Windows 11 leak suggests Microsoft shifts UI shells from UWP to Win32

Microsoft is making changes to the way some shell experiences or user interface elements are built in Windows 11. Instead of relying solely on the Universal Windows Platform (UWP), which allows for app compatibility across multiple devices, Microsoft is now incorporating a mix of Win32 and XAML technologies.

Recent preview builds of Windows 11 have revealed new files in the System32 folder, including controlcenter.dll, mlenginestub.exe, shellhost.exe, and sortwindows64.dll. These changes indicate a shift towards using Win32 and XAML for certain features, particularly the Control Center, which replaces the Action Center in Windows 10.

Win32 and XAML can be combined through a technology called “XAML Islands,” enabling Win32 apps to include modern-looking UI elements similar to those found in UWP apps.

While these changes may not be immediately noticeable to most users, they offer benefits in terms of flexibility and performance. The Control Center in Windows 11 will retain its familiar appearance, but will now operate using Win32 and XAML instead of UWP.

It’s important to note that these migrations to Win32 and XAML are only the beginning, and they are not currently included in Windows 11 23H2. They are expected to be part of a future release, possibly Windows 12.

The use of UWP in Windows extends beyond visual design and includes app packaging, management, and execution within the operating system. The shift towards Win32 and XAML signifies a potential change in approach and may impact future updates to Windows 11.

Overall, Microsoft’s adoption of Win32 and XAML technologies in Windows 11 demonstrates a strategic shift in how the operating system’s user interface elements are constructed, paving the way for improved performance and expanded possibilities for developers.

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