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Excel Won’t Open on Windows 11? Here’s What to do Can’t open the Excel files on Windows 11? Try these fixes




Sometimes, Windows 11 may fail to launch Microsoft Excel, or it doesn’t show any content when you try to open an Excel file.

Misconfiguration or internal problems with the Excel app are the two most common reasons behind this problem.

You should update or re-install MS Office and also follow other methods from this article to solve the Excel files not opening issues.

Are Microsoft Excel files not opening on Windows 11? Many users have been facing this issue in recent days.

Usually, You can easily open any Excel files using Microsoft Excel or other supported programs. But if that doesn’t happen on your PC, there is an issue. You can try some methods to solve the Excel files, not an opening problem on Windows 11. However, before knowing about that, we should know about the reasons.

Why are Excel files not opening on my Windows 11 PC?

If you cannot open any or some Excel files, these are the possible reasons:

Outdated Excel application: If Microsoft Excel is highly outdated, this can be the reason you are facing the problem.

Problematic Update: A problematic Windows update or Excel update may cause the problem.

Misconfiguration: Any misconfiguration on Windows or Excel may be the reason.

Problematic Excel app: If you are not using the official version of Microsoft Excel, you may occasionally encounter various problems, including file opening issues.

How can I fix it if Excel files are not opening on Windows 11?

First, you should do the following things before going through the actual methods:

Make sure to open the file with Microsoft Excel.

Update Windows to the latest version.

Update Microsoft Excel to the latest version.

Maximize and Minimize Excel if it shows no content.

Ensure your Microsoft Office application is genuine, not a cracked or pirated version. To check if the app is genuine or not, try this tool.

Disable Antivirus temporarily and see if it helps.

After ensuring the above things, follow these methods to solve the Excel files not opening an issue on Windows 11:

1. End any Excel and Office processes from Task Manager

Sometimes, some background processes remain active for a glitch with either Windows or Office, even though the application was closed. So when next time the user wants to open that app, they may face problem. It may happen with Microsoft Excel too.

2. Ignore other apps that use DDE

According to some users, unchecking the above option fixes the Excel file not opening issue on Windows 11.

3. Reset file associations

After resetting, when you open any Excel file next time, you may get the option to choose which program to use. Select excel. This time, the problem will not appear.

If necessary, learn how to fix file association issues on Windows.

4. Open Excel in Safe Mode 5. Disable add-ins

Expert tip:

6. Repair Microsoft Office

If possible, you should choose the Online Repair option rather than Quick Repair. However, if the problem is critical, the online method is the best way to sort it out.

Is the above process failing? Learn how to fix couldn’t repair Office problem.

7. Re-install MS Office 7.1 Uninstall Microsoft Office

For this, you can use Revo or IObit Uninstaller too. These third-party options are better than Windows uninstallers. These can remove any program from your PC without leaving any leftovers.

7.2 Install again

If you don’t have a Microsoft 365 subscription, you may need to follow slightly different steps to download Office apps.

After installing, try to open the Excel files again and see if it has fixed the problem.

8. Use Excel online

Go to the Microsoft Excel Online site.

Sign in with your Microsoft Account if necessary.

Upload the file you want to open.

Enjoy Excel online.

If, after trying the other methods, the problem persists, consider using Excel online. Like Google Sheets, Microsoft also has made its service online, which is, in fact, more powerful.

Sometimes, the file you try to open is not well-optimized for Excel. In this case, you can use other Office alternatives like Google Sheets, Libra Office, etc. Also, consider using any CSV viewers if it is a CSV file.

Still experiencing issues?

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What To Do If Windows 10 Action Center Won’t Open

Windows 10 Action Center is a central place that collects and shows system notifications and gives quick access to different settings on your computer. 

If disabled, Windows 10 action center won’t open or display in the taskbar notification area. You will still get notifications as usual, but you won’t be able to review them in the Action Center.

Table of Contents

Some of the reasons Windows 10 Action Center won’t open include:

Action Center isn’t enabled

User profile corruption

Corrupted system files

Non-trivial system glitches

These issues could cause Windows to destabilize, which is why you need to resolve the issue as soon as possible.

How To Fix: Windows 10 Action Center Won’t Open

The quickest way to open the Action Center is by using the icon on the taskbar. If that doesn’t work, you can still use the Windows logo key + A keyboard shortcut and see if it helps.

Restart Windows Explorer Perform a Disk Cleanup

When Windows 10 is low on disk space and memory, the operating system can slow down significantly as critical processes like the Action Center attempt and fail to open. A disk cleanup will remove temporary files that may be causing Windows 10 Action Center not to open, and free space on your hard drive.

To delete temporary files, type disk cleanup in the search box and select Disk Cleanup from the search results.

Once the system cleanup is completed, the window will close automatically. Restart your computer to remove the files completely, and check if the Action Center will open.

Enable Action Center

Sometimes the Windows 10 Action Center won’t open because it’s not enabled in the system. 

Clean The Hard Drive

Temporary, junk, and corrupted files tend to clog up your PC and cause issues with Windows 10. Cleaning the hard drive by performing an SFC and DISM scan can help scan and repair corrupted system files.

In the Command Prompt window, type the following commands one by one and press Enter after each command:

dism /online /cleanup-image /restorehealth 

sfc /scannow


Close the Command Prompt window, restart your computer, and check if you’re able to open the Action Center.

Create a New User Account

A corrupted user profile can cause the Windows 10 Action Center not to open. To resolve this, create a new user account and check whether the problem persists.

Enter a username and password for the account. Sign in using the new user profile and check if the Action Center opens.

Re-register Action Center

If, for some reason, the Windows 10 Action Center has gone corrupt, you can re-register it via Windows PowerShell, and restore it back to a working state. Here’s how.

Type the following command and press Enter to execute it:

Check if the Action Center still won’t open  after executing the command.

Edit The Registry

If the Windows 10 Action Center won’t open or isn’t showing on your computer, check if the registry value is preventing the Action Center from appearing.

In the Registry Editor, go to this path: HKEY _ CURRENT _ USERSOFTWAREPoliciesMicrosoftWindowsExplorer and modify the disable notifications value from 1 to 0. Restart your PC and check if the Action Center appears and that you can open it.

Rename The UsrClass File

The UsrClass file is a .DAT file that stores the ShellBag information for the desktop. The ShellBag consists of registry keys (with regards to Windows Explorer) that contain details about a folder such as the size, icon, and position, to help identify user activity. 

Plus, the chúng tôi file stores remote and local folders, ZIP files, virtual folders, and Windows special folders. 

If you delete the UsrClass file from the system, some things like the search and desktop options, Start menu, sound button, and calendar won’t work.

However, you can rename the chúng tôi file, and restart your computer to restore it, and then rename the file so that all things including the Action Center will work as default.

Find the usrclass.dat file, rename it as chúng tôi , and restart your PC.

Update Windows

Some users have complained that the Windows 10 Action Center stopped working or opening after a Windows Update. If there’s a pending update on your computer, you can try to update it and see if the Action Center opens after restarting your computer.

Once the updates are installed, reboot your PC and see if the Action Center still won’t open.

Perform a System Restore

A System Restore helps when troubleshooting specific types of issues such as a driver installation that destabilizes your computer, or damages files when uninstalled. The Restore helps to undo the damage caused by Windows Updates or a rogue app.

To perform a system restore, create a restore point prior to when the Action Center stopped opening. Type system restore in the search box and select Create a restore point.

Note: If all else fails, you can restore Windows to factory settings. Use the factory reset only as a last resort method. Read also our guide on how to factory reset Windows 10 without the admin password.

Get Windows 10 Action Center Working Again

Windows 11 Always On Vpn Not Working? Here’s What To Do

Windows 11 Always On VPN Not Working? Here’s What to do




Always On VPN is a complete solution that allows you to automatically connect to a VPN server.

It connects via the built-in VPNv2 CSP node technology that’s native to Windows 11 and Windows 10. 

The Always On VPN not working issue could be due to an incorrect VPN certificate, a network issue, or a bug in the OS. 



Try Outbyte Driver Updater to resolve driver issues entirely:

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Download Outbyte Driver Updater.

Launch it on your PC to find all the problematic drivers.

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readers this month.

Since the launch of Windows 11, many users have been reporting that the Always On VPN is not working on their Windows 11 PCs.

One of the common issues being reported is the Always On VPN tunnels being removed on system reboot.

This issue is usually noticed after a Windows 11 upgrade. Whether you deploy the VPN with Intune, PowerShell, or the Microsoft Endpoint Configuration Manager using the XML VPM profile, you may encounter this issue at any time.

Other errors you may encounter are error code – 800, error code 809, error code 812, etc. Fortunately, there are a couple of solutions that may help you fix the Always On VPN removed issue on Windows 11.

What can I do if Windows 11’s Always On VPN has been removed? 1. Reinstall the network adapter driver

Once done, close the device manager and reboot your PC. Check if the Always On VPN not working issue is resolved.

However, if you are looking for a quick alternative, we recommend using the Outbyte Driver Updater, a tool that helps you to automatically reinstall drivers, update outdated drivers, or replace missing drivers with the latest version.

⇒ Get Outbyte Driver Updater

2. Make changes to the registry key


Before you make changes to the registry editor, you must create a backup of the registry data. This will help you to recover any data lost during the process.

Expert tip:

3. Turn off IPv6

Now, close the Network Connections window and restart your PC. The Always On VPN removed issue should be fixed now.

Moreover, if you come across other Always On VPN errors, you can refer to the Microsoft website to troubleshoot other Always On VPN not working issues.

Whether it’s the Always On VPN removed issue on Windows 11 or any other VPN not working issue, these are some of the tried and tested methods that work in most cases.

If you choose to add other best VPNs for Windows 11 and if you face any issues, these methods should be applicable for other VPNs as well.

Still experiencing troubles? Fix them with this tool:


Some driver-related issues can be solved faster by using a tailored driver solution. If you’re still having problems with your drivers, simply install OutByte Driver Updater and get it up and running immediately. Thus, let it update all drivers and fix other PC issues in no time!

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First 10 Things To Do On Windows 11

Following a three-month-long developer and beta testing phase, Windows 11 is now available for download for the end-user. For those of you who’re just updating your PC to Windows 11, there’s a whole lot of surprises in store for you. Here are the top 10 things to do on Windows 11 when you first boot up your system.

Top 10 things to do on Windows 11

Windows 11 brings a plethora of new features and updates many of the old ones to modernize their form and function. Though most of them are quality-of-life improvements, not all the changes are exactly welcome. So, let’s go through all the things that you might want to change or check out on the new Windows 11.

1. Move the start menu to the left

The jury is still out on whether the Start menu center alignment is a good move on Microsoft’s part. But, whatever the final verdict may be, one cannot deny that it’s bold and eye-catching. Not everyone is a fan of this, though, and if you want to revert the Start menu to where it used to be, here’s how to do so:

Choose Left.

The Start Menu will instantly shift to the left.

Related: Windows 11: How To Get Back the Windows 10 Start Menu

2. Use Snap Layouts and Snap Groups

If you’ve ever used PowerToys’ FancyZones function, you know what Snap Layouts do. When you have multiple windows or folders opened up, you can hover over the ‘maximize’ button and select how you would like to lay them out on your screen. Alternatively, press the Windows key + Z shortcut to bring it up.

As soon as you choose a layout, you’ll be asked to pick the windows that you want occupying the remaining area of the screen.

This will snap the windows according to the chosen layout.

Your chosen layout will be saved as a ‘Group’. This will be visible in the taskbar as you hover over the opened windows in the taskbar.  

Snap Layouts and Snap Groups is a highly convenient and productive feature that lets you align windows and snap them to fit a part of the screen. 

Related: Windows 11 Snap Layouts not working? Here’s how to fix

3. Turn on Compact View

One thing that you’ll notice straight out of the gate is that the folders and files in File Explorer are a little spaced out.

This is to make things a bit more accessible and easy to see. But this also means that your screen will show fewer files on your screen before you have to start scrolling. If you’re not a fan of the spaced-out files, you can turn on ‘Compact View’, which, as the name suggests, reduces the space between individual files and folders and makes them appear more compact on your screen. Here’s how to do so:

Then select Compact View.

Your files and folders will be shown in a more compact view now.

Related: How To Increase Space Between Items on Windows 11 File Explorer

4. Try Widgets

Widgets are back on Windows and in a much better avatar than their previous iterations. By default, you can access Widgets straight from the taskbar.

You can customize your widgets as per your needs so that you are shown only that which you want to keep tabs on, nothing more. Every widget will have an ellipsis icon (More Options) towards its top right where you will get the option to set the size of the widget, customize it for information, or remove it.

Select from the available widgets.

It will be added to the Widgets screen instantly.


5. Integrate your smartphone with the ‘Your Phone’ app

The ‘Your Phone’ app has been around for a while now. But with Windows 11, the integration has become way more seamless, even more so for exclusive Samsung smartphones. On the Your Phone app, you can drag and drop files between your PC and your smartphone, use the Windows context menu on your phone’s media, check incoming notifications on your Android phone, and attend calls on the PC.

For those of us who don’t have a high-end Samsung phone, the Your Phone app is still worth a shot. With it, you can make and take calls on your PC, check messages, and manage your mobile notifications. To set it up, press Start, type ‘Your Phone’, and select the Your Phone app. 

Then go through the on-screen prompts to integrate your smartphone with Windows 11.

6. Try Teams Chat (Or, remove it from taskbar)

Microsoft Teams has received a deeper integration on Windows 11, so much so that its ‘Chat’ feature has its own dedicated spot on the taskbar by default.

This will open the Microsoft Teams app. Select your account.

Once signed in, the Microsoft Teams app will be ready and you can start interacting with your contacts.

If you don’t want the Teams ‘Chats’ appearing in your taskbar, here’s what you need to do:

Then toggle off Chats.

Uh, you can also remove the Teams Chat icon from your taskbar. See the guide below.

Read: How to Remove Microsoft Teams Chat From Taskbar

7. Use multiple desktops

The ability to use multiple virtual desktops on Windows is another one of those features that’s been around a while but wasn’t as accessible as it is on Windows 11. 

This ‘Task View’ button is now available straight from the taskbar. Hovering over it will display the desktops that you’re currently using as well as an option to add a New Desktop.

The ‘Task View’ button makes it convenient for users to keep different desktops for different purposes, say, one for work, one for entertainment, and one for whatever else. 

8. Check out the new Microsoft Store

Windows Store now goes by the name of Microsoft Store. But the change isn’t just nominal; there are a variety of changes that both developers and end-users would greatly benefit from. 

Game developers can already upload win32 versions of their apps on Microsoft Store, and now, that convenience is being afforded to other app developers as well. 

But the best bit is that Microsoft is also bringing Android apps to Windows. Though the mechanism for this is quite strange, that is, through the Amazon Appstore, the end result would be that users will be able to search for and use Android apps on Windows. But this also means that users will have to sign in to their Amazon account instead of their Google account. 

Though the idea is yet to materialize in its full form for Windows users, only time will tell how effective it is in getting more developers to bring their apps to the Microsoft Store and for users to use Android apps on their Windows 11 PC. 

9. Open File Explorer to ‘This PC’

This is a slight modification, but one that will make it much more convenient for users to get to ‘This PC‘ when they open File Explorer. By default, when you open File Explorer, you’re taken to ‘Quick Access’. Here’s how to change that:

Select This PC.

Now, whenever you open File Explorer, you’ll be taken directly to ‘This PC’.

Related: Where is ‘My Computer’ on Windows 11? How to Find ‘This PC’ Easily!

10. Customize the Action Center

This is where you’ll be able to turn on/off Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, Airplane mode, focus assist, and other featured shortcuts. 

To edit which options appear in the Action Center, refer to our complete guide on How to Add, Remove, or Change Order of Shortcuts in Windows 11 Action Center.

So these were the top 10 things to do that we think you would greatly benefit from when you first boot up to Windows 11.


Here’s What We Should Do About Isil

Here’s What We Should Do About ISIL Tough choices, but they don’t include war

Photo by AP Photo/Thibault Camus

The French strikes on Islamic State positions following the November 13, 2024, Paris attacks point up the peculiar dual nature of this protean Salafi jihadist organization, whose ruthlessness, ability to capture and hold territory, significant financial resources, and strategic acumen make it a threat unlike any other the West has faced in the contemporary era.

The problem is, as the Paris killings and the French counterattack indicate, the Islamic State is partly a totalitarian state and partly a transnational terrorist organization. As a state it can be attacked and defeated, at least temporarily. And yet the more we in the West attack the state, the more its appeal as a terrorist organization will grow among those who see the West as an enemy.

The ISIL proto-state represents a marriage of Salafi jihadists and highly trained Baathist military and intelligence personnel, the very same Baathist personnel that the United States fired from their posts in 2003. The proto-state capitalizes on Sunni Arab disenfranchisement in Syria and Iraq, and thrives in the chaos caused by civil war in Syria. The state earns revenues not only by selling oil, but also by “taxing” people who are trapped in the territory it controls. It also taxes the export of antiquities, and most important, refugee flows. Although ISIL has denounced the refugees leaving Iraq and Syria as traitors, it is also making money from their duress.

At the same time, ISIL is also a millenarian cult with global terrorist ambitions. A number of existing terrorist organizations have pledged allegiance and become “wilayat,” or provinces, among them the Sinai Province in Egypt; Barqa, Tripoli, and Fezzan Provinces in Libya; Khorasan Province in Afghanistan and Pakistan; and Boko Haram’s West Africa Province in Nigeria. We can expect provinces to continue to spread into lawless or poorly governed areas. Volunteers are coming to the Islamic State by the tens of thousands, enticed by the chance to live in the only “place on the face of the Earth where the Shari’ah of Allah is implemented and the rule is entirely for Allah,” in the words of the Islamic State’s online magazine, as well as the promise of sex, violence, and money. Many of them will end up serving as cannon fodder. While many experts focus on ISIL’s narrative of victory, I see a narrative of overcoming humiliation and a chance to recover lost dignity. This narrative is meant to appeal to all the world’s oppressed.

A principal source of the threat to the West is that ISIL and its Salafi jihadi ideology have metastasized into the banlieues of Europe. It appeals, in ISIL’s words, to the people “drowning in oceans of disgrace, being nursed on the milk of humiliation, and being ruled by the vilest of all people.” To those oppressed, ISIL promises the chance “to remove the garments of dishonor, and shake off the dust of humiliation and disgrace, for the era of lamenting and moaning has gone and the dawn of honor has emerged anew. The sun of jihad has risen.”

With the Paris attacks, ISIL has taken this challenge to a whole new level. Until now, we have mostly seen relatively unsophisticated self-starters, inspired by ISIL’s ideology, but not directed by its leadership. But it was only a matter of time before ISIL would be able to coordinate attacks outside its territory. To do so requires not only trained labor and weaponry, but most important, intelligence and counterintelligence, the latter greatly enhanced by a Snowden-inspired antisurveillance mood. We are likely to see ISIL-trained operatives working together with local personnel who know the targeted city or facility.

Over time, we will likely see more use of insiders, as we may have seen in the explosion of the Russian airliner over Egypt on October 31.

Carrying out such attacks invites a devastating counterattack on the Islamic State. These attacks do not further the interests of the totalitarian state. But again, they do further the interests of the millenarian cult, the goal of which is to goad the West into a final battle in Syria.

With enough will, and enough ground forces, we can defeat the Islamic State on the territory it controls. It would require a massive infusion of military might, but the West certainly has the means. Many of the millions of people living under ISIL’s totalitarian rule do not wish to be there, and we’d have to be willing to live with their blood on our hands. Still, many would argue that the stakes are so high that the “merciless” war that French President François Hollande has called for is the right approach.

For example, New York Times columnist Roger Cohen has argued quite persuasively that the attacks in Paris prove that the only objective commensurate with the threat is the elimination of ISIL’s stronghold in Syria and Iraq. “A certain quality of evil cannot be allowed physical terrain on which to breed,” he says, and he is right. Unlike previous totalitarian regimes, the Islamic State flaunts its evil with grisly images calculated to terrorize. It seduces vulnerable youth with a wide array of promises, catering to eclectic fantasies and needs—the opportunity to recover lost honor, to help those in need, to rape and kill with impunity, to purify the world and reinvent themselves. Crushing the Islamic State would surely serve the interests of justice.

A downside to this approach is that it would be a temporary fix. Defeating ISIL in Syria would require ending the civil war there; a tall order indeed. The 2007 “surge” in Iraq resulted in a temporary rout of the predecessor organization to ISIL. A number of generals warned before the surge that we would need to occupy Iraq for three decades to create a viable state. Even if we were prepared to occupy Iraq and Syria for the next 30 years, there is no guarantee of success. And if there is anything we ought to have learned from our mistakes in both Iraq and Libya, it is that a failed state riven by sectarian tensions may well be the worst of all possible outcomes.

Moreover, it is not enough to defeat the Islamic State in its stronghold in Syria and Iraq. Its provinces must be defeated, its ideology crushed, and its seductive appeal undermined. Western recruits are the principal threat to the West, at least for now. A massive attack, which would inevitably involve civilian casualties, could well increase their number.

What options are left to us? The unsatisfying answer is that we need to continue what we’re doing, but do a lot more of it and do it better. That includes working with our allies to cut off the flows of foreign fighters and funding, continuing airstrikes, and deploying special forces against high-value targets. Our Arab allies, who are far more threatened by the Islamic State, need to step up to the plate militarily. We need to rethink our opposition to surveillance, a critically important counterterrorism tool. We also need to get a lot better at undermining ISIS’s claim that it is offering a “five-star jihad,” and that the West is at war with Islam. Many former members have come back horrified by the brutality and corruption that they witnessed. We need to find a way for them to tell their stories to vulnerable youth.

The bottom line is this: terrorism is psychological warfare. It has been used by the weak against the strong for millennia. Among its multiple objectives is to make its victims overreact. We want to wage war to banish the feeling of being unjustly attacked or unable to protect the blameless. We want to wage war on evil. But sometimes the effect of our reaction is precisely that which we aimed to thwart—more terrorists and more attacks, spread more broadly around the world. This is the paradox of counterterrorism—the military strategies required to defeat the threat today often bring more terrorism tomorrow.

A version of this piece was published in Politico on November 17, 2024. 

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Don’t Hold Your Breath: Why Windows Won’t Be Open

Microsoft Technical Fellow Mark Russinovich recently caused a stir by telling a crowd of geeks at ChefConf that an open-source Windows “is definitely possible.”

The fact that a top Microsoft engineer would say such a thing is a massive change from the Microsoft so many of us grew up with, which argued vociferously that open-source software was “un-American.” Microsoft is definitely behaving differently under new CEO Satya Nadella, and it’s taking terrific first steps towards a more open mindset—but recent events show why you shouldn’t expect an open-source version of Windows any time soon.

Spartan’s rendering engine will only be open to “major Web entities”

Microsoft is currently creating a new rendering engine for Windows 10’s Spartan browser, known as “EdgeHTML.” The rendering engine in Internet Explorer is known as “Trident.”

All other browsers now use open-source rendering engines. Mozilla Firefox uses Gecko, Safari uses WebKit, and Google Chrome and Opera uses Blink. Even if a browser itself isn’t open-source—like Safari—the underlying rendering engine is.


Microsoft’s Project Spartan browser includes the Cortana digital assistant.

This leaves Microsoft as the only company with a closed-source rendering engine, but the Internet Explorer Team realizes there’s a problem.

“Adobe is a major contributor to open source browser engines such as WebKit, Blink, and Gecko. In the past, it was challenging for them (or anyone external to Microsoft) to make contributions to the Internet Explorer code base. As a result, as Adobe improved the Web platform in other browsers, but couldn’t bring the same improvements to Microsoft’s platform.”

Microsoft has a solution, though. They’ve given Adobe some access to the EdgeHTML code, allowing them to contribute improvements. “In the same spirit of openness, we’ve been making changes internally to allow other major Web entities to contribute to the growth of our platform,” it says.

That sounds like an improvement, sure—but, rather than just open-sourcing EdgeHTML and letting anyone contribute, they’re approving individual “major web entities” in a piecemeal fashion. Microsoft is twisting itself into pretzels to get some of the benefits of being open-source without actually going open-source.

.NET is open-source on the server, but the desktop bits are staying closed

Microsoft has recently been trumpeting their open-sourcing of the .NET runtime. Some websites even wrote headlines that Microsoft was open-sourcing .NET, full stop. But it hasn’t actually open-sourced all of .NET. Instead, Microsoft has open-sourced the .NET server stack and began porting the runtime itself to Mac and Linux.

That’s a good thing, really. But Microsoft didn’t just open-source .NET—it carefully drew lines around the things they wanted to open-source. “You can build a .Net app and then decide if you want to run it on a Linux server or on Windows Server,” said Microsoft’s S. Somasegar.

James Niccolai

This works well for Microsoft. It even hosts Linux servers on the Microsoft Azure cloud service. Use Microsoft technologies to build your server solutions and you can take them between Linux and Windows. Great!

But Microsoft won’t be open-sourcing the client-side .NET software, like WPF (Windows Presentation Foundation) and Windows Forms, which are used to build desktop applications with .NET. This would potentially allow businesses to migrate old .NET business applications away from the Windows desktop to other platforms. That’s not beneficial to Microsoft’s business model, so they’re keeping those bits closed-source.

The free and open-source Mono 4.0 was recently released, and it includes some of Microsoft’s newly open-sourced .NET code. That’s a win, but Microsoft is ensuring the desktop bits stay locked up and Windows-only.

Want to stay up to date on Linux, BSD, Chrome OS, and the rest of the World Beyond Windows? Bookmark the World Beyond Windows column page or follow our RSS feed.

Microsoft still wants to sell and control Windows

But let’s say Microsoft decides to change their tune and open-sources all of Windows 10 at some point. It won’t happen, but let’s pretend.

Microsoft would struggle with bigger problems. It’d still be able to sell Windows, but other people would be able to take the Windows source code, strip out the branding, and make their own freely downloadable variations of Windows. People could legally create versions of Windows without Windows activation built in, so they wouldn’t need a product key. Microsoft wouldn’t really be able to sell Windows—just support contracts that provided access to Windows patches quickly. And those patches could be taken and re-released for the community versions of Windows, just like how CentOS repackages the commercial Red Hat Enterprise Linux software.

And remember, Windows 10 isn’t actually free—it’s just a free upgrade for the first year for existing Windows 7 and 8 consumer users. It’s not free for consumers after that, it’s not free for DIY system builders, and it’s not free for businesses. It’s also not free for hardware manufacturers. Microsoft is still betting on Windows licensing revenue.

Windows 10 will not be open-source when it’s released this summer.

Worse yet for Microsoft, competing companies could take Windows and use it to make a competing operating system. Amazon’s Fire OS is based on Android with Google’s services stripped out and Amazon’s included. Imagine a Fire OS version of Windows, one that ran all the Windows software you might want, but had Amazon’s—or another companies—services integrated into it. This open-sourcing would actually hurt Microsoft’s bid to become a services company.

Projects like Wine would also get a big boost, and it could become much easier to run Windows applications on non-Windows platforms.

The idea of Microsoft open-sourcing all of Windows is clearly a lot of hot air today, and even if it will happen someday, that day is far in the future. Really, Mark Russinovich’s statement isn’t about Windows. It’s about Microsoft and its culture. He’s saying that Microsoft is no longer ideologically opposed to open-source software, and they’ll continue looking at open-sourcing things they can benefit from open-sourcing. Microsoft gets a good headline and gains some credibility points with geeks who like and use open-source software.

But all of Windows won’t be open-source any time soon. Don’t hold your breath!

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