Windows 10 S – What You Need to Know

Is Windows 10 S right for you at home, school, or business?

Windows 10S – What is it?

Microsoft released a new version of Windows 10, called Windows 10 S, on May 2nd, 2017.

Windows 10 S is a scaled-down version of Windows 10.

If you’re familiar with Chromebooks, it’s easiest to think of Windows 10 S devices as similar to Chromebooks but using Windows 10 and connected to the Microsoft services quite (OneDrive, Office 365, Bing, etc.) instead of Google (Drive, Apps, Google, etc.)

If you’re not familiar with Chromebooks, then you can think of Windows 10 S devices as light-weight, inexpensive devices (usually small notebooks and netbooks) that is primarily meant for using cloud services, web browsing, emailing, and using apps.

What’s different?

Windows 10 S is a full version of Windows 10. The interface is the same, the user experience is the same, etc.

The main differences in Windows 10 S are:

  • Can only run apps from the App Store
  • Locked down for tighter security
  • Certain functions limited to Microsoft-only services
  • Can’t switch the default web browser

Who is it for?

Windows 10 S is targeted at schools and users who want an inexpensive, simplified computing device.

Microsoft sees Windows 10 S devices as direct competitors for Google Chromebooks. So users who don’t run traditional Windows desktop applications are going to find Windows 10 S compelling.

Should you get it?

It depends… Like most things, there are pros and cons.

In the case of Windows 10 S, the limitations are clear. If you need to run applications that aren’t available in the App Store, like Photoshop, QuickBooks, or most line-of-business software, you won’t be able to use Windows 10 S.

On the other hand, Windows 10 S makes perfect sense for schools. The familiarity most people and IT have with Windows will enable them to easily and comfortably use a Windows 10 S device.

The fact that Windows 10 S licenses will be free for schools increases the appeal of using Windows 10 S in education environments.

Windows 10 S devices are expected to cost as little as $200. This makes them significantly less costly than an iPad while still being way more functional (having a full keyboard, for example.)

If you want a devices that gets you online and enables you to use cloud services like Office 365 and OneDrive, and

Recommendations for businesses

The full version of Windows 10 is still a better fit for business. The ability to install the full range traditional Windows applications and line-of-business software is a requirement for most businesses.

You might find certain cases where Windows 10 S makes sense in a business environment, but in most cases it will be too limiting.

While it is possible to upgrade a Windows 10 S license to the full version of Windows 10, I would not recommend Windows 10 S if you think you might be upgrading to full Windows 10 at some point. In the end, the hassle, time, and cost will be greater by going through the upgrade process than it would have been to start with full Windows 10 in the first place.

Summary

Businesses should stick with full Windows 10.

Schools should seriously look at Windows 10 S devices.

Home users looking for an inexpensive device to browse the web, access cloud services, and use Apps will find Windows 10 S a great option.

– Weston Henry

Links:

Microsoft – Windows 10 S

Business Insider – “Microsoft has a superfast new version of Windows 10 to take on Google — with one big trade-off”

Questions:

Do you think Windows 10 S will see significant adoption in schools?

Are you interested in Windows 10 S devices for your own use?