Windows 10 Cloud is the forthcoming stripped-down operating system expected from Microsoft within the next few months. With the name Windows 10 Cloud it's likely to be an alternative to Chrome OS, allowing Microsoft to target the Chromebook market, though it is unlikely to be an entirely online-only operating system. Rather, it is simply a lighter version of Windows 10. Also see: Best budget Windows laptops and Best Chromebooks

Microsoft has previously experimented with cheaper versions of Windows 8 for low-cost computers, including Windows 8 with Bing, which was in essence just Windows 8 with Microsoft Bing as the default browser, and Windows RT, which was designed for ARM processors and ran only the Modern user interface, so you couldn't install any desktop apps.

Windows Cloud is likely to follow in the same vein for cheap Windows 10 computers, allowing them to run Universal apps from the Windows Store and use Microsoft's various online tools and services, but potentially without the desktop interface.

Microsoft Cloud will certainly be offered to PC makers for significantly less than full Windows 10, if not free.

Windows 10 Cloud UK release date: When is Windows Cloud coming out?

Windows Cloud has already begun appearing in Windows 10 test builds for the Creators Update, so it makes sense that Microsoft may release the two together. The Windows 10 Creators Update is expected in April - read more about the Creators Update here

Microsoft has been working on the next big update to Windows 10 for some time and it was revealed in October 2016. The latest information comes from MSpoweruser, which says the update has been slightly delayed until April 2017 and that its version number will be 1704. This is actually a date: the fourth month of 2017.

It could still change, but the update is scheduled to be 'finished' by mid- to late January and then tested and bugs fixed before its public release.

Windows 10 Cloud screenshots

Windows Blog Italia, which claims to be running a leaked version of Windows Cloud, has leaked some early screenshots of the new OS. It looks much like Windows 10, and both Evernote and Slack feature.

Windows Cloud

Importantly, it confirms the theory that only Windows Store apps will be compatible.

Windows Cloud

Although the message on the desktop suggests the computer is running the Windows 10 Pro Insider Preview, from the Registry it is apparent that it is in fact Windows Cloud.

Windows Cloud

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