It looks like Microsoft is toying with a new style for its Start menu.
We weren’t supposed to know this, but it looks like a build intended for internal staff working on Xbox development was sent out to a subset of Windows Insiders members.
The build – 18947 – has since been pulled, but not before it went out to all 32-bit testers signed up for release preview, fast ring or slow ring testing. Not a huge number of people use the 32-bit version of Windows any more, but it’s still an embarrassing mistake for the company.
And you can see the newly reimagined Start menu in the tweets below. Gone are the brightly coloured, resizable Live Tiles, and in their place a series of minimalist icons – mostly in black and white.
And here it is in tablet mode:
Is this a look at the future of Windows? Maybe. Microsoft is working on Windows Lite – a stripped-down version of the OS aimed at dual-screen and Chromebook-style devices – and this simplified design is rumoured to be part of that. It’s not clear whether the plan is for the full-fat version of Windows 10 to follow suit any time soon, even if a handful of users are accidentally experiencing it.
Awkwardly, this isn’t the first time Microsoft has pushed a private build public by mistake. Back in 2017, the company was forced to apologise for unleashing an internal build of Windows 10 for PC and mobile onto unsuspecting testers, causing some systems to enter a reboot loop. This one isn’t as bad as that in terms of damage or scale, but the company won’t be happy at having accidentally shown off new designs before they were ready for prime time.