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Windows 10 S: Everything you need to know

Microsoft announced a new version of Windows 10: Windows 10 S. It’s a direct swipe at ChromeOS, a way for Microsoft to stay relevant with low-end hardware, in particular with the education market. It’s easy to setup between students, 15-seconds between students compared to the lengthy setup in Windows 10 Pro. Along with the announcement of Windows 10 S, Microsoft announced the Surface Laptop. The new laptop looks exactly like a MacBook Air. It comes with powerful specs and starts at $999.

Overall, Windows 10 S is a revived version of Windows RT with a few significant changes. It’ll still feature the full “desktop” experience, instead of offering a more phone-like experience like Windows 8 RT did. The new version of Windows comes with Office 365 Education and has devices starting at $189. For the average consumer, you shouldn’t encounter Windows 10 S often. If you do there are a few things you should know.

What are the differences between Windows 10 proper and Windows 10 S? We’ll tell you everything you should know about Windows 10 S!

It’s locked to the Windows Store

Windows 10 S is locked to the Windows Store. It means any app that you can find and download in the Windows Store is available. It doesn’t matter if the app is made for tablets or the traditional Windows 10 environment, it’ll run on the OS. While the store offers a limited number of apps now, there are a growing number of apps. In the store, you’ll also have access to games, if you have the hardware specs to support the game.

Overall, if more apps are available through the Windows Store Windows 10 S will prosper. As of now, the apps available are limited to Facebook, Pandora, a lite version of Photoshop, and some Xbox games.

It’s not a lite version of Windows


While Windows 10 S is meant for lower-end hardware, it’s not a “lite” variant of Windows 10. You’re still able to run full desktop x32 apps. It could in theory run Photoshop or Lightroom if Adobe opted to put the apps in the Windows Store. The Surface laptop is running Windows 10 S, but it’s capable of running processor extensive apps like light gaming and productivity apps like Autodesk.

Windows isn’t going back to when Windows 8 RT was a lite variant of Windows, which limited which apps you could run and use. We’ll have a more control version of Windows, one that feels a little more like iOS where you cannot sideload apps.

It can be upgraded to Windows 10 Pro

Windows 10 S

Okay, if you’re concerned the Windows Store isn’t enough for your needs, you can upgrade to the “full” version on Windows 10 Pro. There is a fee, of course, but you’ll get to use Windows like you’ve always. The Surface laptop, which is a Macbook Air ripoff, is running Windows 10 S but you can upgrade to a full version of Windows. This means if you want to use Chrome, Adobe Creative Cloud, or install third-party apps no on the Windows Store you’ll need to upgrade to Windows 10 Pro.

If you buy a Surface laptop now, you can upgrade to Windows 10 Pro now for free. If I were buying a laptop now, I would always opt to upgrade to Windows 10 Pro.

It’ll run any browser

Microsoft noted in their keynote that Windows 10 S would run any browser in the Windows Store. While Chrome isn’t in the store, you can get Edge, Firefox, and a few other options. If Google does work with Microsoft to put Chrome in the Store, everyone will get to use the browser.

Microsoft needs to say they’ll support every browser because of anti-trust allegations that have happened with their Edge browser in Europe. They don’t want to look like they’re restricting competition, something that could hurt Microsoft in the long run.


Windows 10 S is or education markets, but we’ll see it on low-cost hardware. It’ll likely confuse consumers, but it appears Microsoft is offering better marketing and distention from Windows RT which was a failure. The new variant of Windows will directly compete against ChromeOS, which has taken schools by storm. Kids everywhere are using a Chromebook to do homework, surf the web, and often are their only laptop.

Microsoft will have to keep cost low and help schools manage their new OS. Windows 10 S will be more secure just because you cannot download random apps from the internet, so we’ll see no virus that often plague PCs.

Read more about Windows 10 S here!

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