Pro for Workstation or "Advanced" PCs is targeted at machines with up to four CPUs and six terabytes of memory.

The version will include four key capabilities in the initial release, including a workstation mode, the Resilient file system or ReFS, which succeeds Microsoft's NTFS file system, faster file sharing, and expanded hardware support.

Microsoft says the new version is the result of its analysis of Windows 10 Pro on high-end machines and questions about how it can benefit advanced PC users.

For Workstation mode, Microsoft says it is "identifying typical compute- and graphics-intensive workloads" and that it will "optimize the OS to provide peak performance and reliability in such cases when the Workstation mode is engaged by the users".

Microsoft introduced ReFS with Windows 8, but Microsoft notes that NTFS, or New Technology File System, has been its mainstay filesystem. Windows 10 still uses NTFS by default, but ReFS, which is better at supporting large data uses, does ship with the OS.

"We were overdue for a file system innovation, and our Windows Insiders also agreed," the slide notes. "ReFS is designed for fault-tolerance, optimized for handling large data volume, auto-correcting and much more at the same time backward compatible with NTFS".

Faster file sharing will offer better support for high-end workstations that process large data volumes across a network. "We are including the SMBDirect protocol-based file sharing in Windows 10 Pro for Workstation, which allows for high throughput, low latency and low CPU utilization when accessing network shares."

According to Microsoft's Windows Insiders, one of the main complaints about Windows was the "raw power of their machine", so Microsoft is offering expanded hardware support in Windows 10 Pro for Workstation.

"Users will now be able to run Windows 10 Pro for Workstation on machines with up to four CPUs -- today's limit of two -- and add memory up to 6TB."

Microsoft intends to build additional capabilities in the future to help its advanced users.

It's not clear when Microsoft intends to release this version of Windows.

More on Microsoft and Windows 10

Editorial standards